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house Bill H. Res. 191

Does the House Need to Condemn Fake News and Alternative Facts?

Argument in favor

America should continue to have a free press, and real news shouldn’t be dismissed as facts simply because the White House disagrees with it.

Hannah's Opinion
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05/08/2017
While I firmly believe in freedom of speech, it's unethical for the people we look to for facts (like the White House press secretary) to spew lies and treat them as facts. Freedom of Speech also isn't the same as freedom of responsibility from the consequences of what you say, and I think that public figures need to be held accountable when they lie to the public.
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Sheila's Opinion
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05/08/2017
Would love to see Fox news held accountable for all the hate and lies they spew forth.
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Amanda's Opinion
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05/08/2017
Freedom of the press is one thing - lies are another.
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Argument opposed

This is resolution is a petty, political gesture that carries no legal significance and accomplishes nothing.

JohnnyManthing's Opinion
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05/08/2017
Who decides what's fake? The Ministry of Truth?
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Leo's Opinion
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05/08/2017
I'm afraid that the first amendment allows all kinds of fake news and alternative facts. It's ultimately up to the people to decide what to listen. We decide whether to follow truth and prosper or believe falsehoods and suffer.
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Simon 's Opinion
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05/08/2017
There is a Freedom of the Press in America, so it would be unconstitutional. I hate fake news as much as the next guy, but this would accomplish nothing and would be unconstitutional. Just saying.
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simple resolution Progress


  • The house has not voted
      house Committees
      Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties
      Committee on the Judiciary
    IntroducedMarch 10th, 2017

What is House Bill H. Res. 191?

This resolution would express the House of Representatives’ opposition to fake news and alternative facts, and reiterate Congress’s obligation to uphold the freedom of the press under the Constitution’s First Amendment. It also would call on the president to acknowledge his support for the First Amendment and U.S. democracy, and state that the U.S. should continue being a democracy rather than autocracy. Finally, the resolution would call on White House spokespersons to not issue fake news, and request that those who offer alternative or inaccurate facts should immediately retract their statements.

As a simple resolution, this legislation wouldn’t advance beyond the House if passed and wouldn’t have the force of law.Impact:


Impact

The House of Representatives; the White House; and the president.

Cost of House Bill H. Res. 191

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.

More Information

In-Depth: Sponsoring Rep. Adriano Espaillat (D-NY) introduced this bill to “stand in support of the First Amendment of the Constitution to uphold the freedom of the press, and oppose fake news and alternative facts,” adding:

“This is America where we enjoy freedom of the press.  Real news should not be dismissed as fake simply because the White House disagrees, and I call on Congress to oppose the ‘fake news and alternative facts’ issued by the President and White House spokespersons in support of the First Amendment, freedom of speech and of the press.”

This legislation has the support of three cosponsors, all of whom are Democrats.


Of Note: President Donald Trump has accused media organizations of perpetuating “fake news” about him and his administration. Kellyanne Conway, a senior Trump adviser, used the phrase “alternative facts” when defending the White House’s erroneous claims about inauguration crowd size.


Media:

Summary by Eric Revell

(Photo Credit: Public Domain)

Official Title

Opposing fake news and alternative facts.

