Candidate wants to criminalize protected speech deemed “disinformation” by the government
Elizabeth Warren has literally called for the end of the First Amendment by pushing criminal penalties for spreading “disinformation” online which would be arbitrarily defined by the government.
The Democratic presidential candidate says she would hold social media platforms liable for not policing content intended to mislead would-be voters by telling them the wrong voting times and that they could vote via text message, but Warren didn’t stop there; she also wants to criminalize other speech deemed “disinformation.”
“I will push for new laws that impose tough civil and criminal penalties for knowingly disseminating this kind of information, which has the explicit purpose of undermining the basic right to vote,” Warren said in a release. “The Trump administration eliminated this critical position [the cybersecurity coordinator at the National Security Council], weakening our defenses against cybersecurity threats and disinformation.”
“As president, I will reinstate the position and empower the coordinator so that our country is safe.”
But voter disfranchisement laws are already on the books, and Warren’s proposal to require corporations to police protected speech is dangerous to the First Amendment, especially with the appointment of an Orwellian ‘speech czar.’
And, if you read the entire press release, it’s clear that ‘voter disfranchisement’ isn’t really Warren’s true intent:
One expert estimated that during the 2016 election, there was a “one-to-one ratio of junk news to professional news” shared on Twitter. Despite Mark Zuckerberg’s insistence that it was “crazy” to think that false news had influenced the 2016 election’s outcome, the company later admitted that “malicious actors” had engaged in disinformation campaigns on the site leading up to the 2016 election, including using inauthentic accounts to promote false news stories and direct people toward stolen data.
Her proposal of only allowing freedom of the press to government-sanctioned, corporate-owned “professional news” outlets would run afoul of the First Amendment:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
Accordingly, because news gathering and reporting is an activity and not an identity, it’s not up to the government to define just who is press.
“Establishment journalists, however, cling to their identity as journalists,” Project Veritas founder James O’Keefe once wrote. “Their friends in government have gone so far as to initiate legislation to protect that status.”
The legislation O’Keefe refers to are the proposed media shield laws which pop up in Congress every few years that would allow the government to define who is and isn’t a journalist by offering legal protections to government-sanctioned journalists which are not offered to anyone else engaged in news gathering.
This, of course, would create a barrier of entry to an activity clearly protected by the First Amendment and, as a result, would snuff out investigative reports that shed a light on government corruption.
Also, keep in mind that Warren’s entire campaign has been defined by disinformation coming from her own mouth. And, fitting that pattern, here’s an excerpt from a Wednesday article by Reason.com:
Sarah Carpenter, a grandmother and school choice activist who had traveled six hours from Memphis to attend the event, later confronted Warren backstage in a filmed exchange that went viral:
Carpenter: “I read that your children went to private schools.”
Warren: “No, my children went to public schools.”
The clip went viral because Warren wasn’t telling the truth. Corey DeAngelis, the director of school choice at Reason Foundation (the nonprofit that publishes this website), had discovered through online sleuthing that Warren’s son Alex, now 43, had attended Kirby Hall, an elite private school in Austin, Texas. It subsequently came out that Alex had also attended the Haverford School, a tony all-boys academy outside Philadelphia.