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One thing that's been a universal theme here and at other "reality-based" blogs the past few years has been the utter shock and awe we have all felt upon seeing the brazen lying by the mainstream corporate media.  

Almost every day you can find the most infuriating examples of how they have been constantly lying to the American people, at the behest of their corporate "management" (read: neo-cons and Republican cronies).  There's plenty of blame to go around, of course, but how things got to this disgusting level of propaganda isn't the point I'm pursuing here.  

Because the big question has been "how do we stop them?"

The ubiquitous answer is "well, you can't stop them, because they're protected by the First Amendment."

Well guess what?  There are limits to the First Amendment, and we all know what they are.  Follow me behind for how we can make this work.

There's that old saying "you can't yell "FIRE!" in a crowded movie theater".  But that's not what I'm talking about, either.

I'm talking about professional responsibility.  

Here's the example:  Your doctor is not allowed to lie to you.  Why?  Because your life, your health, your very person depends on your Doctor.  

Imagine, if you would, a perfect Republican world where Doctors could hide behind the First Amendment.  They could tell you that you have cancer, and show you fake reports from "experts" who back up the claim, in order that you go to their cohort's clinic for months of expensive treatments, from whom they receive kickbacks.  

If you caught a doctor doing this, he or she would rightfully lose their license and probably go to jail.  

The point is your doctor cannot hide behind the First Amendment.  Have you ever heard a corrupt Doctor use this defense?  Of course not.  Because it's freaking RIDICULOUS.

Same if you had a plumber come to your house and tell you that your leaky faucet wasn't just a leaky faucet and in fact required you to have your entire plumbing in your house replaced.  If you caught the guy at that, he would be busted, probably lose his license, and face fines and theoretically jail time.  Why?  Because it's corrupt.  We all know it's corrupt.  And have you ever heard of a corrupt plumber using The First Amendment for his defense?  NO.  Because it's freaking RIDICULOUS.  

Yet, just to use two examples in the news today, Newsweek can give Karl Rove, somene who is known to be not only a liar, but a corrupt liar, a writing gig designed to influence public opinion.  Rove will then pass along whatever he's supposed to say from "above".  People who believe Rove may then make decisions which will, as they have in the past, lead to deaths of other human beings, and will, as they have in the past, lead to other crimes being committed.  

There are diaries here today describing how the media is actually giving this known liar, this known treacherous and dangerous crook, a pedestal from which to spout even more lies.  And then rather than calling him a liar, simply saying "others dispute his statements".  

And NBC news has reported a brazen lie about the election in Venezuela having no foreign observers, and stating that if the referendum passes it will make Chavez "president for life", which simply isn't true.  No matter how you feel about Chavez, the truth is that if the referendum passed it would simply abolish term limits.  

These are just two TINY examples from my last few minutes checking out the headlines here.  

And everybody feels helpless.  Because they "know" that these companies can hide behind the First Amendment.  

Well hiding behind the First Amendment is like terrorists hiding behind women and babies and using them as Human Sheilds.  It's disgusting, it's cowardly, and it's wrong.  

It's time we passed some laws to commit the corporate media, especially those using the public airwaves (and it's time we owned up to the fact that the "Cable Spectrum" is in fact just as much a part of the public "commons" than the airwaves dominated by the dinosaurs of broadcast networks), as well as newspapers who are big enough to have be part of a journalistic oligopoly in their respective cities, to licensing requirements that will FORCE THEM TO DO THEIR PROFESSIONAL BEST TO TELL THE TRUTH.

And make them responsible to their readership, their customers, who happen to be other human beings who are making decisions in their lives based on this information provided by these companies.  

The SAME WAY you make decisions based on what you are told by other professionals -- doctors, lawyers, carpenters, plumbeers, mechanics ---

It's time to force the cowardly lying Fred Hiats of the world to act like other professionals in our society.  

Sixty-seven percent (67%) of the American population believed that Saddam Hussein was responsible for 9/11.  Whose fault is that?  

Whose fault is that?

