Sorry for the length, but I didn't have time to write a short blog.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Part of the Problem Part 5: You Are Being Lied To

Ever wonder how it was that people could allow such horrible thing such as death camps to occur.  They were steadily lead there by misrepresentation.  I honestly worry about people who spend all their time on right wing or left wing sites. It is easy to fall into the trap of propaganda and sadly the leading cable news network is one of the lowest rated in its accuracy.  Fact Checking sites rate news regularly and one of the lowest rated is Fox News. Politifact, for example, rated Fox, Fox News, and Fox Business and their pundits as only half true to pants on fire 121 times out of 129 stories they've investigated. Bill O'Reilly, Fox's lead pundit, has received only true and mostly true marks 6 out of the 18 times he was checked.  Another political station is NBC/MSNBC which has been checked 123 times have been classified as half true to pants on fire 82 times.  Rachael Maddow*, MSNBC's lead pundit,  has been rated true to mostly true 9 out of 24 times they have fact checked her.  If you listen to Rush Limbaugh, Politifact has never given him a True rating and only mostly true twice out of the 30 times they have fact checked him.  Glenn Beck, of TV, radio, and internet fame, has been classified as true to partly true only 4 out of the 27 times he was fact checked. No political pundit or political network have good records.  If something is half true, then that means it is also half lie.  In my book that makes it pretty suspect as to that person's intent.  Shading the truth is still lying.

If you don't think that some of these stations will protect this lying, then you are not paying attention.  Bill O'Reilly has been recently caught in a number of misrepresentations in his news reporting past.  Brian Williams was suspended for his misrepresenting a past story.  Lara Logan of 60 Minutes was suspended for putting a report out on Benghazi that used lies told by a "witness." Martin Bashir resigned from MSNBC following his attack on Sarah Palin.  Bill O'Reilly, despite other reporters announcing that a some of his news reports are lies at most and inaccurate embellishments at the least, has also been accused of threatening a reporter at the NY Times and sexual harassment.  While it is true he is a pundit now, when he made those reports, he was a news reporter.  Fox has remained mute on the subject except to point to his ratings, and O'Reilly has basically attacked anyone who has a different story. He also says in an interview in the Washington Post, "This is splitting hairs trying anything they can to bring down me because of the Brian Williams situation.” I am not sure who "they" is. A former FoxNews member told CNN that no one actually expects O'Reilly to tell the truth.  That is, indeed, a sad comment on the most watched cable news network.

But it gets worse.

If you use sources from Facebook pages, you are going to find even more lies, half-truths, and shadings.  Several friends I have on Facebook post stories almost daily from the Conservative Daily Facebook page.  I did some wandering around on that page and every single "news" item comes from the Doesn't it bother them that the page makes no attempt to hide what it is? Do you really expect unbiased news from a page called Conservative Daily? That's like expecting a site called GumChewersof America to post nothing but anti-gum memes and kitten videos.  You are living in a fool's paradise.  IJReview, which stands for Independent Journal Review, is about as independent in its politics as is favorable to Republicans.

The Baltimore Sun recently posted a Pew Research poll on how trusted are news source.  Pew has long been held as fairly independent with a slight conservative lean.  They found that Rush Limbaugh and Fox News are the two least trusted news sources in their poll.  Fox is the number one cable news source and Limbaugh has the number one talk radio show, and yet in the poll, they led the pack in least trustworthy.  And many of you post from these people daily. So how does Fox become the "Most trusted" in other surveys? It is because of who they serve.  If you convince your audience that all other networks are liberal shills, then when the survey is run, the only conservative network is bound to show as most trusted.  If you ran an election with one conservative and five liberal candidates, then the conservative wins because the liberals split the rest of the vote.  So if Fox, as it did in one survey, shows as 19% "trusted a great deal."   Other networks divide the rest.  NBC, ABC, CBS, CNN, and MSNBC, all of which are supposed to be "left of center," receive 71% as "trusted a great deal." The over-all rating by voters of 29% for Fox means that the rest of these ratings are then divided by the so-called liberal media.

I know. There is a defense.  Politifact and its subsidiary Punditfact which rated Fox as on the false side about 60 percent of the time and MSNBC about 46 percent of the time is a liberally driven media outlet.  Really? That's the defense?  Well, who told you that? Conservative Daily? Fox News? IJReview? Having a conservative website tell you that fact checking sites are driven by liberals is kind of like listening to Charles Manson tell you he is all about love or Bill Clinton announce that he didn't have sexual relations with that woman.  With that kind of defense, we don't need juries any longer. We just rely on the defendant to tell us if he is guilty or not and accept his words. Wolves won't bother the chickens and you can sit at ease as you are surrounded by starving lions. To quote Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan. "You are entitled to your opinion. But you are not entitled to your own facts."

Do you want to stop the dividing of America?  Then get off Conservative Daily, TeaParty Patriots, Americans Against the Tea Party, Think Progress and actually find the truth.  You are being lied to and your acceptance of it makes you part of the problem.

*Full disclosure, Rachael Maddow is one of the political pundits I follow on Facebook.  It does not mean I believe her.