by Eric Zuesse for The Saker Blog
Writing or otherwise saying lies should be civilly but not criminally illegal, but publishing lies needs to remain entirely legal unless the publisher has not practiced due diligence to exclude falsehoods.
The responsibility to avoid expressing lies is 100% the responsibility of the violator, the person who lies; but the U.S. First Amendment principle, that “Congress shall make no law … abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press” didn’t include the words “no law” by mistake, but by intent, and it meant and means exactly the same thing today as it did when the Founders wrote it. It meant that no expression can be criminal. How, then, can there be a responsibility for lies, when the government cannot prohibit lies? It’s a civil responsibility; not a criminal one.
How, exactly, does the First Amendment pertain to a person who has lied? That person has full freedom of expression, and this freedom must not be abridged; however, this freedom does not mean the individual cannot be held legally responsible for harmful consequences that a jury would rule to be reasonably attributable to that lie; and this, for example, is the reason why, even in the United States, there do exist laws against libel and slander. Those are civil not criminal laws: they grant a right to an allegedly defamed person to sue his alleged defamer for damages that the alleged sufferer allegedly experienced from the allegedly false accusation; but the state, the government, is not bringing that suit. Congress has allowed the alleged victim to sue his alleged victimizer, but the government is not involved in any other way than providing a forum in which the contest between those two parties can be judged in the government’s courts — its civil courts, not a criminal court.
What, then, about the publisher? This is where the meaning of the First Amendment’s free-speech provision is now being hotly contested, as regards such ‘publishers’ as Google, Facebook, Twitter, etc.— the new interactive(-with-the-reader) ‘publication’-media.
Two types of these cases are in the news:
One type concerns defamation against individuals and-or corporations. Those individuals or corporations have a right to sue, as a civil matter. The First Amendment provides no civil immunity, only criminal immunity. A ‘publisher’ online has the same civil obligation, in this regard, no matter whether that publisher is online or offline. However, if online and interactive, then (to the extent that it is unselective and unedited in what it distributes to the public) only the liar can be sued; the online service itself cannot be. In this sense, such an online service-provider is not being treated as being a publisher.
A publisher selects and sometimes edits or changes articles etc. that its authors produce; a service such as Google isn’t supposed to do that. It’s supposed to be content-neutral.
The major court-contests in the United States regarding libel and slander concern the old, non-interactive, highly selective, media-forms; and, there, publishers have been almost universally held non-liable, except where the publisher has been found not to have practiced “due diligence” to avoid publishing a defamatory misrepresentation. Liars themselves are always civilly liable, because they are the source of any defamatory misrepresentation. For a publisher, due diligence, to avoid or else quickly rectify any misrepresentation, is the standard.
However, if the publisher is an interactive online provider, and is only a passive medium between its authors and its audience, then only the liar himself is liable, and that is only civil, and not criminal, liability. There is no “due diligence” required of such a distributor. The legal system regarding online interactive publishers has been in effect since 1996, and is well and succinctly described here. As that shows, defamatory postings online are generally solely the responsibility of the poster, not shared with responsibility on the part of the service-provider (or ‘publisher’).
For examples: Google, Facebook, and Twitter are not expected to edit, in any way, what they ‘publish’. Only a publisher that selects its authors, and hires editors to do so and maybe even to modify what its authors say or how they say it, is to share in the obligation not to defame (libel or slander: lie against) anyone. Any ‘publisher’ that is entirely passive is not a publisher but merely a medium, a conveyance, from its authors, to its audience. (Anyone who wants to see, in more detail, the provision of U.S. law which the last link here was relying upon, can find some of those legal details regarding passive media here. As that notes: “The legal protections provided by CDA 230 are unique to U.S. law; European nations, Canada, Japan, and the vast majority of other countries do not have similar statutes on the books. While these countries have high levels of Internet access, most prominent online services are based in the United States. This is in part because CDA 230 makes the U.S. a safe haven for websites that want to provide a platform for controversial or political speech and a legal environment favorable to free expression.” Any non-U.S. reader here needs to be aware that duplicating CDA 230 will be essential to any country that aims to be market-competitive online against the U.S-based online services. However, as will now be discussed, those American firms might be about to lose their protection, and to become full-fledged publishers, not merely distributors.)