Who else could possibly be at fault for that?  There's NOBODY that could be at fault for that EXCEPT the "professional" mainstream media outlets.

And BECAUSE they lied, people died, people were maimed and horribly mutilated, children and women were raped and massacred, trillions of dollars vanished from our pocketbooks, and massive looting of our government took place.  

There will always be fascists and quasi-fascists and neo-con thugs and pirates trying to take over the government.  Always.  And for the same reason you keep a lock on the door of your house, a sane, mature society is supposed to have procedures in place to ensure that these kinds of people are not ABLE to achieve power.  

One of these is the press.  If any of our work and energies is to succeed, we need to have a real press.  One that's professional, one that's responsible, and one that is forcibly held to certain standards.  

My doctor can't deliberately lie to me and then hide behind the First Amendment, and neither should anyone in the public trust, and the mainstream corporate media is held in the public trust, even if they're owned by GE.

The Republican Party should be obsolete by now -- if we had an actual responsible and professional press in this country, and if we had a Democratic Party that wasn't mostly complicit and corrupt, the Republican Party would be an embarrassing historical remnant of our recent history.  Most people would be as likely to publicly profess being a Republican as they are being a member of the KKK, or a Communist.  History has proved that they are utterly wrong about everything.  Everything.   Yet Karl Rove has a gig at Newsweek and can go on talk shows and spread his inhumane lies, and we're still subjected to his "version of reality" by this media.  

My point being, one of our first and primary goals of winning enough power after the 2008 elections needs to be reforming the corporate press, so that this ugly period of American history cannot repeat itself.  Our future literally depends on it.  

License the corporate media.  Enforce standards.  Sue, fine, and jail those who deliberately act in a conniving and irresponsible manner, the same we we deal with other professionals who <abuse their positions</strong> to deliberately lie, cheat, and steal.

NOTE:
Many seem to be missing my point here, so I would like to add a comment made below by Number5:

Question.

Do you think Judy Miller should be allowed to sit in on war planning meetings, get inside intel, then report in the NYT without telling anyone she was in the secret meetings? Legally?

Should Dick Cheney be allowed to go on nbc and reference an article he helped write without having to disclose?

Should NBC be allowed to take ad money from companies profiting from government contracts then put their spokespeople on the air as military experts, without having to disclose?

These are where I think the diarist is going, and the line I draw in first amendment protection.

That's exactly what I'm talking about here.  

Originally posted to theyrereal on Sun Dec 02, 2007 at 10:55 PM PST.

Poll

Raise your hand if you think Doctors should be allowed to hide behind the First Amendment?

28%8 votes
71%20 votes

| 28 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  "Congress shall make no law" (17+ / 0-)

    this couldn't possibly be any clearer if it tried.

    I want to win. You want to beat him, and that's a problem for me, because I want to win. -The West Wing

    by AnnArborBlue on Sun Dec 02, 2007 at 10:59:44 PM PST

  •  wow (8+ / 0-)

    do you really want to give the Bush Administration the power to regulate the media?  This is a really bad proposal, the First Amendment is one of the best ideas in the history of the world.

  •  License the media (5+ / 0-)

    Great -- so who's going to determine whether what's being reported is true or not?

    And where would the blogs fit in this?

  •  Not ga na happen (6+ / 0-)

    It's time to force the cowardly lying Fred Hiats of the world to act like other professionals in our society.

    But look at who their owners are.  Far better to attack the problem from the ownership monopolization angle, than to insert the government as the arbiter of "truth."  That way leads straight to Pravda.

    That, and far better to discredit them as liars in the public eye, and to replace, or rather displace, them.

    As I see it, the fundamental goal is a well-informed citizenry, and the underlying principle is freedom.  

    Licensing flies in the face of the latter and won't help the former.  If people think of news coverage, "It must be true, because they hold a government license," then all is truly lost.

    Government and laws are the agreement we all make to secure everyone's freedom.

    by Simplify on Sun Dec 02, 2007 at 11:14:40 PM PST

  •  Public airwaves vs. Cable (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mcfly, wondering if, bythesea

    The reason the public airwaves are licensed has nothing to do with the First Amendment one way or the other.

