Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Flotsam, Jetsam...Newssam?

     Yes, Gentle Reader, it’s all too painfully true: It’s time for another of those dreaded Assorted posts!

     1. You Can’t Make This Stuff Up Dept.

     I don’t remember having much of a musical taste before I was about twelve. Before that, there was practically no music in my environment other than the hymns we were taught in my Catholic grammar school. So it came as a significant surprise to read of two parents concerned about their 15 month old child’s musical tastes...though it seemed less strange once I learned a bit about the parents:

     DENVER, CO – As the debate between the anti-vaccination movement and the medical science community rages on, one local punk couple believes their 15-month-old son’s terrible taste in music is directly linked to the vaccinations their child received.

     Deanna and Paul Melun were heartbroken after realizing their infant showed indifference to the bands they tried exposing him to, and instead preferred music specifically designed to stimulate the motor skills of young children.

     “It’s a fucking conspiracy, man. More government storm troopers forcing bullshit down our throats,” said the infant’s visibly aggravated father, Paul Melun. “When Isaac was first born we would play him Leftöver Crack, Aus-Rotten and shit like that, and he would sit there and love it. But last month, we got him vaccinated, and now he shows no interest in listening to Reagan Youth at all, but he sure as hell goes nuts for the songs on that poseur-fest, Yo Gabba Gabba.”

     Truly tragic. (Is there anything vaccinations haven’t been blamed for? Corn blight, perhaps?) Inasmuch as the earlier a taste is formed, the longer lasting it usually proves to be, I think the Meluns might find that they have a genuine rebel on their hands. If he reaches puberty and starts buying Paul Anka and Perry Como records with his allowance, they might decide to disown him...if he doesn’t disown them first.

     2. Just Because You’re Paranoid Dept.

     We’ve all heard about the “fake news” meme currently popular with the Left and its Main Stream Media allies...and we know what those folks really have in mind. As it happens, there’s more than one horse running in the censorship derby:

     BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Web giants YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Microsoft will step up efforts to remove extremist content from their websites by creating a common database.

     The companies will share 'hashes' - unique digital fingerprints they automatically assign to videos or photos - of extremist content they have removed from their websites to enable their peers to identify the same content on their platforms.

     "We hope this collaboration will lead to greater efficiency as we continue to enforce our policies to help curb the pressing global issue of terrorist content online," the companies said in a statement on Tuesday....

     YouTube and Facebook have begun to use hashes to automatically remove extremist content....

     Twitter suspended 235,000 accounts between February and August this year and has expanded the teams reviewing reports of extremist content.

     Each company will decide what image and video hashes to add to the database and matching content will not be automatically removed, they said.

     The database will be up and running in early 2017 and more companies could be brought into the partnership.

     Fascinating. How will “extremist content” be defined? What if content deemed “extremist” is demonstrated to be factual, however upsetting? Will the automatic suppression of material that matches an entry in the hashes database be put permanently out-of-bounds, or will it be introduced at some later date? And to what extent with this ad hoc consortium be influenced by recommendations and pressure from governments?

     The persecution of right-of-center users of Facebook and Twitter has been an open secret for some time. Several Gentle Readers, including myself, are victims of it. But the perpetrators have needed a justification to shelter under. Perhaps the combination of “fake news” and “extremist content” memes will suffice.

     Freedom of expression is admittedly a legal consideration. The Left has made use of almost entirely non-governmental methods to suppress free expression and communication by conservatives and libertarians. That doesn’t make it any less a threat. Seek out as many channels of information and communications as you can. Keep a close watch on all of them. And when politicians and those openly allied with political forces start taking in these tones, beware. Remember that Chuck Schumer wants the government to have the legal power to determine who is and who is not a “journalist.”

     3. And While We’re On The Subject...

     Have a gander at this Washington Free Beacon piece on “fake news.” I find it particularly illuminating that the Main Stream Media – indeed, the whole of the Left – is desperate to classify the “PizzaGate” controversy this way:

     Washington Free Beacon reporter Bill McMorris appeared Monday night on Fox News to discuss the phenomenon of “fake news” stories and how some liberals continue to perpetuate them on social media....

     Carlson began the segment by asking McMorris what “fake news” stories are and who practices them.

     “Fake news is whatever people living in the liberal bubble determine to be believed by the right,” McMorris said.

     “It’s obviously the reason that Donald Trump won the elections and this just happens to be a nice convenient thing that happened to a nice D.C. establishment and, of course, it’s based on a complete hoax,” McMorris added....

     “The First Amendment has often threatened journalistic establishments interested in preserving a monopoly on access to information, so we’ve seen it time and again from the positions of opposition newspapers during the Adams Administration through today with the proliferation of blogs,” McMorris said.

     Now, the Washington Free Beacon does have a conservative editorial orientation. However, why that should be considered less legitimate than the blatant left-liberal editorial orientation of virtually every element of the major media is open to question. Reporter McMorris is dead on target in his characterization of the uses to which the “fake news” meme is being put.

     In matters of discrimination, the central question is always “Who decides?” Does the individual choose for himself whom and what to believe, or is the choice to be made for him? They who mean to control the national discourse – the “narrative,” as the Left has so frequently styled it – must drive individual choice as close to nonexistent as possible, such that only left-of-center publications are available to the general public. If they can’t achieve that by law – and for the moment, they can’t – they’ll use memetic engineering and their not-inconsiderable power to associate this “fake news” notion with any outlet that disagrees with them. It’s for us to build up resistance, in the name of free expression and all that it safeguards.


Matthew Wennerlund said...

This is too meta. Using a fake news article to talk about censorship and fake news articles.


Francis W. Porretto said...

(chuckle) Well, yes. I was wondering how long it would take for someone to note the contradiction. Congratulations!