The other type concerns political expressions, and this is subject to rules that right now are being formed. There is massive public pressure upon the interactive online providers to censor-out unpopular political expressions. The standard here isn’t only (or even mainly) truth-falsity, but whatever anyone might find offensive or repugnant. Google, Facebook, Twitter, etc., are now hiring thousands of individuals to censor, and they also are designing, and installing into their systems, algorithms automatically censoring out, voices that those firms’ managements don’t want to reach the public. This is mega-corporate censorship (such as is routine among American publishers), not government censorship. It provides these ‘social media’ the opportunity to warp political elections (like traditional major media do) so as to produce wins for candidates who favor those corporations, and losses for candidates who don’t. But the public are nonetheless demanding it, and members of Congress — especially Democratic Party ones — seem especially eager to comply, and are holding hearings on the matter, so as to encourage (if not force) moguls such as Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook, to become the political censors that the Government itself is prohibited from being. Increasingly, the U.S. is becoming a mega-corporate dictatorship, and the public are encouraging, instead of fighting, that trend.
On November 10th, Michael Rechtenwald, of New York University, headlined at Russia’s RT News, “Only thing clear about the new Transparency Act [actually now only a bill, not an ‘Act’] is that US senators are about to let Google keep manipulating your search results”, and he reported on, and linked to, a battle now in the U.S. Congress, over whether to require political censorship by these service-providers. For example: “Google blacklists sources and prevents them from appearing in news results or featured links. Google’s blacklist is a manually curated file including over 500 websites that are excluded from news results.” Facebook has been doing this for years, just like Google and Twitter have. Legislation currently being proposed in Congress doesn’t merely allow those firms to censor the Internet, but demands that they do it. (What America’s online-service providers already are doing is to violate the protections they enjoy under CDA 230. As soon as there will be court-cases testing this, Facebook, Google and Twitter will need to backtrack on what they have been doing, or else CDA 230 will need to be amended so as to treat these firms, in the full sense, as being “publishers.”)
So: this is the hot spot, right now, about censorship in the United States. If the Government itself is prohibited, by the First Amendment, to engage in censorship; then, can the job of censorship be contracted-out, or privateered, to corporations such as Google, Facebook, and Twitter? This censorship is already being practiced, but maybe soon it will be required. This would make it even easier for incumbent politicians to crush challengers and to protect incumbents from needing to face primary contests against themselves in their own parties. Members of Congress would be able to get big from, and give big to, the internet giants. The deals would be unspoken, but no less potent than if they were in print. Congressional Republicans seem less favorable toward this trend than congressional Democrats are, because Democrats have generally received more money from those firms than Republicans have. For example: the Republican President Trump condemns “political correctness” (the imposition of censorship). Democrats have recently become even more favorable toward censorship than Republicans are (and that’s a lot).
The American public are clamoring for censorship. Who would prevent it? The only question now is whether it should be made mandatory. And everybody wants the mega-corporations to do it. Or, at least, no major organized faction are opposing it. (However, if CDA 230 doesn’t become amended, then that law might terminate the calls in Congress for officially labelling what is ‘fake news’ and what isn’t.)
The U.S. Constitution already is long-since reduced to being just a list of formalities (such as will be exemplified below). After World War II, it has become transformed, in actual practice, into, sometimes, its exact, or else approximate, opposite. Whatever remains of American democracy now is increasingly empty formalities. Not only the billionaires, but also the public, are clamoring for this change, toward a virtually irrelevant Constitution. Continuing this trend could preserve not only the current federal office-holders, but the present billionaires. It would be a mutually beneficial deal. And, as befits a dictatorship, it would be a secret political deal, in this merely formal ‘democracy’. What “the law” is and means is increasingly tenuous in America. The problem isn’t the U.S. Constitution; it’s a corrupt and corrupted Government — not only its courts, but all parts of it.
