Cynthia McKinney: Courts Rule Lying is Legal

Cultural Intelligence, Ethics
Cynthia McKinney
Cynthia McKinney

Why does the US media lie so much?

Either by omission or by commission, the US media actively misinforms the public on crucial issues that matter. The reason they do this is because they legally can.

Let’s start with the First Amendment to the US Constitution that protects freedom of speech. Courts in the US have ruled on many occasions that freedom of speech also includes the freedom to lie. The rationale is that such rulings give space for unpopular statements of fact. For example, in 2012, the US Supreme Court voted 6-3 to affirm a lower court decision to overturn a conviction for lying about one’s credentials. The lower court judge in that case wrote, “How can you develop a reputation as a straight shooter if lying is not an option?” Washington State Supreme Court even ruled that lying to get votes, distinguishing between fact and opinion, was not something that the state should negotiate. It wrote that people and not the government should be the final arbiter of truth in a political debate.