Sunday, September 10, 2017

Washington Post calls for citizen op-ed contributions, but who will tackle the really big issues?

The Washington Post is calling for op-ed submissions from the general public, target length of 750 words, must be exclusive and not have been posted before on personal blogs.  Here is the link.  

That would imply that the author needs to care enough about the topic or people involved to take the time to polish something that might not get published – the old fashioned idea of trade publishing.
I wondered, though, about some of my recent Wordpress posts.  For example, on my recent discussion of the nuances of EMP threats (E1 to E3) on Wordpress,  I think the best way to get the mainstream (not just “conservative”) media to take the EMP and space weather issues seriously is for a recognized expert in power grid engineering and also in solid state electronics to write the op-ed.  I’ve already contacted Resilient Societies and suggested they find a mainstream, politically moderate engineering professional to write the op-ed as factually as possible.

One subject that I might be in the right place to submit a big newspaper op-ed is the whole problem of downstream liability for Internet service providers, the whole Section 230 mechanism, which is getting threatened (now by Backpage).  I could link this to the idea that the prevalence of well-written user-generated content can help break up the hold of the political extremes in their demands to capture people into their “identity politics”.

A lot of other things I have written about on these blogs, like “implicit content”, might seem too speculative a paper like the Post to run yet. 

I don’t feel a lot of emotion personally about the trans military ban issue the wat I did 20 years ago about “don’t ask don’t tell” which was much closer to my own experience track.

I do agree that a lot of people who feel affected by a narrower problem could well take advantage of the Post “offer” and communicate their situations.  It might take guts, but issues like DACA and asylum seeking could be addressed by the immigrants themselves, or perhaps their attorneys (like Jason Dzubow, who writes “The Asylumist” blog).  That could include people who have hosted asylum seekers (which I considered but did not wind up doing).

Another example could be someone who does feel affected by the Confederate statues issue.  I don’t feel that way, but I respect that someone else will and could well speak up in that forum. 

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