What About Fake News?


Armstrong Economics Blog/Politics Re-Posted Dec 15, 2020 by Martin Armstrong

The question dealing with the press is not something new. Matthew Lyon was the first person to be put on trial for violating the Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798, after publishing criticism of President John Adams. The Sedition Act of 1798 criminalized the “writing, printing, uttering or publishing [of] any false, scandalous and malicious writing or writings about the government of the United States.” Indeed, Trump could have and should have charged people from the media who clearly violated that Act. Lyon was sentenced to four months in jail. While imprisoned, he was elected to represent Vermont in Congress.

It was actually Abraham Lincoln who seized the telegraph lines and issued an order prohibiting the printing of war news about military movements without approval. He was censoring the news back then for anyone who challenged his administration. Lincoln had people arrested for wearing Confederate buttons and for singing Confederate songs in the North. He went as far as to shut down the Chicago Times for criticizing the Lincoln administration. The editors were arrested, the newspapers were shut down, and the journalists were banned from the fields of battle. A military governor with the approval of the secretary of war, Edwin M. Stanton, destroyed the office of the Sunday Chronicle, a Washington, D.C., newspaper. Lincoln even had a Democrat member of Congress arrested for making an anti-war speech in his home state.

In April 1863, General Ambrose Burnside, who was the commander of the Department of the Ohio, issued General Order No. 38. Burnside placed his headquarters in Cincinnati to intimidate Confederate sympathizers. He issued General Order No. 38.

General Order No. 38 stated:

The habit of declaring sympathy for the enemy will not be allowed in this department. Persons committing such offenses will be at once arrested with a view of being tried. . .or sent beyond our lines into the lines of their friends. It must be understood that treason, expressed or implied, will not be tolerated in this department.

Burnside also declared that, in certain cases, violations of General Order No. 38 could result in death. Most could not believe the audacity of this order which violated free speech. Clement Laird Vallandigham (1820–1871) was so opposed to the order that he allegedly said that he “despised it, spit upon it, trampled it under his feet.” He also allegedly encouraged open resistance to Burnside. Vallandigham was said to have criticized President Lincoln for not seeking a peaceable and immediate end to the Civil War and for allowing General Burnside to ignore the constitutional rights of citizen’s. It was reported that Vallandigham had violated General Order No. 38. The general ordered his immediate arrest. On May 5, 1863, a company of soldiers arrested Vallandigham at his home in Dayton and brought him to Cincinnati to stand trial.

Burnside charged Vallandigham with the following crimes:

Publicly expressing, in violation of General Orders No. 38, from Head-quarters Department of Ohio, sympathy for those in arms against the Government of the United States, and declaring disloyal sentiments and opinions, with the object and purpose of weakening the power of the Government in its efforts to suppress an unlawful rebellion.

Vallandigham was tried by a military tribunal and was found guilty despite his argument that they lacked jurisdiction over a civilian. The tribunal sentenced him to remain in a United States prison for the remainder of the war. Fear that this would result in a rebellion after he appealed to a federal circuit court. But the court, corrupt as it was being pro-government, denied the appeal. Judge Leavitt held that General Burnside had military authority which was necessary during a time of war. President Lincoln feared that a rebellion would erupt and commuted Vallandigham’s sentence to exile in the Confederacy. On May 25, Burnside sent Vallandigham into Confederate lines.

Then in 1917, Rose Pastor Stokes, who was an anti-war activist, writer, and a founding member of the American Communist Party, was prosecuted under the Espionage Act of 1917 for writing to a newspaper: “I am for the people and the government is for the profiteers.” The Act criminalized attempting to cause insubordination to the war effort, willfully attempting to cause insurrection, and obstructing the recruiting or enlistment of potential volunteers.  After being sentenced to 10 years in Missouri State prison, she successfully appealed to the US Court in St Paul. The government ultimately dismissed the case against her in 1920.

Therefore, many people have written in asking if CNN, New York Times and the Washington Post could ever be shut down or their editors prosecuted for supporting Klau Schwab and his take over of the world to push it into Marxism. There is plenty of precedent for that. Trump was never advised properly and the Department of Justice would never investigate.

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