    It is licensed simply because public airwaves are scarce. Access to them, like access to any scarce resource, needs to be organized to prevent chaos.

    Cable channels aren't scarce any more than Web space or paper and ink for newspapers is. Thus, they should not (and cannot) be regulated.

    What we do need is rules to prevent monopolists (such as Cable companies) from exercising censorship - for instance, Net Neutrality is very important, as would be a similar rule for cable channels.

    Army 1st Lt. Ehren T. Watada, Lt. Cdr USN Matthew Diaz, SPC Eli Israel: true American heroes.

    by sdgeek on Sun Dec 02, 2007 at 11:28:29 PM PST

    •  I realize that (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Number5

      and that wasn't my point.  The point is that the public airwaves are regulated because their considered "the commons".  

      My argument is that the cable spectrum is "the commons" as well, and it's high time we all figured that out.  When was the last time somebody could just start a new cable channel that would be carried everywhere?  Oh yeah, Al Gore created one with millions upon millions of dollars and most people still don't know about it.  

      The cable spectrum is dominated by a few huge players, and it's turned into a public utility, like the power company or the gas company and should be regulated accordingly.  

      •  And (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        theyrereal

        Public money subsidized ALL of the infrastructure.

        •  how long... (0+ / 0-)

          how long until someone started threatening the removal of public funds if X network or Y station didn't start promoting State News? And then how long until the State started to narrow down the # of networks/stations based on "popularity polls"?

          C-Span receives no state money...nor advert money. Everything it gets comes from our cable bills.

          Novel? What novel? Oh...that novel...

          by kredwyn on Sun Dec 02, 2007 at 11:50:28 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  You are going to far I think. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            theyrereal, Independant Man

            I think the diarist is looking for some consequences for very specific willful negligence and complicity to defraud. I gave a few examples down thread.

            The cheney, miller, nbc, ge circle jerk being one.

            •  That I get... (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Justanothernyer

              but one of the things I was thinking of was the shifts that happened in NPR after the Republicans nominated Republicans to the CPB.

              Also...when you have the state running the industry via public funding, the odds of leaks coming to the media decrease.

              For every one of your circle jerks being "dealt with"...maybe (I'm not sure that public funding would do that), there may well be stories that never get published because of the control factor.

              Novel? What novel? Oh...that novel...

              by kredwyn on Mon Dec 03, 2007 at 06:48:01 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

    •  Cable, as a natural monopoly, needs regulation. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      theyrereal

      Cable is a natural monopoly, like any other utility. As natural monopolies the should be regulated, and economic theory says that they will provide better service at a lower cost if they are regulated.

      "Put your Doc Martens back on." - Rude Pundit

      by opendna on Mon Dec 03, 2007 at 12:41:16 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I'm not convinced it really is a natural monopoly (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        opendna

        You might be right, but I'm not sure. There is satellite as a viable competitor, for instance. I wouldn't rule out other contenders as well at some point.

        Army 1st Lt. Ehren T. Watada, Lt. Cdr USN Matthew Diaz, SPC Eli Israel: true American heroes.

        by sdgeek on Mon Dec 03, 2007 at 02:21:33 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  It's all the same channels (0+ / 0-)

          on satellite.  In a way satelite is even worse because they're not required to have public ccess channels.  ON Dishtv Fox News is channel 205 everywhere you go.  Try competing for that spot.  

        •  I should ammend: (0+ / 0-)

          the physical infrastructure of cable TV is a natural monopoly, but provision of services can be competitive if there is equal access to the infrastructure.

          Arguments about satellite TV and telcom being alternatives are used to resist regulation, but don't get around the fact that it doesn't make sense to have several different cable providers running wires through the streets and into your home: there can only be one.