The political aspect here is divorced from the matter of truth-falsity, and allows free reign to prejudices, regardless of their truth-falsity. But unfortunately, the situation in the United States is even worse than merely that. On 25 January 2013, a Barack-Obama-appointed judge in Ohio, Timothy Black, ruled in a defamation case (Dreihaus v. SBA List) that had been brought by a former congressman, Steve Dreihaus (a fellow-Democrat), against an anti-abortion group (the Republican) Susan B. Anthony List, and Black decided, with no clearly relevant precedent (most of which precedents weren’t even about political contests, at all), that the First Amendment somehow exempts political lies (such as by that SBA group) from civil liability, so that any lie that’s been made in a political campaign is totally immune. Lying in a political campaign is now officially protected speech. Among the prior precedents cited, for example, was this statement from the U.S. Supreme Court: “The First Amendment reflects a profound national commitment to the principle that debate on public issues should be uninhibited, robust and wide-open. That is because speech concerning public affairs is more than self-expression; it is the essence of self-government.” In addition to such bumper-sticker nostrums were cited cases in criminal law, though this was a case in civil law.
Judge Black, on such irrelevant grounds, ruled that,
“When one walks through the elements of a claim for defamation, the required allegations are present here. However, that precise and robotic analysis of each of the factors required for defamation caused the Court [previously] to focus only on the trees and ultimately not to see the forest. … Here, the forest is the right to free speech under the First Amendment, even false speech, when it applies to politics. Given that, as a matter of law, associating a political candidate with a mainstream political position, even if false, cannot constitute defamation [oh, really? Maybe it would be defamatory, to the particular audience that the politician is aiming to persuade], the Court hereby grants summary judgment to Susan B. Anthony List and dismisses Driehaus’s counterclaim for defamation … Ultimately, in a free society, the truth of political back and forth must be adjudicated in the ‘marketplace of ideas’.”
This is basically like the reasoning in the now-infamous 2010 Republican U.S. Supreme Court Citizens United case, but goes beyond it by alleging that even civil liability can’t pertain to political lying. It presumes that when dollars (such as the amount of advertising) rule, and the “marketplace of ideas” reigns over political decisions, it, somehow, cannot be corrupt. This Democratic judge invented there an exemption for political lies: they can’t be prosecuted as defamatory, no matter what the facts are.
However, actually, no democracy can be built on lies. But now, in the U.S., lies are entirely free, and their victims (which in the Dreihaus case were not only himself but the voters in his district) are a free-fire-zone for them. This is how far, from the U.S. Constitution, America has become: it’s a land where dollars rule, and voters are merely their suckers — a land where lies are free, and voters are slaves to them.
Dreihaus then took his case to the U.S. 6th Circuit Court for Appeals. The appeals Court did not confirm the argument of Judge Black, but instead argued that the billboard’s statement was possibly true, but anyway not “malicious,” and thus not defamatory. Here is the complete text of the billboard against candidate Dreihaus: “SHAME ON STEVE DREIHAUS! Dreihaus voted FOR taxpayer-funded abortion.” The Susan B. Anthony List’s argument in court was that a vote for President Obama’s Obamacare (or “Affordable Care Act”) was a vote for taxpayer-funded abortions, but the SBA List was never required in any court proceeding to provide evidence for that false allegation. The appeals Court simply ruled that the SBA List believed that (because they said they did), and so there was no malicious intent, or intent to deceive, when their billboard said it, and so, since “libel” and “slander” don’t exist if there is no “malice,” there was no defamation. So, the Appeals Court closed: “we AFFIRM the district court’s grant of summary judgment, albeit on different grounds from those relied upon by the district court.”
America’s courts are a charade, such as one typically finds in any dictatorship. Any dictatorship is based on lies; so, the right to lie in politics is essential to it. There is no system and no legal forum by which, after an election, a legal challenge can be considered regarding the winning side having possibly deceived its voters into voting for it, and the electoral result then being possibly annuled and a new election promptly held, which bans the exposed liars from participation in it. There is no democratic accountability in any dictatorship. None, actually, whatsoever.
