Skip to main content

A 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 without explicit claim by the seller, for which the seller is liable.
Most of the time you will find your state's consumer protections in the same areas as statutes regarding contracts, and agreements


Consumer Expectation

The areas titled consumer protection tend to be less informative because those statutes are newer than contract and agreement laws, and drafted for specific situations and purposes -- purposes not already covered by transaction, contract, and agreement statutes.
The purpose of these statutes are various, 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, a method of security, functional steering, and that all of these things work so that the automobile is a usable means of transportation.
These components are expected to exist and to work properly, because the seller told us that what we are purchasing is a "Car" and they are required components even without the explicit claim of their existence. So saying ~ "Well, I never told Mr. Jones that this car had brakes." is not a valid means of defense when the "car" plows into a wall because of brake failure.
The consumer expectations doctrine states that manufacturers are liable for product-induced harm whenever the product is considered "dangerous to an extent beyond that which would be contemplated by the ordinary consumer who purchases it, with the ordinary knowledge common to the community as to its characteristics." Giglio v.Conn. Light & Power Co., 429 A.2d 486, 488 (Conn. 1980) Typically, "[w]hether a product is unreasonably dangerous is a question of fact [about which jury members] . . . . can draw[  their own reasonable conclusions as to the expectations of the ordinary consumer and the knowledge common in the community at large." Id. at 489]
With recent events, and the growing level of inaccuracy I feel the time is overdue for the establishment of a  specific level of consumer protection. If a broadcast or publication is advertising itself as NEWS then that publication or broadcast should be held accountable for the quality level of their product.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 as an implied level of content (e.g. The Real Story with Gretchen Carlson which is aired on Fox News Channel, and is described by its marketing to be "Focused on current events in the news, including stories involving crime and politics"). There are a documented set of reasonable expectations implied by that claim.
When a citizen of the United States pays for a newspaper, or cable TV with the purpose of consuming news there are explicit expectations inherent in that purchase.

Such expectations are

ACCURACY: that the details are accurate  
EVENTS OCCURRED: that these events happened
LOCATIONS: these events happened where reported
RESPONSIBLE: these events are as serious as reported
RELIABLE CONSEQUENCE: the editorial commentary is informed
DEPENDABLE: That claims of near future results are backed by research


On Expectation and 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 to be 65% of reported claims of facts, including implied facts given by expert opinion and editorial commentary to be accurate.
The level 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. This happens to professional and academic researchers as well, which is the purpose of Peer Review and Challenges of Accuracy.
However, 65% accuracy is a reasonable expectation. While mistakes are made (and this is an agreed point), more than 35% of the claims being made by a source calling itself "News" over a 30 day period being inaccurate, false or misleading, is not reasonable. Not reasonable for NEWS. Inaccuracies of that magnitude suggest willful negligence -- a disregard of accuracy. Also a blatant disregard for consumers, who are making decisions based on the reported information. In simple terms, it demonstrates a malice or malicious intent
In any statutory definition of a crime, malice must be taken ... as requiring either:
  1. an actual intention to do the particular kind of harm that in fact was done; or
  2. recklessness as to whether such harm should occur or not (i.e. the accused has foreseen that the particular kind of harm might be done and yet has gone on to take the risk of it).


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, it seems the weather reporters at least have nothing to worry about.
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 FTC "guidelines" are a very good place to begin with the composition of these consumer protection laws for my state.
The FTC’s stated functions include:
  1. preventing the dissemination of false or deceptive advertisements of consumer products and services;
  2. ensuring the truthful labeling of products;


