A Republican senator is calling for the White House to suspend a new
project that asks members of the public to flag "fishy" claims about
President Obama's health care plans, arguing that it raises privacy
concerns and will serve to chill free speech.
Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, is sending a letter to the White House
today asking the president to "cease this program immediately" -- or
to explain how Americans' privacy will be protected if e-mails are
forwarded to the White House as requested.
"I am not aware of any precedent for a President asking American
citizens to report their fellow citizens to the White House for pure
political speech that is deemed 'fishy' or otherwise inimical to the
White House's political interests," Cornyn writes
"I can only imagine the level of justifiable outrage had your
predecessor asked Americans to forward emails critical of his policies
to the White House. I suspect that you would have been leading the
charge in condemning such a program -- and I would have been at your
side denouncing such heavy-handed government action."
Yesterday, White House director of new media Macon Phillips wrote a
blog posting urging readers to flag questionable claims about health
"There is a lot of disinformation about health insurance reform out
there, spanning from control of personal finances to end of life care.
These rumors often travel just below the surface via chain emails or
through casual conversation. Since we can't keep track of all of them
here at the White House, we're asking for your help. If you get an
email or see something on the web about health insurance reform that
seems fishy, send it to email@example.com." . . . .