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Understanding How the Media Gets Away With Fake News

A friend rightly pointed out that there are strict rules regarding the news media putting out false news. The FCC does have rules and regulations that must be followed. So does fake news from the mainstream media exist, and if so, how do they get away with it?

Yes, it does exist, sometimes blatantly. They get away with it because there is a difference between fake news and false news. False news is news the news agency knows at the time of broadcast is false. It is a lie and they know it. This against FCC regulations. A well-known liberal news anchor for a major network was forced to resign several years ago for false news. He reported a story he knew was false at the time.

Sometimes the reported news is incorrect, but this only comes out later. This is permissible only if the news agency issues a retraction. However, the FCC doesn’t care where the retraction is placed. In the case of newspapers, it can be a brief statement published where most people won’t read it, like between two long, boring articles. In the case of broadcast news, it can be placed between commercials, where few people will watch it.

That is false news. Fake news is a little different.

Let’s see if I can explain the way that fake news actually is. 

Situation: Prominent conservative Joe Smith is driving down the street. He sees a car on the side of the street and it is pouring rain, but there is nobody in the car and it is a bad neighborhood. He drives a quarter-mile farther and he sees a woman with her 8-year-old daughter walking up the road, totally drenched. 

There are no other people walking and the traffic is light. He stops, confirms that the woman owns the car and that she and her daughter are trying to get to the mall two miles up the road, so she can call her husband to come and fix the car. Joe offers to drive them to the mall so they don’t have to walk in the rain. They accept gratefully. A news team that reports using fake news sees this happen, then puts out headlines:

Joe Smith picks up adolescent girl right off the street, gets her into his car

or perhaps

Joe Smith refuses to stop for vehicle broken down beside the road

In the first case, the impression is that Joe is a pervert. In the second, he sounds like he is uncaring. Here is the thing, though. Both headlines are true. By its own rules and regulations, the FCC must allow them, yet it is fake news.

The above actually isn’t an extreme example. It happens frequently. The mainstream media was using this ploy against Donald Trump before he even declared for a run for the presidency. They tried to make him sound like he doesn’t care about blacks and minorities, though records show that he’s won awards for helping minorities, has literally taken people who were black or belonged to other minorities right off the street and has given them jobs, and has housed them. In fact, today the unemployment rates for blacks and minorities is lower than it has ever been in the history of the US. 

The media has painted him to be a woman hater, yet the records show that he definitely isn’t. In many of his businesses, he’s put women in positions of authority. The first skyscraper built under the direction of a woman was hired by Trump to do the job. Women are making more money than they ever have, under President Trump. Unemployment for women is tremendously low. That isn’t the way the media reports it.

Fake news is also when the news agencies think that it is great when someone from one party says and does something, but vilifies it when someone they don’t like says or does the same thing. They report it without giving all the facts. That isn’t “lying”, it is “lying by omission”, which isn’t against FCC laws. The media has also done this with Trump. It isn’t false news, though at times it gets very close. Still, it is definitely fake news.

The media tried to slap President Trump for the separation of families that came into the country illegally. They neglected to mention that the law that was followed was signed by President Bill Clinton and has been the law ever since Clinton’s presidency. The press published a picture of a child in a cage and insinuated that this was done during the Trump presidency. The picture was actually taken during the Obama presidency. No retraction was necessary and it wasn’t in violation of FCC regulations because they never actually said that Trump caused a child to be put in a cage. 

As for the law, the President doesn’t make laws, he only signs them into effect, yet the media vilifies Trump for following laws that were put into effect by liberal presidents and refuses to acknowledge that the laws were put in place by a liberal president. 

Trump is outspoken about fake news, but he definitely isn’t the one who started the battle. Thankfully, a growing number of Americans and even those people who aren’t Americans, are beginning to see through the facade of fake news. 

Fake news isn’t false news. False news is illegal. Fake news is not, at least not yet, though people should be aware of it. Fake news exists. It is an attempt to prevent people from thinking on their own. Yet, fake news is perfectly legal.

Do you think that it doesn’t apply to you because you don’t follow politics? Think again.

I can claim, “If you eat beef, you will die.” That can make you think that if you eat a steak, you will instantly die. That statement isn’t illegal because everyone dies sooner or later, so it is true. Actually, I just want you to give me your steak.

