Ming the Mechanic:
Corporations claim the 'right to lie'

The NewsLog of Flemming Funch
 Corporations claim the 'right to lie'2003-01-03 04:30
picture by Flemming Funch

From Common Dreams:
"While Nike was conducting a huge and expensive PR blitz to tell people that it had cleaned up its subcontractors' sweatshop labor practices, an alert consumer advocate and activist in California named Marc Kasky caught them in what he alleges are a number of specific deceptions. Citing a California law that forbids corporations from intentionally deceiving people in their commercial statements, Kasky sued the multi-billion-dollar corporation.

Instead of refuting Kasky's charge by proving in court that they didn't lie, however, Nike instead chose to argue that corporations should enjoy the same 'free speech' right to deceive that individual human citizens have in their personal lives. If people have the constitutionally protected right to say, 'The check is in the mail,' or, 'That looks great on you,' then, Nike's reasoning goes, a corporation should have the same right to say whatever they want in their corporate PR campaigns."
And here's some more detail as to the current situation:
"In the next few weeks the U.S. Supreme Court will decide whether or not to hear Nike's appeal of the California Supreme Court's decision that Nike was engaging in commercial speech which the state can regulate under truth in advertising and other laws. And lawyers for Nike are preparing to claim before the Supreme Court that, as a "person," this multinational corporation has a constitutional free-speech right to deceive.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Exxon/Mobil, Monsanto, Microsoft, Pfizer, and Bank of America have already filed amicus briefs supporting Nike. Additionally, virtually all of the nation's largest corporate-owned newspapers have recently editorialized in favor of Nike and given virtually no coverage or even printed letters to the editor asserting the humans' side of the case."
It is of course quite enlightening to hear exactly which companies stand up to support their own right to lie.

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3 Jan 2003 @ 06:39 by martha : and the outcome
did Kasky win the law suit?  

3 Jan 2003 @ 13:31 by sharie : NIMBY
Not using Public airwaves, they don't!

Radio and TV airspace is a public domain... They can't lie where the public owns the space. That's the difference.

What ever happened to "truth in advertising". Wasn't that law?

I'd be interested in the legal arguments on this, and the Judge's ruling.

Unbelievable what lawyers and corporations want to get away with.

We ought to boycott Nike just full pullin' this crap.

Californians ought to outlaw corporations like that small town in PA did... but then Californians want the revenue from them, don't they?  

3 Jan 2003 @ 23:18 by ming : Outcome
The outcome hasn't been decided yet. Apparently the supreme court will hear the case within the next few weeks.  

23 Apr 2004 @ 14:09 by Scott @ : Clarification
Sharie: you would think that airwaves would belong to the people. Unfortunately, they were sold under the Reagan administration.
The argument gets down to this: are corporations people? They say they are and should be entitled to the same protections as "natural" people. Yes, this seems bizarre -- but it is what they are arguing. Take a look at the Common Dreams web site (the link from the original poster) or read Thom Hartmann's book, "Unequal Protection" http://www.thomhartmann.com/ It is really really scary, but we all need to understand this better if we have any hope of changing it.  

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