More people rack their brains with a steady stream of misinformation from the too-ugly for radio pundits and “anchors” at Fox than skim the headlines of the Sunday L.A. Times.
Bias and partisanship is more or less irrelevant when such a large percentage of the populous is exposed to downright misinformed pundits who speak from a “no-spin zone.”
The latest example comes from Bill O’Reilly, who not only proclaimed this week on his “Radio Factor” that “the war in Iraq is all about Chirac,” he later insisted on “O’Reilly Factor” that if al-Qaeda attacked the U.S., nobody would care if they hit San Francisco:
“[I]f Al Qaeda comes in here and blows you up, we’re not going to do anything about it. We’re going to say, look, every other place in America is off-limits to you, except San Francisco.
Media Matters for America has a deluge of further examples (with video), not limited to O’Reilly or the Fox News Channel.
It is not worth noting the incredulously ill-informed yammering and wankering that occurs on a daily basis across the cable and local news spectrum without pointing out the long-term harm this has on American culture.
The image of the United States in the eyes of the world is repeatedly harmed by the promotion and amplification of such absurd ideas as Scooter Libby’s indictment for perjury, among other things, proved that “no underlying crime” was committed. This was repeated in several news broadcasts.
Simply put, our nation’s comfort with consumer-driven news programs and networks is a serious threat to democracy.
This CAN be remedied. Most visitors or immigrants to the U.S. are completely surprised by the lack of pertinent local or international information in any American news broadcast. Most shocking of all, is that there are actually commercials!
A poll conducted by the Public Relations Society of America and released Thursday found that 61% of the general public generally trusted news on PBS and NPR, while 56% trusted papers like the Washington Post, Wall Street Journal or New York Times, and 53% trusted the commercial broadcast and cable news operations.
Considering this, how is it that the federal government is threatening to cut funding to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and divert those funds for Gulf Coast restoration and recovery efforts?
As it stands, without applying further cuts, Public Broadcating (radio & TV) gets a whopping $1.30 per capita in federal funding. Compare this to upwards of $100 in the UK and Germany, even $27 in Canada and Australia.
Clearly, something must be done.