Tag Archives: Politics

Is publishing fake news protected by the freedom of the press clause of the First Amendment?

Finding accurate facts on the internet can be difficult, as quality information is hard to come by.  When looking for a credible source, you would almost always choose information from a university over Wikipedia, or from a government website over a local blogger like myself.  But when it comes to an article from the press, can you trust the content that is being published?  Over the past few years, specifically during the 2016 presidential election, the phrase “fake news” has become a common term associated with mainstream medias.  The question is, should publishing fake news be protected by the freedom of the press clause of the First Amendment, or is it a wrong and possibly illegal act?

Fake news has become a powerful tool that many news networks and media companies use to sway their audience into thinking a certain way about a person or topic.  For instance, in the past presidential election, fake news was published from both left and right leaning medias, trying to influence people to think poorly of Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton.  A few of these articles included sources claiming that Trump was a “puppet” of Vladimir Putin, the president of Russia, or that Clinton should be put in prison, rather than in office. When you dig deeper into these articles however, you find that there is little to no credibility, and they seem to not be written by people who seek the truth, but by people who have a strong disliking for these political figures.

Unfortunately, trying to get people to agree with them through falsifying information isn’t the worst thing that fake news has brought to the public.  In 2016, the Washington Times published an editorial in their paper describing the murder of Seth Rich, an employee of the Democratic National Committee.  In the article, they claimed that he leaked DNC emails to Wikileaks and was killed in response to these actions.  Even though it was published in the paper and online, there were no facts or evidence to back up this claim. His brother Aaron Rich, and the rest of his family were outraged over this false claim, and filed a lawsuit over it.  In September of 2018, Aaron Rich reached a settlement with the Washington Times, and dropped the lawsuit after the Washington Times issued a public apology and retracted the article from their publishings.

It is my opinion that fake news is a harmful method of political propaganda that should be made illegal.  It has done much more harm than good in our country, and across the world for that matter. Freedom of the press is a very important clause of the First Amendment, but the people should be able to trust that what the media is publishing is truthful and can be backed up with evidence.  If media companies only posted the truth, it would leave people feeling a lot less confused, and give us a better understanding of what is truly going on in the United States.

Works Cited:

Emanuel, Daniella. “Should Fake News Be Battled in the Courts?” CNN, Cable News Network, 7 Oct. 2018, Web, 27 Feb. 2019.

Meyer, Robinson. “The Grim Conclusions of the Largest-Ever Study of Fake News.” The Atlantic, Atlantic Media Company, 12 Mar. 2018, Web, 27 Feb. 2019.

Staffers, Carl. “Fake News, Fake Data: How Bad Data and Misleading Graphs Are Fueling Fake News.” Badgerlink, 4 Mar. 2017, Web, 27 Feb. 2019.

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Does Fake-Lynching a President Fall Within A Person’s Freedom of Speech?

On October 29th, 2016, during a UW-Madison football game at Camp Randall, there was a man found wearing a costume acting like Barack Obama was being lynched. One man wearing a prisoner outfit and a Barack Obama mask on his face, a Hillary Clinton mask on the back of his head, and a noose around his neck. The other man involved, worse normal clothes with a Donald Trump Mask on. This man was seen holding the noose up that was on the other man’s neck. The assimilated the lynching of both Clinton and Obama. In terms of this being within the two men’s freedom’s of speech and expression, it is. The only thing that is illegal to do under the context of the president is to say something. There is nothing about acting out a President’s death. Someone is not allowed to say “I want to kill the President” or “Someone should kill the President”. Doing what these men did is highly offensive, but is within their rights. The one way this could be pushed to fall outside the lines of freedom of speech is obscenity. This states that  “any utterance or act that strongly offends the prevalent morality of the time”. Meaning, if this offended the majority of the stadium, then this act can be considered outside the boundaries of freedom of speech and expression.

Definitions

Info 1

Info 2

Should burning the flag be Illegal?

First off people who say their going to burn the flag are doing it to protest the government.

If burning the flag is not a protected form of speech, is kneeling for the National Anthem protected? Most people would say yes because it is a peaceful way to protest something, but according to thelawdictionary.org, burning the flag is also showing a form of peaceful protest. If burning the flag is illegal, then kneeling for the National Anthem is illegal right? Even though they are both protesting peacefully. But according to cnn.com neither president Trump nor congress can criminalize it.

Tired of Satire?

Should satire be allowed? The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, and Saturday Night Live are some of our favorite television shows. All of these television shows are common examples of satire. These shows have made way into our homes, and helped us learn about politics and other information while making fun of them and giving us laughter as we learn. The definition of satire, according to Google, is the use of humor, irony, exaggeration, or ridicule to expose and criticize people’s stupidity or vices, particularly in the context of contemporary politics and other topical issues.

Satire is sometimes questioned on whether it should be allowed in places or television. Some people believe that it gives false information to people and can affect their life in a bad way. In 2008, Pew Research Center released a study that listed Jon Stewart as the fourth most trusted American journalist. There is a lot of criticism on this, because Jon Stewart is mostly known for his satire, making fun of other people or giving false information on politics. Jon Stewart responded by saying that he does not share false stories, his impressions are false. People who support satire say that it is informative, and it explains issues and politics in a comedic way, or makes fun of something. Also, people say that it is a right. The First Amendment to the United States Constitution gives people freedom of speech; it gives people a chance to state their beliefs to society. Some people feel like their beliefs are wrong when satire pokes at their values and calls them stupid for believing something.

Most of America agrees with me, in that satire should be allowed. It is apart of our freedom of speech. A lot of it can be informative, and it doesn’t mean you have to have the same beliefs. Satire is funny and informative, and helps make people’s lives better, while teaching us about politics.

Hg.org. N. p., 2018. Web. 19 Feb. 2018.

“Jon Stewart On The Value Of Political Satire.” RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty. N. p., 2009. Web. 19 Feb. 2018.