Monday, October 08, 2018

"Mythcon V" in Milwaukee: "Are Social Media Outlets Replacing Mainstream Media?", panel discussion "film"

On Sunday, September 23, 2018 I was having a nice sandwich lunch near Lake Tahoe, back on the California side (no slot machines)”, around 2 PM PDT, when suddenly my iPhone was filled with Twitter messages from Tim Pool (and others) over how Mythcon V had been delayed at the Pabst Theater in Milwaukee, WI (maybe 1800 miles away from me at the moment) because of bomb threats.  (Now, the Milwaukee Brewers are in the baseball playoffs, yes.) 

Then there was a volley tweets to the effect that the extremely confrontational and combative far Left knows it is dying and is getting desperate. I didn’t learn that the panel had gone on for a couple more days, before I flew home.

I guess it’s gotten worse this past week during the Kavanaugh hearings. 
But here is the one hour “film” of “Mythcon V”, the panel discussion “Are Social Media Outlets Replacing Mainstream Media?”. David Smalley moderated. The panelists were Steven Knight (“Godless Spellchecker”), Claire Knight (from Australia, “Quillette”), Jeremy Hambley (YouTube channel, “The Quartering”), and Tim Pool, formerly with Vice News and Fusion, now running his own Timcast channel on YouTube.   The session took place around 10:30 AM CDT on Saturday, September 22.

The biggest theme recurring through the one hour is the way the organized Left is prodding mainstream companies to hit back, by deplatforming at least the most objectionable content providers – namely (for now) Alex Jones.  (Frankly, I think Jones only made David Hogg more powerful by calling him a space alien.)  Some attention was paid to the power of credit card companies to shut down platforms.

So there seems to be a real power struggle, at least in my view. Pool pointed out that local news legacy media can no longer afford to hire court reporters to investigate corruption, and the competition with new media does not always work in the public interest.  The panel did mention the channeling by social media of sometimes false content into echo chambers, as a major problem, but did not give that aspect the attention I would have expected.  Claire and Pool noted that major newspapers no longer make their profits entirely from news operations, but use real estate to bolster the bottom line of their often holding companies to satisfy fiduciary responsibilities.

But new media does need to support itself (and this could get into campaign finance and issue advocacy law, as I have been discussing recently in other blog posts) and there is some shift from ads (and “clickbait”) to paywalls and simply using crowd funding. 

Quillette made somewhat on an impression on me, with respect particularly to science reporting and expanding on the bureaucratic limitations of legacy media – not only on climate change (suddenly a big story in major media today on a dire new IPCC and Global Carbon Project report) but possibly less reported issues like power grid security.  I may share my own work on this with Quillette soon, based on the potential interest Claire showed in the panel.

The panel also discussed the proposedInternet Bill of Rights”, as Kara Swisher recently outlined in the New York Times here.   But on an international level it breaks down.  It’s more than just the US First Amendment (Pool said that the First Amendment incorporate five different rights – they’re not all exactly the same thing). Everyone was aghast at Google’s capitulation to get business in China. 
There was a fleeting reference to the recent controversy in Europe over the Digital Common Market and Copyright Directive (Articles 11 and 13) without specific mention by name.  These could have more effect even on US new media than they realize now.  There was also a reference (without name) to the proposed new decentralized Internet architecture (“SOLID”) proposed by Tim Berners-Lee and being developed at M.I.T. in Cambridge, MA.   

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