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As an American living in Europe, I have to say that watching the US news is like watching your beloved Aunt Agatha slowly go insane. What's worse is watching it with my wife. She's French and though we have similar political views, because her background is as a French political advisor in Paris and my political background can best be summed up as "whining", we often have different views on how to approach problems. She's very much in the "what are we able to get done" camp as opposed to my "what should we get done" attitude. So when the subject of US politics comes up, particularly given her legal background (she has a Masters Degree in French law), she has a particular talent for asking questions which make me squirm.

Case in point: given the recent brouhaha regarding a law requiring truth in Canadian news, my wife asked me why the US didn't require news to be honest (she has been repeatedly shocked by some of the blatant lies that Fox News puts forward). I tried to explain about our First Amendment and why, sadly, Fox News used this to win a court case giving them the right to lie on air, and I also tried to explain how the US used to have a "Fairness doctrine" which at least required air time for opposing views, thus mitigating the problem somewhat.

Then she hit me with the question that her legal mind would naturally conjure up: don't you have truth in advertising laws?


Um, er, uh, yeah. The FTC Website lists three legal requirements for advertising:

  • Advertising must be truthful and non-deceptive;
  • Advertisers must have evidence to back up their claims; and
  • Advertisements cannot be unfair.

Do you have any idea how embarrassing this was? I was sitting there trying to explain to my lovely French wife why the US requires advertising to be honest, but not the news. I couldn't. No amount of sophistry or twisting my mind around this problem could allow me to get around the core issue that if news is allowed to lie and advertising isn't, something is seriously wrong in the US.

Originally posted to Ovid on Sun Mar 27, 2011 at 12:55 AM PDT.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I'd never (14+ / 0-)

    thought of it either.

    But in that case, seems to me like they ought be smacked down for advertising their "news" network as "fair and balanced," when both research and common sense far and wide prove it to be anything but.

    Just sayin'.

    Your knowledge of what is going on can only be superficial and relative. - William S. Burroughs

    by sricki on Sun Mar 27, 2011 at 01:17:51 AM PDT

  •  Faux news is like a Horror film (4+ / 0-)

    smoke and mirrors and crazy Sound effects..

    Too many dumbdown people love their horror fix.

    Sad and embarrassing to many in America, too.

    "Time is for careful people, not passionate ones."

    by roseeriter on Sun Mar 27, 2011 at 03:01:30 AM PDT

  •  Perhaps a bit less embarrassing (8+ / 0-)

    when considering that truth in advertising has been dead for a long time.  I didn't know we still had those "guidelines" on the books.  You wouldn't know it by watching TV ads.  You know,  the truth being such a gray area and all that.

    Or would that be even more embarrassing?

    Nice guys finish last. Nice guys shouldn't race.

    by A Voice on Sun Mar 27, 2011 at 03:32:07 AM PDT

    •  Some of us in the field (4+ / 0-)

      actually do call clients out when the claim become outlandish, unfair to their competitors, or just outright bizarre.

      Yes.  There still are laws in place, whether they're observed or not.  And not everyone cares more about the holy obelisques of capitalism than of ordinary human beings.

      “Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency?”

      by Detroit Mark on Sun Mar 27, 2011 at 04:25:15 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes, (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        wmc418, MsGrin, JG in MD, wilderness voice

        there are still plenty of rules for advertisers, particularly if you're advertising a product for children---in which case the written rules make up a book.

        They may not all be enforced when it comes to every ad, after all, there's a billion ads a day playing all over this country on all mediums.  But, if you get caught, the consequences are everything from a cease and desist of your often expensive to make commercial to big time fines.

        This is enough to see to it that the majority of advertisers go along with the rules, and the bigger the company the more likely they are to comply---as they know the rules, and have the greatest amount of air time, the best chance of getting caught.

        And yes, to compare this with FOX's daily lies and misrepresentations is an embarrassment for this country.  It is my understanding that FOX News gets away with this is by having registered themselves with the FCC as an entertainment channel/show vs. a news show. (SMELL THE IRONY IN THAT) and thereby getting away with the "free speech" thing.

