Grassroots Commentary

Full Disclosure for All!

Leigh Bravo · May 28, 2015

Our government has pushed food labeling to the extreme. Demanding that calories, fat, sugar and other ingredients be fully visible to the public in order for them to be able to make informed decisions about the food they eat. But what about informing the public about the news they receive on a daily basis? Does the public deserve the same transparency about their news sources that the government is now demanding from food manufacturers and restaurants? After all, if how the public is informed will affect the way this country is governed, shouldn’t the they be informed what political party a news anchor, reporter or station supports before they get their daily dose of political propaganda?

Have you ever wondered about the news anchor or the station that you watch on a daily basis? Do you know the political party of the owner of the news station you listen to on a daily basis? Do you ever wonder whether the political leanings of reporters actually affects the news they report? When a nightly news anchor choses the stories they report on a daily basis, do they choose them or alter them according to their political leanings? Does the public now receive the news in a completely unbiased format? We have all seen the political polarization that has intensified in this country over the last several years. Lines have been drawn between friends and family, relationships strained, friends lost and unfriended on Facebook over political opinions and leanings. But what about the very people who are supposed to inform us, without personal feelings, about the most important events happening around us on a daily basis?

Did you know that all journalists are required to follow a Code of Ethics? As part of these ethics, news anchors are supposed to "distinguish between advocacy and news reporting,“ while simultaneously "seeking truth and providing a fair and comprehensive account of events and issues.” But, is this what they do today? Are you actually receiving a fair and comprehensive account of the news or are you receiving political propaganda and half-truths according to the political leanings of the station and reporter feeding you the news on a daily basis? Are they using the news as a platform to further the political agenda of the party they support?

The American people used to count on the press to act as a check and balance with our political leaders. To question motives, decisions, actions and ethics. Would President Nixon have resigned because of Watergate had Bob Woodard and Carl Bernstein not investigated and exposed his illegal actions? Has it become obvious that this era of reporters and so-called journalists no longer honor their ethical responsibilities over their personal beliefs and views?

As we are now headed into a big election year, 2016 stands to be the most important election this country has seen in years. It is not only about which party will lead us the next four years, but which direction this country will be headed. The Democratic and Republican parties have chosen polar opposite directions in which they believe the country should be headed. It is imperative that the public be fully and correctly informed about the platforms that each party supports. It is imperative that the public be fully and correctly informed about the actions the Democrats and Republicans have taken and will take in order to follow the platforms they support and further the agenda they have chosen to follow. So should we, the people, be given full disclosure about the very people and stations that deliver the news?

George Stephanopoulos: Host of "Good Morning America" and "This Week with George Stephanopoulos". George is a Democrat, and served as communications director for Bill Clinton and later became his White House communications director. It was recently discovered that he donated $75,000 to the Clinton Foundation all while he grilled Peter Schweitzer on his recent book, "Clinton Cash,“ which casts a shadow of doubt on the source and use of Clinton charity funds.

Christiane Amanpour: CNN anchor. Christiane is a Democrat and is married to former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State James Rubin, a democrat and an informal adviser to Hilary Clinton, presidential candidate.

Chris Cuomo: Democrat and former host of "Good Morning America,” “20/20” and currently CNN’s morning show “New Day.” Chris’s father, Mario Cuomo, was the former Democratic Mayor of New York. His brother, Andrew Cuomo, is the current Democratic New York Governor.

Brian Williams:  ABC anchor and Democrat. He began his career as a White House intern under Jimmy Carter. Recently, he was suspended for 6 months due to fabricated news stories.

Savannah Gutherie: Co-anchor of the “Today Show” and co-anchor of MSNBC’s “The Daily Rundown.” Savannah is currently married to Democratic political and communications consultant, Michael Feldman.

Rachael Maddow: Anchor of the “Rachel Maddow Show” on MSNBC. A 2011 Hollywood Reporter profile of Maddow said that she was able to deliver news “with agenda, but not hysteria." A Newsweek profile noted, "At her best, Maddow debates ideological opponents with civility and persistence… But for all her eloquence, she can get so wound up ripping Republicans that she sounds like another smug cable partisan.”

Bill O'Reilly:  Anchor of “The O'Reilly Factor” on Fox News, a conservative station, who is a registered “independent” yet a traditionalist. He is married to Maureen McPhilmy, a public relations representative.

Megyn Kelly:  Anchor of “The Kelly File” on Fox News who considers herself to be a moderate and reasonable. She often speaks in ways that run counter to Fox’s image. She is married to Douglas Brunt, who is a full time writer and novelist.

Did you know?

1.) ABC News President, Ben Sherwood, is the brother of Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall, a top national security adviser to President Obama.

2.) CNN’s deputy Washington Bureau chief, , is married to Tom Nides, who was deputy secretary of state under Hillary Clinton.

3.) Former White House press secretary, Jay Carney’s wife, Claire Shipman, is a veteran reporter for ABC, and currently is the senior national correspondent for Good Morning America.

4.) NPR’s White House correspondent, Ari Shapiro, is married to Michael Gottlieb, who is currently employed at the Obama White House counsel’s office.

5.) Michele Norris of NPR’s “All Things Considered,” is married to Broderick Johnson, who worked for Senator John Kerry’s presidential campaign and then moved on as an unpaid adviser to Obama’s campaign in 2008, and full-time advisor in 2011.

6.) The Post’s Justice Department reporter, Sari Horwitz, is married to William Schultz, the general counsel of the Department of Human Services under the Obama Administration.

7.) David Rhodes, CBS news division president is the brother of Benjamin Rhodes, a key foreign policy specialist under Obama. Both David and Benjamin also work at the NSC on foreign policy issues directly related to Benghazi.

Let’s go even further and disclose that only six corporations own and control the majority of mass media outlets in the United States.

1.) Disney

2.) CBS Corporation

3.) News Corporation

4.) Viacom

5.) Time Warner

6.) Comcast

So what happens when a news story involves bad publicity for one of these companies, or goes against the political agenda they are pushing? Could the story be shut down or underplayed in the media? The Telecommunication Act of 1996, signed into effect by then-President Bill Clinton, enabled this handful of corporations to expand their power and enabled tighter control of information. Chris Hedges argues that corporate media control “of nearly everything we read, watch or hear” is an aspect of what political philosopher Sheldon Wolin calls "inverted totalitarianism.“ This is defined as a situation "where every natural resource and every living being is commoditized ad exploited to collapse as the citizenry is lulled and manipulated into surrendering their liberties and their participation in government through excess consumerism and sensationalism.”

As the sources for all our news gets smaller and smaller, and the majority seemingly controlled by one political faction, it is time to demand full disclosure before every news cast so the public is truly informed who is spoon-feeding them their news for the day.

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