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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 11/10/19

Power and Lies

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From Robert Reich Blog

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Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook says he'll run political ads even if they are false. Jack Dorsey of Twitter says he'll stop running political ads altogether.

Dorsey has the correct approach but the debate skirts the bigger question: Who is responsible for protecting democracy from big, dangerous lies?

Donald Trump lies like most people breathe. As he's been cornered, his lies have grown more vicious and dangerous. He conjures up conspiracies, spews hate and says established facts are lies and lies are truths.

This would be hard enough for a democracy to handle without Facebook sending Trump's unfiltered lies to the 45 percent of Americans who look to it for news. Twitter sends them to 68 million users every day.

A major characteristic of the internet goes by the fancy term "disinter-mediation." Put simply, it means sellers are linked directly to customers with no need for middlemen.

Amazon eliminates the need for retailers. Online investing eliminates the need for stock brokers. Travel agents and real estate brokers are obsolete. At a keystroke, consumers get all the information they need.

But democracy can't be disinter-mediated. We're not just buyers and sellers. We're citizens who need to know what's happening around us in order to exercise our right to self-government, and responsibility for it.

If a president and his enablers are peddling vicious and dangerous lies, we need reliable intermediaries that help us see them.

Inter-mediating between the powerful and the people was once mainly the job of publishers and journalists hence the term "media."

This role was understood to be so critical to democracy that the constitution enshrined it in the first amendment, guaranteeing freedom of the press.

With that freedom came public responsibility, to be a bulwark against powerful lies. The media haven't always lived up to it. We had yellow journalism in the 19th century and today endure shock radio, the National Enquirer and Fox News.

But most publishers and journalists have recognized that duty. Think of the Pentagon Papers, Watergate and, just weeks ago, the exposure of Trump's withholding $400 million in security aid to Ukraine until it investigated his major political rival, Joe Biden.

Zuckerberg and Dorsey insist they aren't publishers or journalists. They say Facebook and Twitter are just "platforms" that convey everything and anything facts, lies, conspiracies, vendettas with none of the public responsibilities that come with being part of the press.

Rubbish. They can't be the major carriers of the news on which most Americans rely while taking no responsibility for its content.

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Robert Reich, former U.S. Secretary of Labor and Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley, has a new film, "Inequality for All," to be released September 27. He blogs at www.robertreich.org.

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3 people are discussing this page, with 3 comments  Post Comment


Derryl Hermanutz

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Who is going to decide what is fake news, and what is true news? That person will then become the monopoly controller of the news. Today virtually every mainstream media report of international news is pure 100% lying propaganda, often made from whole cloth without even a shred of actual real events to justify the lying.

In 2016 Hillary and the DNC were caught red-handed stealing the nomination from Bernie, as the leaked email evidence proved beyond rational doubt. But did the MSM trumpet this scandal across the international airwaves? No. They made up the lie that Putin hacked the DNC servers and leaked the info to Trump's people, who used it to discredit Hillary for Trump to win the election. So for 3 years the MSM screeched, Putin hacked the election! Now they're screeching, Ukrainegate! All in a failed effort to reject the 2016 election results that Trump won; and now to impeach Trump for seeking to expose Biden's real Ukrainegate scandal.

Today many Americans still believe Putin hacked the election; and most Americans have no clue that Bernie was the people's choice for the Democratic nomination, and would probably be President today, were it not for Lying Hillary and the Devious DNC.

None of this scandalous fake news and non-reporting of real news has anything to do with Facebook or social media. This is network TV and the "serious" press deliberately and systematically misinforming the US public in service to the Deep State agenda of ousting anti-war Trump - whose stated intentions are to make peace and do business with Russia; and to end America's ruinous foreign wars - and installing an obedient Warrior-Puppet President - like Obama, or Hillary. All to preserve the trillions of US dollars that are "earned" by the US military-industrial complex and its intellectual prostitute apologists, for doing the good work of blowing up other people's countries and mass murdering their people.

Submitted on Monday, Nov 11, 2019 at 12:32:25 AM

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nelswight

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IMHO, Robert Reich, sadly is pushing fake news and doesn't realize it.

Submitted on Monday, Nov 11, 2019 at 1:49:10 AM

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Dennis Kaiser

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There you go again, Bobby, attempting to tell us Trump is the only one who lies. The truth be known the rot that has taken over the Democrat Party led by the corrupt Clintons far out paces Trump or any other speaking source, the bought and paid for MSM primarily.

Submitted on Tuesday, Nov 12, 2019 at 12:43:25 PM

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