Should biased reporting be illegal?

When I first heard reports about Ofcom fines against biased reporting involving Russia, I assumed it was the Russian government cracking down on critics of Putin, but I was wrong.

Ofcom is the British Office of Communications, and they fined Russian news agencies £200,000 for their allegedly biased reporting that violated rules about “due impartiality”. Here is Ofcom’s press release:

The violations involved RT and Sputnik reports after the poisoning of Sergei Skirpal and his daughter in Salisbury, England, allegedly by Russian agents. Personally I don’t doubt that the RT reports were biased in that they represented the viewpoint of the Russian government. The fact that they represent the views of the Russian government should be clear to any viewer.

Of course many find BBC reporting in apparent violation of “due impartiality” involving political issues. For example here is a study that showed that over 96% of interviews involving Brexit were with supporters of remaining in the EU:

Others have claimed obvious bias in BBC reporting about the election of President Trump:

The US FCC used to enforce an “equal time” rule that required broadcasters to present different views more or less equally. That rule was abandoned in the 1980s.

Should the US bring back rules against biased reporting?

If so, how should anti-bias rules apply to state-supported media both from the US (PBS & NPR) and foreign governments (BBC, RT, etc.).

Should the rules apply just to broadcast reporting? Or should they include the internet, print, and other media?

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Fox News would be ■■■■■■■


Fox news is on cable and internet. I doubt that courts would allow enforcement of equal-time rules on non-broadcast media.

Broadcasts are a special case since the government owns the airwaves.

No thanks, the market can decide if the reporting is up to an acceptable standard.

I believe the case in your OP isn’t restricted to over the airwaves.

Yes, I agree. Hannity and other talk-radio programs could not exist if equal-time provisions returned.

Bias is in the eye of the beholder in many respects. Most bias comes in the form of omission, not outright misinformation.

True. Are you proposing a constitutional amendment to allow anti-bias rules?

Ministry of truth?

Come on Dude, now you’re playing games with your own OP.

Sometimes, that’s all you got.

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I guess I am a little perplexed. You go to great lengths to describe a fine imposed by the british government under their laws and then immediately swivel to the US to propose some kind of anti-bias rule.

Great Britain differs from the US with regards to freedom of the press… Using Britain as an example doesn’t make any sense.

There were NEVER any rules against biased reporting… I assume you are referring to the fairness doctrine. The fairness doctrine only applied to over the air broadcasts. Not cable, not internet services, nothing else.

No. Courts have ruled that the first amendment protects speech, even biased reporting.

An exception is for radio and television since the government owns the broadcast spectrum. Enforcing anti-bias rules would elsewhere would probably require a constitutional amendment.

If he wants to segue into a whole constitutional thing, forget it.

you really want the government to define what is “biased”

Small government.

Well, then there you go…end OP.

That was fast.

let pretend you get your amendment your okay with the government controlled by liberal defining what is “Bias” reporting.

Are you in favor of bringing back the fairness doctrine to broadcasts?

In the era of internet and cable, would rules on broadcasts really make much of a difference?

The OP is over.

I thought this was settled.