The public has been increasingly besieged via print and television media with disinformation and outrageous lies. This warrants and requires national attention and remedy.
Let’s pick an example that affects readers’ businesses, such as energy sources most commonly derived from oil in the U.S. More specifically, let’s talk about the $3 billion Dakota Access Pipeline, which is in construction by Energy Transfer Partners and now 85% complete. The contrasts between facts on record and protestor claims reported on television are stunning. Protesters say repeatedly that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers failed to consult Indian tribal leaders, but the facts are that the CoE held 389 meetings with 55 tribes and were refused an additional five meetings by Sioux leaders over a 1.5-year period, whereupon Jesse Jackson declared pipeline rerouting was of “racist” motivation. This was reported at length by the media.
It must be cited that the Society of Professional Journalists has specific standards for being truthful and requiring clarity in how matters are reported. As stated by former CNN reporter Amber Lyon, CNN is routinely paid by U.S. and foreign governments to report selectively and make up false news stories. So much for professional standards.
It is not only honesty in reporting but the rise and spread of disinformation. For those who remember Saul Alinsky (a moral relativist who championed the lie as a tool for the “greater good” and essentially codified how to be deceitful in misleading the public via media), the art of propaganda has evolved into the more complex art of disinformation. It was Alinsky who wrote:
- Lie big but retract quietly
- Use unconfirmed or controlled sources as fact
- Use calculated omissions or “cherry pick” data
- Manufacture the relevance of topics
- Go off on tangents looking for ways to increase insecurity and uncertainty
- Select targets and both personalize and polarize them
Remember all this when you read the editorial page of your newspaper or watch the evening news.
This corruption of truth and honesty cannot be allowed to continue in American media because its presence and growth is harmful to our society, our national well-being, our stability and the health of the nation’s future. So here is a suggestion that can assist in changing this ruinous path. My view is that three of five readers will like these concepts, one in five will vehemently object and one in five won’t care about it at all.
All media relies on advertising income for operation and continuance. It is quite difficult for any business to hold sway with the media except for the giant corporations, and even they are understandably reluctant to express viewpoints that might have negative customer responses. When it comes to large or small businesses, it is unheard of to see a newspaper ad urging “vote for Smith for city council.” The closest that most firms come to any interjection into the policy or political arena is to urge, for example: “Support a sane energy policy so that America’s metals companies can survive and grow as employers.” Small businesses cannot afford the advertising costs to endorse non-related product or service matters via media expressions.
Nonetheless, media failings are forcing a rethink of how honesty and unbiased reporting affects the nation. My suggestion is for U.S. industry to collectively call attention to these important matters. This is done via associations. If a few dozen individual firms could invigorate a few dozen associations to begin a campaign calling on all media to adhere to quality standards and honesty, the ball would start rolling. The bottom line is that association members will not advertise in outlets that do not adhere to honesty standards. A little push from a few businesses to associations can get this accomplished.
This approach is truly needed, and here is one good reason why. Just before last Christmas, buried in the Defense Authorization Act (S.2943) were two provisions (S.2692 regarding information warfare and HR.5181 about propaganda and disinformation) allowing the government to control “fake news.” Thus, the U.S. Ministry of Truth was officially born.
Think about it. Isn’t it better for the private sector to correct media corruption matters than to rely on the federal government? After all, who do you trust more: American industry or your federal government?
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