United States Surgeon General Vivek Murthy said Americans “don’t have the right” to “irresponsibly spread misinformation” on Sunday evening while discussing COVID-19 on CNN.
“Journalists and the media have an incredibly important role and responsibility in preventing the spread of misinformation,” Murthy told CNN host Brian Stelter. “While we all have the right to make our own choices, we don’t have the right to irresponsibly spread misinformation.”
The remarks come amid Democrats seeking to use Big Tech to silence their political opponents under the guise of perceived “misinformation and disinformation.” Sens. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and Ben Ray Lujan of New Mexico put forth the “Health Misinformation Act” last month that would amend Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.
Days prior to the bill’s proposal, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in an interview on Snapchat’s “Good Luck America” that the Biden administration seeks to crack down on medical “misinformation” by being able “to talk to Fox and Fox viewers.”
“Now, they are not waiting for the president, the vice president, me, other people from the administration to tell them what to do, but they might listen to medical experts or some of our doctors, they might,” Psaki said. “There might be information that strikes them because it’s so fact-based, if we convey it to Fox, that they may hear that.”
While Democrats including the president have lamented conservatives pushing supposed falsehoods on the internet, there have been many cases of left-wing lawmakers and media allies doing exactly this. Biden said Facebook is “killing people” in July, and CNN anchor Don Lemon claimed that “misinformation is killing us and our democracy.”
“This doesn’t have to be a partisan issue,” the surgeon general continued. “I’ve had many conversations with folks across the political spectrum in terms of journalists who absolutely want to do the right thing in terms of getting accurate information out to the public. This doesn’t have to be partisan. But what we do need journalists and media organizations to look deeply at are their current practices. We need them first of all to make sure that they are putting forward credible sources.”