Podcast Propaganda

With podcast media on the rise, it seems everyone with an opinion and enough money for audio equipment has the platform to reach thousands of listeners. Rick Wiles is a pastor, and a  self-described, “prophet and citizen reporter.” Based out of Florida, he is the host of “The End Times” and survivalist themed radio program “Trunews.” His podcast is available on the platform iHeartMedia which reaches 90% of Americans each month. The  conservative Christian is being popularized in the last week for his spewing comments such as, “Covid-19 vaccines were the product of a Global coup d’état by the most evil cabal of people in the history of mankind.” The rightist conspirators are unfortunate all over popular media, with high followerships on Spotify and Apple music. The “citizen reporters” in this case, primary focus is spreading misleading propaganda of information surrounding Covid-19 and effective treatments for it. The research done by the article provides that iHeart radio does now have a section in their content guidelines about promoting misleading or false states regarding Covid-19. Apple’s content guidelines were also very broad, not covering this new avenue of content. Spotify on the other hand specifically spells out their stance on misleading and false statements made about Covid-19 as well a swift removal process. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has not taken charge yet on this issue but could begin to investigate given the rise in public disapproval of other digital media platforms such as Instagram, Facebook and Youtube for topics similar. The FCC proclaims that since podcasts are not a part of public airwaves then it is not in the jurisdiction  to take charge. As for the tech giants some have taken the negative media attention seriously and made changes to the content guideline and libraries. Youtube just in September of 2021 banned accounts of popular anti-vaccine activists, following suit. Twitter went as far as scrubbing all of their ad placements to not have any anti-vaccine promotions after the Facebook trials in 2019. There seems to be a lack of government interest and a level of liability to fix this problem. Due to the rise of these “independent journalists” movement around media companies, it is hard to pin them down for fines and offenses due to the first amendment and fear of retaliation from the fervent supporters. The best it seems we can do for the moment, is keep the public warry on the source and media choices they are using, while promoting more holistic research practices. 

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