Do you think that TV ad over Iran is appropriate?

All the US is doing by making a commercial like that is making it worse!
Also fake images, WTF America?

If you ask me, it’s not. Obvious

Your post does not demonstrate that you have a firm grasp of what that story is reporting.

Altering the photo of Obama seems sleazy and hamfisted to me, but I’ve come to expect that from Republicans so no surprise there.

If people keep behaving this way, it’s simply asking for removal of your right to free speech.

Recently here we had a teenager jailed for photo shopping an image of Lee Kuan Yew’s face onto a stick figure but-fucking the Iron Lady. And we were incredulous that the courts would do such a thing.

But you know something - when I see ads like this, it makes me wish that the US had some sort of similar control over the stupidity exhibited. It sounds kinda radical - but its like amputating a sick leg.

And for what it’s worth - I would be amused as all hell if Obama could sue the moron that created this for defamation.

Or alternatively - doesn’t the US have any truth in advertising laws at all? It would be great to see such a thing invoked for a deliberate, misleading and slanderous lie

Yes, but they’re about commercial advertisements, not things like this.

At least one state had a law prohibiting lies in campaign ads (I don’t think this would count as a campaign ad, though), but it was struck down (quite correctly IMO) by a federal court last year.

Maybe if someone gave money to the PAC in question because they thought it would oppose specific things mentioned in the ad, and it turned out the PAC was lying about those things, the donor would have some cause of action. I kind of doubt it though.

Why correct?

I’m all for robust debate, but when people print an outright lie? Using photoshop to depict something the provably, empirically, demonstrably didn’t happen?

We’re not talking about opinion here (Obamacare has death panels), we’re talking about proof of the order “water is wet”.

How is it of any benefit at all to allow such things to be propagated?

“The US” and “America” did not produce that commercial. It was produced by a relatively small organization that is participating in the American political process.

Perhaps, in some eyes, the commercial’s inaccuracies and lies do reflect badly on the country as a whole. I would disagree with that assessment. Would you expect that the government would prevent such an ad from running? In our country, political speech is given pretty wide latitude before it is censored. We expect individual people to be bright enough to figure out who is telling the truth and who is trying to manipulate them.

No, it’s not. As many great people have said before now, having free speech means that sometimes you have to hear things you don’t like, even things that are objectively wrong. Freedom of expression is not only an American value, it is recognized as a human right under article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and recognized in international human rights law in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). It’s too bad all countries don’t have the same right of free expression that the US has. Singapore is not the standard bearer for freedom of expression (or other human rights) that I would want to follow.

(End of sixth grade Civics lesson.)

Actually this is the point that I was trying to make - Singapore is NOT a model I’d want to be following. Here’s the thing though - when I see ads like this running it makes me think that Singapore is on the right track.

I grew up in a liberal democracy - for freedom of speech, I support (although I would prefer to call it freedom of ideas). Wanna discuss and talk about ideas, beliefs, thoughts that’s fine.

Wanna suggest that whites are inherently more intelligent than blacks. Fine.

The point I was trying to make - when it gets to the stage that “people” can’t trust anything, even pictures that are printed in the media they will start calling for more regulation. For a tightening of free speech, which isn’t in anyone’s interest.

Simply see how many people rail against Fox news already. What if the level of “truth” keeps getting worse? How much will people be willing to accept?

Wanna say that Obama is a long term mole of the Indonesian government. This is also ok.

Where I have problems, is where pictures are created out of nothingness to tell a lie. It may well be a subtle line -

But I feel that when a “registered organisation” takes an ad in a “recognised publication” to tell a provable, egregarious lie with a photo it crosses some sort of line in my book.

This lowers debate, this removes freedom - when we have to constantly source check everything it’s simply wrong.

I think an election that decides how the government is run should be free from government restrictions on which arguments you can make. Elections are held so that we can tell the government what to do, so as much as possible it should sit out and let us make up our minds without interference.

I’m especially not convinced that this is an example of why things are going wrong. Literally everything I’ve heard about it is lots of sources telling me how blatantly false it is, so it’s a poor example of lies getting out of control and corrupting the process.

This is exactly why I feel that “good” information is so important.
I’m not much for shutting down honest discussion and different opinions,

But as you’ve rightly mentioned - outright lies make for worse decisions, don’t they?

If I say this ad, and believed it, wouldn’t my thinking be influenced by something that never happened? How is that a good thing?

Of course, you could well also argue that I may see the rebuttal, and make my decision of the morality of the candidates accordingly. That feels like rather weak sauce though.

I would hate to see people shut down for unpopular opinions, however for something this outrageous shouldn’t there be something that can be done?

Even if, worst case scenario it is Obama personally suing the ad maker for defamation.

If Obama was moronic enough to do that, I don’t think the legal outcome would favor him and I think the political outcome would be positively catastrophic.

I don’t think it’s hyperbolic to guess that a president who took drastic personal action against an opponent for talking about a political issue (regardless of the facts) might very well end up impeached.


Politically, I wouldn’t like it - it would look too much like bullying and being over sensitive.

But asking for people to remove something that is so blatantly false?

The thing that kicks my pants in all of this, we’re not talking about some random moron alleging that Michelle is actually a man (yes I’ve seen that blog), but rather a properly registered organisation (with tax exempt status right?) placing an ad in a “recognised” publication.

My standard for “truthiness” goes up the further up the “available resources” chain you go.

(i.e - to personify it, I hold an educated adult to a greater standard of analysis and honesty than I do a 5 year old)

So if you and I are runnig for a seat on the town council of our rural small town, and I really want that seat and do not care how to get it, can I spread the “news” that you are a known pedophile? Maybe even “prove” it with a few photoshopped images?

I am all for the freedom of opinion. No democracy can function without it. But you have to draw the line somewhere. An “all is fair” attitude is not helpful. Mind that not everyone is in as strong a position as President Obama when it comes to defending against unfair allegations like that. You do not want to create a situation where honest citizens shy away from running for political office for fear of having to suffer through smear campaigns like that.

What’s the difference between photoshopping an image and drawing a cartoon of the same situation?

Hiker: That is what libel laws are for. In this particular case, it would be hard to prove libel. In your case, it would be trivial.

We don’t need “free speech” in order to protect the stuff everyone agrees on. As I said in the other post, we have libel laws as the line that cannot legally be crossed. But as already noted, even if Obama thought he could win a libel case it would be politically inadvisable for him to go that route.

I think the difference is that for the most part we assume that photographs represent the artist recording an even that they actually observed, while we recognize that a drawing even if it is based on a real model, depicts primarily an idea in the artists mind. While Photoshopping makes this distinction no longer valid, most people think that photographs constitute proof.

You are right. I was just trying to illustrate that you can not do anything you want in a campaign ad and leave it to the viewer to figure out what is true and what isn’t. There is a point where even free speech has its limits.
I did not want to give an assessment of whether this particular ad already crosses the limit, because I am not enough of a legal expert for that.

I don’t assume that. I think we’re long past the point where that can be assumed for legal purposes. But again, if Obama feels he was libeled by that pic, he can sue in court. I doubt he’d win. What do you think?

For me, it always comes down to the question: who determines what “truth” is?

What if Clinton airs an ad saying, “As Secretary of State, I ran a successful foreign policy,” and the Republicans sue, saying, “That’s not true.” What guarantee will there be that the “truth commissioners” are going to be nonpartisan? Four Republican appointees might overrule the three Democratic appointees and decree “This is an untrue claim; the ad is not allowed to be shown any longer.”