In the “Fanning the Flames: Disinformation and Extremism in the Media hearing” in the House Wednesday, there was some interesting testimony. Soledad Obrien told the sub-committee; ‘Don’t book liars’ on news programs.
O’Brien argued that news platforms can curb the dissemination of misinformation, all they have to do is refuse to interview “liars” on TV.
“Do not book people to lie on your show because it elevates them and presents a lie as another side… every perspective does not deserve a platform…”
To the extent that there are misrepresentations made on a news program, it is the responsibility of the presenter and the presenting network (and the hosts, many of whom are liars themselves to which O’Brien allues). News is supposed to be accurate. But it has devolved into quasi entertainment/propaganda.
But if someone is lying, we have liable and slander laws for such situations.
What is a fact?
It is not the role of Congress to restrict media platforms or determine who appears on news programs. Rather journalists should provide the public with facts, not merely opinions. Oh, if only that were true. But then again how many journalists these days would recognize a fact if it bit them on the leg?
Professor Turley said he is far less confident in the media’s ability to determine what is a lie. Turley said:
“I don’t think it is fair to say ‘I am in favor of free speech and free press as long as you are not a liar, as long as what you are saying is not untrue…’” He said the question remains “who is the arbiter” of truth? “What is the meaning that someone is a liar and someone is being untruthful?”
Regarding the role of the government, Turley said, the First Amendment does not allow Congress to determine who is a truth-teller and allowed to appear on the nightly news.
What is political speech? Is it free? Should it be free speech? Most Americans thought this was pretty much a settled matter. We fought a war to determine it almost 250 years ago. All of a sudden TV networks, Big Tech, cable providers and small minded politicians want to revisit the concept? Sounds like tyranny coming down the road to me.