Since Donald Trump shocked the liberal establishment with his November election victory, Democrats have been grasping for any excuse they can to explain away the defeat. While most of the media has focused on proving the Russia collusion conspiracy theory, others have chosen to pin the blame for Clinton’s loss on alternative sources of news. In doing so, they have directly threatened the very foundation of the First Amendment.
To be sure, mainstream media outlets such as CNN and the New York Times may be the biggest purveyors of fake news. However, that hasn’t stopped the liberal media from attacking online conservative news sources.
Perhaps even more disturbing, the media has help in this crusade from the Democratic establishment. Now, the two have joined forces in an effort to punish publishers, in what might be the last nail in the free speech coffin.
From Fox News:
Political content on the internet, paid or not, should face substantial federal regulation to eliminate undefined “disinformation,” and users of platforms and news feeds, from Facebook, to Twitter, to the Drudge Report and even New York Times, could be punished for sharing “fake news” from those sites, the former Democratic chair of the FEC is urging.
In a broad proposal that adds threatening libel suits to regulatory plans already pushed by Democrats on the Federal Election Commission, ex-chair Ann Ravel believes that there is support for expanded regulation in the wake of reports foreign governments spent $100,000 on 2016 political ads on Facebook.
Of course, doing so would be under the guise of serving the public interest:
She would also use regulation to “improve voter competence,” according to the new proposal titled Fool Me Once: The Case for Government Regulation of ‘Fake News.’ Ravel, who now lectures at Berkeley Law, still has allies on the FEC who support internet regulation. The paper was co-written by Abby K. Wood, an associate professor at the University of Southern California, and Irina Dykhne, a student at USC Gould School of Law.
The implications of such a policy being implemented are vast. While we can all certainly agree that misinformation on the internet can be damaging, what would be more damaging is completely undermining a foundational and constitutional right. It’s not hard to see this new power being abused, as both sides jockey to regulate the definition of “fake news” to fit their agenda.
Knowing this, the only real solution is to trust the American people to use their better judgement. When the government gets in the business of regulating the press, the path we would go down is far more dangerous than any fake news story. If we believe in freedom, the idea of punishing publishers must be rejected.
[Note: This post was written by Michael Lee. Follow him on Twitter @UAMichaelLee]