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Silver Bullet??? Against MSM

The Arizona State Constitution states in Article 2 Section 6 that "Every person may freely speak, write, and publish on all subjects, being responsible for the abuse of that right."

Since they are responsible for the abuse of that right, couldn't it interpreted that lying or deceiving the public is an abuse and therefore criminal? Could we have found the bullet needed against MSM?

In addition, the wording of the "free press" was exactly that, free. Meaning no licenses were needed to present information (at that time print). It had nothing to do with freedom to say whatever they want.

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Interpretation Is Key

I agree with the windycityatty below. I also wonder what the AZ Constitution writers' interpretation is of "being responsible for the abuse of that right."

"Being responsible" could be interpreted as:
- saying, "Yeah, we printed that"
- receiving a fine
- ability to be sued
- charge/arrest for misdemeanor/felony activity
- absolutely nothing at all, other than, "If you say something stupid, don't come crying to us if you get beat up over it" -- kind of a "print at your own risk" clause.

Seems to me the AZ Constitution wanted to appear strong-worded, but kept the phraseology as nebulous as possible to avoid any strict enforcement.

Somewhere here on DP, I recently saw a thread that said something about how Murdock et al. are completely held harmless by any lies they speak, unless it can be proven as slander or libel (which means, someone would have to take the Big Boys to court...and win...in order to prevail). My guess is they've got plenty in their coffers to handle any such upstarts who would deign to call the MSM on the carpet.

Don't let this dissuade you! Keep on the good fight!!!

I dont think criminal law applies

If anything - it may be a civil matter. For instance, defamation, slander, libel, etc... are civil torts pursued in civil courts. Criminal prohibitions on speech would likely run into major first amendment issues.

Now - this isn't to say that some type of criminal law would not apply - - for instance, i can think of a hypothetical situation in which the media outlet can be considered to have a duty to provide accurate information. If they intentionally print falsehoods or lies or whatever, knowing it to be false, they are abusing the public trust and could theoretically commit some type of criminal fraud. Again, 1st amendment issues would pop up and could be a defense to any charges.

In fact, I think fox news was sued for printing blatant falsehoods or something and the court dismissed the case. I m sure if you googled around you could find what i am talking about.

Your state's constitution may provide more authority to go after people "for abuse of that right" but again, its likely not criminal but rather civil law that applies. Please dont consider this response definitive as it is just my off the cuff reaction.

In all honestly, there is likely little that can be done to the MSM via the courts. Grassroots boycotting, etc... may be the only workable option - as unsatisfying as that may sound. Its quite positive that you are reading your state constitution and asking these questions though. Keep it up.

I think you are right,

about the boycotting. The MSM have been getting less and less people watching them since the internet, and then they got websites, and yet people still prefer other news to theirs. It works, and they know it.

Indeed it works

Because ratings determine how much money the network can charge to its advertisers to advertise during the programming. (or if newspapers, circulation determines rates for advertising) If the ratings & circulation go way down, profits go down with the ship. When we boycott not just a particular station or newspaper, but also all its advertisers at the same time, then we could possibly gain the upper hand. The problem is organizing a group of people large enough to be effective against the major players (ABC, NBC, FOX, etc..) and their sponsors. To be truly effective, it would have to be tens of millions strong and it would have to be sustained for a decent period of time. Its not impossible, but it is very hard to do. Kinda like getting Ron Paul elected in the face of a media blackout and full frontal assault from the party itself. Often times, in collusion with each other.