This week, all four of our winning comments come from our post about a ridiculous column arguing that fact checking is an assault on free speech. In first place on the insightful side, it’s an anonymous response to the question of whether we needed fact checking to help turn people against slavery:
Yes, we did.
There were hundreds of “scientific” theories of racism which have been used to support the “natural” inferiority of various races in support of slavery. Physical anthropology, craniometry, anthropometry… dating at least back to the polygenism of the enlightenment (though to be fair, polygenism was a legitimate query at the time). And as each of these was eventually “fact checked” and found wanting, more were created to replace them.
In 1840, the US census reported that free blacks had a higher rate of mental illness than enslaved blacks, to the joy of the pro-slavery advocates. In 1844, Edward Jarvis published a report demonstrating that the results of the census were in error. You might even say he “fact checked” them…
In second place, it’s Insufficient Cringe noting the full implications of the argument:
It is more than just fact checkers that should keep quiet. He allows that “Every person should conduct his or her own research to determine whether something someone says appears to be true”, but then they cannot not tell anybody else, because that would that would make them a fact checker.
For editor’s choice on the insightful side, we start out with one more comment from that post, this time from That One Guy with some more thoughts on the anti-fact-checking backlash:
‘How dare you not want to host deadly lies?!’
Ah fact checkers, like a pro-active version of [Citation Needed] which is itself the bane of liars and trolls everywhere. If you don’t like those meanie fact-checkers calling you out for being wrong or outright lying stop lying, prepare to support your claims with credible citations or find somewhere else to speak that won’t call you out when you fail to do either of those.
The crusade against fact checking would seem to be the latest version of the belief that certain groups deserve not just the right to speak(which they already have), or even that and the right to a platform of their choice to speak from(which they have no right to), but protection against any and all consequences for that speech including prohibitions against others responding to them(which has never been part of free speech).
To call that mindset childish, self-centered and grossly self-entitled would be a massive understatement and it only gets worse when you realize their hypocrisy of wanting only some speech protected, theirs or the speech of those they support.
Next, it’s Thad with a response to the question of why the supposedly-fiscally-conservative GOP is willing to throw money away fighting for unconstitutional laws:
It’s not that hard to understand.
Over on the funny side, our first place winner is David with another response to our post about fact checking:
You were not supposed to check what he was saying.
In second place, it’s Stephen T. Stone with a quote:
“I may not like what you say, sir, but I will defend to the death your right to say it…unless you fact-check the source of this quote, in which case fuck you.” — Voltaire
For editor’s choice on the funny side, we start out with a comment from Rico R. about the satire website that CC’d Barbara Streisand in its response to a ridiculous legal threat letter from a baseball team:
Yet another incorrect movie quote:
Are you issuing baseless legal threats? There’s no issuing baseless legal threats in baseball!
— A League of Their Own
Finally, it’s Ninja with a comment about PETA’s latest lawsuit:
Well, at least they aren’t fighting for the copyrights of a macaque monkey named after a famous anime show (or vice-versa?).
I’ll show myself the door. Sorry.
That’s all for this week, folks!
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Author: Leigh Beadon