Must-Seethe TV

Welcome, Truthseekers to the Tuesday edition of the Malloy Show!

If you’re a regular follower of the program you know how much Mike loathes the corporate media and has resisted it’s evil clutches throughout his decades of working in the broadcast industry.  And you also know the frustration we feel over the tragic, needless waste of taxpayer dollars and political energy on pointless political ads –  scarce resources that would be better spent on finding solutions to the real woes of society.  Or heck, paying down the national debt.  

Which is why we so love this article from Common Dreams.  Read it. Think about campaign finance reforms and what kind of America we could have without this partisan dog and pony show. 

The political ad invasion is upon us. It’s a toxic mix of half-truths and negativity that’s beaming into homes across the county — especially homes in battleground states like Florida, North Carolina, Ohio, Virginia and Wisconsin.

Media analysts project that campaigns, Super PACs and “social welfare” groups will spend a record-breaking $3.3 billion on political ads by Election Day.

For the local stations that air these ads, it’s a political goldmine. But what’s a cash windfall for stations is a nuisance for tens of millions of viewers.

And let’s consider these stations — are they offering any local news coverage to debunk the lies in these ads? Are they exposing the deep-pocketed interests behind the groups buying ad time?

To find out, Free Press took a deeper look at local news coverage in five of the cities — Charlotte, Cleveland, Las Vegas, Milwaukee and Tampa — where ad spending has been highest.

We inspected the political files of stations in these markets, identified the groups most actively placing political ads and pored over hundreds of hours of local news transcripts. In all five of these markets, we found that local newscasts were lacking when it came to covering the ads that dominated their stations.

In other words, they provided no local stories exposing the special interests behind these ads, and only one station among the 20 surveyed devoted even a few minutes to investigating whether these ads told viewers the truth.

When you stack that up against the thousands of political ads these stations have aired, this shortfall in reporting is appalling.

Here are some details from our new report, Left in the Dark: Local Coverage in the Age of Big-Money Politics:

  • The Super PACs vs. Justin Bieber: The hundreds of hours of local news that aired in the two weeks prior to Wisconsin’s June 5 recall election included no stories on the 17 groups most actively buying time on Milwaukee’s ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC affiliates. While these stations were ignoring the impact of political ads, they found time to air 53 local news segments on Justin Bieber.
  • Fact-Check Fail: The ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC affiliates in Charlotte, Cleveland, Las Vegas and Milwaukee did not once fact-check the claims made in political ads placed locally by the nation’s top-spending Super PACs and independent groups, even though these groups had spent tens of millions of dollars on frequently deceptive ads in those markets.
  • Hush Money: Cleveland’s four affiliate stations provided no coverage of the Koch brothers-funded group Americans for Prosperity, despite airing the group’s anti-Obama attack ads more than 500 times. Americans for Prosperity has reportedly spent more than $1.5 million to place ads on Cleveland television stations.
  • News Out of Balance: Affiliate stations in Tampa aired on average more than 200 political ads a day throughout August. Yet only one station, WTSP, devoted news time to fact-checking any of the most prominent groups buying these ads. In a single segment running less than three minutes, WTSP rated an Americans for Prosperity ad as false, a finding that didn’t stop the station from running the group’s anti-Obama ads more than 150 times that month. 

This neglect is endemic to every television market we’ve investigated.

In an ideal world, these stations would provide the kind of news and information that serve as an antidote to the misleading political messages most political ads spread.

But 2012’s political climate is far from ideal. Broadcasters are loath to write their parent companies into news stories about policy and politics. This is due in part to the broadcast industry’s significant contributions to political campaigns and its powerful presence among lobbyists on K Street and Capitol Hill. 

But it’s also due to the record amounts of political money flowing into broadcasters’ coffers in 2012. When it comes to the billions in added revenues, no news is good news for local stations and their owners.

Imagine if things were different. Imagine that, in exchange for this massive influx of political cash, broadcasters did a better job of exposing the groups and individuals funding political ads in their markets, and addressing the falsehoods presented in many of these spots.

Democracy requires an informed public. But Americans aren’t getting the news they need from local TV.

Instead, we have a political system whose players are constantly chasing dollars — a system gamed to a point of dysfunction by wealthy, undisclosed donors and media corporations that are all too content to just cash their checks.

This article has 6 comments

  1. Denny NNWofLA

    We have been subjected to lies, distortions
    and propaganda our entire lives. Every time
    we turn on the TV, radio, read a newspaper or
    magazine, we are told to buy this product, buy
    this car, see this movie, hate those countries,
    fear their religions… to the point where we
    just tune it out. Or so we think.

    No. It works. I offer as proof, The United States
    of America. Why, if it doesn’t work, does the cost
    of nearly everything we buy end with .99, not an
    even dollar? What’s up with gas costing XXX.XX 9/10?
    Who thought of that one? We have been lied to since
    we could listen.

    We are too easily mislead into thinking that if only
    we owned (name anything) our lives would be better.
    If we destroy (name any country) we will be safe.
    By mocking (name any religion) God will be on our side.
    Hating (name any ethnicity) makes us superior to them.

    So is it any wonder our overly complex lives are so
    messed up and devoid of truth? Look at Arch. (Or don’t!)

    Why be factual when people will believe anything they
    see or hear, especially when it plays to their fears, prejudices, and intolerance? Why bother to write an intelligent script when thought would be required for
    it to be appreciated? Hence, “Reality TV”…oh boy.

    Political discourse has become team sport rather than
    discussion of real issues. Yeah, try talking to anyone
    about issues other than sports or weather and be ready
    to duck.

    It’s a constant struggle to separate what is real and
    true from the overwhelming flood of misinformation we
    are exposed to daily, our entire lives. It works.

  2. Chris

    Not to mention how the Middle Eastern people are sick and tired of “American Imperialism” not “They hate our Freedoms”. I just wanted to throw a shoe at Bush every time he said it! We stole their resources, paid them next to nothing while our puppets lived the good life. We destroy their Country and their lives, drone attack them, etc.. of course they are going to retaliate from decades of American abuse and insult. BUT, AMERICANS CAN”T UNDERSTAND WHY THEY HATE US!!

    But I will say, the fires are being fanned to make Obama look incompetent for decades of abuse. Now Japan and China are talking war.

    So throw Iran war, Japan, China war SHTF wars to work on getting Romney elected.

  3. Chris

    I find it odd that a video comes out before the election that helps to piss muslims off and make relations worse. Also the signs on the subway in New York about Jihad and support for Israel, just smacks of more dirty Republican tricks.

  4. jape

    We can’t deny that both parties engage in dirty tricks, it’s called “rat fucking.” However, one side is much better at it. Nixon used the CIA, Ronnie never knew what was going on, Daddy Bush had Lee Atwater and Dubya had Karl Rove.

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