Podcast 579-Internet Censorship. The news media has a new story-line. Fake News Elected Donald Trump. We have to do something about fake news. It amounts to is censorship of the Internet. A violation of the right to free speech guaranteed by the US Constitution’s first amendment at least in spirt. What IS Fake News? I think of Fake News as False Narratives. Story lines seeded by politicians and corporate PR people. Narratives that are picked up and reported on by journalists who take down quotes for their stories rather than investigate and report. These story lines are picked up by more journalists who quote talking heads. Commentators commentate, more quotes and more stories until the narrative outlives its usefulness and then the whole thing starts over. Examples include explanations of why Trump won the election including, ‘Women voted for Trump instead of Hillary’. Another was the reporting on ‘What the Polls showed’ which usually meant Clinton was supposed to win. Facts in both cases debunked these claims. The definition of ‘Fake News’ we’re actually dealing with now are false stories presented as fact. You see them on You Tube, FaceBook and Twitter. But they are picked up by websites like Breitbart or Huffington Post if they fit a narrative. Since ‘fake news’ elected ‘a person like Trump’, Clinton backers are demanding social media and search engine companies like FaceBook and Google ‘do something about fake news’. In Podcast 579-Internet Censorship, we spend a little time explaining the American Political system, specifically the Electoral College. This explains how Donald Trump was able to eke out an electoral victory in key states, as well as a solid victory among the voters of Ohio, which gave him a victory in the presidential contest, regardless of popular vote totals, fair and square. There is virtually no evidence fake news had anything to do with these tight victories. If Clinton’s voters had actually voted in those states we’d be talking about a Clinton transition and Trump would be on a beach in the Caribbean somewhere. Despite the fact that Clinton has been a proponent of doing away with the electoral college for years, suddenly the hoary old institution is her best friend. We don’t know if anyone voted for Trump based on the Pizza Gate story, we can’t and we won’t. That doesn’t stop the left from putting immense pressure on FaceBook, the supposed culprit here in publishing so called fake news. What does Mark Zuckerberg the head of FaceBook do? He caves. A second story making the rounds in the alt-right community with headlines like, “We told you so” says they’re already censoring the Internet. Finally there have long been discussions in the national security and foreign policy community regarding censoring Islamic Jihad sites that radicalize followers. All three of these stories are being conflated right now online as though some imminent threat to free speech exists. Is there? Or are these companies simply formalizing procedures to suppress violent or illegal content that has been part of their service agreements? As a content creator the idea of ‘warning labels’ is chilling. The idea of some kind of algorithm to be defeated is chilling. That said, wouldn’t such procedures invite work arounds? Wouldn’t censorship invite efforts to defeat algorithms? Personally I don’t concern myself with speech control in countries that don’t have guarantees of free speech. I do care about attempts to limit speech in the United States where free speech is THE cornerstone of a successful representative republic and is constitutionally guaranteed in the first amendment. You can’t stop things you don’t agree with. As a content provider, this concerns me. Sponsored by X Government Cars and by Hydrus Performance.
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