In today’s news, it turns out MSNBC’s legal correspondent, Ari Melber, has proposed treating “fake news”, or more technically “disprovable media claims” as a species of fraud along the same lines as fraudulent advertising – and therefore something the FTC can protect the public from.
Long-time readers may notice a certain similarity to the Empire’s long-standing principle that “the freedom of speech is not the freedom to deceive” that establishes lies on matters of fact as criminal fraud, only aggravated by the number of people you’re lying to.
It’s just a more limited (concentrating only on “deceptive businesses” and keeping the government away from “actual journalists” and “citizens exercising their right to lie” – O tempora! O mores!) and government-centered (rather than creating a cause of action for anyone lied to) version of it. Which differences probably make it worthless anyway, but just in case anyone’s getting ideas from my fictional politics…
…it works there because of a millennia-old tradition of intellectual integrity (“right to lie, indeed!”) and of principled valxíjir and of not being a bunch of malevolent means-justifying sons-of-bitches. Both I and my fourth-wall-breaking characters strongly anti-endorse the notion for use here, where approximately none of those conditions hold true.
It also doesn’t help that “fake news” itself has gone from meaning “Mass-produced propaganda serving a transparent ideological aim” to “News I happen not to like because it offends my preconceived sensibilities of how the world should work” within a matter of weeks of being introduced.
I confess that I pretty much assumed it meant that in live usage right from the start.
While we’re speaking of unusual laws that probably work better (there) than (here): I present the text of the proposed North Dakota House Bill 1203:
Heh. Well, there, obstruction – “to prevent or obstruct passage through a public volume, or through a private volume without the consent of its owner” – is defined as a crime and so parties engaging in it will likely have been hauled off to arraignment by the constabulary or odocorp security before the situation comes up.
(Spacers, especially, for whom obstructing traffic may be much more likely to constitute a hazard than an inconvenience, have no patience with that shit.)
…that being said, given the reports of the more riotesque elements trying to break into cars held up by protests, or smashing windows to pepper-spray the occupants, etc., even here I am somewhat sympathetic to the law in question and a little further, on the grounds that if I have to choose between me and mine and the riot in a self-defense scenario, I’m not even going to feel bad about choosing the former.