Here’s the next thing that’s going to have to happen during the current movement. Journalists are going to have to go back to being journalists. The media will have to be held to standards.
Something fell apart the last 10+ years (maybe more, but especially in the last 5 years) where when someone did or said something unacceptable, journalists presented it neutrally. Like, “This guy just mocked a disabled guy at a campaign rally and wants to be president, but right after that clip, we didn’t interview anybody who would tell you why that’s wrong.” Without that viewpoint, fact check, or human decency check, it all got normalized.
The media allowed people to tell you there is no covid-19, black pro sports players are gang members, white people shouldn’t feel badly about slavery because it was important to the economy, and women are either ugly, sluts, or both. People think that “free speech” means you can say anything, anytime, about anybody or any topic. They forget that the original intention of the “free speech” amendment was to make it safe for you to speak out against your own government. The point was to allow you to say what you wanted without disappearing in the night and becoming a political prisoner for daring to speak up against the administration. Free speech is about that, not about your “right” to spread lies, rumors, and propaganda.
“Free speech” doesn’t hold up in successful cases of slander or libel. In those cases, it’s illegal to have lied to have hurt a person or business. We can’t allow propaganda, lies, racism, and more, but pretend it’s just us exercising “free speech”.
The next step must be holding journalists and media purveyors accountable for lies, propaganda, and disgusting racism, anti-LGBTQ(-ism), ableism, etc. Hold them accountable for the type of junk science used in this article [https://www.businessinsider.com/fox-news-criticized-graphic-stock-gains-george-floyd-black-deaths-2020-6] that displays a graph showing that stock markets do well after black men are attacked or killed.
We must call for changes in journalism and media.
People must be held to standards of truth and decent reporting, sources, and use of graphs and statistics. Twitter marking more tweets is the first domino wiggling. We have to push the dominoes down.
You keep saying that at your job, you want to have and create “empathy for customers.” Where is the empathy for all humans in our media? It’s gone.
Here’s what journalism can look like [https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/voices/george-floyds-autopsy-and-the-structural-gaslighting-of-america/]. Physicians at Scientific American writing about the systemic racism that leads to misleading autopsies and reports trying to make the police murders of black people look like those people really died from other conditions they happened to have… while gaslighting us into wondering whether or not that video showed someone being murdered.
We must act to change all media. TV, radio, online videos, social media, and others… why is anybody allowing people to disseminate propaganda? Remember that “free speech” doesn’t cover or excuse lies, including lies presented as “opinions.”
We must make all media available to everybody. We can’t have right-wing media be free for everybody but left-leaning media is behind paywalls so that nobody can read the articles. We must rethink business models and paywalls.
Facebook is going to have to be regulated.
Others might have to be regulated as well, but Facebook (and everything they own) is especially bad. Facebook loves spreading right-wing propaganda in every country in the world. Not only is it monster ad revenue for them, but they need to keep a certain political side in power… the side less likely to want to investigate, regulate, or hold them accountable for anything.
Facebook has an ugly endgame. We’ve seen glimpses of it when they tried to create their own currency and then tried to create their own legal identification cards no matter what country you live in. They want to be your workplace conversation tool and your videoconferencing tool (and let’s please imagine that they have access to everything you’re saying). I previously wrote an article on how I believe they bought Giphy so that they can watch everything you type in every app that integrated Giphy. Facebook has a patent on a system that would monitor you while you watch TV. Want to tell me again that Facebook apps’ microphones aren’t constantly listening?
Facebook wants to be the new Holy Roman Empire but without physical borders. They’re not going to change without regulation. They will keep releasing statements saying they’re “looking into things” and will “consider their policies,” but look at their history; they never fix it the way people with empathy want it fixed. They nearly always double down because with nobody holding them accountable, the corruption is without boundaries.
How about this 2017 article [https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/dec/15/facebook-mental-health-psychology-social-media], “Facebook admits it poses mental health risk — but says using site more can help. Company acknowledges ‘passive’ consumption of material can make people ‘feel worse’ but argues more engagement could improve wellbeing.”
Hear that? We know our site causes mental health issues, but it’ll surely be better if you use our site more! They have research proving that Facebook does better when they make you depressed, so they continue to build a site designed to make you depressed so you’ll stay “engaged.” This is slot machine thinking; you are losing at this slot machine, but keep pulling the handle and you’ll win something at some point! How can a company know that it causes mental health issues and not want to change? Where is the empathy for humans? Facebook doesn’t get to make the world, human emotions, and politics into their social experiment for their ugly endgame.
This is how our world must change next.
I think about all of the decent, empathetic people who shifted to being low empathy and full of hate when they heard enough propaganda. I think about intelligent friends who are great critical thinkers who spent too much time around Fox News, and now have very different views and beliefs. The lies get parroted back without thought.
I think about how that’s happening now, how it happened in 2016, and how it happened decades ago in a variety of countries. I think about the people who fled Europe in the early 1900s because of the powers rising there. I think about how it’s going on hundreds of years, and surely since the dawn of human communication. We can’t fix the past but we can pave the future.
When I think about how to change the world, I think about the stories we tell about each other. This goes back to the media in all forms. I’m generally no fan of “more government regulation,” but I don’t know how else to stop the growing wave of hurtful lies and propaganda. I don’t know how else to make sure that journalism has integrity, research, verifiable sources, and truth rather just wild speculation, opinions, and disinformation. It’ll never be 100% perfect, but shouldn’t we aim for perfection?
We know the media is a key player here since we have an administration that wants to limit and control it, someone who wants to censor it. We must use this moment to see how weak the media has become, and change it, and not let it fall to narcissists in politics and business.