        So, just to begin with, you have a case of false labeling with the word "news." The equivalent in advertising would be a company allowed to call a scooter a car.

        •  They and others. (0+ / 0-)

          They've always maintained there is a difference, a wall, between their news organization and their commentary/entertainment shows, such as O'Rielly and Beck.

          Those commentary and discussion shows are classed as entertainment not news.

          I am curious if MSNBC classifies Rachel Maddow as an entertainment show or a news show.  I'd bet entertainment.

          The administration has done virtually nothing designed to reward its partisans. - Kos 8/31/10

          by Rick Aucoin on Sun Mar 27, 2011 at 02:38:24 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  If we had an FCC that worked for the people (6+ / 0-)

    this would be addressed.

    •  It probably wouldn't... (5+ / 0-)

      The problem is that the rise of cable -- and cable networks such as Fox News -- was in the eighties and nineties, which were a very deregulatory time.  Even before it was repealed, the Fairness Doctrine never applied to cable channels.  Similarly, the ownership concentration rules for broadcast media (while badly gutted today) have never applied to cable networks.  

      Consequently, the FCC's regulatory authority over cable networks is extremely limited, and always has been.  There's a tendency for many to not realize that the FCC's regulatory authority over cable channels is far, far more limited than it's authority over broadcast stations.

      What's needed, in my opinion, is some very aggressive antitrust enforcement to break up the media oligopolies -- it's that extreme concentration of ownership that gives networks like Fox News so much influence...and that makes it difficult for a progressive counterpart to gain distribution.

      Political Compass: -6.75, -3.08

      by TexasTom on Sun Mar 27, 2011 at 07:55:43 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  see my post above. (0+ / 0-)

        If my understanding that FOX news is registered with the FCC
        as an entertainment show is correct, than that's a whole different set of rules than a news show, where the FCC is concerned.

        I assure you that most advertisers do not take the FCC lightly, even those who run on cable.  You'll notice for instance, that all those prescription drug ads with the awful list of side effects read at warp speed at the end, run that way on cable and network.  

        Not saying advertisers don't get away with misrepresentations, and even rarely, lies, but no where close to the amount of them that FOX flies free with every day with no threat of consequences.

        It's true---arguably the most important product out there, the news, in the case of FOX, is allowed to lie and misrepresent facts willy nilly.  Can't get away with that with say, Viagra.  :)

        •  That's because... (0+ / 0-)
          I assure you that most advertisers do not take the FCC lightly, even those who run on cable.  You'll notice for instance, that all those prescription drug ads with the awful list of side effects read at warp speed at the end, run that way on cable and network.  /blockquote>

          ...those particular disclaimers are mandated by the FTC, not the FCC.  And the FTC's rules most assuredly do apply identically to cable and broadcast channels.

          Political Compass: -6.75, -3.08

          by TexasTom on Sun Mar 27, 2011 at 02:20:01 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Agreed... but I was speaking of the "truth in ad" (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        I agree on the monopolies... look at HuffPo once it went corporate.

        I was commenting on partisan propaganda disguising itself as news.  This makes "fair and balanced" a false advertising claim.

        I've often thought there shoud be labeling for partisan cable channels.  Sort of like the MPAA guides for movies, but partisanship, not skin or rough language to be gauged.  For instance key people should not have been former speech writers or campaign officials.

        Also, I think there should be income disclosure for the pundits. For instance as Mr. Gafney is speaking, text will cycle showing his souces of income.

        The FCC under Bush and now under Obama has/will not address these issues.

    •  by coincidence (0+ / 0-)

      I got curious about just this thing the other day. It seems like much TV adertising is obvious bullshit I started to wonder whatever happened to truth in advertising and ended up in the FCC website.

      I picked one case more or less at random: The FCC had more or less slam dunked an internet virus and malware software protection company for deceptive advertising, in essence providing phony system scans that would detect threats that didn't really exist, then sell the software to the victim.

      There was no complaint against the software itself, just the way it was sold, and it appeared the FCC was after every dime the company ever made that way (over 1 million sales at $39 a pop.)

