Accuracy in Media

Vice manages to have two articles on the same day without realizing that the one solves the problem being moaned about in the other. Maybe we’re still stuck back in the old days when there was actually an editorial shape to the media.

The first piece is complaining about how Facebook isn’t closing down discussion of climate change – sorry, isn’t marking as disinformation anything that doesn’t conform to the more extreme versions of the current orthodoxy. “Facebook Is Not Labelling Climate Denial Posts, Study Finds.” OK, we all know how the rest of that is going to go. Anything that even vaguely contradicts the mainstream meme – say “Climate Change will not murder us all in our beds tonight” –  must immediately be memory-holed and if it isn’t then Facebook is undermining the very basics of civilization.

The thing is, the next piece on that same site, Vice, gives the solution to this. Which isn’t, as this first piece suggests, Facebook showing a bit more of that steel fist.

Discussing the Russian propaganda at present concerning the Ukraine Vice runs a rather good story on how just plain folk, individuals playing with their own keyboards, are undermining those Russian claims. “The Internet Is Debunking Russian War Propaganda in Real Time”

Or: But as Russia floods Telegram, TikTok, and its own state-controlled media with stories of Ukrainian aggression, people on the internet are using open source intelligence tools that have proliferated in recent years to debunk Russia’s claims. Internet sleuths are debunking the Kremlin’s disinformation and justification for war in real time.”

This is the point of the First Amendment. This is what the Founding Fathers meant. The answer to free speech is free speech. People spout off – lies, propaganda, misinformation – then the correct answer is that others tell the truth.

What worries is that Vice doesn’t grasp this overall.

Vice is a major one of these new media outlets. The TV channel reaches 60 million American households via cable, there’s a substantial YouTube operation and the website gains 30 million visits a month. They are a substantial part of today’s media landscape.

All of which makes this blindness over free speech so strange. That the answer to lies is radical truth telling is understood when it’s over there, when it’s somewhere foreign. But at home when it’s us, ourselves, then there must be censorship of the media for fear that we might be told the wrong thing? How did that happen to the United States?

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