If California Democrat Ed Chau has his way, so-called “fake news” — read, information liberals disagree with — would be banned in California in a new law that essentially attacks the First Amendment right to free speech and a free press, the Electronic Frontier Foundation reported last week.
The measure, known as Assembly Bill 1104, was put up by Chau, and was described as “a censorship bill so obviously unconstitutional, we had to double check that it was real,” EFF said. And yes, it’s very real, and very frightening.
The measure reads:
18320.5. It is unlawful for a person to knowingly and willingly make, publish or circulate on an Internet Web site, or cause to be made, published, or circulated in any writing posted on an Internet Web site, a false or deceptive statement designed to influence the vote on either of the following:
(a) Any issue submitted to voters at an election.
(b) Any candidate for election to public office.
In other words, it would be illegal to be wrong on the internet if it could impact an election. The bill is unconstitutional under U.S. Supreme Court case law (see our opposition letter for more information on that), and likely to draw immediate and costly lawsuits if it is signed into law.
For Chau, A.B. 1104 is an attempt to address the issue of “fake news” that many believe plagued the 2016 election: websites publishing false stories and promoting them over social media.
No law, and certainly not A.B. 1104, will remedy this problem.
EFF further explains:
This bill will fuel a chaotic free-for-all of mudslinging with candidates and others being accused of crimes at the slightest hint of hyperbole, exaggeration, poetic license, or common error. While those accusations may not ultimately hold up, politically motivated prosecutions—or the threat of such—may harm democracy more than if the issue had just been left alone. Furthermore, A.B. 1104 makes no exception for satire and parody, leaving The Onion and Saturday Night Live open to accusations of illegal content. Nor does it exempt news organizations who quote deceptive statements made by politicians in their online reporting—even if their reporting is meant to debunk those claims. And what of everyday citizens who are duped by misleading materials: if 1,000 Californians retweet an incorrect statement by a presidential candidate, have they all broken the law?
According to the Assembly’s website, a hearing on the bill which was set for March 28 was cancelled at Chau’s request. But that doesn’t mean the measure is dead. Even if this bill is stopped in its tracks, another will certainly rise to take its place.
“Presumably Chau got a little pushback from mainstream media outlets after they realized his bill would effectively ban them, and their fake ‘Russian hacking’ narratives from California,” said a post at Zero Hedge.
At first, the whole “fake news” fake controversy was a bit amusing. Now, it’s become dangerous. It’s clear liberals are out to completely destroy the freedoms laid out in the First Amendment.
- Farkas denies own words spoken on live TV, blames Russia, fake news
- CBS report on ‘fake news’ slammed as ‘more fake news’ — Videos
- Juan Williams slams CNN for fake news report that Sean Hannity pulled a gun on him
- More CNN fake news: Don Lemon falsely claims Loretta Lynch recused herself from Clinton email scandal
- Crybaby Don Lemon throws temper tantrum, walks off set when guest accuses him of reporting fake news
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