Bill Clinton: International Agency Should Police Internet Rumors

Bill Clinton thinks some sort of government agency should do somethingorother about rumors on the Internet.

Bill Clinton thinks some sort of government agency should do somethingorother about rumors on the Internet.

Politico (“Bill Clinton: Create Internet agency“):

Bill Clinton doesn’t like all the misinformation and rumors floating on the Internet. And he thinks the United Nations or the U.S. government should create an agency to do something about it.

“It would be a legitimate thing to do,” Clinton said in an interview airing Friday on CNBC.

The agency, Clinton said, would “have to be totally transparent about where the money came from” and would have to be “independent” because “if it’s a government agency in a traditional sense, it would have no credibility whatever, particularly with a lot of the people who are most active on the internet.”

“Let’s say the U.S. did it, it would have to be an independent federal agency that no president could countermand or anything else because people wouldn’t think you were just censoring the news and giving a different falsehood out,” Clinton said.

“That is, it would be like, I don’t know, National Public Radio or BBC or something like that, except it would have to be really independent and they would not express opinions, and their mandate would be narrowly confined to identifying relevant factual errors” he said. “And also, they would also have to have citations so that they could be checked in case they made a mistake. Somebody needs to be doing it, and maybe it’s a worthy expenditure of taxpayer money.”

Bill Clinton has probably had to endure more vicious rumors than, well, anyone. And the fact that any damn fool can put any damn fool thing out there for the world to see is less than ideal. But the notion that some agency–whether of the US government or, mercy, the UN–should be out there monitoring every page out there and then–what, exactly?–is mindboggling.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. john personna says:

    I don’t think it’s needed, because I can find all the “fact check” sites on my own. And I don’t think a government agency is the right answer.

    That said, I can see a thread in his call to be sympathetic with. That is, there is an objective reality. Having a site dedicated to explaining objective reality wouldn’t be bad. And there are example so success. The CBO manages it.

    So while his head is wrong, his heart is in the right place.

    (I’d feel much less sympathetic if he was for instance peddling the “there is no objective reality” or “there can be no objective journalism BS.”)

  2. Fred Beloit says:

    I don’t like all the misinformation, falsities, and propaganda being circulated by so-called news organizations like NBC, CBS, ABC, CNN, MSNBC, NYT, Wapo, and LAT. I think there should be a U.S. Army Infantry unit that would police objectivity in newspapers, on the air, and on cable. This unit should be free of U.S. government control and report directly to the UN.

    Yours truly,

    Bill “Big Ole Windbag” Schminton

  3. Of course, if the government has NO control over it, the agency is going to end up filled with conspiracy theorists and end up pushing the very same rumors it was originally created to eliminate.

  4. Fred Beloit says:


    All right , men. Today we are going to march over to the CBS studios. You WILL read all copy intended for broadcast today. You will not be issued ammunition for this mission. You will use the quieter weapon if necessary. If you run across even so much as a hint of a lie…well, you know what to do.


  5. Franklin says:

    I sort of like some things about ole Slick Willy, but this is one of the dumber things he’s said. At least he clarifies that a regular government agency would have no credibility whatsoever.

    The biggest problem is that you CAN’T FIX STUPID.