What do you think?

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Written by Rex Trulove

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    • The FCC was never meant to be the watchdog for mainstream media. It was designed to oversee the regulation and laws pertaining to communication and also technological innovation having to do with that communication in all states and US territories. That includes communication using radio, television, wire, satellite, and cable.

      The FCC does such mondain things as the licensing of radio stations, making sure that their broadcasts are made within a specific frequency range and at a specific broadcast strength level, and so forth. However, determining if something is stated as fact or if it is stated as opinion falls at the edge of its ability to do and they tend to give the benefit of the doubt in the matter to be a statement of opinion. A statement of opinion is covered by the First Amendment of the Constitution and it is legal, even if the basis of that opinion is false.

      Since a great deal that the MSM broadcasts is commentary, which is opinion, rather than actual news, which would be fact, it would be covered by the first amendment even if the commentary is founded on falsehoods and hypocrisy. The way the commentary is presented makes it fake news, but in reality, it isn’t news at all. It is a stated opinion. It isn’t the job of the FCC to regulate opinions, which are covered by the constitution.

      In other words, the FCC doesn’t have the power to interpret the constitution. Opinions, by their very nature, are neither right or wrong, since they are entirely subjective. If the FCC tried to stop an MSM company from broadcasting an opinion piece, unless it advocated performing an illegal act, they’d find themselves in court so fast that they’d wonder what happened. This happens periodically, but the ‘news’ agency usually wins because they have the right of free speech when it comes to opinions.

  1. Fact: Paul Manafort, trump’s campaign manager found guilty on 8 of 18 criminal counts and could be retried for the 10 counts the jury couldn’t settle on.

    Fact: Michael Cohen, Trump’s attorney, accepting a plea bargain and stating he broke the law under Donald Trump’s direction.

    Attacking the press is an old tactic used by Hitler, Mussolini, Pinochet and fascist despots around the world. Look at Trump’s behavior and remember, “if it walks like a duck…”

  2. Rex, while you posted a well-written article, there remain no facts in this article.

    1. Do not confuse facebook information with actual news. Information shared on social media sites DOES NOT HAVE CONTROLS and LIMITS.
    2. Your definition of Fake news and False news are interesting but not correct.
    Fake News doesn’t exist, it is a made up term.
    False news, represents the example you gave. By the way, a very poor example to choose it would have been better to choose an example that didn’t fit in a window that politicians and the news media have spent the past 20 years covering up. Just to be clear, there is certainly liberal and conservative media, but if in this modern #metoo world, someone doesn’t report things that look askance (such as Joe, stopping and picking up the people). shame on both of them.

    Your example has holes.
    1. People don’t (94% of Americans have or have access to a cell phone).
    2. Many cars are equipped with emergency contact systems

    I am sorry, but while you have some very interesting points there remains no facts in your arguments.

    1. The libel law and the defamation laws in this country are very strict.
    2. per your example, report a known false story and YOU GET FIRED. That isn’t a supporting argument for your position that actually supports the position that Take News and false news don’t exist. Becuase if you report false news, YOU GET FIRED> There are many examples of that.
    BY the by, Fox News has lost a number of reporters recently, because of multiple allegations of “just picking up someone int he rain.”

    So here are some facts:

    1. There are multiple laws and regulations that govern the Media in the US.
    (there are by the way none today that govern social media – ergo the 2016 election problem).
    2. The constitution of the United States mandates a free press. That is a law.
    3. The supreme court has ruled against the US Government limiting the press a number of times in the last 240 years, those are all legal applications of the Law.
    4. In all cases, where Libel an Defamation laws apply, the media has been forced to fire reporters, pay huge fines and of course publically apologize.

    Your argument is based on rhetoric. It is an interesting one and one that I have had edges of many times. It is however not factual in any form.

    I support your right to publish this, as you are supported by the laws mentioned above. I do however have to say I am disappointed in the lack of facts presented.

    I would ask that in the future you not use examples that fit into the #Metoo movement. The operation of 1/2 the people in this country is a bad thing. It is not a good topic to ever use as an example. Anyone woman that feels she has been abused or is being abused should have the full support of the government, people and media reporting that. Period.

