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View Full Version : Is it time to start filing FCC complaints?




Thanehand
11-29-2007, 11:46 AM
I'm beginning to think that it's time to use big government against big media. Over the last few weeks I've been wondering about what might happen if hordes of Paul supporters started filing FCC complaints each time any of the major news media manipulates the presidential election in favor of specific candidates, whether that's by not allowing equal talk time or by stating something incorrect or defaming against.

The debates last night, the commentary that followed it and the blatant errors in the transcript of the debate on CNN's site was nothing but a disservice to the American people and cemented it for me.

So I'm going to begin filing FCC complaints for every instance of unfairness in media regarding the presidential race. This includes candidates other than Ron Paul, but my focus will be on Ron.

Worst case, this will have no impact. Best case, a record of transgressions by the media will be well documented, can generate a story in itself, and force the media to issue LOUD retractions for each infraction, potentially helping the Ron Paul campaign as a side effect.

Any thoughts/feedback? You can file a general complaint with the FCC by following the directions here:

http://www.fcc.gov/cgb/broadcast.html

[edit]

Updated the link above and noted that that page says:

"FCC rules generally do not govern the selection of programming that is broadcast. The main exceptions are: restrictions on indecent programming, limits on the number of commercials aired during children's programming, and rules involving candidates for public office."

mmink15
11-29-2007, 11:48 AM
What are some of the best examples of specifics that we can put in our complaints?

hillertexas
11-29-2007, 11:48 AM
I think this is definitely an idea worth exploring. I'm sure we have a few lawyers among us

mmink15
11-29-2007, 11:50 AM
Is that link correct it seems to be a complaint form for bad phone service

Thanehand
11-29-2007, 11:54 AM
Off the top of my head:

* I've lost track of how many times CNN has listed the presidential candidates, but only listed three or four, excluding Ron, Tancredo, Hunter

* The blatant misquote in the CNN transcript (which has been fixed)

* Commentators last night calling Ron a kook, referencing so called "imagination" that is actually easily verifiable

* The disproportionate amount of time given to the candidates during the debate

* The lack of serious questions given to the candidates at the debate (ie. wasting time on a baseball question and giving good questions only to a few candidates)

* Commentators and interviewers stating that Ron will not win -- even to his face.

The list goes on and on.

murrayrothbard
11-29-2007, 11:55 AM
What does the FCC have to with CNN?? the CABLE news network...

Thanehand
11-29-2007, 11:55 AM
Is that link correct it seems to be a complaint form for bad phone service

Sorry, wrong link. Try this: http://www.fcc.gov/cgb/broadcast.html

JosephTheLibertarian
11-29-2007, 11:57 AM
What does the FCC have to with CNN?? the CABLE news network...

It's always principle over revenge with you, eh

Thanehand
11-29-2007, 11:58 AM
What does the FCC have to with CNN?? the CABLE news network...

The FCC is the place to file complaints about stuff that's been broadcast. There are many groups that do - notably religious watchdog groups (not saying that's a good thing or not).

On the FCC broadcast website it specifically states:

"FCC rules generally do not govern the selection of programming that is broadcast. The main exceptions are: restrictions on indecent programming, limits on the number of commercials aired during children's programming, and rules involving candidates for public office."

So I'm tending to believe that if enough people complain about the abuse, it might make an impact.

murrayrothbard
11-29-2007, 11:59 AM
It's always principle over revenge with you, eh

Dude the FCC has nothing to do with cable news. You all will just sound like uninformed whiney kids.

murrayrothbard
11-29-2007, 12:00 PM
The FCC is the place to file complaints about stuff that's been broadcast. There are many groups that do - notably religious watchdog groups (not saying that's a good thing or not).

On the FCC broadcast website it specifically states:

"FCC rules generally do not govern the selection of programming that is broadcast. The main exceptions are: restrictions on indecent programming, limits on the number of commercials aired during children's programming, and rules involving candidates for public office."

So I'm tending to believe that if enough people complain about the abuse, it might make an impact.

CNN is NOT broadcast. It's on cable.

nexalacer
11-29-2007, 12:01 PM
It's always principle over revenge with you, eh

If you live without principle, what's the point of the revenge? You're not going to be any freer or happier afterwards if you don't have principle...

