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
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 off market.
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
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 development.
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.