          In the same way as there is only one telephone line to your house, and there is only one power line to your house, there is only one cable TV hookup to your house. Whether there is competition in your choice of where to buy power or get your telephone services is a regulatory decision. It's a regulatory decision which breaks the monopoly down to a smaller service charge, but you still can't tell PG&E or BellSouth or Comcast that you want to use someone else's exchage: there aren't any other exchanges.

          There aren't, because of the technical costs and economies of scale in any given market.

          "Put your Doc Martens back on." - Rude Pundit

          by opendna on Mon Dec 03, 2007 at 06:54:05 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Telephone is actually a great example (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            opendna, Justanothernyer

            In the same way as there is only one telephone line to your house, and there is only one power line to your house, there is only one cable TV hookup to your house. Whether there is competition in your choice of where to buy power or get your telephone services is a regulatory decision. It's a regulatory decision which breaks the monopoly down to a smaller service charge, but you still can't tell PG&E or BellSouth or Comcast that you want to use someone else's exchage: there aren't any other exchanges.

            Yes.

            And this example also shows why other types of media need to be considered: the phone company really does not have a monopoly. Instead of BellSouth, you can choose to get a cell phone from T-Mobile or Sprint or Verizon (or Cingular, but they are the same company as BellSouth) or a number of other carriers. Today, you really don't have to use the copper wire any more. I disconnected mine a couple of years ago, as a matter of fact.

            Or you can get phone service from Vonage or dozens of other VoIP providers.

            Or you can get only the cheapest phone service from BellSouth, and for long distance calling use a calling card from one of dozens of providers - many of whom have established their own international phone network, so they really aren't front ends for any of the big players (I used to work for such a phone company. A small business with 60 or so employees in the US, another 100 or so overseas).

            So you only have no alternative if you insist on POTS service (POTS = computer speak for Plain Old Telephone Service).

            And cable is no different. You already have the choice between one, and occasionally more, cable company and satellite. In a few areas, you can also get fiberoptic cable from your phone company. I believe currently in experimental stage is wireless cable (yes, I know it sounds like a contradiction in terms).

            So I do think that the market place actually is about to get extremely vibrant.

            That's why I'm not convinced cable really is a natural monopoly. I'm not convinced that it is NOT a natural monopoly, either. Your point of view certainly has some merit.

            Army 1st Lt. Ehren T. Watada, Lt. Cdr USN Matthew Diaz, SPC Eli Israel: true American heroes.

            by sdgeek on Mon Dec 03, 2007 at 07:31:58 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  Best piece out there... (3+ / 0-)

    for the liberty of unlicensed printing...Areopagitica by Milton.

    Novel? What novel? Oh...that novel...

    by kredwyn on Sun Dec 02, 2007 at 11:28:50 PM PST

  •  What If? (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Simplify, theyrereal, Calouste, Number5

    What if you removed the requirement for a plaintiff to prove "actual malice" in a defamation claim?

    In order for a public figure (such as a politician or celebrity) to prevail on a claim of defamation by the press, they must prove not only the story was false, but that those involved with the publication actually intended to do harm with reckless disregard for the truth.

    I understand the logic of it (i.e. the argument lawsuits against the press can cause a "chilling effect" on coverage), but the standard established in New York Times Co. v. Sullivan has always struck me as a ridiculously high hurdle for any "public figure" plaintiff who may have been wronged by a false story.

    •  It's better to air (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Rimjob

      all of the issues about a public figure, especially a candidate or nominee. The actual malice standard ensures that information for which there is some  basis will be disclosed.  A lower standard for defamation would tend to set the balance less in favor of disclosure.  Especially where becoming a public figure is a choice this doesn't seem unreasonable.

  •  not worth it (4+ / 0-)

    Think of it the other way around- the country simply was Right/conservative for thirtysome years.  It rejected hearing about or caring about a lot of things, even angrily refuting things that were objectively true when they diverged from The Way Things Are Supposed To Be.  During the Nineties the discrepancy between reality and the desire-driven myths got too large, the media got punished from pointing out too much of it by hordes of angry older guys.

    The media had to adapt to and incorporate the disconnect.  I bet if you asked conservative pundits about their 'base', their contempt for it is immensely higher than even ours, a lot higher than that of the liberal ones for their supporters.

