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"Very Dangerous to our Democracy"

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  • #16
    Originally posted by Marcus1124 View Post

    It was clearly corporate branding, and furthermore, even if it was an editorial comment, it would still be well within their right.
    Nobody on this thread has suggested that it is not within their right. That's your strawman.

    However, it is within my right to change the channel from my local Sinclair-owned station. Unless of course, Sinclair buys all the stations in my area.

    Some people really think it is a good idea that a handful, and just a handful, of companies should own the vast majority of broadcast and print media outlets. They think that if you're rich enough, you ought to be allowed to dominate the entire spectrum, that you should be allowed to beat your drum day and night and drown out the voices of everyone else.

    מה מכילות החדשות?


    • #17
      Originally posted by Marcus1124 View Post

      Perhaps before we worry about instructing students to distinguish between fact (which NOT--for anyone who was taught well--synonymous with TRUE) and opinion, perhaps teaching them basic reading comprehension skills. For example:



      This is a declarative statement. It contains no exceptions or qualifications to the declaration, no distinction between speech or printing of facts vs opinions.

      Anyone who thinks that it is Sinclair's actions, rather than the un-American reaction (and actions) of the aforementioned power hungry, totalitarian politicians that is a danger to our democracy should go live in Russia, where there the government IS empowered to regulate what the media may and may not say.
      While one has the right to free speech, one also has the obligation to legally respond to allegations they used their words for illegal means. A news outlet claims to present news, which may provide important information that will impact the financial or physical health of the consumer. If they are presenting opinion masquerading as news, that will distort the utility of the "information", potentially (or actually) damaging the consumer. One example already exists -link:
      Consumer laws will allow an aggrieved party to sue for damages if they are the victim of a bait and switch. A competing business may also be able to take action in court against individuals who practice the bait and switch. Consumer laws will hold this fraudulent business liable for false advertising, or possibly for trademark infringement.
      https://consumer.laws.com/deceptive-...ch-advertising

      It is not the government imposing a restriction on "free speech", for a sham outfit selling opinion as news. It would be the private market or individuals, using an arbiter (judge/court system) to remedy illegal behavior. OTOH, the gov't. would be one party opposing a concentration of ownership within an industry, noted in the OP. If we expect to operate in a free market (with a minimum of regulation), that means the gov't. must step in when concentration of ownership is outside the bounds of a free market. Without gov't. involvement (or some other force that breaks cartels or monopolies), free market forces -supply and demand- are determined by limited ownership rather than the sum total of behavior between suppliers and consumers.

      מה מכילות החדשות?


      • #18
        Originally posted by radcentr View Post
        While one has the right to free speech, one also has the obligation to legally respond to allegations they used their words for illegal means. A news outlet claims to present news, which may provide important information that will impact the financial or physical health of the consumer. If they are presenting opinion masquerading as news, that will distort the utility of the "information", potentially (or actually) damaging the consumer. One example already exists -link:
        https://consumer.laws.com/deceptive-...ch-advertising

        It is not the government imposing a restriction on "free speech", for a sham outfit selling opinion as news. It would be the private market or individuals, using an arbiter (judge/court system) to remedy illegal behavior. OTOH, the gov't. would be one party opposing a concentration of ownership within an industry, noted in the OP. If we expect to operate in a free market (with a minimum of regulation), that means the gov't. must step in when concentration of ownership is outside the bounds of a free market. Without gov't. involvement (or some other force that breaks cartels or monopolies), free market forces -supply and demand- are determined by limited ownership rather than the sum total of behavior between suppliers and consumers.
        Who's to say what "news" is? The whole point of the First Amendment is that government is NOT the arbiter of what is acceptable speech or not. We already have civil remedies for fraud (as you suggest it is in your view), but those require the defrauded party to be able to show standing (including tangible personal harm).

        מה מכילות החדשות?


        • #19
          Originally posted by HawkeyeDJ View Post
          Nobody on this thread has suggested that it is not within their right. That's your strawman.

