Saturday, September 20, 2014

Major media outlets and indie bloggers face ethical, maybe legal questions in covering terror


The recent news stories about sensational violence overseas and threatening statements by enemies, as well as the coverage of rampages and lone wolf activities within the US by others with various other issues (often connected to weapons and the extreme right) does re-raise an important question.  Does all this media coverage give certain parties (including overseas enemies) the attention and recruiting propaganda they crave?  Does some of it inspire copycat activities?  There’s evidence that in some cases the administration has asked the largest news organizations to go easy (“giuoco piano”) on the most sensational stories. 

There’s a secondary question when an individual blogger covers it, possibly because he or she feels its necessary to cover it just to report completely.  The blogger gets influence and public attention through the way the technology works (search engines) in ways that were not possible before the public Internet, when people had to “compete socially” in more traditional in-person ways and engage others in order to be recognized.  In the past, people needed more “skin in the game”.  Enemies and adversaries could leverage this process.

And the promotion of recruiting propaganda on the Internet has risen to new levels, and raised new concerns about the effect of the Internet on national security, just as a few years ago the Arab Spring brought great hope.  It helps explain the attitude you see in places like China.
  
On the Don Lemon show on CNN Tuesday night, there was even the suggestion thrown out that maybe the public Internet, or at least the capacity for UGC (user generated content) should be suspended for a while, our of national security.  (Do people like me have to “get real”?)  Well, that idea was tossed out just to be trounced.  It’s better to allow chatter and listen in than to jam it, the experts said.  After all, during WWII we were lucky enough to have Alan Turning (and then we threw him away).  

I've talked about the issue of fiction,especially self-published without obvious compensation, and the possibility that it could be seen as "enticing" to some parties here before. 
  
To make the point:  In the chess position above (the "giuoco pianissimo") there are reasons why masters often play "5. d3" rather than "d4".  

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