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  • Fair and Balanced

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  • Relatively Fair and Balanced

    14 35.00%
  • Largely Propaganda

    26 65.00%
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Thread: Western Media

  1. #11
    Order Now! pure_mercury's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by V Profane View Post
    The idea of being 'fair and balanced', Fox News aside, is a minefield in itself. For instance, take the anti-vaccination movement vs. reality. What is the 'fair and balanced' way of dealing with this (or any other faux controversy like creationism, geocentrism, flat earth theory), give both sides with equal time? That clearly would not be helpful because it gives a false impression to the layperson that there actually is a real dispute amongst rational, knowledgeable people when there is not.

    The anti-vaccination reporting has been particularly destructive in my country; a single individual with a plainly faulty study managed to get widespread, credulous press coverage, which undermined parental confidence in childhood vaccination, and has subsequently resulted in easily preventable deaths and compromised heard immunity.

    "Fair and balanced" would be reporting the truth: that it's consensus that vaccination is a good thing, and that autism is not caused by vaccines, etc. In this situation, you have reporting following what people WANT to hear in the first place. This is why getting rid of the Fairness Doctrine was a good idea. It's not fair to force people to "present both sides" when there is one consensus between intelligent people and one side of people who are buffoons.
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  2. #12
    Senior Member V Profane's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pure_mercury View Post
    "Fair and balanced" would be reporting the truth: that it's consensus that vaccination is a good thing, and that autism is not caused by vaccines, etc. In this situation, you have reporting following what people WANT to hear in the first place.
    I think most people think 'fair and balanced' means not taking either side. Lots of Americans swallow the 'teach the controversy' canard because they think that it's 'fair'. It's the fallacy of the middle ground; if I say 2+2=4 and Joe H. Schmoe says 2+2=6, 'fair and balanced' says 2+2=5. Objective says that it's 4, but that takes my side, and that's not 'fair'. People really do object to this. That's why the media (and reality) has a 'liberal bias'.

    Quote Originally Posted by pure_mercury View Post
    This is why getting rid of the Fairness Doctrine was a good idea. It's not fair to force people to "present both sides" when there is one consensus between intelligent people and one side of people who are buffoons.
    I strongly the doubt the abolition of the Fairness Doctrine has spawned any improvement on the reportage of issues like vaccination and creationism in the US MSM.

    A more useful piece of legislation would be to prohibit the ownership of multiple media outlets a la Murdoch and Berlusconi.

  3. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by V Profane View Post
    I think most people think 'fair and balanced' means not taking either side. Lots of Americans swallow the 'teach the controversy' canard because they think that it's 'fair'. It's the fallacy of the middle ground; if I say 2+2=4 and Joe H. Schmoe says 2+2=6, 'fair and balanced' says 2+2=5. Objective says that it's 4, but that takes my side, and that's not 'fair'. People really do object to this. That's why the media (and reality) has a 'liberal bias'.
    Naturally. "The truth is in the middle" is true when it comes to opinions many times, but when it comes to facts.


    I strongly the doubt the abolition of the Fairness Doctrine has spawned any improvement on the reportage of issues like vaccination and creationism in the US MSM.

    A more useful piece of legislation would be to prohibit the ownership of multiple media outlets a la Murdoch and Berlusconi.
    I was writing more about in general terms about what the Fairness Doctrine did regarding representing viewpoints (and who knows if the FCC and broadcasters would even apply it to something like a scientifc debate?), but ditching it has helped discourse in America, IMHO. When it comes to media consolidation, I understand the apprehension, but I still don't support limits on ownership short of actual monopolies. Unlike many libertarians, I think that the FCC has some usefulness, but I think it should be on the access end of the public airwaves, as opposed actually regulating the corporate structure of the media industry, which is what strict ownership regulations would be.
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  4. #14
    Senior Member V Profane's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pure_mercury View Post
    Naturally. "The truth is in the middle" is true when it comes to opinions many times, but when it comes to facts.
    What? Did you just blue yourself?

    I was writing more about in general terms about what the Fairness Doctrine did regarding representing viewpoints (and who knows if the FCC and broadcasters would even apply it to something like a scientifc debate?), but ditching it has helped discourse in America, IMHO.
    How old are you, by the way? By which I mean, can you actually compare first hand, albeit subjectively, pre and post 'fairness' abolition? I'm not trying to catch you out here, I'm just interested. I'm English, so I'm hazy on the subject away.

    When it comes to media consolidation, I understand the apprehension, but I still don't support limits on ownership short of actual monopolies. Unlike many libertarians, I think that the FCC has some usefulness, but I think it should be on the access end of the public airwaves, as opposed actually regulating the corporate structure of the media industry, which is what strict ownership regulations would be.
    If you're a libertarian, I'm interested how you reconcile the existence of the FCC with your beliefs. I'm, relatively speaking, a socialist, so I have no problem clipping the wings of corporations.

  5. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by V Profane View Post
    What? Did you just blue yourself?
    My fault! That should be "but not when it comes to facts." Some people just believe that which is not true.


