No 1637 Posted by fw, April 10, 2016
“Either by omission or by commission, the US media actively misinforms the public on crucial issues that matter. The reason they do this is because they legally can…. Let’s start with the First Amendment to the US Constitution that protects freedom of speech. Courts in the US have ruled on many occasions that freedom of speech also includes the freedom to lie. The rationale is that such rulings give space for unpopular statements of fact. For example, in 2012, the US Supreme Court voted 6-3 to affirm a lower court decision to overturn a conviction for lying about one’s credentials. The lower court judge in that case wrote, ‘How can you develop a reputation as a straight shooter if lying is not an option?’ Washington State Supreme Court even ruled that lying to get votes, distinguishing between fact and opinion, was not something that the state should negotiate. It wrote that people and not the government should be the final arbiter of truth in a political debate.” —Cynthia McKinney
A personal experience prompted Ms McKinney to tell her story — she was forced to withdraw her lawsuit against a newspaper that intentionally distorted the truth about her. Moreover, in order to get her story out to the public, she turned to RT, an online international news source based in Moscow. Apparently, US media were not interested in a story that might further tarnish their already damaged reputation.
About Cynthia McKinney — After serving in the Georgia Legislature, in 1992, Cynthia McKinney won a seat in the US House of Representatives. She was the first African-American woman from Georgia in the US Congress.
We are pleased to repost Cynthia’s story below, which includes subheadings and, at the end, an embedded video of the infamous Fox News case —Monsanto & Cancer Milk: FOX NEWS KILLS STORY & FIRES Reporters.
Alternatively, to read the original story on the RT website, which also includes the video, click on the following linked title.
Why does the US media actively misinform the public? – because legally they can
Either by omission or by commission, the US media actively misinforms the public on crucial issues that matter. The reason they do this is because they legally can.
My mentor and dissertation committee member, Dr. Peter Dale Scott, recently wrote on his Facebook page: “Inadequate decently priced housing is one of America’s most urgent domestic problems, with developers vacating neighborhoods to build third and fourth homes for the one percent. It is a symptom of what’s wrong that Cynthia McKinney, one of the relatively few former members of Congress with a Ph.D., has to go to RT to discuss a crisis that is so under-reported in the US media.”
US media news is so propagandized that it fails Americans’ intellectual needs
And therein lies the problem with US media: The news is so filtered and in some cases propagandized that it bears little resemblance to the day-to-day intellectual needs of the average US citizen. It fails to provide solutions, let alone information that allows US citizens to cast informed votes. Either by omission or by commission, the US media actively under-, ill-, or misinforms the public on crucial issues that matter! The reason they do this is because they legally can. Media in the US has at least one court ruling that allows them to knowingly lie to the public.
US courts have ruled that freedom of speech includes freedom of false speech
Let’s start with the First Amendment to the US Constitution that protects freedom of speech. Courts in the US have ruled on many occasions that freedom of speech also includes the freedom to lie. The rationale is that such rulings give space for unpopular statements of fact. For example, in 2012, the US Supreme Court voted 6-3 to affirm a lower court decision to overturn a conviction for lying about one’s credentials.
The lower court judge in that case wrote, “How can you develop a reputation as a straight shooter if lying is not an option?”
People, not government, should be final arbiter of truth in political debate
Washington State Supreme Court even ruled that lying to get votes, distinguishing between fact and opinion, was not something that the state should negotiate. It wrote that people and not the government should be the final arbiter of truth in a political debate.
Some types of lying are not protected by law
Now, the First Amendment does not protect some types of lying: like, for instance, lying while under oath, lying to a government official, lying to sell a product. Even in defamation cases, the plaintiff has a firm threshold to overcome, especially if the person targeted is a “public person.”
Supreme Court ruled citizens have right to lie, later ruled that citizens’ rights also applied to corporations
However, the Supreme Court has emphatically ruled that individuals have a right to lie: what about corporations and media outlets? In 2012, the Supreme Court extended First Amendment rights to organizations and corporations in its Citizens United decision.
How a newspaper forced McKinney to withdraw her lawsuit against the paper over a distortion of the truth about her
My local newspaper, the Atlanta Journal and Constitution (AJC), ran a headline against me just days before my election that read: “McKinney Indicted.” One had to pore over the article to learn that the McKinney referred to was neither me nor my father, nor anyone related to me. But the AJC never stated that fact. It was a dirty trick carried out by the US press. And sadly, it happens all the time. I filed a lawsuit against the AJC, but had to withdraw it because of a lack of money to finance the lawsuit and, worse, the hostile environment regarding the media and anybody’s efforts to make them tell the truth. I remained powerless before the media monolith and wondered why and how they could get away with such blatant and outright lies.
Project Censored’s mission to end lying by corporate media
Then, in 2010, ‘Project Censored’ ran a story that caught my eye: The Media Can Legally Lie. After having had my series of run-ins with my local media as they always failed to report the truth about me, I was drawn to this story. Project Censored is a media watchdog based at Sonoma State University in California. Its goal is to end the junk food news diet of misinformation and disinformation fed to the US public by the corporate media. It is a project of students and faculty to shine a light on underreported or unreported stories that should be of great interest to the public. The Project Censored movie tells a part of its important story.
The infamous Fox News case – “The news is what we say it is.”
The 2010 story centers on two journalists, hired by FOX News as investigative journalists, who became whistleblowers when they were instructed to report “news” that they knew was not true.
According to Project Censored, in February 2003, FOX News argued that there was no prohibition on media outlets distorting or falsifying the news in the United States. And skipping ahead, FOX News won on that claim! But to backtrack to provide some context, the issue was the placement of Bovine Growth Hormone, BGH, manufactured by Monsanto, into the milk stream without labeling it.
A husband and wife reporting team produced a four-part series revealing the health risks for humans in drinking milk from cows treated with BGH to boost milk production. FOX News wanted the reporters to add statements from Monsanto that the couple knew were not factual. When they refused to make the suggested edits, the couple was fired. They sued and a Florida jury decided the couple was wrongfully fired. FOX News appealed the case. Basically, the Florida Appeals Court ruled that there is no law, rule, or even regulation against distorting the news and that the decision to report honestly resides with the news outlet.
FOX News was joined in its court action by other news outlets, notably Cox Television, Inc., a sister organization to the Cox-owned Atlanta Journal and Constitution. In an incredible and chilling turnabout, the two truth-telling journalists were ordered to pay FOX News millions of dollars to cover the company’s attorney fees. The reporters were told by FOX News executives, “The news is what we say it is.”
And that, dear readers, is why monopolized US media lie, and why truth-seekers turn to other news outlets
And there we have it. Now, this Court action immediately affected the right of people in the US to know what is in the food they buy. Media consolidation in the US is such that six corporations control 90 percent of the junk food news and entertainment fed to the people of the US and around the world. And US Courts not only say that this is OK, but also decided that it’s OK for them to knowingly lie to the public. That, in a nutshell, is why the US media lie: Because they can. And that, in a nutshell, is why the people of the US are increasingly turning to RT and alternative news outlets for information: Because they must.
Watch this 10:20-minute video of the Fox news case
Monsanto & Cancer Milk: FOX NEWS KILLS STORY & FIRES Reporters. Uploaded to You Tube on September 10, 2008
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