Bill Clinton Thinks The Internet Needs A Taxpayer Funded Ministry Of Truth

from the politifact-not-good-enough-for-you? dept

Now, it's certainly true that the so-called "fourth estate" -- the press -- often isn't very good at fact checking. They're especially bad at fact checking politicians, and the popular "view from nowhere" often means that rather than pointing out where a politician has lied, they feel that as long as they give "the other side" equal time, they've done their job. However, do we really need a federal fact checking agency? That appears to be the opinion of former President Bill Clinton who suggested such an agency would be a good use of taxpayer money:
"Let's say the U.S. did it, it would have to be an independent federal agency that no president could countermand or anything else because people wouldn't think you were just censoring the news and giving a different falsehood out," Clinton said.

"That is, it would be like, I don't know, National Public Radio or BBC or something like that, except it would have to be really independent and they would not express opinions, and their mandate would be narrowly confined to identifying relevant factual errors" he said. "And also, they would also have to have citations so that they could be checked in case they made a mistake. Somebody needs to be doing it, and maybe it's a worthy expenditure of taxpayer money."
But why would that be a worthy expenditure of taxpayer money, when others are already trying to do that? We have operations like and Politifact, both run by respected operations, and both of which have done pretty well from what I've seen. Of course, this sort of thing could also already be considered part of the GAO's mandate, as it's pretty well respected for not falling for political spin in its reports, but for digging in and getting things right. Of course, that hasn't stopped much of the government from ignoring the GAO's position on things.

Filed Under: bill clinton, fact checking, ministry of truth, taxpayers

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  1. icon
    Capitalist Lion Tamer (profile), 16 May 2011 @ 1:11pm

    Re: Speaking of fact checking...

    The problem here is that Clinton is still wired into Washington and his wife has expressed her displeasure with Wikileaks in particular.

    There's no reason to believe that someone in Washington won't try to run with this spectacularly bad idea. And the fact that people are giving him a pass for even suggesting that the government start policing the internet for "facts" and "truth" is even more disturbing.

    Hypothetical or no, this needs to be ridiculed into the ground and have a heavy coating of ridicule salt scattered all over it until the idea dies its deserving death.

    The internet is fairly self-regulating. After all, you don't believe every piece of chainmail forwarded to you, do you? So why would anyone even think that we need someone (especially an oxymoronic monstrosity like an "independent federal agency") to help us steer clear of all the lies and rumors on the internet?

    Using taxpayer dollars is worrying, but not nearly as worrying as the idea itself.

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