Quotable (#228)

Consensual reality still crashing:

[University of Washington professor Kate] Starbird says she’s concluded, provocatively, that we may be headed toward “the menace of unreality — which is that nobody believes anything anymore.” Alex Jones, she says, is “a kind of prophet. There really is an information war for your mind. And we’re losing it.”

(The ‘we’ — as usual — is fog-shrouded.)

Quotable (#225)

Edsall:

As the forces of reaction outpace movements predicated on the ideal of progress, and as traditional norms of political competition are tossed aside, it’s clear that the internet and social media have succeeded in doing what many feared and some hoped they would. They have disrupted and destroyed institutional constraints on what can be said, when and where it can be said and who can say it. …

Gutenberg 2.0 (undeniably?).

Quotable (#196)

Socially-networked media warfare:

ISIS stumbled upon something new. It became, in the words of Jared Cohen, a former State Department staffer and now the director of Jigsaw (Google’s internal think tank), “the first terrorist group to hold both physical and digital territory.” […] It will not be the last. The fate of the self-declared caliphate, now under the assault of nearly two dozen national militaries, is uncertain. Yet the group has already proved something that should concern any observer of war and peace, law and anarchy. While the Islamic State has shown savvy in its use of social media, it is the technology itself—not any unique genius on the part of the jihadists—that lies at the heart of the group’s disruptive power and outsize success. Other groups will follow. …

Remember what the printing press did? That’s the precedent.

Filter Feeders

With trust completely burnt-through, this kind of initiative just sounds like the draft for a new flexible totalitarianism:

Facebook, Twitter and news organizations including Agence France-Presse have joined a coalition of media and technology groups seeking to filter out online misinformation and improve news quality on social networks. […] First Draft News, which is backed by Google, announced Tuesday that some 20 news organizations will be part of its partner network to share information on best practices for journalism in the online age. […] Jenni Sargent, managing director of First Draft, said the partner network will help advance the organization’s goal of improving news online and on social networks. […] “Filtering out false information can be hard. Even if news organizations only share fact-checked and verified stories, everyone is a publisher and a potential source,” she said in a blog post. […] “We are not going to solve these problems overnight, but we’re certainly not going to solve them as individual organizations.” […] Sargent said the coalition will develop training programs and “a collaborative verification platform,” as well as a voluntary code of practice for online news.

The UF guess — People will want to kill any organization that gets involved even faster.

Quotable (#181)

This is basically right:

The television era was about globalism, international cooperation, and the open society. TV let people see for the first time what was happening in other places, often live, as it happened. We watched the Olympics, together, by satellite. Neil Armstrong walked on the moon. Even 9-11 was a simultaneously experienced, global event.

Television connected us all and broke down national boundaries. Whether it was the British Beatles playing on The Ed Sullivan Show in New York or the California beach bodies of Baywatch broadcast in Pakistan, television images penetrated national divisions. I interviewed Nelson Mandela in 1994, and he told me that MTV and CNN had more to do with ending the divisions of apartheid than any other force.

But today’s digital media environment is different. …