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Traditional Media Must Take Unilateral Action On Disinformation, Says Journalist Soledad O’Brien

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Photo of Soledad O'Brien by Noam Galai from May 2016 used with permission

February 25, 2021 – Broadcasters and cable news stations must unilaterally – without the need for government intervention – follow stricter standards and proper due diligence before booking guests to slow the spread of disinformation.

Over the past few years, with the nation increasingly divided, it wasn’t just former President Donald Trump that participated in campaigns of misinformation and disinformation – it was cable news and associated broadcasters who either repeated lies from the president or pushed conspiracy theories to audiences that generally don’t get their news anywhere.

It is within this echo chamber that veteran broadcast journalist Soledad O’Brien testified Wednesday at the Subcommittee on Communications and Technology that standards must be stricter to avoid the threat of disinformation and extremism, which culminated into the January 6 riot at the Capitol.

It’s often that the first suspect in the war against disinformation is social media because of its decentralized, democratization of opinion – where no information needs to be vetted to make it on the internet (except for when the social media companies, who are generally reluctant to police information on their platforms, take action).

But next in line are the more official media channels that millions of Americans receive. And what makes these especially dangerous is that these are viewed as authoritative news sources.

O’Brien said that the mainstream media landscape has disguised journalists that have been spreading lies for ratings.

Money is a substantial factor for television, and the battle for an audience has caused news channels to allow the spread of misinformation rather than responsible reporting, she said, adding broadcasters and cable news stations need to understand the influence they have on the actions of their viewers.

She alleged that content produced by cable news is in many ways amplified by extremists, and said that there is still a need for American democratic institutions to find solutions encouraging a new environment for the media, through a reformed agenda and the right to good information.

In the digital network environment, for example, conspiracy theories about the coronavirus have reached millions in the country, which impaired better judgement.

“Digital media is an open market without regulations and it will favor more bad actors than good,” said Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash.

Kristin Urquiza, co-founder of Marked by COVID, has been linking misinformation to the death of thousands in the U.S. from the virus, including her father. The rise of disinformation pushed by Trump made many innocent and uneducated citizens believe what he was saying was always true.

“Misinformation is killing Americans and hurting our democracy. It is not about left versus right, is about life versus death,” said Emily Bell, director of The Tow Center for Digital Media at Columbia University.

The heads of Google, Facebook, and Twitter will testify before Congress in March.

Section 230

Facebook, Google, Twitter Register to Lobby Congress on Section 230

Companies also want to discuss cybersecurity, net neutrality, taxes and privacy.

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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg

February 25, 2021 – Broadcasters and cable news stations must unilaterally – without the need for government intervention – follow stricter standards and proper due diligence before booking guests to slow the spread of disinformation.

Over the past few years, with the nation increasingly divided, it wasn’t just former President Donald Trump that participated in campaigns of misinformation and disinformation – it was cable news and associated broadcasters who either repeated lies from the president or pushed conspiracy theories to audiences that generally don’t get their news anywhere.

It is within this echo chamber that veteran broadcast journalist Soledad O’Brien testified Wednesday at the Subcommittee on Communications and Technology that standards must be stricter to avoid the threat of disinformation and extremism, which culminated into the January 6 riot at the Capitol.

It’s often that the first suspect in the war against disinformation is social media because of its decentralized, democratization of opinion – where no information needs to be vetted to make it on the internet (except for when the social media companies, who are generally reluctant to police information on their platforms, take action).

But next in line are the more official media channels that millions of Americans receive. And what makes these especially dangerous is that these are viewed as authoritative news sources.

O’Brien said that the mainstream media landscape has disguised journalists that have been spreading lies for ratings.

Money is a substantial factor for television, and the battle for an audience has caused news channels to allow the spread of misinformation rather than responsible reporting, she said, adding broadcasters and cable news stations need to understand the influence they have on the actions of their viewers.

She alleged that content produced by cable news is in many ways amplified by extremists, and said that there is still a need for American democratic institutions to find solutions encouraging a new environment for the media, through a reformed agenda and the right to good information.

In the digital network environment, for example, conspiracy theories about the coronavirus have reached millions in the country, which impaired better judgement.

“Digital media is an open market without regulations and it will favor more bad actors than good,” said Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash.

Kristin Urquiza, co-founder of Marked by COVID, has been linking misinformation to the death of thousands in the U.S. from the virus, including her father. The rise of disinformation pushed by Trump made many innocent and uneducated citizens believe what he was saying was always true.

“Misinformation is killing Americans and hurting our democracy. It is not about left versus right, is about life versus death,” said Emily Bell, director of The Tow Center for Digital Media at Columbia University.

The heads of Google, Facebook, and Twitter will testify before Congress in March.