    • 1. No, FB and other social sites aren’t governed by the same FCC regulations that govern the news media. Nowhere in this article was a parallel drawn between the mainstream media and social media. The article was specifically about the mainstream media.

      2. Fake news does exist and the American public is apparently aware of it. Many people just don’t realize that fake news *is* real news with actual facts, making it legal. The wording of the news is simply such that there are implications that aren’t true. The news is true, but the implications aren’t. A huge number of people have seen this sort of thing, personally, and while some people chose to ignore it, that doesn’t make it go away. Too many people have experienced it and seen it in all mainstream media companies, though more so in some than in others.

      People can pretend that it doesn’t happen, but a guess would be that very few people actually believe that it doesn’t. Too many people have experienced and seen the fake news.
      Libel laws are indeed strict, but a person must prove libel with intent. There are lots of examples. That is a slippery slope and often hard to do. An attorney friend said that he loved defending libel cases because he virtually always won.

      My examples are extremely close to the mark, too. Many months ago, I read an excellent article that cited actual examples that were very similar to mine, except that they were actual headlines. The article was an in-depth analysis. It stated actual events, then showed the headlines that were generated by the story, by NBC/MSNBC, CBS, ABC, CNN, and Fox. Some of these were more accurate than others, but each had an element that was insinuated that wasn’t true.

      The article was a lengthy one and it used more than one comparison, on issues from both sides of the political spectrum. The facts were easy to check, too. The problem is that I’ve read literally hundreds of articles, if not more, in those months since I read this one. I don’t have the URL to the article, having never thought that I’d need or use it, which is the reason I didn’t mention the article in my article (not that many people would be interested in reading a very long article, even though it did back up what I said above.)

      Still, anyone who follows the news, particularly in regard to a political story and especially if they read about the same story in all the mainstream media sources, will most likely see that fake news does exist. Many people have already concluded that it does. Of course, people are free to believe anything they want.

      Our pastor made an excellent point a few weeks ago. If a person who is wearing a green shirt says and actually believes that their shirt is pink, nothing will prove to them that it isn’t pink because they’ve chosen to believe that it is. They will likely just say that you’ve offered no proof, even if you have, or that your sources aren’t valid, even if they are.

      All I can say, my friend, is that you are totally free to go on believing anything you want. In fact, everyone has that right.

      • Again Rex, show me the study that backs and validates what you are saying or start off iwth this is my opinion.

        You didn’t mention FB and Social media in your post I agree. I wanted, however, to make sure people understood that they, FB and SM are NOT news.

        finally your example of pink vs green shows your bias. Sorry to call it out but that is a statement made by someone that doesn’t understand science. Green is a light defined by a visible, and measurable spectrum. There isn’t a debate about what green is. If a person chooses to assign a different color to what they see, that is their choice to not communicate with other people. That is not again an example that supports anything other than the fact that your argument has no facts.

        There are more than 300 polls done in the past 20 months about mistrust of the media. However, most Americans don’t distrust the media completely.

        Your assertion flies in the face of data. https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/magazine/polls-show-americans-distrust-the-media-but-talk-to-them-and-its-a-very-different-story/2017/12/27/ed9bbabe-ce3b-11e7-81bc-c55a220c8cbe_story.html?utm_term=.095a2d414285

        The Washington Post article at that link is wholly opinion, but it is a well-established person with professional credentials publishing, publically data they have collected.

        Most Americans dislike the current President. They dislike the media, but less so than the dislike the president.

    • You are very welcome. Many people honestly don’t know what is being referred to when they hear the term ‘fake news’. This leads a lot of people to conclude that it either means something that it doesn’t mean or they get the idea that there isn’t such a thing or both. It can be very helpful to explain it, though.

    • Thank you. There are many who are confused by what fake news is, and they may tend not to believe that there is such a thing because they don’t understand it. The example headlines I used are quite pointed because the first is how CNN would report anything about Trump, and the second one is how NBC would do it. If it wasn’t so sad, it would be funny. What is even worse is that a lot of otherwise intelligent people actually buy into it.

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        • Probably both. One thing that tends to irritate liberals, though that isn’t my purpose, is when I make an obvious point that is well supported and they want to argue the point. I refuse to argue once my point has been made and this is what bothers them. Instead, what I do is pray for them, that their eyes will be opened. It is a prayer that is sometimes answered in a big way.

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