I am a bad American. I do not fully support the 1st Amendment.

Today on the radio there was a mortgage guy presenting Obama’s latest blow to America and our struggling economy: the 3.8% tax on home sales.

You know, I get it. I understand why the constitution dudes spelled out our right to free speech. Communication is a huge reason why humans aren’t just clever and chilly tree dwellers. If a government is oppressive, the people need to be able to talk about alternatives. We need to see porn, and to warn each other of alien invasions, global warming, and whale wars. Sometimes the freedom leads to nonsense, but usually it’s harmless and unintentional.

But then, there’s this stuff. Which is not only wrong, but so misleading that it cannot possibly be a misunderstanding of a complex piece of legislation–it’s a fucking lie designed to get the 99%ers to vote against their own interests. It’s malicious, evil, damaging to the majority of Americans, and hardly a unique example. Why should this be allowed? Why can’t spouters of this shit–we’ll never know the authors, but we can always hold the gossips accountable for what they say themselves–be forced to choose between silent jail time or public recantation of their statement complete with citation of the sources which prove they were in error? I’m not proposing Soviet-style “recant or go to jail” policies, just public humiliation for people who have either maliciously spread falsehoods or ignorantly spread them without even a brief verification of the facts. Might be a little oppressive, but I bet it would certainly make the average American a more critical thinker.

Ok, that’s it. Flame away.

It’s possible that the valid presumption in late 18th Century society was that peer opprobrium was both sufficient deterrence and adequate defense against liars and scoundrels who managed to otherwise evade libel suits and criminal codes. (Duelling was still a viable extrajudicial retort, I believe.) Another presumption might’ve been that fools would quickly be exposed and marginalized by the reasonable action of social intercourse, as it was harder to find an anonymous outlet to spew idiocy.

I think we should bring back peer opprobrium - we have the technology now.

Maybe modern duels could involve sharks with lasers on their heads?

I flinch at the merest hint of censorship, and I consider opposing threats to the 1st Amendment to be my #1 political priority - and yet, having said that, if someone could come up with a reasonable system that could smack down people’s lies while not affecting their ability to express their opinions? I’d be all over that.

Maybe when technology moves along a few more years, we can have versions of the Jeopardy-robot that can do instant fact-checking of anything people say on national television, and when they say something that isn’t true, it can sound a klaxon and put a giant red ‘WRONG’ over their face for a second.

That goes back to the peer opprobrium system again - everyone with an internet connection votes, and when a politician or whatever shows up on tv to spout some blather, they get a rating underneath their face - something like, “Honest - 15%; Full of Shit - 85%.” Like Rotten Tomatoes actually, now that I think of it. :slight_smile:

I don’t trust people to vote honestly. There would be too much partisan slide - Republicans pretending Democrats are liars, and Republicans pretending Republicans aren’t. :smiley:

So, you just stated that people who lie should be forced to go to jail or recant. Then you said you’re not proposing recent or go to jail. I think you need to recant or go to jail, based on the fact that your second statement is observably false.

ata: do not pass go, do not collect $200

I share the same concerns and conflicted feelings.

It seems that we tolerate restrictions on free speech when people are selling products. You can’t make any claims you like in order to get people to buy stuff. Well, Fox News is selling a product. They shouldn’t be able to make whatever claims they like, however false or misleading, without limit.

It seems like there ought to be some tolerable solution.

We distinguish between purely commercial speech and political speech (which can also be commercial, since you can sell your ideas). Keep in mind that it’s not always going to be the Democrats who are going to be enforcing whatever limits we put on free speech. I don’t understand why you would want to give someone like GWB that power. I wouldn’t.

ETA: I agree with the OP-- he is a bad American.

Fuck the First Amendment. I would support, vote for, and jail the opponents of a law that makes it a felony to lie or mislead in political advertisements.

Actually, Fox has already wrangled that one through the courts ( Jane Akre - Wikipedia ). It seems that the FCC has no teeth to speak of:

So the FCC just really, really suggests that you don’t lie to the public. God Bless America!

How 'bout split the difference, the C-Level Executives of the company who placed the add get to walk around a public street corner wearing a billboard that says “I’m a Liar” with text of a full correction on it on it one hour for each showing of the proven lie. So, if the ad was shown 30 times and they have 5 executives, each one gets 6 hours.

I’ll be getting my $200. Soviet-style “recant or go to jail” policies were not aimed at promoting truthiness, they were aimed at supressing dissidence. Dissidence is fine as far as I’m concerned. Lying is not.

FCC: “And if you do, so God help you, we will ask you again and this time we’ll mean it.”

What if it’s a politician that lies?

As long as it’s swords, sign me up! :slight_smile:

Let me be sure I understand you - if anyone lies about taxes related to Obamacare, especially to affect their support for it, that person is scum and deserves jail time?


Hate to say it, but Shodan has a point, though maybe only tangentially.

Where would you draw the line? What’s a lie and what’s merely spin? Should it be illegal to call it Obamacare, since the factual name is the Affordable Care Act? Should we make allowances for honest mistakes, thereby creating a loophole where Fox can make ‘honest mistakes’ day after day?

I can see flagrant, disprovable lies being legislated against, but even then it would ratchet up the litigation and argumentation even further from where it is now, and it would probably stifle more speech than out and out lies. (Quick example off the top of my head: A talking head says, “And where was Bush while Katrina was happening? Clearing brush!” In court: “Your Honor, we can show that Bush was clearly in the White House while Hurricane Katrina was over New Orleans and not ‘clearing brush’.” “I meant it as a metaphor for Bush doing jack all to help!” etc. etc.)

I agree.