Share your comments on this topic in the comments section below:
Should it be a crime to publish fake news?
Vote in the poll: www.nfrw.org.
Cyndi , 11/27/2019 11:45 AM
The media gets away with publishing many pieces as "opinion articles" in the editorial section. People read them thinking it must be real/true. I don't see any way to stop the fake, misleading, unfactual publishing.
Vicki G, 11/27/2019 12:41 PM
I hate fake news as much as any informed conservative. But it's simply wrong, and unconstitutional, to make it a crime. We need to reconstitute a virtuous society in order for people to be more honest and conscience-driven. It's a tall order, especially now. But I do believe Google, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube must be reined in to create a level playing field. That would help a lot.
Jan, 11/27/2019 1:48 PM
There's a very fine line, but in limited circumstances, yes, it should be considered a crime.
People should always be free to publish their opinions, even if it's something as outlandish as Martians landed and took over the White House. But when newspapers that purport to be objectively reporting the news print something they know to be false, they are publishing propaganda.
Two people can look at issues such as climate change or the impeachment hearings and see it differently, and that should not be a crime. But deliberate propaganda can cause wars or have other devastating consequences. We have accepted that there are some limits on free speech; depending on content, knowingly publishing false information can be very much like shouting "Fire!" in a crowded theatre. In these instances it should be considered a crime. The difficulty lies in the fact that the prosecutor must prove that the perpetrator knew the information was false rather than simply being mistaken. Since we can never prove what someone is thinking, it would require strong testimony such as a chain of emails or texts discussing the intent to publish false information to create chaos. Without such evidence, one would have to regard it as an error on the part of the publisher, and we all know that "errors" are published every day without legal consequences
Carol Spencer, 11/27/2019 3:43 PM
We should teach how to be discerning, how to check multiple sources, in order to determine the veracity of that which we read or see. Proving a statement is or is not "fake news" is something every person should know how to do, not just lawyers in a courthouse. There are already libel and slander laws that apply when a person or corporation is harmed. To me, this would be one giant step down the slippery slope of First Amendment erosion. Next up would be campaign literature, which often includes accurate facts and stats, but twisted in a way to imply one thing or another. Is that "fake news"? Trial lawyers would get rich(er). Criminal courts would be choked up with white collar criminal trials. And by the time appeals had been exhausted, no one would remember the statement or article that prompted the original charges. The damage would still be done... sort of like the time it takes for most state election law commissions to hear and rule on campaign violations.
Carla Klopfenstein, 11/27/2019 4:36 PM
Messing with the First Amendment is a difficult task. As others have stated, when it becomes a matter of life and death, then definitely someone should be punished. My bigger concern is that our young people through the current public education system has not given them the tools to understand what is fake or misleading because some of the teachers label some sources as good or bad. An example I just heard about in northern Wyoming is that every day in a fifth grade class, they have to listen to CNN for 5 minutes. When the parents heard about this, they forced the principal to stop this propaganda but how many schools are showing this without parents' permission? How do you teach young minds what is true or false when they are forced to listen to CNN every day because "their teacher made them do it."
Patricia Gillenwater, 11/28/2019 4:39 AM
No. Free speech gives cover for truth as well as those who stretch news or spin-lie. Up to each of us to use good critical thinking and vet everything.
Leslie Key, 12/9/2019 4:13 PM
It should absolutely be a crime for a news outlet to publish or air false INFORMATION, not opinion, that is meant to deliberately defame someone. Case in point: CNN published and aired INFORMATION that stated Republican Devin Nunes, while serving on the House Intelligence Committee in the impeachment hearing in December 2019, traveled to Vienna and met with former Ukraine prosecutor Victor Shokin to dig up dirt on Hunter Biden. Devin Nunes can PROVE in multiple ways that this trip NEVER HAPPENED. He is suing CNN for over $400 million dollars, and Nunes should WIN his case in court. CNN NEVER verified this story and it was deliberately aired and printed to defame Devin Nunes. Yes, it should be a CRIME to publish easily verifiable FALSE INFORMATION or to deliberately USE the WRONG Photographs to deliberately defame someone. CNN has done this numerous times to deliberately defame political opponents, and it is irresponsible and despicable behavior from a so-called “news” organization. If they are not held accountable, they will continue to do it. CNN has used this political tactic many times. I am talking about information and photographs which CAN and SHOULD be verified through multiple news sources, NOT OPINIONS. MSNBC and other mainstream news agencies have also done this. A retraction and an apology is NOT good enough, because millions of people never hear the retraction or the apology. They only hear the salacious “news.” The damage has been done - it’s way too late. Absolutely this should be a crime. This is the only way to stop this garbage.
Leslie Key, 12/9/2019 4:30 PM
Those who have been personally defamed by CNN and other mainstream news outlets ALSO have to spend THEIR personal MONEY on expensive attorneys and lawsuits. If CNN knew ahead of time that what they were doing was a legal crime, it would stop their publishing of false defamatory information.
Carmen Prince, 12/9/2019 5:09 PM
Defamatory and libelous statements intended to inflict harm upon another person are a crime, and that is what the liberal Media like CNN, MSNBC, CBS, etc. are doing. They know what they are doing but they keep doing it because NOBODY stops them. If WE The People complain and put our foot down and STOP watching their outrageous lies, maybe they will get a hint. They are recycling fake news because they do NOT have anything else to talk about. The people that work in those cable news are NOT JOURNALISTS. They have NO INTEGRITY at all. If they do not know the difference between real news and garbage, maybe they will change. Time to stop the abuse, and stop watching them.
Leslie Key, 12/10/2019 3:59 AM
CORRECTION on what I wrote above about the story CNN ran on Republican Devin Nunes:
CNN wrote and aired that Republican Intelligence Committee Chair Devin Nunes traveled to Vienna in 2018 (NOT in 2019) to meet with the former Ukraine prosecutor Victor Shokin to dig up dirt on JOE Biden (not on Hunter Biden).
After the former Ukraine prosecutor Victor Shokin saw this CNN story, he also said the story was false. Shokin said he never met with Devin Nunes. CNN never even bothered to verify this information with Victor Shokin - BEFORE they aired their story in front of millions of Americans. CNN never bothered to verify their story because CNN’s main intention was to defame Republican Devin Nunes.
Joy Crouch, 12/10/2019 12:25 PM
I was out of town and did not get a chance to vote on this question; but, it alarms me greatly to see how many members of our organization voted to make this a law. I thought that Republican women were the defenders of the US constitution. Who determines what is "fake news"? Would you like to see journalists gunned down in the street because their opinion piece was labled fake news? Lets run this question again and ask do you want to remove the first amendment?
Leslie Key, 12/13/2019 1:24 PM
No member answering this survey said ANYTHING about journalists being “gunned down in the streets.” When a news organization prints or airs false defamatory INFORMATION about someone and states that information as a true FACT, that is a world away from an OPINION piece. You fail to understand the difference between an information piece and an opinion piece.
beverly mcfadden, 12/17/2019 1:52 PM
The apathy of voters has come back to haunt us.
Joy Crouch, 12/17/2019 2:00 PM
Leslie, I do understand the difference between an information piece and an opinion piece. I lived for many years in a Communist country and witnessed people gunned down in the streets because an article was published in the local press that they did not agree with. All of the news channels, including Fox News and OAN, CNN, etc. are opinion channels. They seem to make no pretense of reporting unfiltered news. Unfortunately, this is the reality we are living in. And it seems unlikely with today's partisan climate that a truly bi=partisan organization will launch a straight unfiltered news station. However, we can pray a courage reporter will arise to take this project on.
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