          However, it is within my right to change the channel from my local Sinclair-owned station. Unless of course, Sinclair buys all the stations in my area.

          Some people really think it is a good idea that a handful, and just a handful, of companies should own the vast majority of broadcast and print media outlets. They think that if you're rich enough, you ought to be allowed to dominate the entire spectrum, that you should be allowed to beat your drum day and night and drown out the voices of everyone else.
          Then you haven't been reading, because some people on this thread (and even more dangerously, elected politicians) have indeed suggested punishing Sinclair for the exercise of their rights under the First Amendment.

          And I would even challenge the right of the government to step in just because of what it deems to be over-concentration, but for the time being, no rational business would spend the money to buy every outlet in a given area.

          מה מכילות החדשות?


          • #20
            Originally posted by Marcus1124 View Post

            Then you haven't been reading, because some people on this thread (and even more dangerously, elected politicians) have indeed suggested punishing Sinclair for the exercise of their rights under the First Amendment.

            And I would even challenge the right of the government to step in just because of what it deems to be over-concentration, but for the time being, no rational business would spend the money to buy every outlet in a given area.
            Then you are not up on your history of businesses that move against the free market. Research Bell Telephone (AT&T), practicing against capitalism and other aspects of the free market for over 70 years. BTW, the argument that gov't. imposed the monopoly is ignoring 1/2 of the equation. Incompetence or corruption by gov't. officials fails to excuse or ignore the same defects operating in the private sector.

            מה מכילות החדשות?


            • #21
              Originally posted by Marcus1124 View Post

              Who's to say what "news" is? The whole point of the First Amendment is that government is NOT the arbiter of what is acceptable speech or not. We already have civil remedies for fraud (as you suggest it is in your view), but those require the defrauded party to be able to show standing (including tangible personal harm).
              When it gets to the court system, they will need a standard range of what "news" is, and demonstrate standing as you note. For Sinclair, they could have all been parroting the same line as far as I'm concerned, as long as they labeled that pitch as "opinion" rather than news. Wedge it between news stories and pitch as such, and we have a clear potential for damages. That happens when customers hear the opinion, act on it as if it were news, and suffer damage to their financial, political or other tangible well being.

              I suppose you agree with financial damages, but would object to political damages. This is where "political damages" should get standing in court: A person demonstrates they listen only to "source X" for their news, including qualifications of candidates. They are exposed to omission of faults in news and only praise in opinion pieces, few of which are labeled "opinion" or "news". In this case, they vote for candidate A for governor, based on glowing reports by source X. The Guv turns out to be a thief, and with his team of organized criminals clears out 1/3 of the state treasury. That would be a clear-cut case of damages. That is financial damage, but the setting is political, and the malpractice originated (in part) with the "news" outlet. Supposing the opposition news outlets could demonstrate "source X" got market share at their expense, while engaging in malpractice, they should be able to combine that additional damage with the financial/political argument in a class action.

              To avoid this mess, a news outlet only needs to be certain that their employees label "opinion" as just that, while delaying a news story until management edits to verify it is mostly based on fact, the opinions of participants in the story are clearly noted with statements like, "he claimed", "she said" etc.

              מה מכילות החדשות?


              • #22
                Originally posted by radcentr View Post
                Then you are not up on your history of businesses that move against the free market. Research Bell Telephone (AT&T), practicing against capitalism and other aspects of the free market for over 70 years. BTW, the argument that gov't. imposed the monopoly is ignoring 1/2 of the equation. Incompetence or corruption by gov't. officials fails to excuse or ignore the same defects operating in the private sector.
                Except that no honest economist would dub any level of market saturation by an individual corporate entity that could be financially viable in the long-term (taking into account all the current methods of conveyance of information, print, broadcast TV, broadcast radio, cable television, satellite radio, internet--including "print", audio, and video online content) as a genuine and sustainable monopoly in any local marketplace (which I would argue the regulation of which is outside the scope of the Federal Government's commerce clause powers) let alone on the national level.

