A Republican Michigan state legislator wants to make it a law that “fact checkers” must register with the state and may be assessed fines of up to $1,000 if they fail to comply, the Detroit News reports.
Republican state representative Matt Maddock’s draft legislation, called the “Fact Checker Registration Act” would also require all “fact checkers” to carry a bond of $1 million. Maddock defines a “fact checker” as anyone who publishes in print or online in Michigan, is paid by a fact-checking organization and is a member of the International Fact Check Network.
FACT CHECK: The “International Fact Check Network” isn’t a membership organization; it’s a group formed by the Poynter Institute to put out some basic responsibilities and standards for fact checkers working independently or through other media.
“Social media companies deplatform people, politicians, and businesses on the basis of ‘fact checkers’ who relish their roles punishing those whom they deem ‘false,'” Maddock wrote unironically on Facebook. Many believe this enormous economic and social power is being abused. …My legislation will put fact checkers on notice: Don’t be wrong, don’t be sloppy, and you better be right.”
Maddock has not released a plan to hold politicians to a similar standard, and would likely object to any legislation to fine politicians who lie $1,000 per incident.