Political Deception and Misinformation Act
Maybe it is because we are so used to it, but we don’t really expect honesty from politicians or the media anymore. It is time we do again. All we seem to demand is that they follow the law, which they and their friends wrote and enforce. We don’t require that they be honest because it is hard to define, so we only ask that they be lawful – and even that is a stretch. It is only logical to demand honesty from politicians and the media, under penalty. Let’s define it. Dishonesty, or “fraud” will be defined as Webster does::
“Deceit, trickery, sharp practice, or breach of confidence, perpetrated for profit, or to gain some unfair or dishonest advantage.”
Political Deception and Misinformation Act TEXT:
“Public broadcast lying will be considered fraud. Public broadcast lying will be defined as any person or media outlet intentionally misrepresenting the truth, in regards to himself or another for business, personal or political gain.”
“Intentionally misrepresenting the truth” shall be defined as: “any communication from any politician, political candidate, or media outlet which intentionally leads an uninformed but reasonably intelligent person who may not have all of the facts to assume that which is false to be true”.
Media penalty for first offense will be suspension of broadcast license for a minimum of six months or a fine to be determined by the court. A conviction for a second offense within a ten year period will result in loss of license for one year and fine of not less than $1 million dollars. A third conviction within a ten year period will result in permanent loss of broadcast license.
Politician minimum penalty will be expulsion from office currently held for first offense, or if not currently holding elective in office, suspension from running for elected office for a minimum of five (5) years. Second offense is permanent loss of right to contest for any elective office plus a monetary fine to be determined by the court.
This means that a politician or media outlet can be prosecuted for “Intentional misrepresentation of the truth” by omission. For example, “Don’t vote for Newt Gingrich, he was charged with 84 counts of ethical violations and misconduct while speaker of the house!!!”. A relatively intelligent person might respond by saying “WOW”, and I thought he seemed like an honorable guy”. What is left out is the lie. Although he was charged by an antagonist with 84 counts, 83 of them were dropped and only 1 was actually investigated and found to be mostly untrue as well. A lie of omission is still a lie because the intention to deceive is clear.
Although to say he was charged is true, the ad clearly misrepresents the facts and leads people to believe (he was a criminal) what is not true. This is an example of “Intentional Misrepresentation of the Truth”
Imagine what political ads would be like under a law like this? We can’t have one saying the other wants old people and babies to die; or that he would take away your social security benefits; or maybe that the other guy would eat your children and kill your little kittens, or has abused women or children.
If it is shown that the truth has been intentionaly misrepresented, the offending candidate or media outlet must face the penalties.
This would cause news outlets to completely revamp their writing style. They would have to report facts and have opinions clearly identified as such. There is nothing wrong with opinion and debate, but we must stop allowing opinions to be reported as facts.
Politicians would have to keep their marketing mostly to their own positions and accomplishments rather than lie about those of their opponent’s. Imagine how nice that would be.
Is it too much to ask that our media and politicians be honest? Apparently it is, so we need to straighten them all out. Honesty is the best policy, isn’t it? Or do the ends justify the means? Dishonesty should not be tolerated under any circumstances.