Supreme Court hears challenge to ban on 'false' campaign speech

Comments (31)

Free speech is the First Amendment, but it is not a blanket protection for ALL speech. The classic example is yelling “FIRE!” in a crowded theater. The rationale is that free speech is not protected where public safety is concerned.

I personally think that blatant lying is tantamount to the endangerment of public safety. Imagine a politician claiming that “Lead has never been shown to be toxic to the human body, so vote for me and I will remove all restrictions on putting lead in consumer products!” If enough people believe them and vote for them on that basis, that is a direct threat to public safety.

It would be nice if the citizenry was informed enough to decipher truth from lies, but sadly, many are not.

Lying to win elections is a disgusting practice, the last resort of desperate bottom-feeders, and should not be allowed.

Apr 22, 2014 1:43pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
zigo wrote:

If knowingly lying is illegal, Fox News has to shut its doors. That IS indeed a limit on free speech.

Apr 22, 2014 2:10pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
zigo wrote:

If knowingly lying is illegal, Fox News has to shut its doors. That IS indeed a limit on free speech.

Apr 22, 2014 2:10pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
zigo wrote:

If this law stands, what can the GOP still say about “Obama cares”?

Apr 22, 2014 2:11pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
Zeken wrote:

The blatant lie, “diversity is our strength,” and the zeitgeist that has issued therefrom, is the biggest threat to public safety yet.

But I don’t want to legally proscribe it. Just laugh at it, despite the horrific damage it’s caused.

Apr 22, 2014 2:17pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
SunnyDaySam wrote:

But… without disinformation and outright Lies, the Republicans have NOTHING!!! oh, wait, that’s all they have anyway… nevermind.

Apr 22, 2014 2:40pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
TheNewWorld wrote:

Banning lying would completely destroy the GOP and DNC.

Apr 22, 2014 2:41pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
Big2Tex wrote:

“You can keep your insurance. You can keep your doctor.” the best example of knowingly lying for political gain. All of you defenders of Obama cannot possibly support anything that limits lying.

Apr 22, 2014 3:05pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
gcf1965 wrote:

Sad that Zigo attacks one of the few news media outlets that actullay does broadcast truth. It is all able to be independently verified, but in the leftist’s thought, anything they do not want to hear and do not agree with must be a lie. How about the mainstream media outlets that have been busted over the past few years, like NBC, performing selective editting to intentionally mislead the few viewers they have. This has happened on multiple occassions, but not on Fox.

Apr 22, 2014 3:18pm EDT  --  Report as abuse

Politicians need to be accountable for what they say and the lies told by groups like the Susan B. Anthony list are exactly why.

Apr 22, 2014 3:29pm EDT  --  Report as abuse

TheNewWorld wrote:
“Banning lying would completely destroy the GOP and DNC.”

GOOD. They both deserve to be obliterated. We can build something better from the pieces of this broken two-party system.

Big2Tex wrote:
“You can keep your insurance. You can keep your doctor.” the best example of knowingly lying for political gain. All of you defenders of Obama cannot possibly support anything that limits lying.

LOL. I have many words to say to that, but I’ll limit it to just two: “MISSION ACCOMPLISHED”

Apr 22, 2014 3:30pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
AlkalineState wrote:

Why would fraud be protected under the first amendment?

Apr 22, 2014 3:42pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
racc wrote:

So lying is legal???

Apr 22, 2014 4:20pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
TheNewWorld wrote:

@gsf1965

I equate Fox News to MSNBC when it comes to truthfullness and bias.

Apr 22, 2014 4:48pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
uc8tcme wrote:

If a lie is repeated enough it comes truth.

Apr 22, 2014 4:57pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
uc8tcme wrote:

All Presidents lie, more or less than the previous ones. In my lifetime here they are:

Reagan – “We did not trade arms for hostages”

Bush 1 – “Read my lips – no new taxes”

Clinton – “I did not have sexual relations with that woman”

Bush 2 – “Iraq has weapons of mass destruction i.e. WMD”

Obama – “You will be able to keep you healthcare insurance as is”

Only one of these lies cause irreversible damage to our country, the others were just “bumps in a president’s term in office”. The majority of us lie for one reason or another – live with it.

Apr 22, 2014 5:01pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
SunnyDaySam wrote:

gcf1965 wrote: ‘Sad that Zigo attacks one of the few news media outlets that actullay does broadcast truth.’

“In February 2003, a Florida Court of Appeals unanimously agreed with an assertion by FOX News that there is no rule against distorting or
falsifying the news in the United States.
“Fox” argued that, under the First Amendment, broadcasters have the right to lie or deliberately distort news reports on public airwaves. Fox attorneys did not dispute Akre’s claim that they pressured her to
broadcast a false story, they simply maintained that it was their right to do so.”

I’ve heard Fox/GOP has the court decision framed on their walls.

Apr 22, 2014 5:06pm EDT  --  Report as abuse

gcf1965 wrote:
“How about the mainstream media outlets that have been busted over the past few years, like NBC, performing selective editting to intentionally mislead the few viewers they have. This has happened on multiple occassions, but not on Fox.”

