By Marta Mossburg
The Hendricks County Flyer
Mon Jan 21, 2013, 03:42 PM EST
But what kind of precedent does it set if the government gets to determine what constitutes "misinformation"?
For starters, government is frequently the source of lies and obfuscation at every level - and not just in places like Russia, China, and North Korea. Think of the official response to the terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi that killed Libyan Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three others in September. According to the Obama administration, an anti-Muslim video incited the violence, which officials knew immediately was not the case.
At the state level, what if governors were able to arbitrate the truth? Before answering, remember that four Illinois governors have spent time in federal prison in the last 50 years.
We already know what happened after Lt. Vance spoke. Social media website Facebook suspended accounts of those whose versions of the Newtown massacre did not match the government one, officially because users violated company policies but more likely to avert criminal prosecution.
Facebook is a public company and can set its own user rules, but its actions are a reminder of how little it takes to diminish free speech, which is constantly under threat. Other examples are college speech codes that outlaw offending others, as well as the dominant culture of political correctness that pushes people to self-censor for fear of being labeled a sexist, racist, homophobe, etc.
Through his remarks, Vance no doubt wanted to protect the families of the victims from further emotional harm and prevent new violence from spinning off the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School. But to claim the government alone is in charge of information on the massacre - and for a major corporation like Facebook to capitulate - shows how easy it is for government to control speech.
Those targeted could sue but how many people have the money or time to defend themselves appropriately?
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An NPR broadcast examines the question of how communities can better prepare for tornadoes like the one that struck Moore, Okla. on Monday. The broadcast features commentary from Michael Fitzgerald, who reported a five-part disaster series for the CNHI News Service.
May 22, 2013
Part I: Are We Prepared? | Part II: Disaster Dollars Part III: Lessons Learned | Part IV: Warning Signs Part V: The Big One
Allegations of police brutality are nothing new -- as long as there has been law enforcement, citizens have registered claims that some officers cross the line. But in the last few years, the claims of excessive force are being corroborated with new technology from cell phone cameras, police dash-cams and surveillance videos.
July 24, 2014
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