Wednesday, August 09, 2023

Following up: Trudeau's funny posts, some pro-choice wins, and Online News act support

Here is Trudeau's follow-up to the Barbie post that drove Canada's right wing crazy (and Piers Morgan)
Ha ha!
Moving on, I think American Republicans are now realizing that their anti-abortion rigidity is going to be voted down by the American people every time they can get the chance to vote. Tonight, it was Ohio, and even districts which voted solidly against Biden in 2020 refused to support a Republican manoeuvre against abortion.
In Canada, the CPC is also realizing that Canadians won't put up with attempts to sneak pro-life into our criminal code.
Moving on another follow-up: Canada's new Online News bill is now starting to get some appreciation from both journalists and the general public, as the social media companies start trying to bully Canada into dropping it: Hamilton Nolan writes a great piece about the threats from Google and Facebook - Do It, Fuckers!
...For years, people who have watched the tech platforms slowly killing the media industry have begged governments to intervene. Now, Canada is. They recently passed the Online News Act, which says that digital platforms like Google and Facebook must pay a small fee to news organizations when they share their links, and allows news outlets to collectively bargain with tech platforms. 
 ...The irony, or the sickness, of this situation is that while the tech companies are vastly more financially valuable than the entire news industry, the news industry is vastly more socially valuable than these companies. ...the loss of most of the news media—something that we are very much headed towards—will produce awful consequences for our society: More misinformation, more corruption, a dumber and less informed populace, more conspiracy theories, more extremism, and a much greater ability of powerful people and institutions to enact their selfish will unchallenged. Existentially bad things. American democracy does not function in the absence of a healthy free press. Our system is built to rely on the press to keep every other part honest. If that goes away in order to make tech companies richer, I guarantee you that future generations are going to regret it. 
 So the proper response when these companies threaten to shut off news if we ask them to pay for it is: Go ahead, fuckers. Do it! Will this suck? Yes, at least in the short term. People will find that their go-to one-stop news sources don’t work any more. Publishers and journalists like me will find that it is much harder to share our work widely with the click of a button. This will cause dislocation in the near term. Some places will go out of business. Some writers will lose their jobs. Some people will just give up on reading news. I freely admit that this part will suck! 
But! But! Remember that we are already on a path to the near-complete collapse of the news industry. Just more slowly. Without any changes in the current economic model, without any government regulations to create some sort of new revenue stream for news outlets, without any action that smashes the current system that allows middlemen to take the majority of the income that once went to the actual producers, the future of American journalism is a small number of national prestige outlets like the NYT and the total death of local news (which by definition can never have the scale to be financially successful in the current online ad market). Nobody alive today has seen what the absence of a functional news industry at the local and state level over a long period of time looks like. It will fuck a lot of things up, I promise you. The only winners will be rich people and crooks. We don’t want to go down that road. 
I think Poilievre and the CPC will regret their performance hysterics against this bill -- in Australia it worked, and it will work here, too:


Cap said...

"The only winners will be rich people and crooks. We don’t want to go down that road." Uh, hello? We've been on that road for years. How else would you characterize the likes of Rupert Murdoch and Conrad Black?

The media barons have bought up and closed down hundreds of community newspapers across the continent resulting in precarious employment for reporters, a decline in the diversity of viewpoints, and local governments becoming almost wholly unaccountable to voters. Which is great if you're a rich crook.

National governments need to break up the tech and media monopolies that are causing the problem instead of trying to shift profits from one group of billionaires to another. Time to stop pruning the rotten tree and pull it out by the roots.

Cathie from Canada said...

Thanks for the thoughtful comment, Cap. I always appreciate what you say.