Elizabeth Warren Vows to Push for Laws that Criminalize Spreading Election ‘Disinformation’

WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 27: Democratic Presidential Candidate Senator Elizabeth Warren answers questions from the press as she leaves after the Senate impeachment trial of President Donald Trump was adjourned for the day on January 27, 2020 in Washington, DC. The defense team continues its arguments on the sixth day …
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Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) on Wednesday released a plan to fight “digital disinformation,” promising to “push for new laws that impose tough civil and criminal penalties” for disseminating false information related to U.S. elections.

“Disinformation erodes our democracy, and Democrats must have a plan to address it,” she details in a Medium post, proclaiming President Trump “welcomed foreign interference in our elections, inviting interference from a host of countries that have an interest in the outcome, including Iran and China.”

“He’s currently facing impeachment for putting his own political interests over the national interests of the United States – and there is every indication that if he is not removed from office, he will continue to do so,” she continues:

Warren contends that it is simply not enough to “make vague statements condemning fraudulent attacks on opponents or efforts to suppress the vote,” placing the burden to fight the spread of  what she considers “disinformation” primarily on tech companies and the federal government.

“Campaigns need to make clear that disinformation has no place in our campaigns, and that we will disavow supporters who embrace it and act quickly to stop its spread,” she states in her plan.

While the presidential hopeful calls on tech companies to take further action, she emphasizes the importance of action from the federal government, calling for the creation of “civil and criminal penalties for knowingly disseminating false information about when and how to vote in U.S. elections”:

Emphasis added:

Voter suppression efforts of any kind offend basic American values. In both the 2016 and 2018 elections, online disinformation sought to depress voter turnout by telling people they could vote via text, giving people the wrong date for election day, and more. I will push for new laws that impose tough civil and criminal penalties for knowingly disseminating this kind of information, which has the explicit purpose of undermining the basic right to vote.

Warren also proposes a summit for countries “dedicated” to addressing “disinformation” so they can “share information and coordinate responses to disinformation.” Additionally, she calls for “robust data sharing” between the federal government and tech companies so that “disinformation can be quickly identified and addressed.”

Fox News’s Tucker Carlson blasted her plan on Wednesday’s edition of Tucker Carlson Tonight,  declaring that she has gone “full fascist.”

“With her chances of becoming president having assumed the trajectory of a plane crash, she has decided to go full fascist because that’s who she is and has always been,” Carlson said.

“This very same person is threatening to send you to prison for telling tall tales. The most florid liar in the race, someone who the New York Times once euphemistically described as a ‘gifted storyteller,’ says she’s going to criminalize lying,” he continued.

“Paging Dr. Freud! That is more than hypocrisy. It’s a sickness,” he added, challenging the mainstream media to disavow her proposal.

“The question is are the media on board with her plan to shut down the First Amendment? Don’t take our word for it. See for yourself. If the media don’t denounce this idea in the next few days, you know they are for it,” he said.

Her proposal sparked further backlash from a collection of figures in politics and media on Twitter, with some outlining their concerns with her plan, such as who would determine what is considered “disinformation”:

“The stakes of this election are too high — we need to fight the spread of false information that disempowers voters and undermines democracy,” Warren states.

“I’ll do my part — and I’m calling on my fellow candidates and big tech companies to do their part too,” she adds.


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