New York Times editorial calls for more censorship to ‘protect democracy’
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The New York Times published an op-ed Monday calling for more censorship to “protect democracy.”
The editorial titled “How to Stop the Rising Tide of Fake News from Drowning Our Democracy,” argued that the “market of ideas” model is outdated.
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Author Richard Hasen, who is a professor at the University of California, Irvine School of Law, has written about “cheap talk” in which he describes views as “misinformation” and ” disinformation”. He pleads for “new legal tools” that will help fight “cheap speech”.
“Among the legal changes that could help are an update to campaign finance laws to cover what is now mostly unregulated political advertising on the internet, labeling deep infringements as ‘impaired’ to help voters to separate fact from fiction and a tougher ban on foreign campaign spending. Congress should also make it a crime to lie about when, where and how people vote.” , Hasen wrote.
However, Hasen is not optimistic about the Supreme Court confirming these changes.
“Unfortunately, the current Supreme Court would most likely view many of these proposed legal changes as a violation of First Amendment free speech guarantees. Much of the Court’s jurisprudence hinges on faith in an outdated metaphor of the” marketplace of ideas, “which assumes that truth will emerge through counter-speech,” Hasen wrote. Today, the most obvious danger to American democracy is not government censorship, but the loss of voter confidence and competence that stems from the sea of misinformation and vitriol. “
He goes on to say that even if all of his proposals were adopted and upheld by the Supreme Court, the First Amendment would preclude other actions that he argues are necessary.
“Even if Congress passed all of the changes I’ve proposed and the Supreme Court upheld them – both highly unlikely proposals – it would barely be enough to sustain American democracy in an age of cheap talk. For example, the first amendment would surely ban a law that would require social media companies to remove from social media platforms grandstanding candidates who undermine the integrity of elections; we wouldn’t want a government bureaucrat (under the control of a president partisan) make such a call. But such talk is one of the greatest dangers we face today,” Hasen argues.
He calls on voters to pressure social media companies and other platforms to take action against “extreme” political figures, such as misrepresenting them. Twitter has come under fire for banning conservative figures like former President Trump and Rep. Majorie-Taylor Greene, R-Ga., while allowing Kremlin officials, Iranian Ayatollahand the taliban stay on the platform.
In addition, he calls on civic groups, bar associations and professional associations, religious institutions and trade unions to fight “disinformation” and “misinformation”.
“This is easier said than done. It will require the mobilization of everyone, not just the government: civic groups, bar associations and professional associations, religious institutions, trade unions and businesses all have a role to play. player.”
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In order to save democracy, we must limit free speech, argues Hansen.
“Today, the most obvious danger to American democracy is not government censorship, but the loss of voter confidence and competence that stems from the sea of misinformation and vitriol.”