FauxNews has an entire YouTube channel dedicated to posting clips of their selective editing.

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL814374ED833C9047

And here’s a few (dozen) examples of how FauxNews presents real data with a skewed perspective to lead the viewer into accepting their narrative:

http://mediamatters.org/research/2012/10/01/a-history-of-dishonest-fox-charts/190225

http://www.businessinsider.com/fox-news-charts-tricks-data-2012-11

Here’s another example from just a few days ago:

http://www.alternet.org/media/fox-news-now-telling-blatant-lies-about-obamacare-numbers

Heck, there’s even a Wikipedia page about their controversies.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fox_News_Channel_controversies

Of course, you are unlikely to accept WIKIpedia because it’s not CONSERVApedia. Just the fact that there IS a “Conservapedia” alternative to Wikipedia tells you all you need to know about who is having trouble accepting truth and reality…

Apr 22, 2014 5:20pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
SunnyDaySam wrote:

‘If you repeat a lie often enough, it becomes the truth.’
Joseph Goebbels.

the Koch/GOP mantra.

Apr 22, 2014 5:29pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
ArghONaught wrote:

Politicians unanimously think they have no duty to be honest. Many decades of campaigning and misrepresentation from all sides underscores that.

It is passed time that untruths from politicians and political parties need to result in jail time! That would be one of the few avenue to restore integrity in public life.

Apr 22, 2014 5:39pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
TheNewWorld wrote:

@USofRationality

There is no doubt that Faux News distorts the truth and misleads people, but lets be realistic here. CNN changed the news world forever by providing news as entertainment rather than journalism. Ratings matter more than truth now. I don’t watch any of the entertainment channels as I don’t want to be lied to. At least Rush Limbaugh calls himself an entertainer and not a journalist. We need the rest of them to identify themselves honestly.

Apr 22, 2014 6:33pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
TheNewWorld wrote:

@USofRationality

There is no doubt that Faux News distorts the truth and misleads people, but lets be realistic here. CNN changed the news world forever by providing news as entertainment rather than journalism. Ratings matter more than truth now. I don’t watch any of the entertainment channels as I don’t want to be lied to. At least Rush Limbaugh calls himself an entertainer and not a journalist. We need the rest of them to identify themselves honestly.

Apr 22, 2014 6:33pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
TheNewWorld wrote:

@USofRationality

There is no doubt that Faux News distorts the truth and misleads people, but lets be realistic here. CNN changed the news world forever by providing news as entertainment rather than journalism. Ratings matter more than truth now. I don’t watch any of the entertainment channels as I don’t want to be lied to. At least Rush Limbaugh calls himself an entertainer and not a journalist. We need the rest of them to identify themselves honestly.

Apr 22, 2014 6:33pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
AlkalineState wrote:

Are you guys having a hard time getting your comments to post these days? Maybe I’ve been banned or something. Miss you guys.

Apr 22, 2014 6:54pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
synago wrote:

This not a free speech issue. The First Amendment dose not protect a lie. Don’t believe me think about this. lying under oath, slander, libel.
As far as the yelling fire in a crowded theater. Is an incomplete example. You can yell fire in a crowded theater if there is a fire. You can also yell fire in a crowed theater if it is a line in the script.
To knowing lie to cause an individual harm, be they conservative or liberal, is despicable.

Apr 22, 2014 7:15pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
vbutler wrote:

Freedom of Speech is wonderful until the power of the megaphone used denies your ability to not hear it.

Apr 22, 2014 12:38am EDT  --  Report as abuse
Bakhtin wrote:

Why is there a discussion about whether lying is free speech or not? This is ridiculous. whether it is free speech or not, lying is still lying. The question is whether you think lying is acceptable, and the anti-abortionists running the lying adverts seem to think it is.

Here is a nice summary of free speech -> http://xkcd.com/1357/

Apr 23, 2014 2:17am EDT  --  Report as abuse
Dehumanist wrote:

When lying is illegal then politicians will have nothing to say

Apr 23, 2014 6:10am EDT  --  Report as abuse
AbsolutelyNot wrote:

There goes Obama’s political career.
He is a habitual liar.

Apr 23, 2014 7:53am EDT  --  Report as abuse
SunnyDaySam wrote:

The only reason anybody has to lie is because they’re flat wrong.

Apr 23, 2014 7:56am EDT  --  Report as abuse

TheNewWorld wrote:
“There is no doubt that Faux News distorts the truth and misleads people, but lets be realistic here. CNN changed the news world forever by providing news as entertainment rather than journalism.”

I agree. MSNBC’s heavy bias is undeniable, Faux has given up all pretense of being anything other than a propaganda network, and CNN is just a shameless joke. Which is why I only watch them for a laugh, my preferred news channel is Al Jazeera America.

But back to the subject matter at hand, politicians lying to campaign is… well, like I said, the last resort of desperate bottom-feeders. Thank god for websites like Politifact, which analyzes those lies for us. But even they are starting to have to be selective of what they publish out of fear of conservative backlash accusing them of having a “liberal bias” simply for doing what they do… calling out liars who lie.

Apr 23, 2014 9:23am EDT  --  Report as abuse
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