Post by islander Post by Josh Rosenbluth Post by islander Post by Josh Rosenbluth
Post by islander Post by El Castor
I'm already on record in this thread in complete support of Josh's
opinion regarding government regulation of speech ...
Josh ... "The line between news and opinion is far too fine for the
government to be enforcing. One of the bedrock principles of Freedom
of Speech in the USA is that we live with speech unworthy of
protection in order to make sure we do not legally proscribe speech
worthy of protection."
Are you also in complete agreement with Josh?
I agree that the line between news and opinion would be difficult
to define and therefore difficult to enforce. There are some
issues about the news media where Josh and I may disagree,
however. I dislike Fox News, for example, and rarely watch it -
my right. What bothered me immensely however, was when I went to
Florida and found that Fox News was the only news available in the
hotel where I stayed. That is a business decision and I don't
think that one news organization should be allowed to dominate the
market. Likewise, I worry a lot about the effort by Sinclair
Broadcasting to dictate what is reported in local news at stations
that they own. In those scenarios it is too dangerous to risk
allowing anyone to own exclusive rights to a media market. That
is not a free press IMV. Generally, I wish that we could find a
way to make news media immune from economic pressure. Turning
news programs into profit centers was a bad thing IMV.
Perhaps the Internet has changed this calculus? We pretty much get
whatever news we want from whatever source we want.
Post by islander
When it comes to politicians or their Super PACs or any
organization campaigning on their behalf, I think that is a recipe
for corruption. The laws against this are much too weak.
I'm with you that Citizens United and other SCOTUS decisions have
been wrongly decided.
Post by islander
Personally, I think that it is much too easy for anonymous money
to influence elections. Should Facebook, Twitter, or other social
media be allowed to sell access to their customers data? This
goes beyond politics and is fundamentally against what the
developers of the Internet intended. I have long opposed push
advertising as did the early developers.
The Internet has definitely changed the calculus, but not in a good
way. People search for information that confirms their bias and
that is easy to find, no matter how crazy you are. Sadly, education
has not kept up with the barrage of material increasingly pushed at
you on the Internet.
Could be, but that is besides my point about a possible positive
impact of the Internet. Perhaps thanks to the Internet, it's
impossible for anyone to own exclusive rights to a media market
because the Internet has done away with the concept of such a closed
You and I have disagreed before on the danger of well funded
marketing, especially in think tanks that have a political motive. I
have believed for a long time that they can be very dangerous and have
cited examples of organizations that exist only to shape public
opinion in a way that benefits their owners financially. I have seen
them gain the appearance of respectability in universities, even
creating journals that promote their agenda.
We have now seen how popular platforms on the Internet serve the same
purpose. Microsoft put in place a mechanism for gathering profile
information about their users that they then sold to clients along
with tools for accessing and using that data. We have recently seen
where Cambridge Analytica was able to use psychographic profiles of
Americans to target messages for the Trump campaign in a way that is
questionably illegal or at least not completely above board for users
who were not aware that they were setting themselves up to be
targeted. It is claimed by the Justice Department that the Internet
Research Agency in St. Petersburg used this approach with Microsoft to
intentionally sew disruption in the 2016 election. I've mentioned
here before that I noticed this in my own news feed in Facebook.
I doubt that this is unique to Facebook. If you follow the hottest
topic in the field right now, you may have noticed all the papers that
are being published on "big data." Perhaps you have seen that when you
search for something on Amazon or Google that products which you were
looking for "chase you all over the Internet" as Tim Cook, CEO of
Apple commented in an interview on "Revolution" last week. He also
argued in that interview that using your customer's data in that way
was not moral and that Apple had specifically chosen to not do it.
Still, Apple is an enabler in the form of their Apps store and I
wonder how carefully they are screening before they release a new
App. Susan Landau, a cybersecurity expert at Tufts claims that the
Apps are full of holes.
Perhaps this is just an unwanted invasion of my privacy, but I think
that it is more likely a frightening aspect of the Internet that seems
more like *1984* than the servant that we all believed the Internet
would be - and I say that as someone who participated in that
When does free speech become public manipulation? I don't know, but I
also suspect the motives of some organizations that can use these
powerful tools for purposes that are not consistent with defending the
I don't have any answers, but I think that it is something that we did
not anticipate and that it deserves some serious thought.
described (which may or may not be negated by your negative effect).