The Crusade Against 'Malinformation' Explicitly Targets Inconvenient Truths: The Legal Challenge to Censorship by Proxy Highlights Covert Government Manipulation of Online Speech
Last month, I noted that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had repeatedly exaggerated the scientific evidence supporting face mask mandates during the COVID-19 pandemic. Facebook attached a warning to that column, which it said was "missing context" and "could mislead people."
According to an alliance of social media platforms, ...Read more
Louisville Police Abuses Show Civil Liberties Are Meaningless Without Accountability: Supervisors and Judges Tolerated Outrageous Constitutional Violations, Including Illegal Searches and Brutal Assaults
The form that Louisville, Kentucky, police officers use when they seek search warrants includes a list of possible justifications, such as the expectation that stolen property, tools of crime, or other evidence of illegal activity will be discovered. In one case recently highlighted by the U.S. Department of Justice, an officer checked "other" ...Read more
Biden's Attack on 'Ghost Guns' Fits a Pattern of Lawless Firearm Regulation! The President and His Predecessor Both Tried to Impose Gun Control by Executive Fiat!
During his 2022 State of the Union address, President Joe Biden promised he would "keep doing everything in my power" to eliminate "ghost guns you can buy online and assemble at home." But Biden actually tried to do something that was not in his power: He purported to ban that previously legal business by administrative decree, ...Read more
How SCOTUS Promoted Pernicious Myths About Sex Offender Registries: 20 Years Ago, the Justices Deemed Registration Preventive Rather Than Punitive
This Sunday marks the 20th anniversary of Smith v. Doe, a Supreme Court decision that approved retroactive application of Alaska's sex offender registry, deeming it preventive rather than punitive. That ruling helped propagate several pernicious myths underlying a policy that every state has adopted without regard to its justice or effectiveness...Read more
Lou Dobbs Is the Main Obstacle to Fox's Defamation Defense: The Fox Business Host Stood Out As a Champion of the Baroque Conspiracy Theory That Implicated Dominion Voting Systems in Election Fraud
After the 2020 presidential election, Fox News helped promote what Rupert Murdoch, chairman of its parent company, privately called "really crazy stuff." It was a baroque conspiracy theory that claimed Joe Biden had stolen the election through a "massive fraud" involving Dominion Voting Systems, tricky Smartmatic software, phony ballots, ...Read more
The Perils of Trying to Curtail Hazily Defined 'Disinformation': The Global Disinformation Index's Controversial Ratings Illustrate the Challenge of Deciding Which Speech Belongs in That Category
NewsGuard, a service that rates adherence to basic principles of good journalism, gives my employer, Reason magazine, its highest possible score. Yet the Global Disinformation Index, a British organization that aims to steer advertisers away from disreputable websites, claims Reason is one of the 10 "riskiest" online news sources in the United ...Read more
Cochrane Library Review Shows the CDC Grossly Exaggerated the Evidence Supporting Mask Mandates: The Analysis Found That Wearing Masks in Public 'Probably Makes Little or No Difference'
After questioning the value of general mask wearing early in the COVID-19 pandemic, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention decided the practice was so demonstrably effective that it should be legally mandated even for 2-year-olds. A new review of the evidence suggests the CDC had it right the first time.
That review, published by the ...Read more
Russian Propaganda Has Succeeded in Persuading Credulous Americans That It Poses a Grave Threat to Democracy: Alarmists Are Unfazed by the Lack of Evidence That 'Foreign Influence Campaigns' Have Affected Public Opinion or Voting Behavior
A widely cited list of Twitter users who were described as "Russian bots" included "a bunch of legitimate right-leaning accounts," according to an internal 2018 email from Yoel Roth, then the social media platform's "trust & safety" chief. Roth thought the list, compiled by the Alliance for Securing Democracy, was "bulls--t" but never said so ...Read more
The IRS Serves Its 'Customers' by Terrifying Them: A $2.1 Million Penalty for Failing to File a Form on Time Reveals the Agency's True Nature
As tax season begins, the IRS is making a show of using its newly expanded budget to improve the agency's "customer service," mainly by trying to answer the questions of perplexed taxpayers more than 13% of the time. Its biggest challenge will be persuading Americans that they qualify as customers of the IRS in any meaningful sense.
The IRS, ...Read more
The Hazards of Holding YouTube Liable for Promoting Terrorism: A Supreme Court Case Illustrates the Potential Costs of Making It Easier to Sue Social Media Platforms Over User-Generated Content
Every day, people around the world post about 720,000 hours of new content on YouTube -- 500 hours of video every minute. That enormous volume of material poses challenges for the platform, which aspires to enforce rules against certain kinds of content, and for its users, who cannot hope to navigate the site without help from YouTube's ...Read more
The 3rd Circuit Considers Whether Nonviolent Crimes Justify the Loss of Second Amendment Rights! Because of a Misdemeanor Welfare Fraud Conviction, Bryan Range Is No Longer Allowed to Own Guns!
Back in 1995, Bryan Range pleaded guilty to fraudulently obtaining $2,458 in food stamps by misrepresenting his income. He returned the money, paid a $100 fine and $288 in court costs and served three years of probation.
Although Range did not realize it, that Pennsylvania misdemeanor conviction also came with a lifelong penalty: He lost his ...Read more
Democrats May Regret Compromising Taxpayer Privacy to Get Trump: The Release of the Former President's Tax Returns Sets a Dangerous Precedent
It took more than three years for House Democrats to obtain Donald Trump's federal income tax returns, which they released to the public last Friday. That effort also required setting a dangerous precedent that threatens the privacy of Democrats as well as Republicans.
Every president since Jimmy Carter has voluntarily released his tax returns....Read more
Why Take Responsibility When You Can Blame Somebody Else? The Year's Highlights in Buck Passing Feature Petulant Politicians, Brazen Bureaucrats, Careless Cops, Loony Lawyers and Junky Journalists
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) this month blamed Republicans for preventing Congress from enacting legislation that would make it easier for state-licensed marijuana businesses to access financial services. Yet Schumer himself has played a leading role in blocking the SAFE Banking Act, which passed the House last year with support...Read more