    How old are you, by the way? By which I mean, can you actually compare first hand, albeit subjectively, pre and post 'fairness' abolition? I'm not trying to catch you out here, I'm just interested. I'm English, so I'm hazy on the subject away.
    I will be 26 years old next week. The Fairness Doctrine was ditched when I was in kindergarten, I believe. I cannot compare and contrast personally, but, retroactively speaking, we have a much larger amount of media outlets and opinions offered in the United States now than we had in the early-1980s. That is a positive. It's not the government's business to tell a broadcaster that they can or cannot air certain points of view. I think that the First Amendment makes that abundantly clear.


    If you're a libertarian, I'm interested how you reconcile the existence of the FCC with your beliefs. I'm, relatively speaking, a socialist, so I have no problem clipping the wings of corporations.
    I figure that, since the airwaves are (for now) a public resource, the FCC has a role in some areas (making sure that radio station signals don't bleed, the Emergency Broadcast System, very light decency standards, etc.). I am not an anarcho-capitalist, so I wouldn't end the FCC or sell off our entire public telecoms infrastructure. I would ease up on the content standards (short of obscenity) and deregulate the industry for the most part. I am not as concerned about media consolidation as am I about industry leaders lobbying the government for anti-competitive regulations. That is endemic to systems in which the government has a lot of power.
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  6. #16
    Senior Member V Profane's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pure_mercury View Post
    retroactively speaking, we have a much larger amount of media outlets and opinions offered in the United States now than we had in the early-1980s.
    The trend over the past 20 years or so has been for corporations to merge with one-another, so I would argue that there are actually less real individual media outlets now than there were in the 80's, at least in MSM terms. I can't really be arsed to look it up right now, but I'm working on that premise.

    (We're pretty much the same age, btw)

    I figure that, since the airwaves are (for now) a public resource, the FCC has a role in some areas (making sure that radio station signals don't bleed, the Emergency Broadcast System, very light decency standards, etc.). I am not an anarcho-capitalist, so I wouldn't end the FCC or sell off our entire public telecoms infrastructure. I would ease up on the content standards (short of obscenity) and deregulate the industry for the most part. I am not as concerned about media consolidation as am I about industry leaders lobbying the government for anti-competitive regulations. That is endemic to systems in which the government has a lot of power.
    Who defines 'obscenity'? What is your opinion of the BBC?

  7. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by V Profane View Post
    The trend over the past 20 years or so has been for corporations to merge with one-another, so I would argue that there are actually less real individual media outlets now than there were in the 80's, at least in MSM terms. I can't really be arsed to look it up right now, but I'm working on that premise.

    (We're pretty much the same age, btw)
    You're making a large leap in logic here, though. A smaller number of corporations owning individual media outlets doesn't necessarily mean that fewer opinions or information are getting out. Between cable news networks, the Internet, talk radio, and new print media, we have a much larger amount of voices being heard. Corporations tend to be non-ideological, which is good for journalists, because they'll hire anyone they think is good and who will contribute to the bottom line. Even News Corp., which has an ideologically-tinged news arm, also has the Fox Broadcasting Network, which is anything but.



    Who defines 'obscenity'? What is your opinion of the BBC?
    The Supreme Court should do it, in the end. Different people and different regions have different standards, but that is a good way to go. We already don't have pornography on TV, and the standard for it isn't clear. Also, having advertising-funded broadcasting makes it more likely that things that would be truly upsetting to the average person would never make it to air, because they'd scare off the advertisers.

    The BBC is a quality media outlet, but I do not believe in regular public broadcasting. I'd privatize the BBC (or PBS here in the States), and only keep emergency broadcasting. If cities or school districts wanted to keep up a public access network out of their own tax revenue, that would be fine by me.
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  8. #18
    Senior Member V Profane's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pure_mercury View Post
    You're making a large leap in logic here, though. A smaller number of corporations owning individual media outlets doesn't necessarily mean that fewer opinions or information are getting out. Between cable news networks, the Internet, talk radio, and new print media, we have a much larger amount of voices being heard.
    Well I would say the trend in 'editorial opinion' and 'slant' in Sky One (a mainstream entertainment TV channel), Sky News (a widely disseminated 24 hour rolling news channel), The Sun (the most popular low-brow tabloid newspaper in England), and The Times (one of the most popular 'prestigious' papers in England), which are all Murdoch owned, is both invisible to the average person, and yet insidious. And I did say mainstream, as in the media that is in your face everyday, not the media that you choose to seek out.

    Corporations tend to be non-ideological, which is good for journalists, because they'll hire anyone they think is good and who will contribute to the bottom line. Even News Corp., which has an ideologically-tinged news arm, also has the Fox Broadcasting Network, which is anything but.
    Corporations are indeed amoral. Their raisin d'etre is to maximise profits, which means they have no commitment to objectivity, 'fairness', or 'balance'. The lowest common denominator rules.

    having advertising-funded broadcasting makes it more likely that things that would be truly upsetting to the average person would never make it to air, because they'd scare off the advertisers.
    It also means that nothing, no matter how innocuous, that isn't acceptable to the majority (or more accurately, the vocal minority) will be broadcast to the masses. No matter how factual or important.

