There’s no doubt California is a land of extremes; just look at the weather, wildfires, deserts and Hollywood.
Or watch Maxine Waters and see if she can address anyone without shouting “impeach, impeach, impeach” President Trump.
Now there’s an extreme move afoot to have the government take control of the fight against “fake news” on social media.
The plan is to have a state “model” for social media companies to follow.
Likely whether they want to or not.
The proposal was reported by the Foundation for Economic Education.
Barry Brownstein said legislators already have approved S.B. 1424, and it only needs the signature of Gov. Jerry Brown.
It would require the establishment of an advisory board that would include Justice Department representatives, social media providers, civil liberties groups and First Amendment scholars.
They would study “the spread of false information” on social media and create a “model strategic plan” to “mitigate the spread of false information.”
“It’s hard to imagine those voting for the bill were motivated by good intentions. In any case, good intentions are not enough. Is it hard to imagine the results of the law will be censorship of views that politicians disagree with and views critical of politicians?” Brownstein wrote.
“Most likely, Californians are not concerned about ‘fact-checking’ content like ‘a mile is 5290 feet’ or an appeal to form a flat Earth Facebook group; such content poses no threat to entrenched interests. Instead, ‘fact-checking’ will be deployed against those who express doubt, for example, about climate change, vaccine safety, or ‘educating’ children about gender dysphoria.”
He pointed out that the First Amendment doesn’t provide “for government judging the validity of speech either directly or through mandated ‘fact-checking.'”
And there already are laws to address slander or defamation.
“There have always been ‘false reports,’ but Thomas Jefferson believed in the wisdom of the public to discern the difference,” Brownstein wrote.
“It is so difficult to draw a clear line of separation between the abuse and the wholesome use of the press, that as yet we have found it better to trust the public judgment, rather than the magistrate, with the discrimination between truth and falsehood. And hitherto the public judgment has performed that office with wonderful correctness.”
Brownstein pointed out that Google already has provided a censored search engine in China, so “they can no doubt use their new expertise in California to keep up with the latest laws.”
At the Pacific Legal Foundation, whose lawyers routinely take on such issues, a commentary said, “Somewhere George Orwell is shaking his head.”
PLF said government regulation of speech “is a slippery slope.”
“Once a step is taken toward government deciding what is ‘true’ or ‘false’ or what views are ‘worthwhile’ and worthy of being shared, it is only a matter of time until politicians with ideological agendas decide to attempt to elevate their own views, to the detriment of individual rights and democracy,” the legal group said.
“The cost of our own freedom of speech depends on a tolerance of the ideas and speech of others. We ourselves are the best judges of the merits of differing views, not the government. The last thing we need is Sacramento politicians deciding where we can speak and what we can say.”