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The First Amendment, Freedom of the press.


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So I remember Trey Gowdy talking about this.  The right of the press to exercise their freedom has privileges but comes with responsibilities. When they become irresponsible they should lose those privileges. The latest example of that would be the reporting on the shooting in Columbus. We could go back to the reporting of Trevon Martin, or even further, and many stories in between as other examples. Is this not akin to yelling fire in a crowded theater? This is a tricky situation because I don't really want the .gov to be able to shut down a news outlet because the party in charge will just shut down the ones that disagree with them.

 

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Two major concepts drive the media. First, a majority of media outlets are supporters of the Democrat party and will say anything, true or not, to support Democrat politicians, policies, or narrative.   The last four years of "anonymous" sources leaking stories that were proven false is a good example. Second, fear drives up viewers which drives up profits. State of Fear is a book by Michael Crichton and weaves fact with fiction into a good story about the media doing just that. 

I'm not sure how you hold them accountable other than not watching. Unfortunately, your cable or satellite subscription is still paying them. I cancelled mine in favor of streaming services. 

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I encourage everyone to start looking for more local sources of news in place of the dipshit MSM. The state and lower level isn’t immune from bias, but between this type of news media and a couple international sources, I find it much easier to get legitimate news with a lot less bullshit, “tactical omissions,” etc. Nobody in the U.S. MSM deserves a dime or even an ounce of trust from you. 
 

To arg’s post - I’d say there should be legal consequences if stories are proven to be false. Make defamation suits far easier to win and the payouts huge. Hold companies accountable when things happen like the CNN exec being caught detailing the ridiculous political war they fought against Trump. When they start getting financially squeezed out of the game, they’ll reign it in...or go bankrupt. Money and power is all they understand.

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Conspiracy by Ryan Holiday is a great book that explores this topic.

The MSM is a dying hag grasping at relevance. I think there's going to be a day we look back at it collectively as a less credible version of the National Enquirer. 

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I don’t necessarily disagree that “mainstream” media is shit in this day and age (and I would include most right wing media in that description). However, I find it comical and ironic that many on the right claim to fervently support the free market, only to make a full 180 as soon as the market doesn’t align with their goals. Seems to me that those who espouse personal responsibility would extend that very American idea to include being more media savvy. That doesn’t mean going all in for InfoWars btw. It means there are sources out there that, while certainly biased, still do real, detailed journalism. Find them, read a wide variety, and you can be a reasonably well informed human being. 

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15 hours ago, brabus said:

To arg’s post - I’d say there should be legal consequences if stories are proven to be false. Make defamation suits far easier to win and the payouts huge. Hold companies accountable when things happen like the CNN exec being caught detailing the ridiculous political war they fought against Trump. When they start getting financially squeezed out of the game, they’ll reign it in...or go bankrupt. Money and power is all they understand.

Nick Sandmann is an example but $250 million from CNN was a drop in the bucket. In my opinion he should own CNN and WAPO too. The things that were reported about that kid were absolutely shameful.

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Yep, just need a lot more Sandmann outcomes...it’d be nice if CNN was paying out $250M every week, because that’s what they should be doing. 

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Proving libel in court is a much larger hurdle to clear for a public figure than a private citizen. So, Sandmann can take CNN to court and win but CNN can say damn near anything they want about a public figure and pay no penalty at all other than the damage to their credibility. 

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The bigger problem than media bias or even outright lies is that most people don't have the self awareness to notice that they're radicalized on one side of the aisle or the other. 
 

I tend to think about one's information diet just like a food diet. You should consume a balanced variety of information just like a healthy diet has a variety of meat, veggies, carbs etc... The difference is that at least a shitty food diet will let you know it sucks because you'll get fat. A bad information diet is far more insidious because there are no objective outward signs of radicalization until it's too late.  

 

The other piece is people whose entire existence and sense of self worth is tied up in political views. And just like food, politics should be consumed in moderation. But moderation isn't the behavior media companies want. Fox and CNN survive based on engagement, and they know that outrage and inflammatory stories drive engagement more than anything else.
 

Do we really think we're going to get for-profit media companies tone down their rhetoric when they know it will cost them engagement numbers? Is McDonald's going to purposely make their fries less tasty so you don't want to eat them as much?

 

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18 hours ago, Pooter said:

<snip>

Do we really think we're going to get for-profit media companies tone down their rhetoric when they know it will cost them engagement numbers? Is McDonald's going to purposely make their fries less tasty so you don't want to eat them as much?

 

And that is really the key.

Showing the drama (in anything) is financially beneficial to whatever news outlet is displaying it.  But, there is another component to this equation - the folks who consume their drama products...

Not many people even understand the level of truth in what content they consume, we gravitate to the news that makes us feel good in our own beliefs - even if completely false.

This whole thing feeds itself, and is nearly self-perpetuating.  And just damn ugly to watch.

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20 hours ago, Pooter said:

The bigger problem than media bias or even outright lies is that most people don't have the self awareness to notice that they're radicalized on one side of the aisle or the other. 
 

I tend to think about one's information diet just like a food diet. You should consume a balanced variety of information just like a healthy diet has a variety of meat, veggies, carbs etc... The difference is that at least a shitty food diet will let you know it sucks because you'll get fat. A bad information diet is far more insidious because there are no objective outward signs of radicalization until it's too late.  

 

The other piece is people whose entire existence and sense of self worth is tied up in political views. And just like food, politics should be consumed in moderation. But moderation isn't the behavior media companies want. Fox and CNN survive based on engagement, and they know that outrage and inflammatory stories drive engagement more than anything else.
 

Do we really think we're going to get for-profit media companies tone down their rhetoric when they know it will cost them engagement numbers? Is McDonald's going to purposely make their fries less tasty so you don't want to eat them as much?

 

Great analysis of the topic. Thanks for posting that. 

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On 4/22/2021 at 11:09 PM, arg said:

So I remember Trey Gowdy talking about this.  The right of the press to exercise their freedom has privileges but comes with responsibilities. When they become irresponsible they should lose those privileges. The latest example of that would be the reporting on the shooting in Columbus. We could go back to the reporting of Trevon Martin, or even further, and many stories in between as other examples. Is this not akin to yelling fire in a crowded theater? This is a tricky situation because I don't really want the .gov to be able to shut down a news outlet because the party in charge will just shut down the ones that disagree with them.

 

I really don't want the government telling reporters what they can say...

 

That said, perhaps changing the libel standards would help.  I think you should be able to sue against companies that intentionally report false information.  (I don't think there is a good legal solution for slanted reporting, as it is so subjective.)

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The irony of a free press is that it is simultaneously a democracy's/republic's greatest defender and greatest threat.  When the press does its watchdog role faithfully against the government irrespective of who is in power, it is vital to our system of governance.  But when it decides to become merely the propaganda arm for one political party, then it is dangerous.  

 

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