Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Fox News Fabricates Story for GOP Gains

Summary: Could Fox News be in violation of campaign finance law?

Some of you who read the title of this post probably said “duh” - but a recent clip from their broadcast was picked up by the Daily Show last night, revealing that Sean Hannity literally showed false footage to make a recent Tea Party protest look bigger than it was.

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Sean Hannity Uses Glenn Beck's Protest Footage
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorHealth Care Crisis

To be fair, the freedom of speech and the press is very much guaranteed in the First Amendment - even to the point of protecting false speech and fabricated press stories.

But a few months ago we mentioned a Supreme Court case which questions the limits of the First Amendment. The case, Citizens United v. FEC, begs the question over whether a documentary film aimed at persuading voters one way or another in an election falls under the limits of campaign finance. These films are funded by corporations which are strictly prohibited from direct spending on campaigns.

In order to make a GOP sponsored rally look bigger, Fox News found clips of a better attended, non-Republican sponsored, conservative protest. In other words, Fox News - part of a publicly traded corporation - was specifically assisting one party over another for that party’s political gains.

Could that be a campaign finance issue?

Inevitably, I want to say no, as many news outlets will endorse one side over another as they have since campaigns first began in this country - but let’s first see what the Court decides.

Either way, it’s food for thought when exploring what constitutes as free speech in the era of campaign finance reform.

No comments: