NYT Columnist: "How do you unite a country in which millions of people have chosen to create their own version of reality?"
A look into Kevin Roose's Feb. 2nd column: "How the Biden Administration Can Help Solve Our Reality Crisis"
As always, read the article for yourselves for full context. These are just my takes on his suggestions.
#1: SET UP A 9/11-STYLE TRUTH COMMISSION
Are we getting the 9/11 commission gang back together?
“Joan Donovan, the research director of Harvard University’s Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy, suggested that the Biden administration could set up a “truth commission,” similar to the 9/11 Commission, to investigate the planning and execution of the Capitol siege on Jan. 6. This effort, she said, would ideally be led by people with deep knowledge of the many “networked factions” that coordinated and carried out the riot, including white supremacist groups and far-right militias.”
#2: GET A REALITY CZAR
Because this always leads somewhere good…right?
“Several experts I spoke with recommended that the Biden administration put together a cross-agency task force to tackle disinformation and domestic extremism, which would be led by something like a “reality czar.”
“For example, it could formulate “safe harbor” exemptions that would allow platforms to share data about QAnon and other conspiracy theory communities with researchers and government agencies without running afoul of privacy laws.”
#3: GET THE BLACK BOX
Something tells me we’ve already gone over this topic in Congress.
“Several experts recommended that the Biden administration push for much more transparency into the inner workings of the black-box algorithms that Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and other major platforms use to rank feeds, recommend content and usher users into private groups, many of which have been responsible for amplifying conspiracy theories and extremist views.”
#4: IMPLEMENT “SOCIAL STIMULUS” PROGRAM
Or the government could provide people with healthcare & guaranteed monthly income until the government gets a handle on things? Just a thought.
“Clearly there’s a public safety issue, but there’s also very much a public health issue,” said Micah Clark, a program director at Moonshot CVE, a counterextremism firm in London.”
“One effective countermeasure, Mr. Clark suggested, could be a kind of “social stimulus” — a series of federal programs to encourage people to get off their screens and into community-based activities that could keep them engaged and occupied.”
Knee-jerk legislative actions formulated to address long-standing societal problems rarely fix to the root of the problem. I’d say this is no different. Call me crazy, but I’m skeptical of the Biden Administration providing any transparency on their task forces created to minimize disinformation on the internet. Moreover, I’m suspicious of any expert who suggests that governments should create “safe harbor” exemptions that allow the government to access otherwise private data to find out specific names of people and their behavioral activity on the internet.
Lastly, I’d like to address the snitch culture re-emergence we’re seeing. We don’t need to glorify this McCarthy-style snitch culture that I’m seeing on a large scale. Why should I believe the government will stop with QAnon-affiliates? I don’t need members of the United States Congress having their teams send out emails with calls to report specific social media accounts based on subjective and generalized interpretations of someone’s intentions when posting information. We already have big tech doing that. I’m talking to you, AOC. A friend of mine posted this email from Team AOC that he received the other day:
Big tech censorship is a problem. I’ve watched countless friends get silenced and demonetized over the last two years—on both the right and the left. Something needs to change — but I have a hard time believing anything done under the federal government will result in MORE transparency. Even Jake Tapper agrees, referencing the Obama Administration — one that took advantage of the Espionage Act to silence whistleblowers and journalists more than any other president — combined. Joe Biden ran on the collective accomplishments from the Obama Administration — one that he’s proud to have been a part of — which is perfectly fine, by the way. But, based on the Obama Administration’s track record, it’s hard for me to think a Biden Administration would have a different approach to handling information online through cooperative measures with big tech. Government and big tech already know each other very, very well.
I’m curious to hear what all of you think about this issue. Am I being too cynical or does the thought of a “reality czar” seem a bit too dystopian? Should I give Biden’s approach to handling online radicalization a chance?
Til next time,