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Source link: http://archive.mises.org/16251/ftc-expands-censorship-campaign-to-radio-facebook/

FTC Expands Censorship Campaign to Radio, Facebook

March 28, 2011 by

The Federal Trade Commission stepped up its censorship campaign today against religious and healthcare-related speech it disagrees with. The FTC, backed by the Justice Department, asked a federal court to punish James Feijo and his Christian organization, Daniel Chapter One, for ignoring a previous FTC order restricting their right to engage in free speech. The FTC claimed the right to censor Fejio and Daniel Chapter One because they publicly discuss the use of non-Food and Drug Administration controlled products — and religious teachings — to treat diseases including cancer. The FTC believes all such speech is exempt from First Amendment protections.

After forcing Fejio and Daniel Chapter One to stand trial before a rigged FTC tribunal, where the outcome was predetermined, a federal appeals court in Washington looked the other way in the face of the Commission’s blatant violation of the First Amendment’s protections of free speech, association, and religious exercise. The FTC said all of Daniel Chapter One and Fejio’s speech would be restricted in the future to those statements the FTC deemed “scientifically” valid — in other words, whatever speech the FTC’s non-scientist lawyers declared permissible.

In its complaint filed with the US District Court in Washington, the FTC claims Fejio and Daniel Chapter One ignored the censorship order and continued to engage in speech deemed off-limits by Commission lawyers. Fejio apparently hosts a syndicated daily radio program where he discusses his healthcare beliefs and herbal supplements sold by Daniel Chapter One. The program includes call-in segments where he interacts directly with listeners. The FTC claims this is illegal; even discussions between consenting adults are forbidden by the FTC when they touch upon a subject where the Commission has declared itself the sole arbiter of “truth.”

The FTC’s complaint also charges Daniel Chapter One and Fejio with failing to send a notice mandated by the Commission’s prior order — coerced speech, in further violation of the First Amendment — to customers who purchased supplements from the organization. This notice would contain FTC-mandated speech that contradicted the views and beliefs of Daniel Chapter One and Fejio.

Today’s action demonstrates the Commission’s increased aggression against free speech. Any website or individual that makes any statements related to healthcare is especially vulnerable, including libertarian websites like Mises.org and LewRockwell.com. The FTC claims an unqualified right to censor any statement that questions FDA-sanctioned “science,” irrespective of whether any consumer has been harmed or judged to be the victim of actual fraud. Because the courts do not require the FTC to demonstrate an injury to punish individuals — a violation of the Constitution’s due process clause, among others — virtually every website, radio program, or other form of communication must now be on alert for FTC activity.

In addition to assessing punitive fines against Daniel Chapter One and Fejio for exercising their right to free speech, the FTC also asked the district court for an injunction to censor the defendants’ radio program, Facebook page, Yahoo group, online bulletin board, and to prevent them from even linking to materials deemed illegal by Commission attorneys.

{ 12 comments }

Blake March 28, 2011 at 7:17 pm

Grrrrrrrrr, is all I have to say!

Bardhyl Salihu March 28, 2011 at 8:44 pm

Liebowitz & co. scare me the most from the wide U.S. pool of statists. They’re so fascistic it’s unbelievable. It’s scary reading Oliva’s reports what these guys are doing. I can’t believe Americans put up with this monster department.

newson March 28, 2011 at 9:36 pm

and so the noose tightens. i thought it was going to be “hate speech” (anything that the legislator hates) that hangs liberty. maybe the fcc rope is less visible to its potential victims.

Adam Smith March 28, 2011 at 10:12 pm

“FTC believes all such speech is exempt from First Amendment protections.”
Well, no, there’s a law on the books that Feijo violated.
And for that law to exist, it must survive the Supreme Court’s judicial review.
So while the constitutionality of laws is defined by the Court, the beliefs in First Amendment protections come from the author of this article.

BioTube March 28, 2011 at 10:20 pm

The first amendment is absolute – any nuances are entirely made up. The fact of the matter is that the entire federal government treats the constitution as little more than a “damn piece of paper”(in fact, the constitution kinda prohibits the court from interpreting it – but then, just making people respect the tenth amendment would be tantamount to making them respect the whole damn thing).

nate-m March 29, 2011 at 8:50 am

I believe the governments version of the first amendment is:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. Unless, of course, Congress decides that particular form of speech is against the law. We also get to decide what is religions are valid. Oh and if you don’t work for a newspaper or other proper mainstream news outlet operating under state controls then your not part of the press.

