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Thread: Time to curtail Big Tech media

  1. #1
    Senior Member razz's Avatar
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    Time to curtail Big Tech media

    This excellent article https://nmc-mic.ca/2021/07/19/op-ed-...playing-field/ explains clearly why journalism and newspapers are struggling to survive and why. It is using the Canadian scenario but applies around the world.

    "Around the world, there is growing consensus that the dominant power of Big Tech must be reined in to prevent market failures.

    In late June, Congressman David Cicilline, who chairs the Antitrust Subcommittee in the U.S. House of Representatives said, “Today, we have sent a clear message. The United States will no longer let other countries lead the fight against unregulated monopoly power.”

    These market failures are having an impact on journalism, where the platforms divert about 80 per cent of advertising revenue from Canadian publishers. A U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation report found, “Although local journalism has faced numerous challenges adapting to the new media landscape, they are also confronting unfair practices by some of the largest technology companies in the world.”

    Around the same time, Denmark became the first country in Europe to have media outlets come together to form a collective bargaining organization to negotiate with Google and Facebook. This approach is modelled on the music industry, where musicians can negotiate collectively with streaming services, such as Spotify.

    Simply put, the Danish publishers are seeking fair value for the platforms use of content produced by their journalists. This approach seeks to end the ‘divide and conquer approach’ favoured by the platforms, whereby they negotiate with dominant players to set the standard for others to follow – something that does not benefit smaller publishers.

    This week, the French Competition Authority slapped Google with a 500 million euro fine for not complying with the regulator’s order on conducting talks in good faith with France’s news media publishers. This was the largest fine in the French competition watchdog’s history for a failure to comply with one of its orders.

    Australia passed a law in February, which was fiercely opposed by the U.S. tech giants. At one point, Facebook even blocked all news content to Australians on its platform, and Google threatened to remove its search engine from Australia – a warning shot to policymakers everywhere, including Canada...

    News isn’t entertainment. As New York Times columnist Charles M. Blow wrote recently, “Democracies cannot survive without a common set of facts and a vibrant press to ferret them out and present them. Our democracy is in terrible danger. The only way that lies can flourish as they now do is because the press has been diminished in both scale and stature. Lies advance when truth is in retreat.
    As Cicero said, “Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all the others.”

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    So the “sustainable news ecosystem” will take the shape of journalistic cartels negotiating with platforms to provide “a common set of facts”? I don’t see that as an improvement. Sounds a little chilling, in fact. Sort of like teachers saying they will “teach students how to think”.

    Democracies can survive without the likes of Charles Blow as gatekeepers of the truth.

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    Senior Member jp1's Avatar
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    Teaching students critical thinking skills is a bad idea?

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    Quote Originally Posted by jp1 View Post
    Teaching students critical thinking skills is a bad idea?
    The problem there is that the average public school teacher does not seem terribly well qualified in that area, and instead takes a more prescriptive approach based on the latest educational fad. Indoctrinating children is a bad idea. At best, they send students into the world spouting dogma and treating alternative viewpoints as frightening and dangerous.

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    Senior Member razz's Avatar
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    OK, Idahl, having slammed the one approach, how do YOU, meaning you Idahl, suggest that Big Tech's power to suck the life out of all journalism alternatives be reduced? Don't simply disparaging one idea without offering a better approach or even an elementary alternative.
    r
    At present, journalists are paid by news media and they go where the stories are. Big Tech uses these reports and takes the advertising revenue away from the suppliers of the reports. When did Google and Facebook hire journalists to report from the northeast fires, Asia, the mid-East, Africa and pay the expenses involved in maintaining news networks?

    BTW, let's not detour by slamming the journalists instead. Yes, there are good and bad just as in any other occupation.
    As Cicero said, “Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all the others.”

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    Senior Member catherine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LDAHL View Post
    So the “sustainable news ecosystem” ...
    I suspect you meant this phrase to be snarky because you followed it up with negative associations of attempts at fair play but I think "sustainable news ecosystem" is a great thing to aspire to. The whole world is an ecosystem, with balance and harmony among the elements to work for give and take. Growth in nature comes from harmony and when "competition" runs awry in nature, it doesn't bode well for the environment. And if you have an "invasive species," whether it's government, institution, or corporation that's too big, it tends to "crowd out" the other elements in the ecosystem and kill them off. That's why there are Anti-Trust laws.

    As far as applying the metaphor to digital monopolies, there's no doubt that we haven't learned how to best adapt to it. See The Social Dilemma--the founders of Facebook, Google and Twitter all feel that there have been a lot of negative unintended consequences of the inculturation of these technologies. They don't even let their own kids go on these platforms. I'm not sure what the answer is, but the more avenues there are for disseminating facts, and the more diverse their audiences, the better off we are.

    As for teaching critical thinking, we sorely need teachers who can teach children how to think--not what to think, but how to think. Values are imparted in the classroom--no getting around that. Do you think the values imparted at Choate are "better" than those imparted at your common public school?

    I used to belong to an organization I really felt was important: ACME, which taught media literacy. It's mission:The Action Coalition for Media Education is an independently funded critical media literacy education network that teaches effective approaches to engage, challenge, and create media in ways that empower individuals and communities.. I think it's a really important mission.

    Too much power and influence by any body needs to be checked.
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    I can hardly see a problem with people (collective) bargaining to be compensated better for their work. And if that keeps more journalist in business, good.

    OTOH free news will always have an advantage in the market over news you have to pay for right, regardless of quality. It's part of the problem, half of anything decent is behind a paywall (and no really almost noone is going to buy dozens of subscriptions just to get through all the paywalls, even less dozens of substack subscriptions lol, that is not practical). But no end of nonsense is free.

    I don't know if anyone really knows at this point how to deal with what social media and the internet has caused. Many see the problem. I don't know if I tend to really interact with social media in the typical sense, I don't even use most of it, but to read twitter and then to seek out stuff mostly (or to watch dumb debates from the peanut gallery, not one of the better uses of time ... )

    The problem with critical thinking is I'm not sure there is much of an agreement on the definition. This is not some sort of "there is no truth", argument. I just mean I don't think there is much agreement on what the term means, that you could ask 100 different people, and get 100 different answers.
    If you want something to get done, ask a busy person. If you want them to have a nervous breakdown that is.

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    Senior Member jp1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LDAHL View Post
    Democracies can survive without the likes of Charles Blow as gatekeepers of the truth.
    They are also more likely to survive without the likes of the Texas legislature being gatekeepers of the truth. Our democracy will best survive if teachers are allowed to present a variety of viewpoints as well as tools for students to be able to debate with others to determine for themselves which viewpoint is most credible. I suppose that is more difficult for teachers these days as schools seem to be focused on teaching facts to be regurgitated on tests. I’m not sure that’s the fault of teachers as much as it is the fault of school boards and legislators.

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    Senior Member razz's Avatar
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    My parents taught me critical thinking so how about putting the burden for that where it really belongs, the parents?

    School was teaching me, (10,000 years ago, I admit), math, science, history, geography, language and such asking me to explore these subjects with fresh new eyes, asking questions and supporting seeking answers.
    Since then I am told that teachers have become counsellors, social workers, food experts on dietary issues, and so many other roles for which few are fully prepared or funded.
    As Cicero said, “Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all the others.”

  10. #10
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    My parents taught me critical thinking so how about putting the burden for that where it really belongs, the parents?
    I think I picked up some advantages there too, but my mom was an engineer with math and engineering degrees and loved puzzles of such sorts. So even if it's true, it's really hard to see it generalizing.
    If you want something to get done, ask a busy person. If you want them to have a nervous breakdown that is.

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