      So the FCC is still out there working on truth in advertising, but are probably underfunded and overwhelmed by the sheer volume of lies.

      I do very much like the idea of going after Fox on "fair and balanced".

  •  I'm not sure "truth in news" is really the problem (5+ / 0-)

    So much as "bias in news." Even if you were able to strike every (strictly speaking) factual inaccuracy from Fox's coverage, you'd still be left with a station that presented the facts from a very slanted, right-wing perspective. Wall to wall right-wing opinion shows. News anchors who ask questions and provide commentary in a way that favors one side over another.

    The trouble is that bias in news coverage can't really be banned or legislated out of existence very easily. It's a very complicated problem but I think at the root it's a problem with our culture and our acceptance of the free market at all costs (creating a race to the bottom in sensationalist news coverage), as well as simply the economic dominance of a company like News Corp which is able to impose its political agenda on a country.

    •  You make a good point... (0+ / 0-)

      but at least it would stop Fox from their most blatant sins, like running film of protesters with palm trees waving in the background, while talking about the Wisconsin rallies in the heart of winter.  

      Last week the inverted a poll on what people thought of the GOP governors attempt to bust unions---saying most favored it, instead of the opposite which is the truth.  After a 5 minute segment talking about how Americans hate unions, they came back after break with a short announcement that they had the poll reversed---then on to something Palin in a flash.

      These are NOT mistakes.  They happen far too often to be mistakes. This is strategy.

  •  You had me at "whining" (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Polly Syllabic, Rick Aucoin

    But perhaps this excellent point is a moment for you to stop doing it briefly, long enough to make a bigger point about this and somehow rifle this narrative to higher places than most of us can manage.

    This sounds like an excellent element to a political campaign, and historical followup policy.

    “Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency?”

    by Detroit Mark on Sun Mar 27, 2011 at 04:22:17 AM PDT

    •  I wasn't entirely fair (0+ / 0-)

      I said "whining" to make a humorous contrast. However, I vote (though there's some question as to whether or not my overseas vote really gets counted), and when I still lived in the US, I marched at protests, helped build the Portland, Oregon Peace Park, wrote letters to editors and officiated (legally) at 17 gay weddings when they were briefly legalized in Multnomah County, Oregon, and I whine (i.e, blog).

      Today, living in Europe severely restricts what I can do politically. I know about "Democrats Abroad", but given that I think America's political system is completely broken, I struggle to even participate there because the Democrats are, to my mind, merely giving us the choice between bad and worse.

      That's why much of my activity today is so heavily focused on letting people live and work anywhere in the world they want to. It turns out that the grass isn't greener over here, but it's different grass and often to people's liking (it certainly is to mine as I've no intention of moving back to the US).

  •  i think the answer to your wife's question (17+ / 0-)

    is probably rather simple: we have truth in advertising laws and not truth in news laws because the need to protect the business environment and try to ensure equitable competition in a business environment is both a higher priority and one with more vested stakeholders than the collective need to ensure a reasoned public sphere for the purposes of collective governance.

    In short, business and entrepreneurial values take precedence over civic values in contemporary U.S. communication policy.  

    Words can sometimes, in moments of grace, attain the quality of deeds. --Elie Wiesel

    by a gilas girl on Sun Mar 27, 2011 at 05:58:11 AM PDT

    •  Sad but true. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Polly Syllabic, concerned
      In short, business and entrepreneurial values take precedence over civic values in contemporary U.S. communication policy.  

    •  This is wrong (7+ / 0-)

      In fact, it is the opposite.  The Supreme Court has long ruled that advertising speech is accorded a lower level of constitutional protection under the First Amendment than is news and/or political speech.  The perverse outcome is that the government has some ability to regulate truth in advertising, but no ability to regulate truth in news coverage (aside from libel and slander laws).

      To a large degree, I think this is intentional on the part of our country's founders, who did not want the government in the business of deciding what "truth" is when it comes to news and politics.  That's an enormous amount of power to give to the government -- and if the government had had that power in recent years, anyoone want to imagine Karl Rove as the Minister of Truth back during the Bush/Cheney years?