                In fact, any objective assessment would indicate that the market for information dissemination is far less concentrated than ever, considering it used to be "the big 3".

                מה מכילות החדשות?


                • #23
                  Originally posted by Marcus1124 View Post

                  Except that no honest economist would dub any level of market saturation by an individual corporate entity that could be financially viable in the long-term (taking into account all the current methods of conveyance of information, print, broadcast TV, broadcast radio, cable television, satellite radio, internet--including "print", audio, and video online content) as a genuine and sustainable monopoly in any local marketplace (which I would argue the regulation of which is outside the scope of the Federal Government's commerce clause powers) let alone on the national level.

                  In fact, any objective assessment would indicate that the market for information dissemination is far less concentrated than ever, considering it used to be "the big 3".
                  That would be true, if most of the demand (consumers) of news had the means to retrieve the various sources, and those sources have different ownership. Sources for this product might also be qualified depending on location and how they gather their product (news). If they have their own reporting staff and operate domestically, that is a legitimate source. If they "paraphrase" or simply cite other sources and operate outside the US (distant from reliable contacts), they are not a direct news outlet. They are "re-sellers", who function as encyclopedias, after the fact.

                  In short, if most people have (and can adequately use) internet access, and their sources are mostly domestic and staffed with actual reporters, then a determination can be made whether there is a free market in operation. Your point has weight, but the markets might be a lot less "free" than you think. Further, there might be spots on the US map that simply fail the free market test.

                  מה מכילות החדשות?


                  • #24
                    Originally posted by radcentr View Post
                    That would be true, if most of the demand (consumers) of news had the means to retrieve the various sources, and those sources have different ownership. Sources for this product might also be qualified depending on location and how they gather their product (news). If they have their own reporting staff and operate domestically, that is a legitimate source. If they "paraphrase" or simply cite other sources and operate outside the US (distant from reliable contacts), they are not a direct news outlet. They are "re-sellers", who function as encyclopedias, after the fact.

                    In short, if most people have (and can adequately use) internet access, and their sources are mostly domestic and staffed with actual reporters, then a determination can be made whether there is a free market in operation. Your point has weight, but the markets might be a lot less "free" than you think. Further, there might be spots on the US map that simply fail the free market test.
                    Most people in this country do broadly have access the various sources of information previously mentioned. As I stated before, most people today have vastly more access to a much greater volume of information, from far more independent sources than ever before. For all the hyperventilation, the left and the media (I realize that those are substantially overlapping groups) would gleefully see a return to the "golden age" (in their opinion) where most national news coverage people had access to was limited to a handful of national news papers, the few minutes of national coverage on their local stations each day, and the Big Three networks of the time.

                    You are really just being an overly reactionary liberal searching for a solution to a problem that doesn't really exist.
                    Last edited by Marcus1124; 4 days ago.

                    מה מכילות החדשות?


                    • #25
                      Originally posted by radcentr View Post
                      To avoid this mess, a news outlet only needs to be certain that their employees label "opinion" as just that, while delaying a news story until management edits to verify it is mostly based on fact, the opinions of participants in the story are clearly noted with statements like, "he claimed", "she said" etc.
                      Again, there is absolutely no constitutional basis upon which Congress has to legislate any definition of what constitutes "news" (whose to say that editorial opinion is not "news"). Is reporting on someone else's opinion "news"?

                      This reminds me somewhat of the lawsuit Pizza Hut launched against Papa John's for their slogan "Better Ingredients, Better Pizza", they charged it as false advertising. Ultimately on appeal the court (rightly) found that this was obviously (though not explicitly stated in the advertisement) an opinion. I think courts would (also rightly) have a hard time coming up with a constitutional basis upon which to either allow legislation, or finding of standings for purposes of civil litigation for suing "News" programs for having too much opinion versus fact.

                      מה מכילות החדשות?