So: the U.S. courts will do everything they can to allow lies in political campaigns. There is no requirement for an alleged liar to prove that what he said is true, and there is no requirement for a publisher (in this case the billboard company) to do due diligence to avoid publishing lies — at least no such requirement in a poilitical campaign, a campaign for public office. Obviously: in such a country, ‘democracy’ is only a sham; it’s the dollars that rule there, the people do not.
And this doesn’t even touch the issue of the harms that lies can produce when they don’t criticize anyone. False advertising is an example. Lies can kill; and, when they do, should not the liar be prosecuted criminally? Though no expression should be a crime, any criminal consequences from an expression should be criminally prosecutable. The First Amendment was not intended to sever causal links, such as a lie’s consequences. But America’s Constitution-wreckers deal with one problem at a time. They haven’t yet gotten around to false advertising, fraud, etc. Here, for example, is an effective display of how a U.S. coup was misrepresented as being instead a ‘democractic revolution’; and, so, showing how how such a regime, as this, carries out its evils in foreign affairs, and not only domestically.
Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.
Short answer to the title’s question is, yes. However, the malicious intent and the actual harm set into motion must be taken into account as well, truthfully and accurately.
It has to do with causality and manifestation. If one willfully uses deception to cause evil to manifest, then they are guilty of the evil that comes to pass.
It is much different than the ‘trying to impress a pretty girl’ type of embellishment, though. There is a difference. One being inherently and essentially wrong, and the other being merely not right. Basically.
I’m a retired lawyer and the current state of the first amendment bothers me. The purpose of the first amendment was to prevent abuses of power by the government. Preventing abuses by private entities such as corporations was not provided for. In fact, corporations barely existed at all. It will not considered a problem.
However, today we live in a completely different world than we did at the time of the enactment of the bill of rights.
Now, we have an oligarchy in which power is consolidated in a government/corporation conglomeration. Now, since government and corporate interests are consolidated, the whole purpose of the first amendment can be easily defeated.The government/corporate conglomeration simply assigns censorship responsibilities to its corporate branch and effectively defeats the whole purpose of the first amendment. Moreover, since almost all forums for discussion are private/corporate, that makes censorship complete. The government can claim that there is no violation of the First Amendment since there was no “government censorship.” While, technically, that is correct, realistically it is not. The people who control the government and the major corporations are the same people. Accordingly, the abuses of power which were meant to be prevented by the first amendment are occurring despite the amendment.
To make matters even worse corporations control all news media. At this point the media is a little more than pure propaganda.
Enforcing the first amendment will not help. The amendment has to be rewritten in order to address the abuses which have arisen due to the change in the structure of our civilization.
I agree with you, until you say “The amendment has to be rewritten,” because I believe that the Founders’ intent was exactly what yours and mine are on this and was accurately reflected in the Amendment as written, and that therefore the problem here is judges who don’t know how the Constitution should be interpreted. I think that the problem is the present, largely Scalia-based, wrecking of the meaning of “original intent.” If you want to see an article I now have in draft about that, which I shall be submitting to law journals, please reply here, and I shall be happy to email the current draft of it for your thoughts. You can just tell The Saker to send me your email-address, and I’ll email you the article as pdf.
Furthermore, where you say, “Preventing abuses by private entities such as corporations was not provided for. In fact, corporations barely existed at all. It will not considered a problem,” and this is largely true, I think it overstates the difference between then and now. For example, Jefferson wrote, on 12 November 1816, to his long-time friend Dr. George Logan of Philadelphia, about the “profligacy” of England’s government, wasting resources to prop up its international corporations, which Jefferson said had brought about “the ruin of its people” in order to benefit those aristocrats. He said, “This ruin [in England] will fall heaviest, as it ought to fall, on that hereditary aristocracy which has for generations been preparing the catastrophe [meaning creating the catastrophe (by corrupting the government), not meaning to prepare for the catastrophe]. I hope we shall take warning from the [English] example [e.g., the British East India Company] and crush in it’s [sic] birth the aristocracy of our monied corporations which dare already to challenge our government to a trial of strength and bid defiance to the laws of our country.” (Regarding the British East India Company, the prominent recent history was that they had violently put down the 1806 Vellore Sepoy Revolution, after the locals there had attacked the Company’s garrison at Vellore Fort and killed 14 officers and 100 soldiers. The Company then killed between 350 and 800 Indian Sepoys in retaliation. The British East India Company had rammed through Parliament in 1773 the Tea Act granting them a monopoly on tea in the colonies and precipitating the Boston Tea Party, which sparked the Revolution. America’s Founders understood corporations and corruption and feared both. The chief point of Jefferson’s letter was that “The man who is dishonest as a statesman would be a dishonest man in any station,” so that “moral conduct towards other nations” inevitably reflects upon the character of the people who lead a given nation. Jefferson was implying that England’s aristocracy were corrupt, and that England’s government was subsidizing their brutal expansion of the Empire; England’s citizens, and not only India’s, were paying the price for the aristocracy’s corruption, Jefferson said. It should be avoided here.)
