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Originally posted at Voices on the Square, a new blog in the sphere featuring News, Information, and Fun!
Welcome to You're Doing It Wrong, a weekly column taking the Powers That Be (PTB), especially the media and talking heads, to task for poor information and poor framing.

Well, this week I’m ruffled by, yes, the Chik-fil-A brouhaha and something the media is doing that is not constructive.

This week marked the big right wing Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day, so there were not only prominent people speaking up about it, but the media covered it pretty heavily on Wednesday.

People like Mike Huckabee set the stage by framing the argument as one of defending Dan Cathy’s freedom of speech and stopping him from “being disenfranchised from his citizenship and rights of free speech”.  Rick Santorum not only cited the free speech, but also freedom of religion. Pretty soon all their followers were parroting these talking points.

More below the fold...

Now, both of these men are politicians who formerly held high offices, both have been candidates for the highest office in the land, and one of them is now a media talk show host. I don’t know about you, but I shudder to think that anyone in their position would have such an incorrect understanding of the Constitution.

In media coverage, platforms were given to not only the luminaries, but to the folks who showed up to take part in the appreciation day. But instead of giving some historical context, most of the media let those statements go unchallenged.

The Constitution is meant to set the rules for government. The First Amendment in the Constitution’s Bill of Rights provides for the exercise of freedom of speech and freedom to practice religion. This DOES NOT MEAN that you are free to say whatever you want without consequence, only that you will not be punished by the law for saying it. This DOES NOT MEAN that you are free to practice your religion without consequence, only that you will not be punished by the law for practicing it. This isn’t rocket science; this is remedial understanding of the Constitution and how government works.

The news is supposed to make you smarter, not just provide simple claims and facts without any factual explanation for the reader/listener. The news is not supposed to just report what a person says, especially when it is false, essentially playing stenographer and contributing to the dumbing down of the masses. The news is supposed to give you the tools to understand what’s going on in the country and the world. How can anyone come to a better understanding when false beliefs are given voice to by the media without any kind of critical challenge or explanation?

Would Walter Cronkite or Edward Murrow give voice to people who so categorically have incorrect information without questioning that information? Would they fail to point out the erroneousness of those statements? I think not.

The Fourth Estate is supposed to be a check on the PTB. So, if you’re a journalist, and you let blatantly incorrect information go out via your platform without correcting it, you’re hurting we the people, not helping we the people.  You’re Doing It Wrong!

Originally posted to poli's pages on Fri Aug 03, 2012 at 10:27 AM PDT.

Also republished by The Rebel Alliance.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tips for better, smarter news and... (15+ / 0-)

    understanding the Constitution!

    A) "The administration should be worried about the level of despair here." ~Markos Moulitsas at NN12 B) "Stoking the base’s enthusiasm is part of a campaign’s job, whether or not it thinks it should have to do it." ~Michelle Goldberg

    by poligirl on Fri Aug 03, 2012 at 10:27:21 AM PDT

  •  you might want to try (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    redlum jak

    quoting whatever they said that was wrong.

    Were they complaining about what private citizens are doing or about what some government officials have said?

    •  well, the news wasn't complaining.... (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      triv33, Wary, priceman, LaEscapee

      as well they shouldn't, that would be editorailizing. but there were numerous quotes, a whole plethora of them on each page and article i linked to in the body, stating that the issue involved was a First Amendment issue, which it is most decidedly not.

      factually, the issue has nothing whatsoever to do with the First Amendment. the news stories could have stated that in their stories, but instead of doing that, the information was let stand as though it is a relevant issue. therefore, folks reading the stories are left only with the opinions of those quoted, as if those opinions were factually based. this is one of the reasons we are such a low info people.

      A) "The administration should be worried about the level of despair here." ~Markos Moulitsas at NN12 B) "Stoking the base’s enthusiasm is part of a campaign’s job, whether or not it thinks it should have to do it." ~Michelle Goldberg

      by poligirl on Fri Aug 03, 2012 at 11:18:08 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  "Follow the money." (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    poligirl, RockyMtnLib

    Deep Throat's advice is still sound.

    The best reason not to spend money at Chick-Fil-A is not that we disagree with what the owner said.

    The best reason is that the owner will give some of that money to groups that try to keep discrimination written into law; and to groups that try to convince people they can become "ex-gay," which leads not only to their heartbreak and suffering, but also to the heartbreak and suffering of their future opposite-sex spouses, and to the heartbreak and suffering of the future children of those opposite-sex marriages.

    Is that where you want your money going? Me neither.

    "The true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals." - Barack Obama

    by HeyMikey on Fri Aug 03, 2012 at 01:11:17 PM PDT

    •  exactly! not only is the media allowing... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      LaEscapee, HeyMikey, RockyMtnLib

      false memes to be developed, they are also completely missing the actual story, which is the donations to groups promoting bigotry and hate. that's why a lot of folks have a problem with it...

      sigh... damn media....

      A) "The administration should be worried about the level of despair here." ~Markos Moulitsas at NN12 B) "Stoking the base’s enthusiasm is part of a campaign’s job, whether or not it thinks it should have to do it." ~Michelle Goldberg

      by poligirl on Fri Aug 03, 2012 at 02:13:36 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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