Monday Opinion

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Jan. 29, 2018

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Opinion in Brief

David Harsanyi: “Lots of people in the United States seem pretty impressed by how they do things in Europe. In Britain, Prime Minister Theresa May is launching a ‘rapid response unit’ run by the state to ‘battle the proliferation of "fake news” online.’ The ‘national security communications unit’ will be tasked with combating misinformation — as if it has either the power or ability to do so. In France, President Emmanuel Macron is working on a plan to combat ‘fake news,’ which includes the power to institute an emergency block on websites during elections. What could possibly go wrong? Me? I’d rather we live with Russian troll bots feeding us nonsense than authoritarian senators dictating how we consume news. I mean, has anyone yet produced a single voter who lost his free will during the 2016 election because he had a Twitter interaction with an employee of a St. Petersburg troll farm? Or do voters tend to seek out the stories that back their own worldviews? If your argument is that Americans are uninformed and easily misled, I’m with you. Just look at all the people who believe that a $46,000 buy on Facebook by the Russians was enough to destroy the pillars of our democracy. But if you want to live in a free and vibrant nation, you have to live with the externalities of that freedom.“

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