Fake News = Weakened Democracy

"The public's ability to participate in the rule-making process was undermined" when the administration of California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger produced video news releases (VNRs) promoting controversial proposals, ruled Sacramento Superior Court judge Lloyd Connelly. "By including comments from the public that are solely supporting" of the proposed regulations, the fake TV news reports created "the misleading impression that the regulations are unopposed by any segments of the public and are not subject to criticism, thereby discouraging any further questioning or investigation of the matter by the public," Connelly wrote in his decision. Three labor unions had brought a lawsuit against the Schwarzenegger VNRs, which touted since-rejected proposals to remove workers' lunch break guarantees and to delay mandated nurse-to-patient staffing ratios. "The court has once again stopped the governor's extremely abusive practice of using public funds to promote the economic gains of his corporate donors," said a California Nurses Association spokesperson.