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Reasonable Expectation

Most states have Consumer Protection laws, which protect their citizens against fraud, falsehoods and scams. Such laws in action say that there are expectations inherent in products, which any reasonable person would regard as expected to exist, and to function correctly without explicit claim by the seller, which the seller is to be responsible for their condition and existence. You can generally discover your state's protections in the statutes regarding contracts, agreements, and then consumer protection areas. The consumer protection areas are generally less informative because these statutes are generally newer than the contract and agreement laws, and were drafted for specific situations and purposes which were not covered already by transaction, contract, and agreement statutes already in place and applicable.

The purpose of these statutes are for various areas, but an example would be -- When you buy a new car from the lot, it is reasonable to assume that the car has: brakes, an engine, four tires, a driver's seat, method of security, functional method of steering, and that all of these things work properly so that the automobile can be used as a means of transportation.

These components are expected, because the seller said it was a "car" and the seller is responsible for them to exist even without the explicit claim of their existence. In other words, you can't say
"Well, I never told Mr. Jones that this car had brakes." as valid means of defense against liability for damages resulting from the "car" plowing into a wall because of brake failure.

With recent events, and the growing level of inaccuracy, I feel the time has come that a new and specific level of consumer protection be established. That being the claim of a broadcast, either on the Internet or on Television or Radio identifying the show as "News" either by title (e.g. Fox News), or implied level of content (e.g. The Real Story with Gretchen Carlson which is aired on Fox News Channel, and is described by its producers and marketing to be "Focused on current events in the news, including stories involving crime and politics"), and the reasonable expectations implied by that claim, which can be assumed by our citizens, without the explicit claim being made by the show, to be accurate in their claims of an event's attributes, such as: origin of event, claim of results of event, damages of from event, level of threat of event, events directly resulting from the reported event or near future consequences deriving as a result of event.

Near future consequences being defined for this purpose as events or results claimed to be or implied will happen within the next 30 days.

On the Expectation of the level of accuracy. I believe a consumer protection law should be established by my state which guards this expectation. The level should be what a reasonable person would agree is possible and not an undue burden. I suggest that this level is 75% of reported claims, and facts, as well as implied facts, given from expert opinion and factual content of events should be accurate.

The expectation of 100% or even 90% is not reasonable. Even the most diligent researcher occasionally takes the word of a false source or misinterprets a reliable source of information. Mistakes happen, and these are often followed up with apologies and the corrected information after the error has been recognized. This is also recognized by professional and academic researchers, which is the purpose and basis of Peer Review and Challenges of Accuracy.

However, 75% accuracy is, a reasonable level to expect. While mistakes are made and this is an agreed point, more than 25% of the claims being made by a source calling itself "News" over a 30 day period being inaccurate is not reasonable. Inaccuracies of that magnitude suggest purpose and intention -- or lack of credible source and disregard of the level of inaccuracy from that source since the source is profitable or useful on other levels to the show. In simple terms, it demonstrates an intention to defraud for profit.
I was going to put in this section a disclaimer or suggested exemption on weather reports, specifying that the exemption would only apply to the actual prediction of the weather, and not everything said by the weather person, but according to the National Weather Service weather reports in the Washington area (this only pertained to 6-10 day predictions) were at an average of 90% for the years between 2001-2006. So I'll take that into account but will likely simply suggest a complete exemption from the standard (suggestions welcome).


You might be tempted to suggest that these protections already exist via the FCC. Apparently this is not the case. In a court case involving Fox News, the judge of that case expressed that the FCC regulations are not, in fact, laws. They are at best, guidelines. But I do believe that the FCC "guidelines" are a very good place to begin with the composition of these consumer protection laws for my state.

I believe, that if these levels of expected accuracy are not met, then the broadcast should not be allowed to proclaim itself to our citizens as being "News" as part of its name or to advertise/promote/describe the itself as "News" or imply in any form or method that it is a reliable source of "information" or that it reports on "current events" or that its commentary is from "experts".

For example, the Daily Show with Jon Stewart makes no such claim, either in their name, "The Daily Show", the method of broadcast "The Comedy Channel" or from Jon Stewart who repeatedly reminds viewers and those who throw stones, "Hey, this is a comedy show, not News." and reminds viewers on a regular basis that he is a Comedian.



Crossfire was taken off the air Jan, 2005. It came back 2013, then failed to continue 2014.

Jon Stewart's interview was on Oct 15th, 2004.



The inspiration for this proposed level of consumer protection by the laws of the state in fact come from Jon Stewart's explanation of the difference between his show and shows which claim to be "News" shows. The idea that Job Stewart is widely regarded as the most trustworthy man in America -- even if as he says, this is a protest vote -- provides a yardstick against the level of factual content that news shows are providing the population. News is a needed commodity. As citizens, as people, we require in our lives, for our life, liberty and pursuit of happiness a selection of independent, *unregulated sources for reliable news. If news were a food it would be protein.

*I used the term 'unregulated' in the above paragraph, and the intention of my use of that word is to encompass both government regulation, as well as private and corporate regulation of accuracy. The content should be self regulated. If they do not wish to report on something, or only wish to report on a subset of the whole, that should be up to them.

Trustworthy, reliable news, based on facts, provided to the people reduces stress, improves economic standing, promotes a more effective government, bolsters the level of education, and limits the level of deception that can be marketed at the population.

On the counter side, providers who market their broadcasts as "News" who are not factual, promote distrust of government and political parties, increases stress, limits education, degrades public interest, dampens the economy, decreases market spending, and fosters an environment for paranoia and propaganda.

Such provider protection laws for our state would not at all be in violation or contest against the Freedom of Speech rights provided by the 1st Amendment, nor would they in anyway limit or contest the right of the Freedom of the Press.

The Freedom of the Press clause of the US Constitution, as quoted from Wikipedia -- "

The Free Press Clause protects the right of individuals to express themselves through publication and dissemination of information, ideas and opinions without interference, constraint or prosecution by the government."

This definition is cite as being based on The Cornell University definition provided on their web site -- which I will base the rest of my argument on, since it is cited by many other publications as having been proven to be accurate, and reliable, as well as inline with Supreme Court decisions.  As such I will quote what this page says on the subject of the protection of the press.
Despite popular misunderstanding the right to freedom of the press guaranteed by the first amendment is not very different from the right to freedom of speech. It allows an individual to express themselves through publication and dissemination. It is part of the constitutional protection of freedom of expression. It does not afford members of the media any special rights or privileges not afforded to citizens in general.

Thus, there is no protection for a show to call itself "News" or claim they are "News" in any fashion. In fact, the term "News" is a marketing issue of product identification and nothing more. It is exactly like Ford claiming to manufacture "automobiles" or "cars", or "trucks". Those terms are known as publically aware product identifiers.

In the state of Washington the applicable statute is RCW 19.86.020
Unfair competition, practices, declared unlawful.
Unfair methods of competition and unfair or deceptive acts or practices in the conduct of any trade or commerce are hereby declared unlawful.

I therefore  put forward that this act is necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health, safety, as well as in support of the state government.

Reference and research of claims to follow.





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