                      • #26
                        Originally posted by Marcus1124 View Post

                        Again, there is absolutely no constitutional basis upon which Congress has to legislate any definition of what constitutes "news" (whose to say that editorial opinion is not "news"). Is reporting on someone else's opinion "news"?

                        This reminds me somewhat of the lawsuit Pizza Hut launched against Papa John's for their slogan "Better Ingredients, Better Pizza", they charged it as false advertising. Ultimately on appeal the court (rightly) found that this was obviously (though not explicitly stated in the advertisement) an opinion. I think courts would (also rightly) have a hard time coming up with a constitutional basis upon which to either allow legislation, or finding of standings for purposes of civil litigation for suing "News" programs for having too much opinion versus fact.
                        One has to be very optimistic to believe that opinion has the same utility and importance as news. As for who determines the difference, referring to the "BBC test" (as I did) indicates the source, with the gov't. being mostly arbiters.

                        Did you miss that? It was in post #17, as well as the post with the BBC test. Your example of the Pizza Hut lawsuit points in the same direction, as much as you seem to resist the idea: A decent court system will control frivolous lawsuits, but allow lawsuits with a strong basis to proceed, even if the business defending will perish if they lose. There aren't any news organizations who will be driven out of business because their anchor offered one sentence that was unlabeled opinion at the end of a news story. However, organizations who practice little to no distinction between opinion and news -as a habit- need to go out of business. If they aren't driven out of business, they can be re-classified as "entertainment" (a tabloid), or encyclopedia/summary service -those that mostly "quote others work" or opinion.

                        מה מכילות החדשות?


                        • #27
                          Originally posted by Marcus1124 View Post

                          Most people in this country do broadly have access the various sources of information previously mentioned. As I stated before, most people today have vastly more access to a much greater volume of information, from far more independent sources than ever before. For all the hyperventilation, the left and the media (I realize that those are substantially overlapping groups) would gleefully see a return to the "golden age" (in their opinion) where most national news coverage people had access to was limited to a handful of national news papers, the few minutes of national coverage on their local stations each day, and the Big Three networks of the time.

                          You are really just being an overly reactionary liberal searching for a solution to a problem that doesn't really exist.
                          At 75% of the US population using the internet, from at least a couple of polls, your observation of the "vast source" seems to be correct at first glance. Let's dig deeper:
                          The share of Americans who often get news from TV – whether from local TV news, nightly network TV news or cable news – is down from 57% in early 2016. At the same time, the portion of Americans often getting news online, either from news websites/apps or social media, grew from 38% in early 2016 to 43% today.
                          http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank...s-tv-news-use/

                          I have my doubts about "social media" being a reliable source of news. It is, no doubt, a reliable source of opinion and gossip, but news? The argument that there are more potential sources is correct. But does the majority of the population actually use those sources? Print newspapers, who still have the best reputation for actual research behind their reporting (IMO), have dropped to about 18%. This is mostly a criticism of the populace who rely on sketchy sources, or use a very low standard for what they think is "news". But it also points to real sources of news, and where the gov't. should focus on failing markets. In short, I'm less concerned about a monopoly on social gossip sites, but a cartel controlling 80% of the nation's newspapers? That would be a problem, especially if those papers are the source of "breaking stories" that are picked up by online or cable outlets that have a wider following.

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                          • #28
                            Originally posted by radcentr View Post
                            One has to be very optimistic to believe that opinion has the same utility and importance as news. As for who determines the difference, referring to the "BBC test" (as I did) indicates the source, with the gov't. being mostly arbiters.

                            Did you miss that? It was in post #17, as well as the post with the BBC test. Your example of the Pizza Hut lawsuit points in the same direction, as much as you seem to resist the idea: A decent court system will control frivolous lawsuits, but allow lawsuits with a strong basis to proceed, even if the business defending will perish if they lose. There aren't any news organizations who will be driven out of business because their anchor offered one sentence that was unlabeled opinion at the end of a news story. However, organizations who practice little to no distinction between opinion and news -as a habit- need to go out of business. If they aren't driven out of business, they can be re-classified as "entertainment" (a tabloid), or encyclopedia/summary service -those that mostly "quote others work" or opinion.
                            The reason we have the Second Amendment is--in part--to guard against the idiotic notion that the government should be the arbiters of speech.

