On a recent phone call, my Mother and I discussed a recent blog. She told me how her brother and her sister are big Glenn Beck fans and she hopes they read one of the blogs in particular.
She went on to repeat family background about how “Republican” her father was and how much he hated FDR and Harry Truman but how her maternal grandfather was just the opposite, true blue, although he had a photo of “Ike” on his wall of presidents.
I muttered, I can not understand how my aunt and uncle can buy the deliberate lies repeateds on talk radio about the President’s religion and birthplace.
Then, in only the way she can, Mom says “he can’t tell lies on the radio can he?”
There in lies the problem folks. My Mom nailed it again! Millions of Americans believe the things these clowns put out via the public airways and franchises or satellite are factual.
But “au contraire,” apparently it is permissible to tell deliberate lies on the radio, if couched as opinion or else the FCC is asleep. The problem of course with permitting deliberate lies to be spread, via public airways, is that it has been long proven that if a big lie is repeated over and over and over, people eventually take it as gospel.
Thus the importance of identifying “folklore” or mythology . That’s how the otherwise, intelligent, advanced and artistic German society of the 1930’s fell under Hitler’s spell (click on “big lie” link in paragraph above for quote.)
Clowns or not, I’m sure this is all about free speech, right? Just like folks you hear at some intersections informing you that you’re going to hell…except you can’t tell by looking in the eyes of the folks telling lies on the radio and television that they aren’t all there.
Part of the problem is we’ve learned to expect “warnings” on movies and television dramas that tell us the contents may be offensive or fictional. However, we’re never given warnings the contents of radio and television programs masquerading as news and opinion may be full of pure and deliberate poppycock.
Bookstores have separate sections for fact and fiction and even historical novels much of which are factual, still go in the fiction section. Newspapers have ethical standards requiring that information be verified as factual although these days many don’t.
So you can’t blame people for expecting radio and television to do the same but the lines in those two mediums have always been very blurry. Nor will these idiots be liable for the damage caused when millions robotically march to the polls with these lies ringing in their ears.
But what about when these radio/tv heads preach “personal responsibility and accountability,” while often insinuating that too much is made about the problems of poor people or black people or immigrants.
Oh, that’s right, you can lie on the radio. It’s the campaign season, maybe we need warning labels on ballots? Of course, first we’d need to clear up the misinformation permitted in campaign advertising.
It is long overdue that people using radio and television be held accountable for misinformation caused by wrapping deliberate falsehoods in so-called opinion . First steps could be a code of ethics…and warning labels like “contains unverified opinion that may be deliberate misinformation.”
After all, we warn people about fiction, why can’t people be warned when so-called information presented as news, opinion or “reality” is actually fictional drama.