Originally Posted by jamac
. Should we be able to prosecute news outfits who purposely spread fear?
Maybe. There is a word which we use a lot for deliberately spreading fear in a population. It's called terrorism
. Terrorism has lots of different MOs, but the end result is to get results by intimidation. The FBI defines it thus: The unlawful use of force or violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a Government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives.
Spreading fear by publicizing fake terrorist warnings is terrorism itself. If I called in a fake bomb warning causing an evacuation and got caught in the act, I would be charged (and most justifiably so) with all manner of serious offenses, not the least, terrorism related charges. However, if Fox News, CNN or the other members of the Axis of Weasel does the same thing by scaring the living sh¡t out of the population by broadcasting fake warnings about bogus threats/attacks (which they have done on countless occasions in the last 8 years) without fact-checking, they should also be held, to some extent, accountable.
Anyone recall the 45 minutes warning of biological/chemical attacks on any US city by Saddam Hussein's fleet of WMD carrying drones? This was repeated on all the mainstream US media outlets in January and February 2003 on a semi continuous basis, causing a run on plastic sheeting and duct tape, the broadcast of emergency PSAs, and millions of very frightened (and admittedly gullible beyond all believable bounds), people. And the media knew
that all that stuff was utter garbage, yet they ran with it, in their default lip service to the administration of the day.
If that wasn't terrorism and was "acceptable", then getting on the phone and calling in a fake bomb threat, is also presumably OK, if we are not to delve into the sticky realms of "one law for them, another law for us" type of duplicity.