Bad Things Are Still Bad When “Good” People Do Them

Please check out this article at the NY Post:

Russia’s parliament passed a law Friday that criminalizes “fake” news — and carries a prison sentence of up to 15 years — for journalists who contradict the country’s official statements about the Ukraine invasion, according to officials and reports.

Under the law, which is set to go into effect Saturday, journalists face the potential whopping jail sentence for intentionally spreading “false” information — including using such words as “war” and “invasion” to describe the Russian attack.

Of course, criminalizing fake news is totally bogus, but I imagine many who are aghast at the mov have no issue with calls to fight misinformation here in the U.S. (and in other Western countries). It’s from the same spirit.

“But, this is different, because it directed at journalists!,” you might exclaim. Well…

Citizens who aren’t members of the media also face criminal charges and fines of up to $44,740 for reposting articles on social media that contradict or criticize the Kremlin’s depiction of the war, according to the paper.

The only difference in this case is they went straight to journalists too. Also, don’t forget how the NY Post was censored by Twitter during the 2020 presidential election when the had a story that hurt Biden. (“But that was a private business, not the government!,” you’ll insist. That is a meaningless distinction when the government is pushing private businesses to do more to combat misinformation. Right now it may not be with threats of arrest, but there are many more ways for politicians in power to punish those who don’t do their bidding.)

One more quote, before I wrap up (also from the NY Post):

Former US ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul said Friday the move showed desperation by Putin, who is said to be holed up in the Ural Mountains, fuming at the resistance his army is facing in Ukraine — and at home.

“Obviously Putin is shutting these people down because he is afraid. He wouldn’t be shutting them down if everything was going peachy keen,” McFaul said during a call with reporters and experts hosted by Stanford’s Cyber Policy Center. “This is an indicator of his state of mind.”

“They are afraid,” could be said of those trying to shut down misinformation, fake news, etc. over here too. They wouldn’t be treating misinformation as the ultimate boogeyman “if everything was going peach keen.”

Evil tools are still evil when used by “good” people with “good” reasons and “good” intentions.

But, let’s be honest, anybody who tries to shut down free speech (versus respond to it) is probably not good (and does not have good reasons or good intentions). They have selfish ulterior motives.

PLEASE NOTE: My reposting, quoting, or linking to items from social media, other sites, et cetera, does not equal endorsement. Please also see "What Really Matters."