Matthew Swaringen March 29, 2011 at 2:08 pm

Do you even think for yourself Adam? Is there anything that would make you come to disagreement with the Supreme Court? Or do you agree with every decision it makes? And provided that this isn’t the case, please explain to me why you think it’s ok to disagree with them on that but not on this.

Adam Smith March 29, 2011 at 6:41 pm

It’s perfectly ok to disagree with any branch of government.
“I do not agree with what you say but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”
I just understand that ultimately it’s not up to me to decide what’s constitutional or not.

Ad hominem arguments are weak here. Who cares what I think? If you want to believe that I am some sort of ever-agreeable automaton, fine, shoot the messenger, but that does not invalidate the message.
If you must know, there are decisions the court makes that I disagree with. And I’m sure there will be more.
But because the court defines what’s constitutional (and I don’t) I can only assert whether or not I believe the court has made an error.

Glenn Donovan March 29, 2011 at 6:41 am

This is why libertarians aren’t taken seriously by most of the public – and I’m a libertarian, fyi. The FTC has laws which have survived judicial review, hence they are constitutional, so the sophomoric assertion that these laws are unconstitutional is prima facie unsupported. And the author makes no real effort to support his assertion with either real law or even a discussion of the equities involved – what a joke. Let’s look at the substance of the matter for a moment. This huckster, this flim-flam artist, Feijo is making assertions about the efficacy of treatments for cancer that aren’t true. Do you get that? He’s giving very sick and dying people incorrect information, intentionally, to make money for himself. The U.S. has very wide open standards about such speech, hence the tsunami of “alternative health” products on the market now, most of which are completely useless and a waste of money, but as long as the purveyors of such garbage aren’t making false efficacy claims, they are allowed to sell their snake oil to ignorant dupes without any harassment by the state. The FTC gets involved only when provably false claims about efficacy are being made, which seems reasonable to me. But libertarians, as purported by the anarchists (there is a huge difference between being an anarchist and a libertarian, fyi), think there should be no legal protection from such liars, scammers and scumbags. How absurd.

You know, Mises wasn’t an anarchist. Neither was Hayek nor Friedman. All of you that have followed Rothbard off the anarchist cliff should think about that for a moment. Anarchists have and are destroying any chance min-state libertarians have of becoming a viable third party in this country by opposing laws such as these. If we are to have a chance to govern, we must come up with a moral and political philosophy that allows for a limited state. I say we grant that state that responsibility for certain commons (as in the English “Tragedy of the Commons”). These include the environment, public health, and roads, in addition to national defense, protecting our rights and our property. If you want to see what anarchy would look like, just watch Road Warrior. If you don’t think in the absence of the state protection of the individual’s rights that the strong and evil would prevail, you must not have studied any history. And don’t bring up some Native American tribe and an example of how anarchy could work – of course there are exceptions, but the vast march of history proves they are just that, exceptions, like winning a 1 in 99 bet. It happens, but you don’t want to gamble your life on it, do you?

Wake up, stop being absurd. While Rothbardians have created this Utopian, masturbatory ideology, Progressives and other leftists have created Social Justice Theory and Behavioral Economics as real theoretical bulwarks for their moral philosophy and policies. We – libertarians that is, the only true defenders of liberalism left in the world – should focus on addressing these underlying theories, which directly undermine the moral superiority of classical economics and liberal thought versus flailing about like three year olds, complaining about every action the state takes. Put another way, you are talking into an echo chamber and influencing nobody. It may make you feel good, but it has nothing to do with advancing the cause of liberty. For an example of how to do this, see work by say Mark Pennington – he’s actually doing the ideological heavy lifting. More of that and less of this tripe might actually have a chance of winning some folks over.

Amanojack March 29, 2011 at 7:38 am
Shaun March 29, 2011 at 10:58 am

“irrespective of whether any consumer has been harmed or judged to be the victim of actual fraud”
This is certainly a valid point that fraud should be established in cases such as this, and perhaps is this case it has not.

Regardless, assuming a libertarian/anarchist legal situation has been setup how would you judge a case where to use a more clear example someone is knowingly selling sugar pills as some magical supplement to cure cancer? Especially where as with a fraudulent cancer treatment the victims of the fraud may well be dead (perhaps only dead sooner) because of it? Note: I am not saying that I think this is going on here as I do not know the facts of the case, but am instead asking what if it was?

Walt D. March 29, 2011 at 3:41 pm

“Ah, that is different!” said Boxer. “If Comrade Napoleon says it, it must be right.”

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