What’s More Dangerous Than Fake News?

What’s more dangerous than Fake News? The short answer is “Inappropriately Censored Content.” Although I’ll be the first to agree that there’s a lot of content in the media that should be censored, the critical question we need to address is “Who decides what is “inappropriate” or “offensive?” The natural corollary is “On what is that decision based?”

I had planned on a different topic this week, but changed to this topic after reading a blog post by my good friend David Fowler, a former two-term Tennessee Senator who is President of Family Action Council of Tennessee [David’s Profile]. To a non-Tennessean, the post would appear to be about the current Governor’s race here, and it is, but the content is much bigger than Tennessee politics and something I believe everybody in this country needs to understand.

Because of the content and its importance to people like me who share David’s worldview, I was INFURIATED when I read this postscript: “P.S. — Because Facebook has disallowed our attempts to boost the commentaries we’ve posted (not politically correct enough!), in order to reach more people, if you like these thoughts, please consider sharing it on Facebook.“ [this link will take you to this specific post of David’s: The Post Referenced Here].

Who Decides?

My self-imposed length limitations don’t allow capacity here to expound on the actual content of David’s post, but in a nutshell, his basic theme was that the worldview of candidates is probably the best indicator of how effective they will be in the office they seek — and it’s not that difficult to figure out what the worldview of a candidate is. {If you’re a new reader of my posts and want to know more about what I mean by worldview, you can catch up on that at this page at this site: Why I’m Doing What I Do.}

In 1967, Ed Ames recorded a popular song entitled Who Will Answer? The original version in Spanish was written by Luis Eduardo Aute. Ames’ recording was an adapted version in English that contained new lyrics by songwriter Sheila Davis. The chorus raises a good question. …

If the soul is darkened by a fear it cannot name. If the mind is baffled when the rules don’t fit the game. Who will answer? Who will answer? Who will answer?

I use those lyrics here as a segue to pose this question regarding censorship decisions: Who decides? I realize that the views expressed by David Fowler may be “offensive” to someone who does not share his beliefs. But does that justify censoring his posts because he expresses concepts from a perspective rooted in those beliefs? No! I doubt seriously that FaceBook would censor posts by people with more liberal views on factors to be considered in making voting decisions. The company is dominated by liberal thinkers like its founder and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg.

What’s More Dangerous Than Fake News?

As I said earlier, the short answer to the question “What’s more dangerous than Fake News?” is Inappropriately Censored Content. I have written extensively about Fake News, so I won’t get into that here other than just referencing a few examples: News Or NNTN Circa 2017, Fake News Or Just Meaningless News?, Semi-Fake News, and Announcing My New App News4Me.

If content has been censored, somebody has made that decision, and that person has ostensibly made that decision based on one or more criteria for determining the appropriateness of the content. That is why Inappropriately Censored Content is much more dangerous than Fake News. In Fake News, the reader / listener / watcher has the content and can assess for him / herself whether it’s real or fake. If content has been censored, the reader / listener / watcher never even sees or hears it, so he / she has no opportunity to make that assessment. That, in a nutshell, is why Inappropriately Censored Content is the more dangerous of the two — it shifts the decision about “appropriateness” to somebody else.

Thanks for reading this post, and if you regularly follow my Blog, for that, too. Please consider sharing this or other posts with your friends, colleagues and associates.

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Charles M. Jones

Author: Charles M. Jones, PE, CPA

[retired — neither license active]

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