    To be blunt, the degeneration of the media is just a facet of the greater fact that The People as a whole chose to live with a great deal of delusion for a very long time.  How can you not, when 10,000 nuclear warheads are aimed at your country and could destroy everything that makes up your life in a few minutes.  When the differences between the races are too large to fix in a reasonable time frame, and the residues of slavery are too great and demanding for any group of Americans to be adequate to.  When the economy is shifting from one in which people who could barely read were the norm, and now you can't be employed without proficient ability to use a computer.  When the religion you were born into was the one you were going to die in.  When military spending seemingly took your tax money and threw into a hole, in which it was burned up- you never got a worthwhile return or improvement in life or society you could identify.

    After '9/11' the pent-up delusions reasserted their authority fully again.  It's been six years of exposing them to the realities of near peace and the end of a social order.

    We have a 'media' that reflects us.  "Us" also including the corporate profiteers and the people who accept the facile, superficial, and myth-driven interpretations of events that is most in accord with average prejudices and common ignorance that long vehemently rejected any criticism of itself and its certainties.

    Change in the media will come just as in politics.  A lot of older careerists have to be pushed out and replaced with people more sensible to the times and society we live in, and the present increase in tolerance and respect for acuity about reality and history.

    Renewal, not mere Reform.

    by killjoy on Sun Dec 02, 2007 at 11:38:43 PM PST

    •  Good post (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      theyrereal

      Question.

      Do you think Judy Miller should be allowed to sit in on war planning meetings, get inside intel, then report in the NYT without telling anyone she was in the secret meetings? Legally?

      Should Dick Cheney be allowed to go on nbc and reference an article he helped write without having to disclose?

      Should NBC be allowed to take ad money from companies profiting from government contracts then put their spokespeople on the air as military experts, without having to disclose?

      These are where I think the diarist is going, and the line I draw in first amendment protection.

      •  Yes!! (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Number5

        Somebody who gets it!  

        Thank you.  That's EXACTLY what I'm talking about!

      •  eh....probably yes (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Justanothernyer, Number5

        In all those cases there were people in the media in the know, and they chose not to talk at the time.  I'm for the remedy that more speech solves the problem, not less.

        I don't think you can impose a rule that every confluence or conflict of interest has to be accounted for or punished.  Politicians don't show up on TV in order to diminish public opinion of what they are doing- by definition they're trying to portray what they are doing in the best possible light.  That may not involve strictly truthful statements.

        Renewal, not mere Reform.

        by killjoy on Mon Dec 03, 2007 at 12:09:59 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  ok here is an extreme (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          theyrereal

          Lets say coup plotters were in cahoots with cnn, on the day of an antiwar protest cnn reported that parade routes had been changed and directed people to a location coup plotter were dressed in military uniforms waiting to shoot them.

          Then cnn films it and reports that government officials ordered the shooting.

          The resulting chaos facilitates the coup.

          Should the media be protected?

          If not, do you draw the distinction at domestic victims?

          If so, how do you see us ever breaking free from the catch-up and react cycle we find ourselves in, where we find the dirt out three years later and the all we can do is shrug and hope our votes count for more next time?

          •  okay (3+ / 0-)

            When domestic violence is involved, there's definitely criminally liable conspiracy or crime outright.

            About Iraq...I don't think people were as deceived by the WMD lying or the other lies as they pretend now.  In the end the question was whether Saddam Hussein's game of 12 years of constant insults was tolerable any longer or not.  There was ambiguity and an issue of degrees, and mongering of WMDs pushed a crucial number of voters into not giving Hussein the benefit of the doubt.

            All the mongering against Iran hasn't gotten support for an attack out of the 32% baseline support, the 32% that are game for punishing any ham sandwich or asteroid that ever mumbled any resembling an insult in our direction.

            We're in a catch-up and react cycle because the game being played is all about tapping into our collective resentments.  Resentments born of bad events and bad compromises in the past.  We have a lot of them, as a people.  But we've done this obsessing with them so long that most of them are pretty tapped out- that's Rove's frustration.

