Forget the war on drugs. The new administration has a new target. I bet 95% of you reading it fall into this category. Yup. The danger lies not in dealing crack cocaine in seedy back alleys, or worrying that little Bobby is smoking the Mary-Jane before Junior High. It's those awful, awful social networkers. And at the heart of it? Bloggers. Uh-oh. The NY Post's Kyle Smith reports that the new OIRA Czar, Cass Sunstein seems to think "that the bloggers have been rampaging out of control and that new laws need to be written to corral them." He goes on to quote Sunstein, "people's beliefs are a product of social networks working as echo chambers in which false rumors spread like wildfire." and "We hardly need to imagine a world, however, in which people and institutions are being harmed by the rapid spread of damaging falsehoods via the Internet....We live in that world. What might be done to reduce the harm?" This is from his book, On Rumors: How Falsehoods Spread, Why We Believe Them, What Can Be Done. Basically, what I'm getting out of this is not that he's trying to alleviate rumors, but to control what information we can read.
What is Fox News without CNN? It's like White without Black. We have to be held accountable enough to reach our own Gray. Holding bloggers, newsreporters, social networkers (twitter, anyone?) responsible for rumors is like holding a grudge against the bully in high school that started a rumor about you. Or someone you know. Or whatever situation you've had to deal with in life that someone said something you didn't believe or knew wasn't true. Did you sue them for libel? Sunstein thinks we should:
"Sunstein questions the current libel standard - which requires proving "actual malice" against those who write about public figures, including celebrities. Mere "negligence" isn't libelous, but Sunstein wonders, 'Is it so important to provide breathing space for damaging falsehoods about entertainers?' Celeb rags, get ready to hire more lawyers."
One of my most fav books ever is Tom Brokaw's Greatest Generation. The reason it's one of my favs is this idea of personal responsibility. I don't know about Obama's Dreams from my Father but I know my father was raised by a father from this Greatest Generation. He took personal responsibility, from the job he did (Welfare? Government assistance? Pell Grants? Who ever heard of such a thing?) to the family he raised to the actions he took. And I believe there are still many Americans out there like that, that have this trait of personal responsibility. Why, then, do we need someone out there regulating what we can or can't read about? I go to work everyday, pay my taxes, consider myself somewhat intelligent, and can make my own informed decisions and opinions. I don't need a filter. I don't need a babysitter. If these people that are being written about are the one's with the problem, I go back to my oldest theory: If you are paranoid that people are talking about you, you probably did something to encourage it. Guilty Conscious.