Thanehand
11-29-2007, 12:02 PM
Dude the FCC has nothing to do with cable news. You all will just sound like uninformed whiney kids.

Uh... no. If we are factual and cover the fact that it's not just Ron Paul, we'll sound like informed, pissed-off American's who are tired of the abuse.

Again, from the FCC site:

"FCC rules generally do not govern the selection of programming that is broadcast. The main exceptions are: restrictions on indecent programming, limits on the number of commercials aired during children's programming, and rules involving candidates for public office."

richard1984
11-29-2007, 12:06 PM
I'm down.

I've tried to be patient and understanding, but last night was the last straw. I had relatively high hopes/expectations for last night, and it ended up being the worst "debate" yet!!!

I'm angry, and I'm ready for some justice. :mad:

steph3n
11-29-2007, 12:06 PM
it is a private station, I am not going to complain it is their RIGHT to ignore Dr Paul

murrayrothbard
11-29-2007, 12:07 PM
"FCC rules generally do not govern the selection of programming that is broadcast. The main exceptions are: restrictions on indecent programming, limits on the number of commercials aired during children's programming, and rules involving candidates for public office."

Once again: CNN is NOT broadcast television

UtahApocalypse
11-29-2007, 12:18 PM
Once again: CNN is NOT broadcast television

Considering I have dealt with the FCC at many times, I can vouch this is true. CABLE networks are NO broadcast TV. The person that keep posting the "Political Candidates" rule is wrong since this is CABLE.

Thanehand
11-29-2007, 12:22 PM
Once again: CNN is NOT broadcast television

You keep repeating yourself, but it doesn't mean anything to me. From what research I've done, the FCC regulates cable in a number of ways. From their site:

"The FCC and local franchising authorities are responsible for enforcing a variety of cable television regulations."

Let's not forget the Broadcast Decency Enforcement Act of 2005 (not that it applies here). And technically, with government mandating no more broadcast television, your argument makes even less sense.

And as I've stated more than once, there are rules about presidential candidates on TV. There is no "official" place to file complaints about what is seen on TV other than the FCC web site, so it appears appropriate. I'm still trying to find the specific rules.

vegetarianrpfan
11-29-2007, 12:32 PM
It may or may not work in regards to CNN, but we can certainly do this for local stations that air unfair or inaccurate reports (for instance, the other thread mentions a local news station which rebroadcast McCain's attack, but not Dr. Paul's response, etc.) Here is a letter that the AFA, a very powerful religious/family values organization, sent to local station managers over a Hardee's ad.

Pay attention to the last request-- "please place this letter in a file to be reviewed by representatives of the FCC"-- because this is GUARANTEED to GET THEIR ATTENTION EVERY TIME. There is no more effective way to get a result than to let them know that not only are you upset, but you know the rules that govern the very licensing of their station, and they are required to let the FCC hear about this.


> Dear local television manager,
>
> I am highly offended by the content in the latest Hardees/Carl's
> Jr. television commercials... (details)... In my
> opinion, they violate local community standards.
>
> Because you are licensed to serve the public interest in our
> community, I request that you refuse to air these ads. If you are
> already airing
> them, I ask you to stop.
>
> As required by law, please place a copy of this email letter in your
> station's public file, to be readily available to FCC representatives,
> specifically during the license renewal period for your station.
>
> Sincerely,
>
>
> ___________
>

-----------------------------
Libertarian Girl
http://www.libertariangirl.com

mpython77
11-29-2007, 12:57 PM
I can see this working only if you had several people in one local area mail different renditions of that letter but not the same thing. Otherwise it would just be spamming.

lasenorita
11-29-2007, 01:04 PM
Are you all aware that the media can legally lie?


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.

Source:
http://www.projectcensored.org/publications/2005/11.html

vegetarianrpfan
11-29-2007, 02:00 PM
I can see this working only if you had several people in one local area mail different renditions of that letter but not the same thing. Otherwise it would just be spamming.

