Thursday, February 11, 2010

Some things never change at WLBT

If you're a broadcasting student in this fine land, you've probably had to learn about the case of WLBT-TV in Jackson, Mississippi.

This case was instrumental in the FCC establishing that stations aren't allowed to intentionally distort news coverage. Back in the '50 and '60s, WLBT refused to cover the civil rights movement. The station cut off the network's coverage and replaced it with segregationist editorials.

Because WLBT distorted the news so flagrantly, the FCC ordered its license to be transferred to a different owner. Only then did the station mend its ways.

But now WLBT seems to be lapsing back into the wicked ways of a half-century ago.

When WLBT reported today on Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour's signing of a new law that will inconvenience allergy sufferers, the piece I found online didn't bother to get the side of those who oppose this law. Indeed, the piece contains this remark at the bottom: "This press release was issued by the Governor's Communications Office."

So WLBT is just repeating state government propaganda verbatim?

At least WLBT is being honest by including the note at the end. These days, many news organizations don't even bother to do that, and just expect everyone to believe official propaganda without identifying its source. This is especially true regarding the very issue at hand here: the war on Sudafed. The media often amplifies drug warrior lies without noting that these fibs are put out by those with a vested interest.

Following Congress's 1996 bailout for corporate media, America now has an official media for spreading government propaganda. And WLBT is part of it.

No comments:

Post a Comment