    While I firmly believe in freedom of speech, it's unethical for the people we look to for facts (like the White House press secretary) to spew lies and treat them as facts. Freedom of Speech also isn't the same as freedom of responsibility from the consequences of what you say, and I think that public figures need to be held accountable when they lie to the public.
    Like (266)
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    Who decides what's fake? The Ministry of Truth?
    Like (311)
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    Would love to see Fox news held accountable for all the hate and lies they spew forth.
    Like (166)
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    Freedom of the press is one thing - lies are another.
    Like (134)
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    I'm afraid that the first amendment allows all kinds of fake news and alternative facts. It's ultimately up to the people to decide what to listen. We decide whether to follow truth and prosper or believe falsehoods and suffer.
    Like (122)
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    There is a Freedom of the Press in America, so it would be unconstitutional. I hate fake news as much as the next guy, but this would accomplish nothing and would be unconstitutional. Just saying.
    Like (85)
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    Just as we have truth in advertising laws to combat consumer fraud, we should have truth in media laws. Of course, the GOP will oppose any such truth in media laws, as their party has mastered the use of deceitful information.
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    This measure ignores the underlying attempts of the current administration to disassemble the Constitution. Do not do it!
    Like (34)
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    The House shouldn't need to condemn spreading lies. But this administration has proven that it needs to be held accountable. It shouldn't be this way, but now it needs to be.
    Like (29)
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    We need to retire the phrase "Alternative Facts". It's nothing more than Orwellian Newspeak for "blatant lies". There is such a thing as scientific research and objective fact. There are matters, like climate change and medical science, on which one's opinion is irrelevant. It scares me that people seem to think they can create whatever reality suits their agenda.
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    No. The government has no place interfering with free speech. We, as Americans, must be responsible enough to diligently search the facts of a matter and decide for ourselves. We've already become to lazy to work and want the government to provide for us financially, now we're too lazy to think for ourselves and want the government to do that for us too. This is bad news people.
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    What we NEED in America is a truly FREE AND UNBIASED press! The MSM today is reminiscent of the Orwellian newspeak of "1984." The LAST thing we need is for Big Brother to control what we read, see, hear, and/or say! And if you quit dumbing down our students and teach them to be analytical and actually think for themselves, they'll be more able to figure out what's fact and what's fiction - without government interference! As for "alternative facts," hey, there are almost always two sides (at LEAST) to every story! Let people hear all sides, like the jury in a trial, and decide if any of them have merit! Damned Democommies want to control EVERYTHING! Everything but themselves, that is! Countable member Matthew C. posted an excellent opinion: "Government already puts out information it deems "official". For politicians to start giving the impression of "endorsing" facts seems like the establishment circling the wagons. They would be saying, "There is no other point of view than this." Now think about that and how North Korea, China and Russia control their media. This would set a dangerous precedent and a slippery slope to Orwell and double-speak. The reason we have a vibrant political sphere is the free exchange of ideas, no matter how "interesting" they may turn out to be. You should be able to say what you want, without government suppression, as long as you are not calling on direct physical violence to someone/group. Otherwise you are instituting a form of thought control." Another good opinion comes from Countable member PhillipStearns: "It doesn't so much need to condemn them as it does combat them. And that apparent from watching Clapper and Yates testify before the Senate subcommittee. Clapper specifically was mentioning his body of knowledge as coming from media reports. But media reports are not always complete or accurate and often times facts, if they are even directly addressed, are presented in a way that distorts the truth. I see this happening on both ends of the political spectrum, from Obama's death panels to rape as a preëxisting condition. We have a media environment so saturated and so dependent on advertising dollars that it is the least independent it has ever been. All sides are taking advantage of the situation and the products are as benign as accidentally repeating minor inaccuracies to presenting warped speculation as factual reporting, to flat out lying about a situation with the intent of not only misleading the public, but to sow doubt as to the existence of any kind of reliable journalism. There is an information war happening within the US on all levels, from government to civil and it must be called out as such. Fake news is code for "it doesn't jibe with my opinion." Opinions have their place: in the op ed section. Today the facts are obscured by our right omissions and replaced with alternative facts. Social media is being used to disseminate both misinformation and disinformation by organized groups of actors. Facebook published a white paper on this, using the term Information Ops. Brannon's pronouncement that the media is the opposition should be taken seriously as a pronouncement of war; a psychological war carried out through the Internet, targeting media organizations, journalists and citizens over social media."
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    What Orwellian nightmare of a politician proposed this?? Are we going to rely on a Ministry of Truth to police the press? Who defines "fake"? CNN and others reported that Iraq had WMDs in 2003. Was that fake news? They conjured up a fake sob story about babies being pulled out of incubators. Is government propaganda fake news? Is policing of thought crimes next? I vote we expel from Congress whichever would-be dictator proposed this on the grounds of trying to overturn freedom of the press.
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    If the House believes that Fake news is being presented to the public, then they should present the true facts. However, I have observed that a Democrat/Republican Debate on Obamacare brought out their facts that "if you like your plan, you can keep it. Or likewise with keeping your doctor, saving $2,500 on you plan, and at one point it wouldn't cover abortions. Now as we look back for facts, it was the Republican who spoke the truth on a failing healthcare system we see and understand today. The truth just doesn't fall at your feet. The truth takes research and study to discern what is FAKE or TRUE. Learning history can certainly help in discerning the truth or you can just watch CNN TV who projected Hillary Clinton's presidency. Was this based on facts, or just wishful thinking. So when someone tells me that gravity pulls objects to the sky I may be somewhat skeptical.
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    Fake news must be labeled as such. People need to know they are reading satire, jokes or blatant lies. Mimicking real news sites should be illegal as it uses them to give a false sense of integrity.
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    Schenck vs. US prohibits speech that creates a "clear and present" danger. Our president currently has a suit against him for inciting violence at rallies. We don't have ultimate freedom of speech. We may need to prohibit speech that could affect our democracy. The blatant spread of "fake news" from both the conservatives and the liberals tilted the election and could alter the perception of people. People are formulating political opinions based on misinformation. We need to shape the laws of the land based on facts, truths, information. The freedom of the press is one thing, but basing legislation off of the purposeful lies press who have 0 accountability for their actions is another.
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    Sure!! Why not?
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    Congress has actual work to do. This is a distraction.
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    Are you kidding me? We have to actually condemn bullshit officially these days? 🙄
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    Of course they should condemn fake news. But I don't see why they have to spend time doing so! It's should just BE. Get to work on the things that really make a difference.
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