Shooting from the hip …
I think the problem is one of licensing. If I were to develop and make a gadzillion dollars, and were to use that wealth to build my own internet including the trunk lines, satellites, etc., then were to use that system to launch an empire devoted to spreading falsehoods, it would be my right, and I think it should be so, as long as I fund everything myself.
As soon as I use some government or public utility funded system, trunk lines, interstate power transmission lines, satellites, etc, then I have ceased to be an entirely private system and I now have become (hoping to use the term correctly) a common carrier. I am using my own equipment on top of public facilities, and in so doing, I take on a responsibility to act in the public good, i.e., to tell the truth.
This obligation would be enforced by licensing any entity that uses the public system and requiring a certain standard of veracity to maintain that license.
Imagine the howls of protest from FB, Twitter, PayPal and so on. Except, it is these same common carriers who enforce their own rules, and censor based on political agendas, that often do not respect openness and veracity.
Eric, I agree that “interpretation” is a problem. The Bill of Rights has been “interpreted” completely out of existence. That means that you are correct re-writing the amendment alone will not solve the problem. We need fundamental systemic change across a completely corrupt system.
But I do think that re-writing the amendment is a important step. Sites like this one and your own site should be constitutionally protected from discrimination by the likes of Facebook and Twitter. We must take away the excuse that Facebook and Twitter do not engage in “state action.” There are good reasons for this.
First of all, while they are not “state actors” in terms of form, but they are “state actors” in substance and law looks to substance.
Second, the concept “state actor” or “not state actor” is irrelevant anyway. Free speech requires that access to the public forums be a guaranteed right. If those forums are in private hands – so what, it makes no difference when it comes to protecting the public.
I am also aware of the history of “corporations.” It used to be that you needed a legislative act to form a corporation. That changed in the early 1800’s. It always makes me laugh when people talk about “free markets” and the necessity of lack of government interference. There is no such thing. The widespread legalization of private corporations was the result of government actions.
Okay, you “free marketers,” you want markets from from government interference – abolish corporations and repeal the law of corporations completely. Let’s try that experiment in free markets.
Right, the intent was that the media (the 4th branch of gvt) was supposed to be a check on gvt and not a contributor to the problem of gvt. Once information is delayed until a gun is put to the publishers head, they are more a part of the problem than the solution to the problem of gvt. This is what media has become most likely since R. Hearst saw the power and profits of his empire and built his big mansion.
Alabama, protection of the press was supposed to be to protect the public. In its present form, it protects oligarchy.
In short, it does the precise opposite of what it was supposed to do.
Oligarchy who protect the gvt, I think we are on the same side here.
I agree with nothing, although I see that there are a lot to agree on, but nobody got to the bottom line.
1. The constitution was amended which means repaired which means corrected since it is a text not a physical matter.
2. There were 10 amendments.
3. Amendment 10 changes the constitution so that the people must be consulted (referendum) should there be further amendments. (changes ratification from the (several) states to (actually) or the people.
4. This means that later laws that do not follow the constitution exactly, that includes later amendments, are not to be built upon to analyse the constitution. The constitution must be taken at face value, the ultimate, and the first law in all matters related to its principles and text.
