Johns Creek City Council Discusses City "Rumors" Site
Note: the original version of this article inaccurately identified Councilman Broadbent as having been in favor of establishing a “Rumor Page”. Mr. Broadbent contacted us to correct our error, and we have removed his name from those who expressed explicit support for a “Rumor Page”.
Discussions at the City Council Meeting on September 24, 2018 took several interesting turns. The original meeting agenda was amended to include an additional item: M3 - Discussion of Cyber Bullying and Address Rumors. That conversation began with a focus on the perception that "rumors" are being spread through the city, and that we need a page within the city website to counter those "rumors" with "truth". It was stated that Roswell had instituted such a page within their city website. The stated purpose of that page is:
The City of Roswell's Rumor Page was created to eliminate false information and misconceptions by providing our citizens with the facts about issues and concerns within our community.
Two clear sides were drawn in the discussion. Mayor Bodker and Councilman Zaprowski were strongly in favor of establishing a "Rumor Page". Strong opposition was stated by Councilman Bradberry, Councilman Coughlin, and Councilwoman Endres.
Those in favor of a "Rumor Page" stated their belief that false news was being spread through rumors on social media and blog sites. They felt there was a need to counter that with a one-stop-shop where City Staff could post the "truth".
Those in opposition to the "Rumor Page" noted that some false news sometimes spreads because content on the City website is outdated and not timely. There was also a strong level of skepticism that the City can maintain an objective balance between facts and political objectives. The example was provided regarding the treatment of TSPLOST, and assertions made by City officials that subsequently proved to be false.
It is our opinion that no government should be establishing itself as the sole arbiter of "truth" - that is the hallmark of authoritarianism. There is no way that bias and preferences will be isolated in that process. This is a seriously flawed proposal that should be vigorously opposed by residents as well as our Elected Officials.