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Section 230

Companies May Hesitate Bringing Section 230 Arguments in Court Fearing Political Ramifications: Lawyers

Legal experts say changing views on Section 230 will make platforms less willing to employ that defense in future cases.

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Carrie Goldberg, founder of C.A. Goldberg law firm

February 25, 2021 – Broadcasters and cable news stations must unilaterally – without the need for government intervention – follow stricter standards and proper due diligence before booking guests to slow the spread of disinformation.

Over the past few years, with the nation increasingly divided, it wasn’t just former President Donald Trump that participated in campaigns of misinformation and disinformation – it was cable news and associated broadcasters who either repeated lies from the president or pushed conspiracy theories to audiences that generally don’t get their news anywhere.

It is within this echo chamber that veteran broadcast journalist Soledad O’Brien testified Wednesday at the Subcommittee on Communications and Technology that standards must be stricter to avoid the threat of disinformation and extremism, which culminated into the January 6 riot at the Capitol.

It’s often that the first suspect in the war against disinformation is social media because of its decentralized, democratization of opinion – where no information needs to be vetted to make it on the internet (except for when the social media companies, who are generally reluctant to police information on their platforms, take action).

But next in line are the more official media channels that millions of Americans receive. And what makes these especially dangerous is that these are viewed as authoritative news sources.

O’Brien said that the mainstream media landscape has disguised journalists that have been spreading lies for ratings.

Money is a substantial factor for television, and the battle for an audience has caused news channels to allow the spread of misinformation rather than responsible reporting, she said, adding broadcasters and cable news stations need to understand the influence they have on the actions of their viewers.

She alleged that content produced by cable news is in many ways amplified by extremists, and said that there is still a need for American democratic institutions to find solutions encouraging a new environment for the media, through a reformed agenda and the right to good information.

In the digital network environment, for example, conspiracy theories about the coronavirus have reached millions in the country, which impaired better judgement.

“Digital media is an open market without regulations and it will favor more bad actors than good,” said Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash.

Kristin Urquiza, co-founder of Marked by COVID, has been linking misinformation to the death of thousands in the U.S. from the virus, including her father. The rise of disinformation pushed by Trump made many innocent and uneducated citizens believe what he was saying was always true.

“Misinformation is killing Americans and hurting our democracy. It is not about left versus right, is about life versus death,” said Emily Bell, director of The Tow Center for Digital Media at Columbia University.

The heads of Google, Facebook, and Twitter will testify before Congress in March.

Continue Reading

Section 230

Head of Big Tech Lobby Group Says Repealing Section 230 Unconstitutional

CTA CEO said abolishing intermediary liability protections violates private industry protections against government interference.

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Gary Shapiro, CEO of the Consumer Technology Association

February 25, 2021 – Broadcasters and cable news stations must unilaterally – without the need for government intervention – follow stricter standards and proper due diligence before booking guests to slow the spread of disinformation.

Over the past few years, with the nation increasingly divided, it wasn’t just former President Donald Trump that participated in campaigns of misinformation and disinformation – it was cable news and associated broadcasters who either repeated lies from the president or pushed conspiracy theories to audiences that generally don’t get their news anywhere.

It is within this echo chamber that veteran broadcast journalist Soledad O’Brien testified Wednesday at the Subcommittee on Communications and Technology that standards must be stricter to avoid the threat of disinformation and extremism, which culminated into the January 6 riot at the Capitol.

It’s often that the first suspect in the war against disinformation is social media because of its decentralized, democratization of opinion – where no information needs to be vetted to make it on the internet (except for when the social media companies, who are generally reluctant to police information on their platforms, take action).

But next in line are the more official media channels that millions of Americans receive. And what makes these especially dangerous is that these are viewed as authoritative news sources.

O’Brien said that the mainstream media landscape has disguised journalists that have been spreading lies for ratings.

Money is a substantial factor for television, and the battle for an audience has caused news channels to allow the spread of misinformation rather than responsible reporting, she said, adding broadcasters and cable news stations need to understand the influence they have on the actions of their viewers.

She alleged that content produced by cable news is in many ways amplified by extremists, and said that there is still a need for American democratic institutions to find solutions encouraging a new environment for the media, through a reformed agenda and the right to good information.

In the digital network environment, for example, conspiracy theories about the coronavirus have reached millions in the country, which impaired better judgement.

“Digital media is an open market without regulations and it will favor more bad actors than good,” said Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash.

Kristin Urquiza, co-founder of Marked by COVID, has been linking misinformation to the death of thousands in the U.S. from the virus, including her father. The rise of disinformation pushed by Trump made many innocent and uneducated citizens believe what he was saying was always true.

“Misinformation is killing Americans and hurting our democracy. It is not about left versus right, is about life versus death,” said Emily Bell, director of The Tow Center for Digital Media at Columbia University.

The heads of Google, Facebook, and Twitter will testify before Congress in March.

Continue Reading

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