            More fundamentally, we're still in a political game of taking the Republican set of governance dogmas to their conclusions.  Which is to say, the People is taking them as far as possible, to where they have totally failed.  It's a long and whole 'nother post to describe what they are and when they fail.  But you know them- they're essentially those of a colonial overlord class.  Taxation of the lowest classes and tax cuts for the wealthiest, social inequality and lose-lose social competition, no ethical accountability for the most powerful, domestically.  Ritual retribution (e.g. torture, then ritual killing) for those who fight and terrorize us.  And the (non-)rules of colonial adventurism for Iraq- conspiracy and overwhelming conquest, exploitation of internal differences for material gain, and installation of a puppet government.

            It's all blowing up and bleeding out, of course.  Keeping the Republicans in charge for another year as their governance fails comprehensively...that's the price we pay for their complete discrediting.  It takes long for all the events that prove their failure to happen.

            At the same time, they're on trial and their supporters' loss of faith in the Cause is a constant bleeding.  Sadly, that last thing is what the media most sells- all the lashing out, the mongering of their beliefs as they come in doubt, their conversions and dissonance, their fervor and fear, their attempts to talk each other back into The Faith.  (Check out RedState, for example.)  We're about 8 months into the reactionaries, the 24%ers, cracking mentally.  And boy is there a lot of crud that wants out.  They're brutal- look at the raging at the likes of Britney Spears, who embodies their own mix of success and inability to cope in a world in which increasing selfknowledge is crucial.

            The media isn't a therapy institution, but what sells best is this venting and cracking and dissonance and disaster that people in the group that is hitting disillusionment and reality hard.  The media salaciously covered that among various Democrats from 2001 to 2004.  Then, with almost as much fun, among increasingly conservative Republicans for most of the past three years.  Seems to me that 2008 will still be Republicans in breakdown, so media interest will remain on their bravado and degradation and implosions, on their bigotry, scandals, and illusions.

            We're still short an implosion of the Maliki government, a big fight about illegal immigrants and about the AMT that splits them, and one or two more bloody Al Qaeda attacks in countries that matter to us.  (Our side will, if the numbers are correct, win next November even without those things, but they help.  And the degree of Republican design breakdown determines the amount of mandate to change policy deeply there will be.)

            2009 the shoe should absolutely be on the other foot.  A Democratic Administration will probably expose almost all that was done these past eight years, putting the corporate and other interests on the defensive.  I'm sure the corporate media will try to put up a short fight but have to capitulate pretty quickly.  You don't have to go much further than Michael Powell's media consolidations to get at the shameless big media honchos that bought it.  (I'm anticipating a Jack Welch perp walk with some joy, myself.)  The existing bias and low quality can't be maintained without a lot of government protection and cartel behavior for it anyway, so the changes away from that could be pretty drastic.

            Renewal, not mere Reform.

            by killjoy on Mon Dec 03, 2007 at 02:37:38 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Great comment but (0+ / 0-)

              I have to say I don't share your optimism.  

              Iran/Contra was a most heinous and diabolical conspiracy, and those involved were NOT brought to justice, and we all just watched the "press" virtually cannonize Ronald Reagan!

              I don't see anything improving by its own momentum, in fact, I see it getting much worse as Climate Change and Peak Oil provide a perfect storm of excuses for those in power to crack down and consolidate their control, using any means necessary.  I hope you're right and I'm wrong, but I sure don't see any precedent from the last 25 years to suggest that you are right.  

    •  hell of a comment (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Number5

      You make many excellent points, none of which satisfy my desire to control the world!  :)

      Your comments brings back the age-old question (at least to me) which is "do we just go with the flow and accept things the way they are, or do we fight tooth and nail for fairness and justice?"

      Both are difficult paths if you give a damn.  

