When Milton Friedman famously wrote “I think the government solution to a problem is usually as bad as the problem and very often makes the problem worse” in his work An Economist’s Protest, back in 1975, that statement was a fundamental truth. Today there is no doubt that the government solution to any problem is always far worse than the original problem. Fake news and censorship of conservatives on social media platforms are both very serious problems. Different federal government branches are investigating ways of solving these two problems. You may me wondering, what could possibly go wrong. Based on the track record of the federal government, the possibilities are too horrific to speculate on, but speculate I will.
Thanks to an overwhelmingly liberal media, fake news has turned into a major problem. The liberal bias of their reporting is meant to sway elections. Ever since President Trump announced he was running, he railed against fake news, and has continued railing after winning the presidency. The liberal media labeled these verbal jibes as a direct violation of the Freedom of the Free Press clause of the First Amendment and labeled President as one of the worst practitioners of press suppression. Neither of these characterizations of his fake news statements claims is true. He is merely exercising his freedom speech. Even if President Trump’s accusations were incorrect, his verbal attacks are perfectly fine.
An article with the title “Homeland Security to compile database of journalists and ‘media influencers’” appeared in the Chicago Sun Times. According to this article:
The Department of Homeland Security wants to track the comings and going of journalists, bloggers and other “media influencers” through a database.
The DHS’s “Media Monitoring” plan, which was first reported by FedBizOpps.gov, would give the contracting company “24/7 access to a password protected, media influencer database, including journalists, editors, correspondents, social media influencers, bloggers etc.” in order to “identify any and all media coverage related to the Department of Homeland Security or a particular event.”
The database would be designed to monitor the public activities of media members and influencers by “location, beat and influencers,” the document says.
This monitoring plan would be a direct attack on the Freedom of the Press clause because it would be an attempt to intimidate the media into reporting only what the Trump administration approves of. It would also be a violation of the Fourth Amendment’s privacy protections. Is this article accurate or is it fake news? If is up to every one of us to decide for ourselves and ignore it if we believe it is fake. That is the only solution to the fake news plague. Any government solution would lead to the type of tyranny exhibited by this proposal, or even worse tyranny.
Censorship of conservatives and other individuals on the political right by Facebook, Twitter, and You Tube is an issue I constantly rage against on Facebook and Twitter. Censorship of any individual or group is the issue I most passionately fight against. I appose censorship of anyone even if I vehemently oppose what they have to say. Even the most vile and disgusting individuals and groups have a right to say whatever they want to say.
Different congressional committees called the head of Facebook into hearings in order to answer questions about Facebook’s censorship and data mishandling issues. Facebook is a private company. The federal government has no business questioning anyone at the company about how they do anything. The same holds true for any company. The Constitution never granted the federal government the power to regulate any private company. It wasn’t until 1943 and the FDR Supreme Court stacking crisis that the federal government granted itself this extra constitutional power. Regulations placed on business only waste billions of dollars every year, stifle competition, and generate far worse problems then they were meant to solve. Would regulating Facebook to stop the censorship be any different? According to this article, the elected officials doing the questioning proved they know nothing about how internet businesses, or any businesses, work. Facebook, Twitter, and You Tube would be destroyed the regulations placed on them to solve this problem and no one would try and rebuild them.
There are two solutions to this problem. The first is for individuals to stop using these platforms and tell them why. The second is for individuals to create alternatives. Freedom and competition are the only solutions to problems caused by private companies.