Accuracy in Media

Is the White House promoting snitching on your neighbors if they don’t support the President’s plan for health care reform?

Certainly people should report criminal activity if they see people commit such acts. But should people snitch on others who are exercising their First Amendment freedom of speech rights, by expressing their doubts and concerns about President Obama’s plans for a government health care plan? On the blog site, there is this call to report on “fishy” activities by your neighbors and associates:

“There is a lot of disinformation about health insurance reform out there, spanning from control of personal finances to end of life care.  These rumors often travel just below the surface via chain emails or through casual conversation.  Since we can’t keep track of all of them here at the White House, we’re asking for your help. If you get an email or see something on the web about health insurance reform that seems fishy, send it to (JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) has sent a letter today to President Obama asking him to explain the purpose and intended uses of whatever names and reports they receive.

Cornyn has raised some very real concerns:

“I am not aware of any precedent for a President asking American citizens to report their fellow citizens to the White House for pure political speech that is deemed ‘fishy’ or otherwise inimical to the White House’s political interests. 

“By requesting that citizens send ‘fishy’ emails to the White House, it is inevitable that the names, email addresses, IP addresses, and private speech of U.S. citizens will be reported to the White House.  You should not be surprised that these actions taken by your White House staff raise the specter of a data collection program.  As Congress debates health care reform and other critical policy matters, citizen engagement must not be chilled by fear of government monitoring the exercise of free speech rights.”

Here is the full text of Cornyn’s letter to President Obama.

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