Ross: Federal judge rules you have the right to be misinformed

Jul 6, 2023, 11:44 AM

misinformed federal judge...

Republican U.S. Sen.-elect and Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt delivers a victory speech, Nov. 8, 2022, in Maryland Heights, Mo. On Tuesday, July 4, 2023, a judge prohibited several federal agencies and officials of the Biden administration from working with social media companies about “protected speech.” Schmitt, who was the Missouri attorney general when the lawsuit was filed, said on Twitter that the ruling was “a huge win for the First Amendment and a blow to censorship.” (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson, File)

(AP Photo/Jeff Roberson, File)

This week, a Louisiana federal judge granted a preliminary injunction in favor of the attorneys general of Missouri and Louisiana in the case of Missouri v. Biden, which is about whether officials of the federal government had any business contacting social media platforms like Twitter and urging them to delete what was considered misinformation.

Several government agencies have done this, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the surgeon general asking the websites to remove posts pushing bogus COVID-19 cures or alleging that the vaccine was more dangerous than the virus. And, of course, the FBI discouraged posts about what was on Hunter Biden’s laptop.

The injunction has some people really upset that a judge would prohibit what amounts to fact-checking. But I will say, in my own experience, getting a complaint from a government official feels very different than getting a complaint from a listener. I can see how a website operator might feel intimidated.

More on the case: Injunction blocks Biden administration from working with social media firms about ‘protected speech’

At the same time, websites, unlike broadcast stations, have zero legal responsibility to fact check what they publish, even if the information ends up harming their audience.

And now, under this injunction, the government can’t even warn them about the harm they might do.

Under the order, officials of the CDC, the FBI and even the State Department are prohibited from emailing, calling, sending letters, texting, or engaging in any communication of any kind for the purpose of changing content.

More from Dave Ross: Maybe graffiti would be nicer if it was more cheerful

The judge also said if the government wants a post removed or altered, that post would have to involve outright crimes or threats to national security. But other than that, anything goes.

So that’s the new rule for now. Not only are websites legally protected from being sued over the consequences of misinformation, the government can’t even warn them about the harm they might do.

This is the first amendment protecting the right to be misinformed.

I know that for some people, this is outrageous. But for those who feel censored, the pressure from the government was just as outrageous. So this is another one of those issues which will have to be resolved outside the courtroom.

More from Dave Ross: Unequal treatment in Hunter Biden gun charges is outrageous

It will have to be resolved by the laws of nature, but you’re not subject to court injunctions or sentencing guidelines. And under the laws of nature, following bad advice during a pandemic can get you sentenced to a long hospital stay or worse. But that’s how freedom works, it protects your right to be misinformed and to take the consequences. That’s how we evolve.

The law of natural selection can be cruel, but it’s very effective. In any case, it can’t be enjoined, even by a federal judge.

Listen to Seattle’s Morning News with Dave Ross and Colleen O’Brien weekday mornings from 5-9 a.m. on KIRO Newsradio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

Dave Ross on KIRO Newsradio 97.3 FM
  • listen to dave rossTune in to KIRO Newsradio weekdays at 5am for Dave Ross on Seattle's Morning News.

Dave's Commentary

KIRO Newsradio Opinion

The city of Seattle can be seen at night....

Jake Skorheim

Skorheim: Yes, Seattle is crazy

Jake made a new friend while getting an oil change this week. Both guys have loud kids and both think Seattle is crazy.

8 hours ago


MyNorthwest Video

Video: Bro-tox: why the botox industry is exploding for men!

Micki joins Seattle’s Morning News to discuss why men are starting to get botox at an increasing rate. Listen to Seattle’s Morning News, weekdays from 5am to 9am on KIRO Newsradio 97.3fm!

15 hours ago

Close-up of logo for luxury vacuum cleaner company Dyson on end piece of vacuum cleaner, September ...

Dave Ross

Ross: You’re not really vacuuming unless you can hear the dirt

You hear the staccato symphony of little pebbles and pine needles and old breakfast cereal and the occasional paper clip being relentlessly drawn into the vortex.

16 hours ago

seattle mariners...

Frank Sumrall

Rick Rizzs: ‘Mariners, you’re going to win a title next year’

"Well, they just obviously came up a little bit short," the radio voice of the team said Monday. "But my goodness, they gave us one heck of a ride."

1 day ago


MyNorthwest Video

Video: How a lack of diversity is slowing down artificial intelligence’s chances of curing diseases

KIRO Newsradio’s Sam Campbell investigates AI and it’s impact in the medical world. Will AI be able to help cure diseases in everyone, or only a certain demographic in our population? Listen to Seattle’s Morning News, weekdays from 5am to 9am on KIRO Newsradio 97.3fm!

2 days ago

trump milley speech...

Dave Ross

Ross: General Milley calls out Trump in retirement speech

General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, retired last week after a 44-year career and gave a farewell speech that focused on the Constitution.

2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Swedish Cyberknife...

September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

September is a busy month on the sports calendar and also holds a very special designation: Prostate Cancer Awareness Month.

Ziply Fiber...

Dan Miller

The truth about Gigs, Gs and other internet marketing jargon

If you’re confused by internet technologies and marketing jargon, you’re not alone. Here's how you can make an informed decision.

Education families...

Education that meets the needs of students, families

Washington Virtual Academies (WAVA) is a program of Omak School District that is a full-time online public school for students in grades K-12.

Emergency preparedness...

Emergency planning for the worst-case scenario

What would you do if you woke up in the middle of the night and heard an intruder in your kitchen? West Coast Armory North can help.

Innovative Education...

The Power of an Innovative Education

Parents and students in Washington state have the power to reimagine the K-12 educational experience through Insight School of Washington.

Medicare fraud...

If you’re on Medicare, you can help stop fraud!

Fraud costs Medicare an estimated $60 billion each year and ultimately raises the cost of health care for everyone.

Ross: Federal judge rules you have the right to be misinformed