                            As for the "BBC test", I did address that, but to clarify, let's take this in two areas, legislative and civil:
                            - There is absolutely no constitutional basis for the government to define "news" as requiring "fact-based reporting", and the First Amendment pretty damn well proscribes it. The First Amendment makes NO distinction between communicating fact over opinion. In fact (no irony intended) it could be argued that opinion garner far broader First Amendment protection because it cannot, by definition, be untrue (more on this below).
                            - Insofar as civil actions are concerned, you cannot simply assume that a program that puts itself forward as a "news" program is claiming to engage in "fact-based reporting", the two are not synonymous. The only way a tort action would be created is if there is an affirmative declaration that they engage SOLELY in "fact-based reporting" (which by and large they don't do). Further,
                            - With regard to other potential civil actions, as noted above, opinion is far more protected than "facts". Facts can be wrong, opinions cannot. "Facts" can be libelous, slanderous (civil causes of action), opinions are not. And further, the courts have ruled that even statements that may SOUND like statements of fact, may not necessarily be if a reasonable person could understand it to be a statement about a subjective matter of opinion (THIS is what the Pizza Hut/Papa John's suit was about).

                            As for the utility of opinion versus "news" (again, stop using the term "news" as though there is some objective definition of it...as previously pointed out, it is NOT synonymous with the word "facts" and "facts" is nowhere defined as being synonymous with TRUE), why do you think industry pays millions for celebrity endorsements of products? Can't they just advertise the "facts" about their product, after all, in your view the utility of those facts should far outweigh in the public's mind any individual(s) opinion of the product?

                            Where is it written that "news" is objectively defined solely as reporting of fact? Is "reporting" on third party's opinions a "fact" or merely the conveyance of an opinion? What is the difference between reporting the "fact" of a third parties opinion versus reporting their own opinion? What about the use of selective reporting of third party opinions which mirror those of the reporter/news organization as "facts"?

                            There is constitutional basis for government to define "news", "entertainment", etc...And there is no need for them to do so in the first place....all you are talking about is a typical, heavy-handed, government "solution" to a problem that simply does not exist.

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                            • #29
                              Originally posted by radcentr View Post
                              At 75% of the US population using the internet, from at least a couple of polls, your observation of the "vast source" seems to be correct at first glance. Let's dig deeper:

                              http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank...s-tv-news-use/

                              I have my doubts about "social media" being a reliable source of news. It is, no doubt, a reliable source of opinion and gossip, but news? The argument that there are more potential sources is correct. But does the majority of the population actually use those sources? Print newspapers, who still have the best reputation for actual research behind their reporting (IMO), have dropped to about 18%. This is mostly a criticism of the populace who rely on sketchy sources, or use a very low standard for what they think is "news". But it also points to real sources of news, and where the gov't. should focus on failing markets. In short, I'm less concerned about a monopoly on social gossip sites, but a cartel controlling 80% of the nation's newspapers? That would be a problem, especially if those papers are the source of "breaking stories" that are picked up by online or cable outlets that have a wider following.
                              But with regard to any rational basis for government interference in the market place, availability versus use IS the fundamental distinction. 100 people, all have the same access to different news sources, 80% of who choose a specific one is not an issue of supply, but of demand (or as we conservatives like to say freedom). So long as there are no substantial barriers to entry for competition (which in terms of competition for conveying information is as likely to be caused by the government as genuine economic or market sources), if market saturation is a result of consumer choice, rather than lack of diversity of supply, there is no actionable government role to take an a free society.

                              Further, you have to look at substitution, it doesn't matter if a "cartel" (how would the use of that term in a "fact-based news" report be judged btw?) 80% of the Newspapers, or even 100%, the consumers still have a huge variety of other sources (radio, broadcast television, cable news, etc.


