Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

If you’ve been waiting for the right time to support our work—that time is now.

Our mission is simple: To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good.

But without the support of our readers, this model does not work and we simply won’t survive. It’s that simple.
We must meet our Mid-Year Campaign goal but we need you now.

Please, support independent journalism today.

Join the small group of generous readers who donate, keeping Common Dreams free for millions of people each year. Without your help, we won’t survive.

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during the first day of the Republican National Convention on August 24, 2020, in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo: Logan Cyrus/AFP via Getty Images)

To Prevent 'Disinformation Cesspool,' Networks Urged to Run RNC Convention on One-Minute Delay

Progressive coalition says that delay would allow outlets "to actively correct disinformation and prevent the American people from being lied to in real time."

Lisa Newcomb

In a letter to the presidents of major news networks Monday, a coalition of progressive groups asked that the airing of the Republican National Convention be delayed by one minute in order to "help prevent the spread of dangerous disinformation in real time."

Members of the coalition—including UltraViolet Action, ACRONYM, BlackPAC, Color of Change PAC, NARAL Pro-Choice America, and others—warn that a number of scheduled speakers at the RNC, with speeches and prime time coverage kicking off Monday night, have actively spread disinformation about the coronavirus pandemic, police violence, and abortion.
 

"As our nation battles the dual crises of systemic racism and the coronavirus pandemic, relying on the media for factual, life-saving information is crucial to the health of the American people and our democracy," the letter to the presidents of CNN, MSNBC, ABC, NBCUniversal and CBS reads.

The letter highlights Abby Johnson, an anti-abortion activist who has advocated against wearing masks to curb the spread of Covid-19, Mark and Patricia McCloskey, the couple made famous when a photo of the pair waving guns at Black Lives Matter protesters went viral, and Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), who has compared Covid-19 deaths to deaths from influenza while pushing the theory that the coronavirus was developed in a lab in Wuhan, China, according to the letter.

The groups called out President Donald Trump for pushing a "birther" conspiracy against former President Barack Obama and, more recently, about Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris.

"The best way to combat the spread of disinformation is to stop it at its source," the letter reads. "By putting the Republican National Convention on a one-minute time delay, your network will be able to actively correct disinformation in real time, and prevent the American people from being lied to on your airwaves. The future of our country, our people, and our democracy are at stake."

CNN's Brian Stelter warned that news outlets would have to deal with "asymmetric lying" by the nation's political parties, noting CNN fact-checks of the DNC convention last week showed the Democrats spoke mostly in "generalities or offered subjective opinions" but that factual assertions made by convention speakers "have largely been accurate."

"We have seen throughout history how false theories and misinformation have been used to justify oppression and racism if they are not countered and debunked in real time," said Kimberly Peeler-Allen, director of Higher Heights Political Fund. "The rhetoric that is anticipated to come from the RNC will put lives in danger whether it is misinformation about Covid-19 or language that can be used to justify attacks on Black and brown people. We strongly implore all of the major networks to institute a time delay and fact checking because it can and will save lives."

Bridget Todd, a spokesperson for UltraViolet Action, warned the GOP gathering would be a "disinformation cesspool filled with toxic misogyny, virulent racism, and flat out lies about the coronavirus pandemic."

Todd said that while it's not possible to keep the networks from airing the convention, "we can ask that they do their part to correct disinformation in real time and help stop its spread."

"CNN, MSNBC, ABC, NBC, and CBS have previously cut away or run fact-checks in real-time during coronavirus briefings, and this should be no different," Todd added. "We've seen what happens when disinformation is allowed to spread unchecked, and the risks are just too great."


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

"I'm sure this will be all over the corporate media, right?"
That’s what one longtime Common Dreams reader said yesterday after the newsroom reported on new research showing how corporate price gouging surged to a nearly 70-year high in 2021. While major broadcasters, newspapers, and other outlets continue to carry water for their corporate advertisers when they report on issues like inflation, economic inequality, and the climate emergency, our independence empowers us to provide you stories and perspectives that powerful interests don’t want you to have. But this independence is only possible because of support from readers like you. You make the difference. If our support dries up, so will we. Our crucial Mid-Year Campaign is now underway and we are in emergency mode to make sure we raise the necessary funds so that every day we can bring you the stories that corporate, for-profit outlets ignore and neglect. Please, if you can, support Common Dreams today.

 

'We WILL Fight Back': Outrage, Resolve as Protests Erupt Against SCOTUS Abortion Ruling

Demonstrators took to the streets Friday to defiantly denounce the Supreme Court's right-wing supermajority after it rescinded a constitutional right for the first time in U.S. history.

Brett Wilkins ·


80+ US Prosecutors Vow Not to Be Part of Criminalizing Abortion Care

"Criminalizing and prosecuting individuals who seek or provide abortion care makes a mockery of justice," says a joint statement signed by 84 elected attorneys. "Prosecutors should not be part of that."

Kenny Stancil ·


Progressives Rebuke Dem Leadership as Clyburn Dismisses Death of Roe as 'Anticlimactic'

"The gap between the Democratic leadership, and younger progressives on the question of 'How Bad Is It?' is just enormous."

Julia Conley ·


In 10 Key US Senate Races, Here's How Top Candidates Responded to Roe Ruling

While Republicans unanimously welcomed the Supreme Court's rollback of half a century of reproductive rights, one Democrat said "it's just wrong that my granddaughter will have fewer freedoms than my grandmother did."

Brett Wilkins ·


Sanders Says End Filibuster to Combat 'Outrageous' Supreme Court Assault on Abortion Rights

"If Republicans can end the filibuster to install right-wing judges to overturn Roe v. Wade, Democrats can and must end the filibuster, codify Roe v. Wade, and make abortion legal and safe," said the Vermont senator.

Jake Johnson ·

Common Dreams Logo