      The problem is that the founders surely never imagined a news organization with the reach and constancy of Fox News.  They envisioned broadsheets distributed by individuals and small printers that might have circulation in the thousands -- and would surely be horrified by the modern day media conglomerates and the power that they've accumulated.  The valid remedy for dealing with organizations like News Corp (owner of Fox News) under the First Amendment is probably just to break them up into a bunch of pieces.  

      Aside from that, one thought that does come to my mind would be to specify that the First Amendment applies only to individuals, and not to corporations.  That would have a radical impact on the entire media environment, and would essentially give corporate media less rights than individuals...which seems fair, since individuals face the consequences of their actions and words in ways that a corporation never can.

      Political Compass: -6.75, -3.08

      by TexasTom on Sun Mar 27, 2011 at 08:06:18 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Bingo, that's the crux (0+ / 0-)

        Government and laws are the agreement we all make to secure everyone's freedom.

        by Simplify on Sun Mar 27, 2011 at 09:56:33 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Try to tell that (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        wmc418, concerned

        to the judges who just gave corporations personhood.  You could go either way with this and do better than we have it now.  Either specify that the first Amendment applies to individuals, and bye bye Citizens United, or expand the meaning of Citizens United to include prosecuting Corporations as if they are individuals.  Of course I'd go for the first solution, but either way, the way it stands now is the worst we could fear.

      •  if there were such a law on the books (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        requiring truth in news, enforcement would ultimately rest with the courts - the government would have to prove a news provider knowingly lied.  So the Bush bugaboo is misplaced.  Also, had such a law been on he books Chimpy probably would not have gotten elected in the first place.   Now all we need is a simple little constitutional amendment.

        Scientific Materialism debunked here

        by wilderness voice on Sun Mar 27, 2011 at 11:36:52 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I have been after this for years (10+ / 0-)

    During the height of the health care debate, I was e-mailing the FCC every day- now it's only when I become outraged again about the lies. (every other day).

    I want the FCC to go after the Advertisments.  FOX cannot advertise that they are fair and balanced.  They are not, and the facts to back that up are out there.

    They cannot advertise that they are news, if news means to tell what happened.  They don't.

    Truth in advertising.  FOX fails.

    Growing old is inevitable...Growing up is purely optional

    by grannycarol on Sun Mar 27, 2011 at 06:54:37 AM PDT

    •  Courts Have Held Fox Has the Right to Lie (4+ / 0-)

      There's no prospect of this situation improving.

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Sun Mar 27, 2011 at 07:32:40 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Since the Fairness Doctrine was repealed... (5+ / 0-)

        .... by Saint Ronnie, I agree there is no legal recourse against the actual lies.  

        Howeve I believe grannycarol's question is ¨have the courts held that they have a right to advertise that they do not lie?¨

        P.S. How f**ked up are we as a country that we have to think about making this distinction?

        •  Fairness Doctrine... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          abe57, Rick Aucoin

          ...never applied to cable networks.  Since Fox News is a cable network, the existence of the Fairness Doctrine wouldn't impact it's operation.  The right wing radio shows are another matter...

          (And while I'm not a constitutional lawyer, judging by the way the courts through out attempts by the FCC to applly broadcast indecency rules to cable, it's unlikely that any attempt to extend the Fairness Doctrine to cable TV would have survived court challenges.)

          Political Compass: -6.75, -3.08

          by TexasTom on Sun Mar 27, 2011 at 08:40:54 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Political ads are not commercial (0+ / 0-)

      They are protected 1st Amendment speech.

      "A functioning Democracy must defy economic interests of the elites on behalf of citizens" Christopher Hedges Econ 3.50&Soc. 5.79

      by wmc418 on Sun Mar 27, 2011 at 10:55:25 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Protected screech (0+ / 0-)

        What some consider obscene pornography is protected by the First Amendment, though it boasts no political message. The Extreme Court has now held that money, in the guise of it's enabling agency, the corporations, is a citizen entitled to Free Speech.
        Bork the failed Supremes candidate let out that he believed the only protected speech to be political, but so far nobody else has gone along with that proposition.
        Remember also the recent decision allowing the vile lunatics from Westboro to continue their slimey saga defends their right to present a crazed theology, not politics.

