In a move that is both boldly stupid and wildly illiberal, French President Emmanuel Macron wants to outlaw “fake news” in France.
“When fake news are spread, it will be possible to go to a judge … and if appropriate have content taken down, user accounts deleted and ultimately websites blocked,” Macron said.
“Platforms will have more transparency obligations regarding sponsored content to make public the identity of sponsors and of those who control them, but also limits on the amounts that can be used to sponsor this content.”
Sites that distribute fake news would face punishment and media regulators would have more power to fight them.
Back during the French presidential campaign, Macron banned Russian news outlets from his events because he argued that they were outlets of “fake news” spreading misinformation. Maybe RT and Sputnik can’t be trusted as fair arbiters of the truth, but the same can be said about every main stream media outlet in the world.
This is not just a problem here in the United States, it’s problematic the world over.
Last year, British politician and right-leaning leader, Nigel Farage confronted the left-wing media bias in Europe head on.
But honestly, the problem is worse than just understanding that every media outlet is biased (and/or “fake”) in one way or another.
Many conservative news outlets, including yours truly, have been painted as “fake news” by our leftwing opponents.
This is a maddening assertion. We, and many of our conservative allies, would never knowingly publish false information. In fact, when pressed our opponents usually can’t point to a particular article that is “fake.” What they usually end up saying is that our headlines are provocative, or that our opinions are biased… to which we say… “Of course they are!”
We have never pretended to be “fair” arbiters of the day’s events. We are conservatives and we see things through a conservative philosophical lens. We are biased and if our headlines are provocative it’s because we are trying to get people to read our work.
So, if Macron and the French government ban “fake news” who will decide what fake news is? Will conservative opinions be fake news? Will liberal opinions be fake news? Banning speech is a very dangerous precedent for a Western nation to be considering and it shows just how anti-freedom and illiberal today’s “liberals” have become.