• Armin Rosen, “Journalists Mobilize Against Free Speech“:
Here’s a look at other outlets and media figures who have gone into hall monitor mode, revealing themselves to be skeptics of the very system of law and custom that enables their profession to exist in the first place.
• John Tierney, “The New Censors“:
They’ve cheered the social-media purge of conservatives and urged further censorship of “violent rhetoric” and “disinformation.” It’s a remarkably self-destructive move for a profession dependent on freedom of speech, but the journalists now dominating newsrooms aren’t thinking long-term—and can’t imagine being censored themselves. The traditional liberal devotion to the First Amendment seems hopelessly antiquated to young progressives convinced that they’re on the right side of history.
• Kevin D. Williamson, “The Disciplinary Corporation, Redux“:
I have a difficult time accepting the premise that there is a matter of urgent national security, much less one of high principle, at stake in the frenzied effort to get sad Trumpkin knuckleheads, Flat Earthers, and QAnon lunatics (but I repeat myself) dismissed from their jobs at burrito shops, or to turn away an incoming college freshman for having said the verboten word when she was 14 years old. And that is the underappreciated part of the story: Ban Donald Trump from Twitter, and he is not going to have any trouble communicating with the public beyond the fact that he cannot form a complete sentence unaided. Fire me from the Atlantic, and I’ll write about it in the Wall Street Journal. Josh Hawley has lost a publisher, but his insipid impressions will no doubt find their way into print, if he wants them to. More serious is the situation of ordinary citizens attempting to participate, in the way most convenient to them, in the conversation of American democracy — while having to remain vigilant in ensuring that their employers, from Google to Starbucks, aren’t looking over their shoulders. “Accountability,” our progressive friends call it. Revenge is the more accurate word, a kind of soft social terrorism.
The recruitment of corporations as the enforcers of political discipline is the avant-garde progressive project of the moment. Our friends on the left are too greedy, too stupid, and too short-sighted to understand that at some point in the future this very likely will be turned against them, and against vulnerable social minorities to whom they are sympathetic, as it is elsewhere in the world today and as it has been in the past here in the United States. There isn’t anything unconstitutional about Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s blacklist. There wasn’t anything unconstitutional about Senator McCarthy’s blacklist, either.
Perhaps it will occur to some of these worthies, someday, that that isn’t nearly good enough — that the practice of liberty in the world involves more than the question of that which is permissible under statute and that which is formally forbidden.
• Martin Gurri, “Slouching Toward Post-Journalism“:
Revolutions tend to radicalization. The same is true of social media mobs: they grow ever more extreme until they explode. But the New York Times is neither of these things—it’s a business, and post-journalism is now its business model. The demand for moral clarity, pressed by those who own the truth, must increasingly resemble a quest for radical conformism; but for nonideological reasons, the demand cannot afford to leave subscriber opinion too far behind. Radicalization must balance with the bottom line.
The final paradox of post-journalism is that the generation most likely to share the moralistic attitude of the newsroom rebels is the least likely to read a newspaper. Andrey Mir, who first defined the concept, sees post-journalism as a desperate gamble, doomed in the end by demographics. For newspapers and their multiple art forms developed over a 400-year history, Mir writes, the collision with the digital tsunami was never going to be a challenge to surmount but rather “an extinction-level event.”
• A short thread by Antonio García Martínez.
• And finally:
To me the immediate danger is millions living in a virtual reality created by media (with Fascism, Socialism, coups, insurrections, election frauds, pedophile conspiracies … all more or less imaginary!) with the result that the political system is largely disfunctional.
— Carlo Lancellotti (@_CLancellotti) January 14, 2021