- The Washington Times
Friday, May 22, 2020

MSNBC political analyst and former Time managing editor Richard Stengel claimed Thursday that the First Amendment doesn’t protect misinformation surrounding the coronavirus pandemic.

“Political speech is complicated — the First Amendment protects it,” Mr. Stengel, who served for two years as former President Barack Obama’s under secretary of state for public diplomacy and public affairs, told MSNBC’s Nicolle Wallace.

“The First Amendment doesn’t protect false speech about a virus or false speech that endangers the health of your users,” he added.

Mr. Stengel made the comments while arguing that Google and social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter needed to be more vigilant in banning and removing “the bad stuff,” like misinformation surrounding the pandemic.

“Google needs to be even more vigilant about what they prioritize in their search results, and they need to prioritize factual information in their search results rather than emotional and inflammatory conspiracy theories that get people’s eyes,” he said.

Earlier in the segment, Ms. Wallace suggested that social media users like President Trump don’t have the “right to spread lies about a deadly pandemic.”

Earlier this week, Ms. Wallace’s colleague Mika Brzezinski lobbied Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey to ban Mr. Trump from the platform over purported misinformation.

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