        "Parenting resembles politics in that what you must do to land the job in no way qualifies you to perform it." - Woesong

        by Timus on Sun Mar 27, 2011 at 01:12:51 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  The 1st Amendment, Something Nobody Else Has (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wilderness voice, Rick Aucoin

    in such a simplistic sweeping statement.

    Communication corporations are protected by press freedom to promote their agenda, and courts have held that that includes the right to lie.

    There's no solution to this problem.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Sun Mar 27, 2011 at 07:32:06 AM PDT

  •  Of course, you can always turn on TV5... (0+ / 0-)

    and watch one of those French game shows that look like a cross between Oprah, the Lawrence Welk Show, and a Russian traveling circus...then say...

    C'est quoi cette merde la!?

  •  I saw this commercial last night... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    xanthippe2, caryltoo

    on CBC, I think - while it's nothing to do with your topic, I did laugh out loud as my immediate thought was Fox News...

    North American house hippo

    " have to be happy with what you have to be happy with..."

    by soundchaser on Sun Mar 27, 2011 at 07:46:00 AM PDT

  •  One solution is time. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JG in MD

    Rupert Murdoch is eighty years old. Internal power struggles and dissolution of authority. Morph the right wing lie machine into a parody not even true believers will admit to watching.

  •  Truth in Advertising? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    i m bushwacked

     OK, there are laws, but all you have to do is actually listen to them to know that they may not be lying, but they certainly not telling the WHOLE truth.

       As I sit here, with the TV machine on:  advert is saying "highest recommended by physicians".  That doesn't really say much, because I doubt that all physicians were queried, even all physicians who could recommend the product.  

    Propublica had a series relevant to this "recommend" game by linking money paid by BigPharma companies directly to physicians.  Once the physician is bought, then one would suspect these are the physicians who are also polled about the product.  

    If you think these physicians are going to bad mouth products supplied by their benefactor, I have a bridge for sell!

  •  A retort you can use on your wife... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Rick Aucoin

    next time you're tongue-tied:

    "But, honey," you'll say, "the French revere Jerry Lewis as a genius. Justify this."

    Frankly, the notion of "requiring" news to be honest chills me to the core. Who would decide this amorphous "truth," anyway?

    In my opinion, GWB was the worst president of my lifetime, and I can point to any number of Hurricane George's disasters and misadventures to back up my claim. But you know darn well there are folks out there who think 43 was a terrific president. How would I "prove" I'm right to an ardent Bush supporter?

    Your wife's question is thought-provoking in theory, but, ultimately, most Americans understand that the old Weekly World News really didn't have any "news" in it and that the phrase "fair and balanced" has become a punchline more than a motto for Fox "News."

    If Fox "News" were as powerful as some folks fear, wouldn't John McCain be sitting in the Oval Office right now?

    Hannity and O'Reilly and Beck, not to mention Limbaugh and all the other clowns of that ilk, preach to the same couple million putzes every day.

    Their influence is not expanding, and the only thing a Truth Commission on News would accomplish would be to give them something to froth at the mouth about for weeks on end.

    •  enforcement would be about proving lies (0+ / 0-)

      sure there are all kinds of perspectives on a situation that could be said to be "true", or, a least, not lies.  But a news provider would run afoul of a truth in news law by asserting something that was provably false.

      Scientific Materialism debunked here

      by wilderness voice on Sun Mar 27, 2011 at 11:44:41 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  No wonder you married her (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wilderness voice

    Your wife is a smart woman.

