Wednesday, March 02, 2011

A republic, if we can keep it.

It was really only a matter of when this sort of thing would happen rather than if, but Fox News was caught lying about the protests in Wisconsin. In this video, which Fox attributes to the pro-union protests in Madison, we see some violent protesters. Also notice there are palm trees in the background: there is no way this footage was from winter in Wisconsin.

Fox News makes "mistakes" like this all of the time. They may accidentally use the wrong footage to make a Tea Party protest look larger than it is, or they may misquote people, or take things out of context. And this is just when they are reporting, don't even get me started about when their pundits come on and start talking. It is hard to believe Fox is just innocently erring when these mistakes happen, because the change always happens to benefit a right-wing narrative. At any rate, the purpose of this post wasn't to point out a lie that Fox News is trying to sell. Thats old news.

An interesting fact that came up when I was reading about this latest lie was that Fox was recently denied access to Canadian television. Canada has a law in place that prohibits misleading or false information from being propagated from television news stations. A lot of people apparently wish we had a similar sort of law here in the states, but I don't. The most indispensable legal right we have in America is the 1st Amendment. That includes the freedom to lie, if that is the agenda of a person or organization. I want no affronts to the freedom of speech, and furthermore I would not want the government to spend effort deciding what is true and what is not (if that was even possible).

Ben Franklin told us after the constitutional convention that we have been given a Republic, if we can keep it. I am confident that when it comes to lies and propaganda, Americans as a group will see through it and will ultimately marginalize the source. I have written before: Fox News undermines conservatism. The phony debates they have on their network cheapens our discourse. The influence conservatives grant to Fox means that they, not we, decide who our party leaders are. Every time the network lies and gets caught, they hand a recruiting tool to the left.

The onus is on conservatives to demand better from Fox News.

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