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Cable news stations should not be allowed to lie in the United States

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/8/2012 Category: Politics
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,569 times Debate No: 21818
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (3)
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Hello everyone. This is my first debate on DDO so bear with me.

I challenge you to this debate.

Many news organization routinely lie or distort facts in order to gain more viewers. I argue that it should be illegal for organizations to call themselves a "news" channel if they outright lie to their viewers about the validity of the statements they are presenting.

For this debate we will be using the definition of news from Merriam-Webster online dictionary:

Definition of NEWS
a : a report of recent events
b : previously unknown information
c : something having a specified influence or effect
a : material reported in a newspaper or news periodical or on a newscast
b : matter that is newsworthy
3 : newscast


A quick question worth asking yourself, would you rather hear about the kid crashing his bicycle through a fence or the brutal murder that occured during *special event name here*?

Right, something news worthy ( assuming most will chose the brutal murder ).

The idea of the media lying is not that they intentionally create a fallacy, more or less the media is being fed a strict, meager amount of information, leading to a lot of statements that were taken out of context by having the information misinterpreted.

Definition of a lie:
A statement retorted that is deliberately false.

Due to cable stations misinterpreting information given, people percieve this misinformation as lies or fallacies. Cable stations are receiving this information and simply relaying it to inform the public. The information carriers such as reporters and/or figure feeding them this information also receive small bits of information and interpeting it to try and find the true meaning behind "statements" or "comments" given about an issue or incident. Leaving it up to the listener to determine whether they believe the information or not.
Debate Round No. 1


When someone turns on the news station such as Fox News or ABC news at night, they are most likely not looking for entertainment. They want to know the current events of their town, state, country, or even of the world. In the case of someone looking to watch "news" in a witty tone or more entertaining, then they should watch programs like the Colbert Report.

What your not realizing though is that stations are not just misinterpreting information at times. They are deliberately skewing the news in order to make it more entertaining. Most people around the country do not fact check what these reporters are saying. People assume that the journalist who covered the story already did it them self. News channels are held accountable to stories they are reporting. Although there is no national overseer that checks the truthfulness of the channels it is still common knowledge that they are expected to do so.

The problem with the system is that since most news stations are a part of a corporation they are legally allowed to lie since corporations are considered people too.

For this debate I will use News Corp. and its subsidiary Fox News as a prime example of an organization that deliberately lies to the public.

"In February 2003, a Florida Court of Appeals unanimously agreed with an assertion by FOX News that there is no rule against distorting or falsifying the news in the United States." How can you justify this knowing that Fox News has an average of 7.3 million viewers and are all being lied to.


jsd forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2


It is not ethical for a news corporation to be lying its to viewers because it can be dangerous. Instead of getting the truth out there about the issues around us, channels like Fox News distort the report to fit their own views. Instead of being an unbiased source of information they are deliberately going against their own motto of being "fair and balanced." Which is pretty funny when you think about it.

They type of "news" they report are usually ignorant and extremely right wing agenda which goes directly against the ethics that the Society of Professional Journalists provide. It is one of the oldest organizations representing journalists in the United States, established in April 1909. Here's how the Society of Professional Journalists describes their craft:

"Members of the Society of Professional Journalists believe that public enlightenment is the forerunner of justice and the foundation of democracy. The duty of the journalist is to further those ends by seeking truth and providing a fair and comprehensive account of events and issues. Conscientious journalists from all media and specialties strive to serve the public with thoroughness and honesty. Professional integrity is the cornerstone of a journalist's credibility."


"What your not realizing though is that stations are not just misinterpreting information at times. They are deliberately skewing the news in order to make it more entertaining." - Actually I am well aware of this, you stated that the businesses skew their stories in order to make it entertaining. Which when a station is more entertaining or interesting, its' ratings sky rocket, more listeners tune in which in turn equals more revenue for the business.

"People assume that the journalist who covered the story already did it them self. News channels are held accountable to stories they are reporting. " - Which consequently leads back to the journalists, they provided the misinformation, therefore the cable station is simply reading off the information given. Not necessarily a deliberate misrepresentation. People can assume what ever they please; it does not make what the cable stations, tv stations, news broadcasts full of lies.

"How can you justify this knowing that Fox News has an average of 7.3 million viewers and are all being lied to." - Just because it says a company can lie, does not mean that they are at all times. The phrase "taken out of context" appears in my mind, many individuals, such as yourself I would assume, believe things that are taken out of context "lies" when in fact they are just large portions of a story or even small bits that can lead a person to accredit it as deceit.

In addition, what proof have you that ~ "...7.3 million viewers... are all being lied to."

Providing evidence to support this claim is vital ~ "Fox News distorts the report to fit their own views."
Debate Round No. 3


There is plenty of evidence of intentional deceit. I am glad that you asked for it. It will be impossible for me to actually find evidence of Fox News lying every time they do or scour the internet for proof, so I will be quoting a not-for-profit organization. Just keep in mind that I am not arguing that Fox News ALWAYS lies, but instead that they lie on a calculated move frequently to fulfill their agenda.

