Printable Version of Topic

Click here to view this topic in its original format

America's Debate _ Current Events and Headline News _ Social Media And Election Season 2018

Posted by: AuthorMusician Feb 18 2018, 10:45 AM

Mueller's investigation has shown us that Russia used social media in attempts to swing the 2016 election to Trump, maybe successfully. I have my doubts, since it was the Electoral College system that enabled Trump to win even though three million more voters went to HRC. Thats quite a bit, and the EC is pretty hard to predict due to its convoluted implementation that allows strange things to happen, such as rogue delegates voting against what the voters want.

Meanwhile, social media seems to be going hot guns despite it being used against the democratic process to undermine our nation, a cyber warfare tactic from the Russians. Who, BTW, have continued to be our cold-war enemies despite Reagan's supposed victory over communism, GWB's touching of Putin's devilish soul, and Trump's admiration of the same man.

Should a law be passed that tries to eliminate the political use of social media by organizations?

What would the benefits or drawbacks be for such a law?

And tongue-in-cheek, how will we ever survive without social media?

Posted by: Blackstone Feb 18 2018, 09:16 PM

It’s hard to give a more in-depth answer to these questions than to say that this idea would pretty clearly be unconstitutional, and that the solution to the underlying problem is as I’ve said before: an informed and vigilant electorate.

There’s this notion that we live in a unique era with social media and elections, but the reality is that voters ha e been allowing themselves to be deluded by lies and bad information for as long as there’ve been voters.

And there’s still the age-old problem when it comes to government trying to eliminate “political” contamination of this that or the other thing: who gets to decide what is and is not “political”? Because whoever it is is going to define it according to whatever raises his own hackles, politically speaking.

Posted by: AuthorMusician Feb 21 2018, 01:45 PM

QUOTE(Blackstone @ Feb 18 2018, 05:16 PM) *
It’s hard to give a more in-depth answer to these questions than to say that this idea would pretty clearly be unconstitutional, and that the solution to the underlying problem is as I’ve said before: an informed and vigilant electorate.

There’s this notion that we live in a unique era with social media and elections, but the reality is that voters ha e been allowing themselves to be deluded by lies and bad information for as long as there’ve been voters.

And there’s still the age-old problem when it comes to government trying to eliminate “political” contamination of this that or the other thing: who gets to decide what is and is not “political”? Because whoever it is is going to define it according to whatever raises his own hackles, politically speaking.

I don't think our federal Constitution applies to foreign organizations, so unless you can come up with something that guarantees freedom of speech to Russia, then the suppression of its propaganda is probably constitutional.

However, there's also the idea that freedom of speech is an individual citizen's right, not a corporation's right. The SCOTUS has ruled that corporations are people too and that money equates to speech. That makes legislating of restrictions on corporations harder, but in the same sense, it demands absolute transparency on who is doing the talking.

We have seen some of the tricks that Russian and other oligarchs use to launder their stolen money. More transparency in the art of the deal looks to be a good road to travel.

Meanwhile, the philosophical question of what is and is not political speech doesn't have to be addressed. We simply disallow foreign influences on our elections.

To spur this along, make it very tough on outfits like Twitter and Facebook if they allow unknown entities' money to buy the media, and a lot tougher if they know the money is coming from a foreign entity.

Alternatively, allow Russia and others to have a voice, just not during election season. That gives the foreign propagandists every other year to attempt to bury us. Seems fair to me.

I also agree that we all should believe not more than half of what we read and nothing of what we hear. Still, it strikes me as very foolish to treat Russia as if it were a citizen of the USA. It's about as foolish to treat corporations this way too, but that is another issue, although closely related. As with terrorism, we have domestic propagandists too, known commonly as marketing departments, PR departments, and of course our ever-loving corporate lobbyists.

Meanwhile, we have lots of outlets for serious political commentary. We in fact had this before Twitter and Facebook. A close rival to these two was bumper stickers along with chain mailings and fliers stuck under windshield wiper blades. You don't see much of that any longer, since digital blips are a lot faster and cheaper.

But with smart phones came new and rather far-reaching media that have little oversight. This also means that people in general don't have a natural aversion to trusting what they get fed in these media.

So there's a pretty big problem we have that needs to be addressed. If our federal Constitution doesn't allow this problem to be addressed, then we deserve to lose our democratic republic to the oligarchs.

Oh well, it was fun while it lasted?

Posted by: Gray Seal Feb 21 2018, 06:15 PM

Letters. Notes. Emails. Publications. Books. Magazines. Social Media. These are all forms of written communication.

Free speech is the right to state your opinions. Speech is not just verbal, it is also written communications.

It is not a good idea to limit free speech. Regulating social media would be a limitation upon free speech.

As far as meddling in elections, political campaign is constant meddling. Many groups and people wish to get people to vote to support their cause. This is done via mailings, radio ads, television ads, written media, and social media. Written meddling? Sounds like free speech to me.

Blackstone nailed it when he suggested there is no need to support big government by squashing free speech but there is a responsibility of the electorate to be informed and vigilant.

Posted by: Blackstone Feb 23 2018, 05:05 AM

QUOTE(AuthorMusician @ Feb 21 2018, 09:45 AM) *
I don't think our federal Constitution applies to foreign organizations

Your debate question read, “Should a law be passed that tries to eliminate the political use of social media by organizations?”. Did you mean to include the word “foreign” in there?

QUOTE
However, there's also the idea that freedom of speech is an individual citizen's right, not a corporation's right.

Hmm, so I can gather from that comment that you were more or less OK with http://money.cnn.com/2017/10/11/media/trump-nbc-licenses-tweet/index.html?

QUOTE
If our federal Constitution doesn't allow this problem to be addressed, then we deserve to lose our democratic republic to the oligarchs.

Short of the oligarchs hacking into our vote counting system (an admittedly legitimate concern albeit a fairly remote possibility), the only way we could lose our republic to them is if we actually vote for them. This notion that voters will robotically vote the way they’re “told” (that is, according to who spends the most money) just doesn’t hold up to scrutiny. Seeing a campaign ad doesn’t mean you’re going to now go out and vote accordingly. This was starkly demonstrated when Eric Cantor was successfully primaried by someone he outspent 55 to 1.

Powered by Invision Power Board (http://www.invisionboard.com)
© Invision Power Services (http://www.invisionpower.com)