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Given that fake news can lead to peoples’ death, insurrection, etc. should lying on public media be made a criminal offense?

Moonbeam

Elite Member
Nov 24, 1999
67,346
4,059
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I read on NPR that 12 people were responsible for I think 68% of the misinformation regarding vaccines, among them doctors and quacks selling natural remedies etc. who thus are lying to make money. Folk who buy or bought such shit may die tomorrow or already be dead for refusing to take vaccines. A death penalty for such lying might deter a lot of this. Same thing with Trumps big lie. Trump should be offered a chance to recant or be strung up. A Civil War would get a lot of people killed. Isn’t it time to pass laws to prevent this.

The issue as to whom the duty will fall to determine truth from lie would of course be fraught with pronlems also, because the liars would work hard to corrupt it, but it could maybe best handled by the scientific community with their natural inclination to question and test. So regardless of the potential risks, we are looking pretty fucked already so what’s a it more risk?
 

fskimospy

Elite Member
Mar 10, 2006
72,583
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I read on NPR that 12 people were responsible for I think 68% of the misinformation regarding vaccines, among them doctors and quacks selling natural remedies etc. who thus are lying to make money. Folk who buy or bought such shit may die tomorrow or already be dead for refusing to take vaccines. A death penalty for such lying might deter a lot of this. Same thing with Trumps big lie. Trump should be offered a chance to recant or be strung up. A Civil War would get a lot of people killed. Isn’t it time to pass laws to prevent this.

The issue as to whom the duty will fall to determine truth from lie would of course be fraught with pronlems also, because the liars would work hard to corrupt it, but it could maybe best handled by the scientific community with their natural inclination to question and test. So regardless of the potential risks, we are looking pretty fucked already so what’s a it more risk?
There is no way to implement this that I can think of that wouldn’t cause more problems than it solves. Also, historically giving the government the power to jail people for telling lies often leads to the government deciding ‘lie’ means ‘say something the government doesn’t like’.
 

ivwshane

Lifer
May 15, 2000
29,407
9,654
136
Is there or could there be a federal law where knowingly spreading disinformation via the media (defining that is the tricky part) is a suable by any party with no requirement for personal standing? The law would also require the loser of the case to pay all court and lawyer costs.

To me this would almost instantly transform media to be much more accurate.
 

BoomerD

No Lifer
Feb 26, 2006
57,053
5,409
126
If a person truly believes it...is it lying? They may not be correct...but being wrong has never been illegal. (acting on wrong beliefs however...)
 
Nov 29, 2006
14,737
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I guess you'd have to have a trial just like we do now with a jury and judges/lawyers to determine if you knowingly lied for profit or other motive on purpose. Id be ok with this I think. Anything to try and deter lying/brain washing/manipulation people for a living.
 

purbeast0

No Lifer
Sep 13, 2001
50,945
3,645
126
No this is a terrible idea. It would stop nothing. It's illegal to do a lot of stuff and people continue to do it repeatedly even after being caught multiple times.

You can't fix stupid.
 
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pmv

Diamond Member
May 30, 2008
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Some forms of 'lying' are already actionable in law. Generally civil law, i.e. libel/slander, but sometimes criminal law, i.e. fraud or possibly incitement. "Incitement of racial hatred" is a criminal offence in this country, and that often could be viewed as a form of lying.

I can't see it would help in any way to extend that to a general law against all kinds of untruths. I mean, for starters, there are many types of lie that are basically harmless. Either because they are about something completely unimportant, or because they are so obviously untrue that nobody is fooled. I mean, would you prosecute The Beatles on the grounds that one does, in fact, need need things other than love?

It's hard enough with the slightly fuzzy cases it already covers (so much so that the US wouldn't countenance even something like laws against 'incitement to racial hatred' or 'Holocaust denial' that other countries have on the statutes)
 

Amol S.

Golden Member
Mar 14, 2015
1,019
184
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There is no way to implement this that I can think of that wouldn’t cause more problems than it solves. Also, historically giving the government the power to jail people for telling lies often leads to the government deciding ‘lie’ means ‘say something the government doesn’t like’.
Let me just sum up what fskimospy said in response to the OP in 4 words.

"You just described Communism."
 
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Moonbeam

Elite Member
Nov 24, 1999
67,346
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There is no way to implement this that I can think of that wouldn’t cause more problems than it solves. Also, historically giving the government the power to jail people for telling lies often leads to the government deciding ‘lie’ means ‘say something the government doesn’t like’.
So when it is a democracy and the is the one government is telling the truth and the lies support the revocation of voting rights, insurrection, and deadly medical advice, the fear should be, Communism or government abuse? And can't the lies be decided not by government but by some more neutral body? It's seems quite psychotic to me that we would be willing to allow our freedoms to be used by bad people to destroy us. We now live with the Big Lie as they call it. We allowed it to get big. Why?
 
