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Michigan Republicans Want To Criminalize Fact Checking

It’s the logical next step in GOP gaslighting: After engaging in the Big Lie about the 2020 election, a Trumper lawmaker wants to register fact checkers and make them subject to fines and lawsuits.
Michigan Republicans Want To Criminalize Fact Checking
Rep. Matt Maddock Image from: YouTube screenshot

Michigan's Rep. Matt Maddock (R-Milford), has written legislation co-authored by eight other Republican House members, requiring professional fact checkers to file a $1 million fidelity bond, with a $1,000/day fine for not doing so, and subject them to lawsuits by any “affected person,” The Detroit News has reprted.

An "affected person" could bring a civil action in any county district court to claim the bond for "any wrongful conduct that is a violation of the laws of this state." The bond could be forfeited at the discretion of the judge for "demonstrable harm" stemming from something a fact checker wrote, Maddock wrote.

The “demonstrable harm” Maddock has in mind is the de-platforming of right-wing conspiracy theorists from social media.

"Social media companies deplatform people, politicians, and businesses on the basis of 'fact checkers' who relish their roles punishing those whom they deem 'false,'" Maddock wrote, after alleging in April that fact checkers were largely "body-checking conservatives."

"Many believe this enormous economic and social power is being abused," Maddock wrote. "...My legislation will put fact checkers on notice: Don't be wrong, don't be sloppy, and you better be right."

Maddock’s idea of being “right” is more political than truthful. He and wife MeShawn have worked hard to overturn the 2020 presidential election. They attended Trump’s January 6th rally where MeShawn Maddock tweeted, before the Capitol was stormed, she was part of "the most incredible crowd and sea of people I’ve ever walked with." Although she condemned the violence and the invasion of the Capitol, she and her husband made various efforts to block Michigan’s electoral votes from going to Joe Biden, who won the state, including trying to enter the Michigan Capitol to cast electoral votes for Donald Trump. They were turned away by security.

It’s not clear whether the bill is likely to pass.

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