One of the many lessons you learn coaching basketball is not to declare victory prematurely. It is awful embarrassing to pull your starters only to have to reenter them to preserve a win or worse yet lose a game that you should have won. With that in mind I put a question mark at the end of today’s title because the jury is still very much out but a couple of things look good.
Last week President Biden made headlines going after Facebook for allowing their platform to be used to spread falsehoods. America’s right wing is nothing if not projectionists. They, and their dear leader (a/k/a The Former Guy), love to run around talking about fake news, (a line stolen from Mussolini), when they are the leaders in lies.
It appears to me that either some right leaning media institutions took this as the first shot across the bow in a prelude to possible legal action or (much less likely) suddenly looked at the COVID numbers. Several Fox News (and they would more accurately be called Fox “News”) on air personalities modified their stances on vaccinations in the interim. Steve Doocey flat out suggested that his viewers get vaccinated. Sean Hannity softened his stance quite a bit. I don’t think that was coincidence or a sudden attack of morality and/or reason. I’d bet my bottom dollar that Fox’s legal people had something to do with those events.
I’m not a Fox viewer and I’m certain few if any of my regular readers are avid Fox viewers either. However, in the battle to get the unvaccinated vaccinated Fox is important. Bubba watches Fox.
While Facebook put out a denial of any wrongdoing, complete with a thinly veiled swipe at the administration, you know the President got their attention. I lack the knowledge and time to get into a protracted legal discussion here but there is no question their platform is being used to spread lies and in the case of COVID, deadly lies. This has to stop one way or another. My suggestion to Facebook is that they stop the lies before government and or legal intervention stop them with legislation/regulation(s). My experience with government regulation is that the industry is much better off to self regulate. You are experts at your industry; the legislators are not. It is that simple.
This article wouldn’t be complete without a mention of the “action” Twitter took against Marjorie Taylor Greene. As a punishment for spreading several lies about COVID-19 they suspended her account for 12 hours. You read that correctly – 12 whole hours. Considering that most people endeavor to sleep for eight hours a day that hardly constitutes a slap on the wrist. Multiple life-threatening lies and your “punishment” is having your account put on read only status for half a day. Why even bother? Do they really think this is a deterrent to future misdeeds? That is like a drunk driver who hits multiple innocent people being sentenced to not being able to drive on a single Friday night.
While it’s early in the game I think Biden may have gotten some media concerns to think a lot more carefully about the repercussions of their actions and what they allow to be said on the platforms that they control.
For all you right wing self proclaimed legal experts I don’t want to hear about the First Amendment in regard to this. It does not cover the protection of lies nor does it cover privately owned platforms.
Joe, don’t pull the starters yet, in fact keep the press on; but it appears you may be on your way to a win.
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