You will forgive me if I remain skeptical of this whole story about Russian meddling in the U.S. presidential election by buying ads on Facebook.
I’m not skeptical about Russian meddling anymore than I doubt Israeli or Saudi meddling in our elections.
That is one of the prices we pay for Citizens United. Who knows where all that secret bundled campaign money comes from?
We don’t know who the domestic billionaires who fund campaigns are and we don’t know who the foreign ones are. Like capitalism in general, election meddling is a global affair.
I don’t have any doubts about U.S. meddling in other countries’ elections.
The U.S. has more than just meddled. I believe we have had a policy of regime change now and again.
But watching U.S. Senators like Diane Feinstein wagging her finger at the Big Five internet companies made me more than a little concerned.
My first concern on the one hand is that the internet has now turned into a thing run basically by five multi-billion dollar monopolies that function as a kind of Big Brother. They can all sit at a single table and be lectured to by the likes of Senator Al Franken.
Have you ever tried to talk to somebody at Facebook?
Unlike network television, the internet remains mainly unregulated by the government. To the degree that it remains open and accessible to all, it should remain unregulated.
Any government regulations should be aimed at breaking up monopoly power, not restricting access with the excuse that the Russians may have bought a Facebook ad with rubles or posted on Twitter as a phony organization.
Yesterday the radio station that hosts our Hitting Left with the Klonsky Brothers radio show celebrated its first birthday. Because it broadcasts as a licensed radio station, it falls under the rules of the FCC.
We can’t say dirty words.
As a non-profit community station we can’t plug or promote certain things.
We live with those rules in order to preserve the incredible value of this important Chicago community asset.
Unlike the radio show, on this blog I can say pretty much what I please, But behind it is always the shadow of the giant monopolies that have quickly gained control of the internet.
Can they shut me down? Of course they can.
But I remain skeptical and concerned that those in Washington will use this stuff about rubles and Russians to stifle what still remains of the wide-open web of our early days.