On the question of civilian or government law, that is of course non consequencial. The constitution applies to anyone. So one cannot simply make a business or a corporation, and claim the constitution do not apply anymore ! It is a hillarious idea.
A bit of history as I understand it, please correct me if I’m wrong:
Two and a half centuries ago there were commercial printers, Benjamin Franklin was one. They would print anything anyone paid them to print, much like they do today. However, at the time it was common for people to publish handbills expressing their views on various matters, including political ones. These handbills would be posted and distributed wherever and to whomever they wanted. They were the responsibility of the author, not the printer. This entire process was “the press”. Essentially, it was the use of the existing technology (printing) to extend any debate in space and time beyond what was possible by the spoken word. This is what was being protected in the First Amendment (in addition to other things). The printers operated commercially, but of course they also had their own views, and might refuse to print something they opposed. In that case, the author-publisher could simply walk across the street and contract with another printer.
Modern day companies that operate various internet services seem to be analogous to the printers. The physical infrastructure of the internet (the telecommunication companies, etc.) doesn’t seem to be analogous to anything in the 18th century, except perhaps the Post Office. In any case, the communication infrastructure is not at issue in the USA. (It may be in other countries, though, as noted in some of the comments herein.)
One other note: it was natural for some printers, like Franklin, to also be publishers. But these were separate functions. In the modern world these functions are commonly conflated and combined. We (incorrectly) refer to commercial publishers, like newspapers, as exclusively being “the press”. That is misleading and a point of confusion for many. Commercial publishers were not what was being protected by protecting “the press” anymore than individual citizens were. Rather, it was the communication method that was being protected.
Freedom of speech pertain to all manners of expression.
“THE Conventions of a number of the States, having at the time of their adopting the Constitution, expressed a desire, in order to prevent misconstruction or abuse of its powers, that further declaratory and restrictive clauses should be added: And as extending the ground of public confidence in the Government, will best ensure the beneficent ends of its institution.”
The reason for the 12 amendments that together with the constitution forms the amended constitution as one unit, is to prevent misconstruction or abuse of its power.
The need for freedom of speech is thus necessary in all forms since the purpose is to prevent misconstruction or abuse of powers granted by the constitution it does not matter what is the form of speech.
Article the third… Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
It should read the original 12 amendments (not 10).
And it is the twelfth that appears to be most significant of all perhaps:
The 12th amendment :
Article the twelfth… The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.
Powers of ratification is included herein because it clearly is not delegated to the United States to ratify its own proposal of amendments, It is not prohibited to the several states, it is the states that must ratify the proposal of amendment and is subsequently the power reserved to the (several) states. It was corrected to read :
or to the people, meaning the power is reserved to the people as well , meaning there must be a referendum before the state can ratify a proposed amendment to the constitution.
This having not been held, none other than 12 amendment fulfil the requirements.
The original constitution with 12 amendments however did not require this , since it first had to be ratified according to the rules of the founding father for that purpose.
Should probably read “the right of the people peacefully to litigate, and to sue the gvt for a redress of grievances.”
That is an interesting piece of history. It underscores the fact that the system we have now fails to protect the public in the way that the framers of the Constitution intended.
People should have this looked into seriously before it is too late.
Politicians are not really what they claim to be, they hold the constitution in contempt while claiming to be upholding it. Presidential candidates run on claims that they are going to change the constitution, that in itself is a federal offense since even the president cannot change the constitution, and thereby cannot change anything related to the constitution. They cannot change the gunlaws. They cannot change freedom of speech, or the right to peacefully assemble, or the right of security of persons and their papers (letters).
In the modern world the right of peacefully assemble must include virtaul meetings via modern social media and email and other communications including webpages,concerning the security of persons and papers , security of persons cannot be guaranteed unless papers are private when meeting others .
There are massive violations of the US constitution while they falsely speak of upholding it.
Certainly your joking?
If this were true then dTrumpf would be in Jail, the entire Congress at Leavenworth.
I really think OP ought start by defining ‘who’ can lie,
In fact recently before DC Zucklelberg(Facebook) was asked “Is political lies in advertising ok?”, he refused to answer, and ultimately admitted that everybody did it, that in fact if they banned ‘lies’ they would have to ban all advertising.