                              You may disagree with their personal choice, but that is again, a matter of personal choice. I suppose next, once we are regulating and people are still not getting their information from the sources YOU approve of (because let's be honest, that is all this is about), we will have to start mandating people watch or read a certain amount for your government approved sources. Just brings me back to why we have the Second Amendment *grin*

                              It is a simple fact that we have far less concentration of control over the breadth of information sources people have today than every before. You hyperventilate over the corporate ownership, I would argue that (IMO) the real "cartel" is the MSM which does not need to be directed in what to say by their corporate overlords, because they all share a pretty consistent mindset and bias (how is it that they all almost universally choose to use the term "undocumented immigrant" as opposed to "illegal alien"...either they all think the same way...or they have received the very type of directive from their corporate overlords as you decry from Sinclair...but have not seemed to have noticed or be bothered by...because you do not take issue with the opinion that choice expresses).
                              Last edited by Marcus1124; 3 days ago.

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                              • #30
                                Originally posted by Marcus1124 View Post

                                The reason we have the Second Amendment is--in part--to guard against the idiotic notion that the government should be the arbiters of speech.

                                As for the "BBC test", I did address that, but to clarify, let's take this in two areas, legislative and civil:
                                - There is absolutely no constitutional basis for the government to define "news" as requiring "fact-based reporting", and the First Amendment pretty damn well proscribes it. The First Amendment makes NO distinction between communicating fact over opinion. In fact (no irony intended) it could be argued that opinion garner far broader First Amendment protection because it cannot, by definition, be untrue (more on this below).
                                - Insofar as civil actions are concerned, you cannot simply assume that a program that puts itself forward as a "news" program is claiming to engage in "fact-based reporting", the two are not synonymous. The only way a tort action would be created is if there is an affirmative declaration that they engage SOLELY in "fact-based reporting" (which by and large they don't do). Further,
                                - With regard to other potential civil actions, as noted above, opinion is far more protected than "facts". Facts can be wrong, opinions cannot. "Facts" can be libelous, slanderous (civil causes of action), opinions are not. And further, the courts have ruled that even statements that may SOUND like statements of fact, may not necessarily be if a reasonable person could understand it to be a statement about a subjective matter of opinion (THIS is what the Pizza Hut/Papa John's suit was about).

                                As for the utility of opinion versus "news" (again, stop using the term "news" as though there is some objective definition of it...as previously pointed out, it is NOT synonymous with the word "facts" and "facts" is nowhere defined as being synonymous with TRUE), why do you think industry pays millions for celebrity endorsements of products? Can't they just advertise the "facts" about their product, after all, in your view the utility of those facts should far outweigh in the public's mind any individual(s) opinion of the product?

                                Where is it written that "news" is objectively defined solely as reporting of fact? Is "reporting" on third party's opinions a "fact" or merely the conveyance of an opinion? What is the difference between reporting the "fact" of a third parties opinion versus reporting their own opinion? What about the use of selective reporting of third party opinions which mirror those of the reporter/news organization as "facts"?

                                There is constitutional basis for government to define "news", "entertainment", etc...And there is no need for them to do so in the first place....all you are talking about is a typical, heavy-handed, government "solution" to a problem that simply does not exist.
                                You don't agree with the BBC test, then? It was not composed of 100% facts, either, and it defined the test article as "news". It quoted the opinions of those involved in the subject, but the majority of the article were statements of fact. In short, a standard can be established outside the bureaucracy, with little more gov't. involvement than court hearings between those who play facts as if they were interchangeable with opinions, against those who label their opinions as distinct from their news articles. Said articles are not claimed as 100% fact, but they pass the test.

                                You refuse to see any equivalence between this example, and a snake-oil salesman that is bankrupted in a civil action, by a legitimate competitor who sells quality medicine. The 2nd amendment protects free speech, including opinions. It does not protect people from consequences for significant damage caused by their speech, (fe) from lawsuit by other private parties.

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