What Could Go Wrong? Warren Wants to Criminalize Online “Disinformation”

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, currently bleeding supporters in both national and early-state polls, announced that she would make it a crime to spread political “disinformation” over the internet if elected president. Her proposal, which would deal the First Amendment a death blow, is intended to target social media companies that allow political lies to go unchecked.

“Disinformation and online foreign interference erode our democracy, and Donald Trump has invited both,” Warren tweeted Wednesday. “Anyone who seeks to challenge and defeat Donald Trump in the 2020 election must be fully prepared to take this on – and I’ve got a plan to do it.”

In a press release, Warren said that stopping the spread of disinformation would require holding Facebook, Twitter, and Google responsible for what users share on their social media platforms.

“I will push for new laws that impose tough civil and criminal penalties for knowingly disseminating this kind of information, which has the explicit purpose of undermining the basic right to vote,” Warren said. “The stakes of this election are too high — we need to fight the spread of false information that disempowers voters and undermines democracy. I’ll do my part — and I’m calling on my fellow candidates and big tech companies to do their part too.”

This is a remarkable pledge coming from a woman who spent thirty years claiming that she was a Native American in order to improve her professional trajectory. A woman who has (falsely) denied sending her kids to private school in order to make her stance against school choice look less reprehensible. A woman who lied about losing her job due to her pregnancy and lied about her father working as a lowly janitor. And, potentially, lied about Bernie Sanders telling her that a woman could not win the presidency. Every other word out of Elizabeth Warren’s mouth is “disinformation.”

Warren is treated by the media as a palatable alternative to the socialist rantings of Sanders, but she proves here that she is no fan of the Constitution. Anyone who runs for president on a platform that includes throwing suspicion on the principles of free speech must be viewed as a potential authoritarian. Where is the outcry? Where are the journalists, always so quick to warn us that Trump in on the verge of decimating the First Amendment? Why are they suddenly silent?

Well, it’s no accident. A free and open internet has reduced the public’s need to rely on the old media gatekeepers, and the journalistic elite would love nothing more than to shut down their detractors. To them, “fake news” is anything that blows a hole in their liberal narrative, and if they have to criminalize it to get rid of it, don’t doubt for a minute that they will.

With any luck, these are just the final gasps of a dying campaign. But even if Warren is on her way out, her authoritarian impulses will remain a core element of the Democratic Party.

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