Nope, believe me, it works. I got a personal reply from the station manager in question when I sent the above email, and I'm sure others did as well. We all just say that we are doing it for "Broadcast Standards of America Foundation" or some such group (or start such a group!), and they won't question. Have you ever heard of the AFA (American Family Association)? Their entire technique revolves around sending mass form letters to CEO's emails, and they get results. Someone getting mass emails from PO'd Christian-righters about "family trees" rather than Christmas trees at Lowe's or no mention of Christmas presents at the Gap gets results, often a personal reply from the CEO of that company and a promise to fix it immediately. The Architect of the Capitol recently went back on a decision to leave God off certificates because he got so many phone calls from AFA-ers.

I subscribe to the AFA emails for a laugh. Every day they email me an outraged note about how Christianity is being attacked, and the next day there's always an apologetic note from the CEO in question. 99% of the people send the same form email, but it works because it's en masse, and the AFA writes great, effective letters.

----------------------------
Libertarian Girl
http://www.libertariangirl.com

udecker
11-29-2007, 02:15 PM
I was thinking along similar lines, but according to what I've discovered, the debates are not regulated under the FEC equal-time rule:

http://www.museum.tv/archives/etv/E/htmlE/equaltimeru/equaltimeru.htm

Debates have, since the '70's, been considered "on-the-spot" news, and do apply under the "equal time" rule.

Blah.

MalcolmGandi
11-29-2007, 02:21 PM
[QUOTE=vegetarianrpfan;490131]Nope, believe me, it works. I got a personal reply from the station manager in question when I sent the above email, and I'm sure others did as well. We all just say that we are doing it for "Broadcast Standards of America Foundation" or some such group (or start such a group!), and they won't question. Have you ever heard of the AFA (American Family Association)? Their entire technique revolves around sending mass form letters to CEO's emails, and they get results. Someone getting mass emails from PO'd Christian-righters about "family trees" rather than Christmas trees at Lowe's or no mention of Christmas presents at the Gap gets results, often a personal reply from the CEO of that company and a promise to fix it immediately. The Architect of the Capitol recently went back on a decision to leave God off certificates because he got so many phone calls from AFA-ers.

I subscribe to the AFA emails for a laugh. Every day they email me an outraged note about how Christianity is being attacked, and the next day there's always an apologetic note from the CEO in question. 99% of the people send the same form email, but it works because it's en masse, and the AFA writes great, effective letters.

Hm... we should mass email the sponsors of CNN, one at a time.

murrayrothbard
11-29-2007, 02:24 PM
Come on. What good could possibly come out of complaining to the GOVERNMENT about bias on a cable news "debate"?? You do realize that is the same sort of the thing RP is campaigning AGAINST?? (i.e. government control of society) CNN has every right to be as blatantly biased, disinformative, etc as they want to. If you don't like it, don't watch it.

mollila
11-29-2007, 02:26 PM
CNN is NOT broadcast. It's on cable.
Just out of curiosity, the program was also broadcast live from CNN website. Do any laws or regulations apply to this format yet?

CurtisLow
11-29-2007, 04:06 PM
How about putting a complaint into the ( League of Women voters?)

They use to be in charge of the debates before right-wing took it from them.

Check out there web site..

http://www.lwv.org/AM/Template.cfm?Section=Home

ionlyknowy
11-29-2007, 04:17 PM
you can have a cause of action for libel, or slander depending on the medium in which it is conveyed.

If it is written then it is libel

Oral it is slander.

Now to have a cause of action for either of these you must show the following:

1. there was a statemtment, written, or spoken
2. it was published. (meaning coveyed to a third person)
3. it was in fact defamatory (hurt reputation)
4. the statment was false
5. For libel and slander per se, damages are presumed.
But for regular slander you must prove damages.

Now if the person is a public figure like Paul, then you must show malicious intent to defame.

I think that we have a cause of action, but we would have to show malicious intention to defame.

Can any of you do this?


CNN is a private news organization, and may do whatever they want in their programming. Court cases have said that the new may lie in their broadcasts, according to a Florida court.

There is another cause of action. This is Fraud. If the person lies to you and you rely on the lie, and you experience damages because of this reliance, then you can sue.
Now proving reliance and damages would be questionable. Plus not sure if that Florida ruling gives immunity to news broadcasts for this...

evadmurd
11-29-2007, 04:22 PM
Just out of curiosity, the program was also broadcast live from CNN website. Do any laws or regulations apply to this format yet?

I certainly hope not. RP would flip if we tried to get the feds involved with regulating the content of the internet.

WWRPD