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sandorski

No Lifer
Oct 10, 1999
68,382
3,503
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So when it is a democracy and the is the one government is telling the truth and the lies support the revocation of voting rights, insurrection, and deadly medical advice, the fear should be, Communism or government abuse? And can't the lies be decided not by government but by some more neutral body? It's seems quite psychotic to me that we would be willing to allow our freedoms to be used by bad people to destroy us. We now live with the Big Lie as they call it. We allowed it to get big. Why?
I think the only way such a Law could be implemented without affecting Free Speech would be to make it dependent on some Criminal act being committed due to it. The Crime + "TheLie(s)" = >Consequence, but TheLie(s) + 0 = 0(this equation doesn't work, too lazy to make the equation(s) that would. I could change "+" to "*", but the "+" is a known usage and "*" is not, ugh.....I wonder if Einstein had these conundrums...).

Whether something like that actually would/would not affect Free Speech could be debated, but I think it takes a fair stretch to argue it does.
 

Jaskalas

Lifer
Jun 23, 2004
30,107
3,646
126
I think the only way such a Law could be implemented without affecting Free Speech would be to make it dependent on some Criminal act being committed due to it. The Crime + "TheLie(s)" = >Consequence,
That'd still require proof of intent?
Seems dubious to prove unless they are caught literally saying they knew.
 

sandorski

No Lifer
Oct 10, 1999
68,382
3,503
126
That'd still require proof of intent?
Seems dubious to prove unless they are caught literally saying they knew.
It would have to to some degree. I think for a Media Source or any highly influential person you could justify somewhat lower threshholds due to the severity of the consequence. That could be abused still, but I think it would make Media more measured in their statements and would encourage better sourcing of their supporting evidence.
 

Jaskalas

Lifer
Jun 23, 2004
30,107
3,646
126
Right now the sourcing is "Republicans said it!"
They'd just reinforce the circular sourcing and hide behind the cover of their "doctors, professors, and experts".

I imagine it can work like a VPN and using proxy servers. Accountability? Just bounce the IP around. At some point the authorities give up the chase.
 

PowerEngineer

Diamond Member
Oct 22, 2001
3,320
352
126
No. Lying on public media should not be made a criminal offense.

However, believing everything one reads or sees on public media should be! 😜
 

sandorski

No Lifer
Oct 10, 1999
68,382
3,503
126
Right now the sourcing is "Republicans said it!"
They'd just reinforce the circular sourcing and hide behind the cover of their "doctors, professors, and experts".

I imagine it can work like a VPN and using proxy servers. Accountability? Just bounce the IP around. At some point the authorities give up the chase.
That is still better than just repeating it as Objective Fact.
 

HomerJS

Lifer
Feb 6, 2002
27,066
12,583
136
Public media that knowingly spreads lies or conspiracy theories should lose their FCC license or at least be forced to display "conditional license" during broadcasts. Not unlike a restaurant that has been cited by a food inspector.

Political figures because of their unique positions need to be held to a higher standard of accountability. Spreading known lies and misinformation should be actionable.
 
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dank69

Lifer
Oct 6, 2009
28,229
10,904
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Also consider that most of the dishonesty we see from conservative media is lies of omission. As much as I believe something needs to be done, I don't know if it can be done by government. I still think the only way forward is for everyone else to make conservatives into social pariahs. They should feel ashamed to share their political opinions in public.
 
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Lost_in_the_HTTP

Platinum Member
Nov 17, 2019
2,966
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We seem to forget that the FCC has very little involvement any more since most of the offensive spew doing the damage is NOT broadcast over airwaves subject to regulation. Until and unless the FCC or some other body has authority over cable, fiber and internet in general, they really aren't involved. And do we really want that?


The agencies that identify as news media and charge cable or internet companies for content could be subject to a form of the Fairness Doctrine. Content would be required to be labeled as either news or opinion. If it's listed as news, it woud be required to be truthful, accurate and verifiable through independant sources. A story presented as 'news' that was later refuted or proved to be inaccurate would result in heavy fines.
 

Muse

Lifer
Jul 11, 2001
30,600
3,744
126
Everything possible to be believed is an image of the truth. - William Blake

A question to answer when someone propagates false damaging information is, do they believe it? If not, they are arguably culpable for the damage they do.
 

pmv

Diamond Member
May 30, 2008
8,479
3,475
136
Everything possible to be believed is an image of the truth. - William Blake

A question to answer when someone propagates false damaging information is, do they believe it? If not, they are arguably culpable for the damage they do.
People believe what it is useful to them to believe, though. Whether Blair believed Iraq had WMDs and posed an imminent threat is irrelevant to his culpability for the consequences of the Iraq war. I'm sure he, in his lawyerly way, convinced himself they did. I don't care - he's still responsible for tens of thousands of deaths.
 

Jaskalas

Lifer
Jun 23, 2004
30,107
3,646
126
Also consider that most of the dishonesty we see from conservative media is lies of omission. As much as I believe something needs to be done, I don't know if it can be done by government. I still think the only way forward is for everyone else to make conservatives into social pariahs. They should feel ashamed to share their political opinions in public.
You cancel them, they cancel you.... the proposed solution is clearly a divorce in all but name. Though I guess a way forward is not necessarily a solution to a problem. Truth is... a solution is likely beyond us, when two peoples want very different things. Shunning them would at least convince the two sides to geographically separate over time as they seek friendly local laws.
 

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