    The BBC is a quality media outlet, but I do not believe in regular public broadcasting. I'd privatize the BBC (or PBS here in the States), and only keep emergency broadcasting. If cities or school districts wanted to keep up a public access network out of their own tax revenue, that would be fine by me.
    If the license fee (the tax which every owner of a TV in Britain is obliged to pay) were abolished, the BBC as we know it would perish over night. If I were in charge of the BBC I would change it radically, but I'm positive that the existence of the BBC is the civilising influence that has slowed the commercially driven race to the bottom in the other main TV stations here.

    The present quality of the BBC relies on it's non-commercial funding, and it's still not that great. I'd recommend Stephen Fry's latest podcast on this subject.

  9. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by V Profane View Post
    Well I would say the trend in 'editorial opinion' and 'slant' in Sky One (a mainstream entertainment TV channel), Sky News (a widely disseminated 24 hour rolling news channel), The Sun (the most popular low-brow tabloid newspaper in England), and The Times (one of the most popular 'prestigious' papers in England), which are all Murdoch owned, is both invisible to the average person, and yet insidious. And I did say mainstream, as in the media that is in your face everyday, not the media that you choose to seek out.
    This isn't insidious, though. Everyone KNOWS about News Corp. It's no secret. They know that The Guardian is very left-of-center, as well. And that The Economist is neoliberal. That isn't invisible to people at all. People watch Fox News Channel BECAUSE it's right-wing, not because they don't know any better. They should have that option.



    Corporations are indeed amoral. Their raisin d'etre is to maximise profits, which means they have no commitment to objectivity, 'fairness', or 'balance'. The lowest common denominator rules.
    That is an exaggeration. Competition between news sources (even if they are giant corporations) still helps to improve quality. Public broadcasting news quality in the United States is low, and PBS programming is very left-of-center in general (at least as far to the left of the American mainstream as FNC is to the right of the American mainstream). I would certainly trust MSNBC or CNN over most "indy media" websites that are either overtly or covertly left-wing, as most of them are.



    It also means that nothing, no matter how innocuous, that isn't acceptable to the majority (or more accurately, the vocal minority) will be broadcast to the masses. No matter how factual or important.

    That isn't true, especially with cable nowadays. And we have lively debate on American news shows all the time. The range of views may not usually cover the far left or anarchists (or libertarians, like me), but it covers the mainstream. Besides, as I've stated before, it's not the government's business to tell journalists what is news and what isn't. Almost everything newsworthy in Western world is available to people who care to seek it out. The onus is on the public.


    If the license fee (the tax which every owner of a TV in Britain is obliged to pay) were abolished, the BBC as we know it would perish over night. If I were in charge of the BBC I would change it radically, but I'm positive that the existence of the BBC is the civilising influence that has slowed the commercially driven race to the bottom in the other main TV stations here.

    The present quality of the BBC relies on it's non-commercial funding, and it's still not that great. I'd recommend Stephen Fry's latest podcast on this subject.

    If the BBC cannot survive without a tax on every TV viewer in Britain, then it should not survive. Period.
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  10. #20
    Senior Member V Profane's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pure_mercury View Post
    This isn't insidious, though. Everyone KNOWS about News Corp. It's no secret.
    Yes, it's no secret, but if you're saying the average person is actually aware of it, I think you're wrong.

    People watch Fox News Channel BECAUSE it's right-wing, not because they don't know any better. They should have that option.
    Right-wingers want to have an AOL style media where they don't have to encounter nasty ideas that are contrary to their dogma. I don't think the ability of people to live in a media bubble is conducive to democracy, or civil society.

    That is an exaggeration...
    Can't really comment on that.

    That isn't true, especially with cable nowadays.
    This is specifically paid for TV? As in 'I choose to pay for this because I want it TV'?

    And we have lively debate on American news shows all the time. The range of views may not usually cover the far left or anarchists (or libertarians, like me), but it covers the mainstream.
    Who decides the mainstream? I know Penn & Teller get their libertarian polemics out on Showtime (Bullshit), I don't know of any popular left-wing show in the US (The Daily Show?). (Both non-factual programmes, anyway)

    Besides, as I've stated before, it's not the government's business to tell journalists what is news and what isn't. Almost everything newsworthy in Western world is available to people who care to seek it out. The onus is on the public.
    Well, I like the idea of the BBC, which is supposed to impartial, and is supposed to serve the needs of the British population. How successful it is in that is open to interpretation, but what is true, is that the general population overwhelmingly consumes the BBC's news output, through TV, radio, and internet. If it were commercial, I have no doubt that it would drop it's standards to at least ITN/ITV news, which is piss poor tabloid Daily Mail dreck.

    If the BBC cannot survive without a tax on every TV viewer in Britain, then it should not survive. Period.
    Well that's one of the many issues upon which we shall diametrically disagree. But, consider this; no non-Brit goes to the ITV, or Channel 4, or Channel 5 websites as an authority. They're the other main British TV broadcasters, and they're all commercial. (Channel 4 does have a lingering governmental obligation, though)

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