Nov. 25, 2015 SIGN IN | REGISTER

Cohen: We Must Hold the Media Accountable

At the end of the piece, Ventura says, “We’ve already allowed our elected officials to break all kinds of laws designed to protect you and me,” implying that I and my colleagues in Congress are purposefully and illegally working against the people we represent. I find this statement, along with much of Ventura’s piece, a reckless and damaging insult. This show makes professional wrestling, where Ventura earned his fortune, look like an Olympic sport.

While the First Amendment serves a vital purpose in our society, the use of airwaves to incite citizens to distrust their government, based on deliberately told falsehoods, is appalling and could lead to people getting hurt. Remember that Timothy McVeigh blew up a federal building in Oklahoma City because of a consuming hatred and distrust of the government. Reputable media outlets must take it upon themselves to help expose media charlatans like truTV to protect the American public.

TBS and Time Warner have a moral and civic responsibility not to disseminate information they know to be false, particularly when it is dressed up to appear as investigative reporting. Should someone get hurt as a result of this unsubstantiated programming, the media will be undeniably held responsible for it. And I would hate to see someone get hurt as a result of callously airing lazy, irresponsible and fear-mongering programming. The media must take personal responsibility when airing what they purport to be fact, and we must take the responsibility to hold them accountable when they fall dangerously short.

Rep. Steve Cohen, a Democrat, represents Tennessee’s 9th district.

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