I believe, that if these levels of expected accuracy are not met, then the broadcast should not be allowed use the term "News" as part of its name or to advertise/promote/describe 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.
The inspiration for this proposed level of consumer protection in fact came from Jon Stewart's explanation of the difference between his show and shows which claim to be "News". Jon Stewart is widely regarded as the most trustworthy man in America -- even if as he says, this is a protest vote --his show provides a yardstick against the level of factual content that news shows can provide the population.
News is a required commodity. As citizens, as people, we require this product, for our life, liberty and pursuit of happiness.  A selection of independent, unregulated sources for reliable news is important to every demographic. If news were a food it would be protein.
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 CONSUMER PROTECTION LAWS for our state would not be in violation or contest against the Freedom of Speech rights provided by the First 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 cited 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 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 are no protections 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 publicly aware product identifiers.
Noun
n(y)o͞oz
news noun :newly received or noteworthy information, especially about recent or important events


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

Barnhurst, Kevin. 2013. “‘Trust Me, I’m an Innovative Journalist’, and Other Fictions.” Rethinking Journalism—Trust and Participation in a Transformed News Landscape, 210–20.
Barry, Colleen L., Marian Jarlenski, Rachel Grob, Mark Schlesinger, and Sarah E. Gollust. 2011. “News Media Framing of Childhood Obesity in the United States from 2000 to 2009.” Pediatrics 128 (1): 132–45.
Brossard, Dominique. 2013. “New Media Landscapes and the Science Information Consumer.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 110 (Supplement 3): 14096–101.
Carroll, Craig Eugene. n.d. “How the Mass Media Influence Perceptions of Corporate Reputation : Exploring Agenda-Setting Effects within Business News Coverage /.”
“Defects in Warnings.” 2015. Findlaw. Accessed July 21. http://injury.findlaw.com/product-liability/defects-in-warnings.html.
Fico, Frederick, Stephen Lacy, Steven S. Wildman, Thomas Baldwin, Daniel Bergan, and Paul Zube. 2013. “Citizen Journalism Sites as Information Substitutes and Complements for United States Newspaper Coverage of Local Governments.” Digital Journalism 1 (1): 152–68.
Germano, Fabrizio, and Martin Meier. 2013. “Concentration and Self-Censorship in Commercial Media.” Journal of Public Economics 97: 117–30.
Kiviniemi, Marc T., and Lynn T. Kozlowski. 2015. “Deficiencies in Public Understanding about Tobacco Harm Reduction: Results from a United States National Survey.” Harm Reduction Journal 12 (1): 21.
Klass, Gregory. 2012. “Meaning, Purpose, and Cause in the Law of Deception.” Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works, January. http://scholarship.law.georgetown.edu/facpub/633.
Kysar, Douglas A. 2003. “The Expectations of Consumers.” Cornell Law Faculty Publications. http://scholarship.law.cornell.edu/lsrp_papers/32.
“Malice (law).” 2015. Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Malice_(law)&oldid=653291948.
McCombs, Maxwell. 2013. Setting the Agenda: The Mass Media and Public Opinion. John Wiley & Sons. https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=rUs80vbRDdIC&oi=fnd&pg=PP2&dq=United+states+news+media+level+of+accuracy+2013&ots=Kz7X_iW5O4&sig=xbG8X3j130Q_uv2GsfHmyzTt3KY.
Obijiofor, Levi, and Folker Hanusch. 2013. “Students’ Perceptions and Use of the Internet as a News Channel.” http://theses.covenantuniversity.edu.ng/handle/123456789/261.
Pavlik, John V. 2013. Journalism and New Media. Columbia University Press. https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=_qtm6EWRZO0C&oi=fnd&pg=PT8&dq=United+states+news+media+level+of+accuracy+2013&ots=ZhT7y6vzA6&sig=luavgeSuzsFOGeey7GQzFymEgeU.
Porlezzo, Colin, and Stephan Russ-Mohl. 2013. “GETTING THE FACTS STRAIGHT IN A DIGITAL ERA.” Rethinking Journalism: Trust and Participation in a Transformed News Landscape, 45.
Prior, Markus. 2013. “Media and Political Polarization.” Annual Review of Political Science 16: 101–27.
“Public Perceptions of Bias the News Media: Taking A Closer Look at the Hostile Media Phenomenon.” n.d.
Robinson, Rashad. 2015. “The ColorOfChange News Accuracy Report Card  Dangerous Levels of Inaccuracy in  TV Crime Reporting in NYC.” ColorOfChange.org.
Rose, Max, and Frank R. Baumgartner. 2013. “Framing the Poor: Media Coverage and US Poverty Policy, 1960–2008.” Policy Studies Journal 41 (1): 22–53.
Smith, L. Douglas, Michael Staten, Thomas Eyssell, Maureen Karig, Beth A. Freeborn, and Andrea Golden. 2013. “Accuracy of Information Maintained by US Credit Bureaus: Frequency of Errors and Effects on Consumers’ Credit Scores.” Journal of Consumer Affairs 47 (3): 588–601.
Solove, Daniel J., and Woodrow Hartzog. 2014a. “The FTC and Privacy and Security Duties for the Cloud.” http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/Papers.cfm?abstract_id=2424998.
———. 2014b. “The FTC and the New Common Law of Privacy.” Columbia Law Review, 583–676.
Street, 1615 L., NW, Suite 700 Washington, and DC 20036 202 419 4300 | Main 202 419 4349 | Fax 202 419 4372 | Media Inquiries. 2015. “Further Decline in Credibility Ratings for Most News Organizations.” Pew Research Center for the People and the Press. Accessed July 21. http://www.people-press.org/2012/08/16/further-decline-in-credibility-ratings-for-most-news-organizations/.
West, Darrell M. 2013. Air Wars: Television Advertising and Social Media in Election Campaigns, 1952-2012. Sage. https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=QiXYXZiUYoQC&oi=fnd&pg=PR1&dq=United+states+news+media+level+of+accuracy+2013&ots=WMwv2cXp0P&sig=WrFP9Ryeg8jW-BSbrGr9YKqboF8.