Here is a laundry list of some of the times of when Fox News was actually CAUGHT lying, not necessarily the only times:

Timeline of a [madrassa] smear

--Make certain that headlines, news teases and promotional material, photos, video, audio, graphics, sound bites and quotations do not misrepresent. They should not oversimplify or highlight incidents out of context.

After teasing story by saying "Obama makes a little girl cry," Fox News' Kelly acknowledged it was not true

--Never distort the content of news photos or video. Image enhancement for technical clarity is always permissible. Label montages and photo illustrations.

Fox News airs altered photos of NY Times reporters

--Never plagiarize.

Fox passes off GOP press release as its own research -- typo and all

--Avoid stereotyping by race, gender, age, religion, ethnicity, geography, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance or social status.

Media adopt gender, racial stereotypes in characterizing Sotomayor's temperament, intellect

--Distinguish between advocacy and news reporting. Analysis and commentary should be labeled and not misrepresent fact or context.

REPORT: "Fair and balanced" Fox News aggressively promotes "tea party" protests

--Be sensitive when seeking or using interviews or photographs of those affected by tragedy or grief.

Fox News, CBS air clips of peephole video of ESPN's Erin Andrews

--Recognize that private people have a greater right to control information about themselves than do public officials and others who seek power, influence or attention. Only an overriding public need can justify intrusion into anyone's privacy.

O'Reilly Producer Stalks Amanda Terkel: THE VIDEO

--Show good taste. Avoid pandering to lurid curiosity.

Foxy News breaks out the boudoir B-roll to cover "the great breast augmentation scandal"

--Remain free of associations and activities that may compromise integrity or damage credibility.

Would a real news organization help GOP PACs raise money?

--Refuse gifts, favors, fees, free travel and special treatment, and shun secondary employment, political involvement, public office and service in community organizations if they compromise journalistic integrity.

FLASHBACK: When Fox News boasted about its "unprecedented" access to the Bush White House

--Be vigilant and courageous about holding those with power accountable.

After exclusive access, softball interviews during Bush admin, Fox News blasts ABC for White House exclusive

--Admit mistakes and correct them promptly.

EXCLUSIVE: Fox News seeks to confirm wildly inaccurate reporting that it's already aired on Jennings controversy; former student seeks Fox News correction

*** I do not know how to make an external link to each of those individual links so unfortunately you will have to click each one to check them out/***

Just to make my point clearer, here is a video that Fox News deliberately lied about to its own Republican Party member Congressman Dr. Paul.

And the video that shows them pathetically apologizing for it since it was so obvious that they lied.

Now, do you honestly believe that Fox News accidently aired the 2010 video instead of the 2011? I don't think so. They have a history of being bias against Ron Paul.

I can keep going on and on about all the instances when Fox lied to its viewers but for the sanity of our minds and the time limit I will restrict it to just these.

Just because it says a company can lie, does not mean that they are at all times.
Like I said before I am not saying every little thing they say is a lie, but instead that they deliberately at times lie. However it does mean they will lie whenever an opportunity arises for them to propel their ideals onto the public. They would not have gone to an appeals court in order to be granted that power if they did not intend to do so, which they did right away. Here is a quote from an article that talks about the court ruling.

"On February 14, a Florida Appeals court ruled there is absolutely nothing illegal about lying, concealing or distorting information by a major press organization. The court reversed the $425,000 jury verdict in favor of journalist Jane Akre who charged she was pressured by Fox Television management and lawyers to air what she knew and documented to be false information. The ruling basically declares it is technically not against any law, rule, or regulation to deliberately lie or distort the news on a television broadcast."

After reading that, can you honestly continue asserting that Fox News plays no hand in the information they recieve?

"What your not realizing though is that stations are not just misinterpreting information at times. They are deliberately skewing the news in order to make it more entertaining." -
"Actually I am well aware of this.."

You seem to agree with me.


jsd forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4


First off I want to thank my opponent jsd for joining me on this debate. It was a pleasure presenting and witnessing facts on both sides of the issue. However, since my opponent has not made a rebuttal to my previous argument, I will instead use round 5 to conclude my arguments for the debate.

In this debate I have shown that:
1. News organizations such as Fox News do in fact lie.
2. They lie to fulfill their agenda for the Republican Party.
3. It is dangerous for people to watch these news channels unless they are fully aware
of what kind of program they are watching.
4. They continuously break a code of ethics for journalism that has been around for over
a 100 years.

I have presented a clear and concise argument that shows that not only are networks capable of lying but do so on a continuous basis. Like I said before though, lies do not end with just the Fox News network. The other news networks have just as many fallacies. I hope at the very least after reading this debate, you will open your mind to the truth and not take everything at face value.


Out of lack of interest and the timing of the responses, I do not have the time or interest to continue this debate.

Hopefully you'll give me a chance again to put forth my maximum effort and have a real debate.

Good luck to you Pro.
Debate Round No. 5
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by ddiaz141 6 years ago
No. I should be on the con side I guess. I'm against the law that allows news networks to lie. This includes accidental reports as well since they have the oppurtunity to update or refute their prior story.
Posted by imabench 6 years ago
does this include lying on accident?
Posted by PeterO 6 years ago
Are you saying that only Network News should be allowed to lye?
Granted, they do it so well.
No votes have been placed for this debate.