  •  Your license to rant has been revoked. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Justanothernyer

    Democratic Candidate for US Senate (Wisconsin 2012)
    Court certified Marijuana Expert

    by ben masel on Mon Dec 03, 2007 at 12:06:52 AM PST

  •  can't say I agree with the title (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Justanothernyer

    If it were true that only liars hid behind the First Amendment, then the right thing to do would be to abolish it. But somehow "repeal it!" doesn't seem like the progressive position on the First Amendment.

    When it comes to fascism, I think you have it somewhat backwards: state control of the media is not the way to oppose fascism, but is rather one of its characteristics.

    "See a world of tanks, ruled by a world of banks." —Sol Invictus

    by Delirium on Mon Dec 03, 2007 at 12:22:34 AM PST

    •  it's state-controlled right now (0+ / 0-)

      That's my entire point (which I mustn't have made very well).  Using Mussolini's definition of fascism, the merging of state and industry, our corporate media is in fact now an arm of the State, specifically the Repubs and the Corporatocracy.  

      That is not what the First Amendment was intended to be used for.  

      So how do we hold them accountable?  How do we break the fascist toadies who run the "news" industries, and how do we rid them of their complicit vermin like Wolf Blitzer and all the others?  

      Let's face it, the only recourse left to average people any more against the Corporatcracy is the Class Action Lawsuit.  

  •  Medical Doctors and the 1st Amendment (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    maxomai, moiv, theyrereal, Justanothernyer

    After the Feds threatened to prosecute physicians for recommending medical marijuana to patients, Dr. Jeffrey Conant sued, seeking an injunction based on the 1st Amendment. He prevailed.

    OPINION,

    6] To survive First Amendment scrutiny, the government's policy must have the requisite "narrow specificity." See Button, 371 U.S. at 433. Throughout this litigation, the government has been unable to articulate exactly what speech is proscribed, describing it only in terms of speech the patient believes to be a recommendation of marijuana. Thus, whether a doctor-patient discussion of medical marijuana constitutes a "recommendation" depends largely on the meaning the patient attributes to the doctor's words. This is not permissible under the First Amendment. See Thomas v. Collins, 323 U.S. 516, 535 (1945). In Thomas, the court struck down a state statute that failed to make a clear distinction between union membership, solicitation, and mere "discussion, laudation, [or] general advocacy." The distinction rested instead on the meaning the listeners attributed to spoken words. Id. The government's policy, like the statute in Thomas, leaves doctors and patients "no security for free discussion." Id. As Judge Smith appropriately noted in granting the preliminary injunction, "when faced with the fickle iterations of the government's policy, physicians have been forced to suppress speech that would not rise to the level of that which the government constitutionally may prohibit." 172 F.R.D. at 696.

    Democratic Candidate for US Senate (Wisconsin 2012)
    Court certified Marijuana Expert

    by ben masel on Mon Dec 03, 2007 at 12:24:44 AM PST

  •  There Is No Solution to This (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    theyrereal

    Our system is designed and built to work this way, this is the best of all possible countries we can be, and nothing better is possible under any system that remotely resembles what we have today.

    Our traditions of rights, responsibilities and freedoms are insane.

    The rest follows from that.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Mon Dec 03, 2007 at 01:16:58 AM PST

  •  there is a solution to this (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    theyrereal, Kathy S

    ... without the draconian measures of licensing individual journalists.

    first, you and all of your like-minded friends (whom you should feel free to organize) can pressure media outlets. there are several methods...

    all regular tv and radio broadcast outlets are licensed by the fcc and are allegedly required to operate in the public's interest. every single one of them has a periodic license review.

    you (and your friends) can send (well composed) letter(s) and stipulate that it be placed in the broadcasters "public file", which will then be reviewed by the fcc when the license period ends. i have worked in radio - i guarantee you that such a letter will get the rapt attention of the station's management, multiple (non-form) letters exponentially increase their attention.

    you and your friends can badger the advertizers of media outlets and boycott their products.

    you and your friends can organize and publicize a boycott of certain media outlets for their bad behavior.

    lastly, you can stop watching commercial teevee. i did that about 20 years ago and i feel much better now. B)

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