Catch Glenn on Twitter Noir Writer

And Check out the new site for Noir Stories -- Noir Street -- Tales of Shadow and Lust

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The Lies of Dr. Peter McCullough

Dr. Peter McCullough Anti-vaccine cardiologist was sued, and now risks loss of board certification . Baylor Scott & White Health is seeking $1 million in a lawsuit filed in July against  Peter A. McCullough, M.D., MPH   for allegedly spreading COVID-19 misinformation under the Baylor name in media interviews. The lawsuit alleges that, since leaving Baylor, he “has conducted dozens, if not hundreds, of interviews in print and video appearances” while appearing to hold titles related to Baylor. In February, McCullough left his position as vice chief of internal medicine for cardiovascular disease at Baylor University Medical Center and agreed “not to state that he is employed by or affiliated” with the health system. [Osborne R.  Lawsuit: Former Baylor Scott & White doctor used Baylor title while spreading COVID-19 misinformation . WFAA News, Aug 26, 2021] A District Court has granted a temporary  restraining order  prohibiting any affiliation with the plaintiffs.  McCullough

Forensic Blunders #001
The Bleeding Corpse

The Bleeding Corpse:  Your MC comes down the wooden stairway, that was old when he was born, and into the cellar of the house. He descends into musty smells, feeling layers of dust and dank as he submerges into the thick air. A single naked, low watt light-bulb hangs over the laundry area to the right, On the smooth cement floor inside that lonely pool of light lays the body of Mrs. Katt. Blood is dripping out of her eyes like tears... Your character better rush to the phone and call Emergency help. Now! Go! Because Mrs. Katt is still alive!

Biden Losing His Mind and ... WAIT! There's More!

We are currently inside the grips of a pandemic that has been going on in the U.S. since January of 2020. Right now we are in the Delta phase , and heading toward a yet to be understood Mu phase .   Yesterday, ~500 people died in the state of Florida. The daily average is 350, a day. Not a week or a month. Every day .  These days most of them are young.