Tonight I watched a program on the Fox News Channel titled, “The Green Swindle”. The disinformation was staggering. Over the coming days my Staff and I will no doubt be barraged with comments about this “news program” from clients and probably the local media.
I have discussed the following concept with literally hundreds of people over the past couple years and the response has been positive from virtually everyone to re-instill integrity into those broadcast and cable programs that include the term “News” in their program title. The world continues to evolve with new layers of complexities as the result of an ever growing population with a broad spectrum of cultural and economic agendas. Simply, if a program wants to label itself a news program, then it needs to be restricted to fact based reporting, not editorial or unresearched conclusions.
Truth in Advertising might be one approach, or possibly a “Broadcast Association” structured like a legal bar association that polices the general content of news programs and rescinds the professional license of an individual who knowingly delivers false information on-air. Individuals could earn certifications based on a testing system where they sit for exams on various areas of expertise. There must be some sort of easily discernible separation between entertainers and news reporters. Who would hire an unlicensed engineer to design a bridge? Why would we invite an unlicensed and uneducated entertainer to select and interpret our critical news?
If the US Government can motivate once labeled “Banks” to change to the label “Banc” base on specific criteria, then there is hope that we could again hold the expectation that a news program might actually contain fact based content.
As the son of a US History teacher and 20 year military officer, I am hesitant to support virtually any new legislation or yet another vague set of regulations that will obviously include costs to tax payers, but Fox “News” has long since gone way outside the lines. Spend any time at all on the blogs with any meaningful issue and you can trace the source of the information or misinformation back to the source. Maybe 3-4 TV channels for decades were at the heart of the success of the US economy.