Lying is as American as apple-pie, the only thing with lying is if you FIB on the wrong person, say the current deal where MUSK called an retired diver a ‘pedophile’, now that kind of ‘lie’ can get you on the wrong side of a lawsuit, such as this case, where MUSK has deep pockets and infinite number of lawyers would do this for contingency. Normally this doesn’t happen, in fact its rare, as mortals can’t afford million’s of dollar for attorney circus acts in court.
Nothing is that black and white and with time there is historical revisionism. Where does truth lie?
I think Grandma’s Lie Soap is called for -so that at least those at the time who know they are telling a lie will be unable to.
If publishing lies was a crime, every Austfailian presstitute would be in gaol. If you add monstrous arrogance and hypocrisy as aggravating features, you could lock ’em up for good.
BINGO, and that’s why TRUTH can only come from the Ministry of Information.
Those that BEG for TRUTH, are only asking for censorship, now why would the MOI want that?
There is a different between the concept of Freedom of Speech and the Truth in Speech.
Freedom of Speech is about the right to say something and is about express in a view or opinion.
This issue of the facts within speech is a different one and where false statements are being deliberately or recklessly made to support a point of view that needs to be legislated for and jumped on.
Defamation laws to some extent cover it but the media need to be subject to them.
Its one thing for the press to be reporting true illegal dealings by eg a politician/person/corpoartion but another to make something up or slant things improperly to peddle a particular agenda.
Unfortunately the First Amendment was enacted at a time when christian principles of decency were the social norm but since then things have changed. Some bare minimum regulation of the press does need to exist to prevent abuse and that would mean laws to require fact checking / reasonable proof before publication and if it could be shown it had not been done it would be a criminal offense.
In Australia there was an offense of Criminal Defamation and something like that should apply.
Provisions in various Wrongs Acts also require / imply proper press conduct and to correct errors.
@Its one thing for the press to be reporting true illegal dealings by eg a politician/person/corpoartion but another to make something up or slant things improperly to peddle a particular agenda.
There should also be a law to prevent obstruction of “true illegal dealings” by the media, right now its an ignorance is bliss until the house of cards collapses and everyone rushes for the exits.
I think this is a most important article by Zuesse because, when the wells of truth are poisoned by lies, the world falls sick. As Zuesse says, when money rules it becomes easy to bribe legislators to legalize lies and criminalize truths. He introduced this reader to a legislative minefield where, even more than usual, the peoples’ representatives ought to be “as subtle as serpents and as harmless as doves”.
The rest solution is for other countries to copy China and set up their own social media and search engines, which citizens are encouraged to join and use, and ban Fakebook et al. Let them spread their poison in the Imperialist States of Amerikastan. Nobody outside will miss them.
. What about freedom of political charicature drawings in The New York Times?
. Or inadverdent misprints that may hurt other critters’ feelings?:
. Misprints can be bad, — but are they lies?: In Russian — according to exiled or emigré author Vladimir Nabokov in a footnote to his magistral poem “Pale Fire” — the words for “Crown”, “Head/Caput” and “Cow” are quite similar in sound and spelling, So when the last Tzar of Russia was crowned in St. Petersburg, one newspaper headline became “When they crowned the cow and it her on his head(…). The following day the editors apoligised by writing that what they meant to say was of course “…and then the cow was laced on his royal head.”
Wonder whether the Spreme Stable of the us would allow such a gamme under “freedom of speach? What if someone wrote about some Zionist politician in some minor Levantine Apardheid statelet that “he has no swine” and then apologize, saying it was a misprint and should have been that “the swine has no spine” — sentenced for defamation of the Society for Prevention of Abuse against the Pigs?
The American People’s insouciant attitude toward their basic rights is bewildering. To actually insist on the right to free speech being censored by private corporations to only include Politically Correct speech, is like the sheep family deciding to visit the wolf family for afternoon tea!
“How lucky it is for rulers, that men cannot think.” – Adolf Hitler
But what is a lie: the truth different from the official one??