    “I have one dollar in my wallet. That’s more than the combined income tax liability of GE, ExxonMobil, Citibank, and the Bank of America. That means somebody is gaming the system.” Carl Gibson

    by MsGrin on Sun Mar 27, 2011 at 10:33:14 AM PDT

  •  read the federalist papers (0+ / 0-)

    The founding fathers assumed that people are intelligent and act in their own interests. They assumed that generaly all people have the same interests, and when there is division over less universal matters (regional or class issues) that all sides would be aware of the reality of those issues, and a liar would be quickly and effectively dismissed.
    In other words - the 1st ammendment was written to assume that it refers only to truthful speech, because an intelligent, informed populace would in the end be immune from lies.
    The founders also assumed that should a given part of the government or even society become controlled by criminals or bigots that the people would still control the rest and would use those resources to restore order.
    The founders have been proven wrong. The American people are ignorant. They are overly tolerant of the moral and ethical flaws of others and riddled with their own. They have allowed a subset of society (actually a coalition of bigots and criminals) to dominate all branches of government - in fact, all sectors of society.
    Tell your wife that it is not that America does not have the legal structure to defend itself from lies; it's that we never thought that we needed it.

    •  Foundering Fathers (0+ / 0-)

      It is to laugh whenever we read of the Founders as if they were a carefully coordinated drill team. The Federalist monologues were written primarily by a wealthy adopted New Yorker who was to go far towards implementing the corporate culture in America. He saw the national prestige of a strong centralized unit, whereas Jefferson, Paine, and Pat Henry preferred a loose assortment of individuals.
      Had a Free Press been in effect in 1787-8, we would never have seen a Constitution such as we have. The document was favored by the wealthy lords who held the bonds they wanted repaid at face value and lived in the cities on the coast, whereas 90% of the citizenry lived in the rural west.
      Oh, you want to know the "thinking" behind the Bill of Rights? It was strictly a bone tossed to the republicans who objected to the document as it stood, which was most of the states. It was feared by Madison, who squired an assortment of objections (winnowed through an American Idol negotiation process) into a Top Ten, et al, that the dissidents might well be able to call a Constitutional Convention, which might well undo all the work of the Federalists.

      "Parenting resembles politics in that what you must do to land the job in no way qualifies you to perform it." - Woesong

      by Timus on Sun Mar 27, 2011 at 01:31:39 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  British politicians who lie to the public (0+ / 0-)

    get kicked out of their party if my memory serves me right.

    Our politicians stand up in their empty chambers-the U.S. Senate and the House and twist the facts,  say what ever they want to with no opposition members presents. Rep. Gomert of Texas comes immediately to mind.

  •  You know why... (0+ / 0-)

    ...because at any point you have an official agency telling the media what they can and can't say, you're going dangerously close to losing a free press.

    We don't anyone passing judgment about what you can and can't say, no matter how ridiculous or wrong - that's just first amendment 101.

    And there's a huge difference between advertisements and news.

    •  you are riding over the challenge. (0+ / 0-)

      And maybe you should consider First Amendment 300, rather than the grade 9 version.

      What you would have in fact is not some "government agency" deciding the lines between acceptable content and calculated deceit,  but rather the courts through case law which is the accumulated wisdom of the ages. You can't do better than that, but you can do a whole lot worse.

      One excellent way to do much worse is to cut the public's throat on the alter of a childishly rigid interpretation of Freedom of Speech, which, at the end of the day, leaves only one person speaking. And that person ain't you now I nor anybody in the room.

      A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger (Proverbs 15:1)

      by Boreal Ecologist on Sun Mar 27, 2011 at 02:05:27 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  This is a simple one (0+ / 0-)

    The reason we don't allow anyone to demand the news must be "honest", is that there is no way to do that. All you can do is demand that the news conform to the official narrative, and that is not at all the same thing.

    News is whatever someone tells you; whether it is true or not is for you, not whoever told you, and not the government, to decide.

    As so often happens, this "you have the right to lie" is one of those things that is seriously right about the USA, and seriously wrong about everywhere else. It isn't that you have the right to lie, it is that the government doesn't have the ability to declare what is or is not "the truth" and punish anyone who disagrees.

  •  That's the conundrum (0+ / 0-)

    There are two choices - either grant some objective authority to ajudicate issues of truth or lies (which is impossible) or allow people to lie with impunity and hope that few people will avail themselves of that ability, and that lies will be exposed in time, and not cause too much damage before the voters can make or correct matters. Sadly, at the present time this policy has failed on a large scale. That does not mean that the policy is wrong.

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