September 23, 2012

"We are just awakening to the need for some scrutiny or oversight or public attention to the decisions of the most powerful private speech controllers..."

... lawprof Tim Wu told the NYT, which has an article that seems to be searching for a way to legitimate making private companies like Google suppress free speech.
Mr. Wu offered some unsolicited advice: Why not set up an oversight board of regional experts or serious YouTube users from around the world to make the especially tough decisions?
Oh, yeah, an oversight board of regional experts.... Isn't that what you want? Panels of regional experts bearing down on the free speech we have through private internet services like YouTube?

ADDED: Here's that conversation I had with Bob Wright last year about the applicability of free speech values to the work of private corporations.

98 comments:

Big Mike said...

Or, better yet, how about we simply allow free speech? No boards, no censors, no Smothers Brothers getting kicked off the air.

chickelit said...

Panels of regional experts bearing down on the free speech we have through private internet services like YouTube?

Why not instead have elected leaders from the top on down just speak the truth and set us free?

Tyrone Slothrop said...

Hey, I live in a region, and I've been speaking for a long time! I'm a regional speech expert. What does it pay?

Synova said...

It's amazing.

And the people who think they're all about personal freedom are so reluctant to make it sound like they aren't all in for Obama that they won't say a word.

mesquito said...

Sooner or later the tyranny which has ruled academia for decades would try to impose itself on the wider world.

If it hurts the feelings of one of our mascot-groups, you may not say it.

edutcher said...

Hey, why doesn't it surprise me that the Gray Lady would want Gargoyle to do here what it helped the Red Chinese to do there?

Michael K said...

Does professor Wu have any association with the PRC ? Or does it just sound that way ?

Spiros Pappas said...

I think censorship is the most powerful way to get your ideas out there and discussed. If a govt body, or a private body acting in that capacity, decides to pull the plug on you, then all the better for you.... I mean, how can a censorship panel stop anyone on the internet - it just seems impossible.... This whole discussion is stuck in the past, a world of slow moving paper and film.. The internet is too fast for these fascists.

kentuckyliz said...

YouTube is a border free service. It was created in the US of A doggamit. We have free speech. Ergo YouTube has free speech. If a country don't like it, they can just block YouTube from all the NAPs in their country. But then they won't have access to it to spread their propaganda and AQ calls to action and terrorist instructional videos. They'll have to make their own service and vet it themselves. MoozTube.

kentuckyliz said...

Among Orthodox Jews it could be JoozTube.

Mr. Colby said...

Free speech death panels! Great idea!

CWJ said...

Yep, smart people never seem to tire of the idea that any problem can be solved by a committee of smart people. Funny how that works.

paul a'barge said...

Wu? Wu who? Woo hoo!

Who is Wu and why is he in America sticking his stinky fingers in the pink of our freedoms?

mesquito said...

Another day of Political Class idiocy; another day missing Hitchens.

cubanbob said...

It would appear that Mr. Wu received his legal education in China. He might be an expert on Chinese law but on American law, not so much. Ever notice that when you scratch a liberal you find a fascist?

Seven Machos said...

Academics are hilarious. The successful ones are typically adept at the goofy but vicious politics of the faculty lounge. They begin to think of themselves as pretty good at this game, politics, and they have a try at it in the hard, real world.

And this treacly pool of shit is the result.

Now shuffle back to backstabbing the associate professors, Wu. It's much more your speed.

David said...

Companies accountable only to shareholders?

How about customers, employes, communities, laws and governments?

Ignorant premise gives ignorant results.

Maguro said...

Sounds like a job for the UN Committee on Information. What could more in keeping with the times than a vibrant, multicultural group of wise men deciding who gets to say what?

Mary Beth said...

A return of the Hays Code, but for videos?

EMD said...

WuTube.

EMD said...

serious YouTube users

Quite an oxymoron.

Michael said...

This is scary stuff. Soon coming

Sorun said...

"...oversight board of regional experts"

Experts in what?

mesquito said...

An amendment to the first amendment: You may say what you like unless it gives Pwesident Mompants a foweign-powicy tummy-ache.

Seven Machos said...

What's keeping Wu from being a powerful private speech controller himself? Wutube is not a bad idea. Bet the domain is available...

Synova said...

Huh.

For what it's worth... the problem with Wright's "free speech calling for killing black people" hypothetical is what you said, but the answer to "it would be crazy world and I'd have to imagine crazy world and then imagine what I'd think" (not a perfect quote) is...

In that crazy world, just like a Europe where it's illegal to deny the Holocaust, it really is better to let the hate be aired in public so that it can be opposed and defeated in public... not silenced, but defeated by more speech and better ideas. Driving bad ideas underground doesn't defeat them, it validates them.

enderud said...

No doubt the toad Bob Wright
who applauded the press cowards
who refused to publish the Mohammed Cartoons
will be on the oversight board.

John Cunningham said...

Hey, here's an idea for Professor Wu: how about you go back to Communist China and go fuck yourself? this is the land of the first amendment, you Commie scum, we don't need your kind here.

Fen said...

Why not set up an oversight board of regional experts or serious YouTube users from around the world to make the especially tough decisions?

I've seen this done on computer game forums. The "experts" devolve into Soviet-style censorship within just a few months. Saw some poor guy get "banned for life" because he mentioned Mary Jo while they were all lionizing Ted Kennedy after his death.

Fen said...

If you want a taste of it, put Shiloh and Andy in charge of moderation at Althouse.

David said...

Wu dislikes the notion off powerful institutions using the power of protected and dominant status to advance their interests and control dialog.

Tenure of professors at schools like Columnia, where he is on the faculty, is excepted from this critique.

David said...

Columbia.

Chip S. said...

Tim Wu, a Columbia University law professor who briefly advised the Obama administration on consumer protection regulations online.

Here's a conjecture about the beliefs of Tim Wu: There are certain people who respond impulsively to external stimuli. The stimuli they respond to may arise from advertising or from YouTube, or the Althouse blog. They react to those stimuli in ways that disturb the comfort of others of us who would otherwise remain serene in our superior mindset.

Since it is bad to disturb the serenity of superior minds, it must be good to restrain the inferior who abut us. Since explicit restraint is bad, it is necessary to filter the stimuli these inferior beings are exposed to.

Or something like that.

Chip S. said...

Sorun said...
Experts in what?

Experts in everything. IOW, law professors.

YoungHegelian said...

"free speech calling for killing black people"

It's interesting that Robert Wright chose that example, which aside from a very tiny minority, no one in this country has seriously ever held (even the KKK didn't preach wholesale extermination, just permanent separation or subservience to white power).

However, when one talks about the extermination of the bourgeoisie as a class, whole regimes & many academic careers in the first world were built upon that idea. But yet, it never springs to the liberal mind....

Sigh. I miss the days of my youth when American lefties actually believed in free speech.

Lem said...

Driving bad ideas underground doesn't defeat them, it validates them.

I would go so far as to say that it has been greatly do to bad ideas and the rejection of their consequences that the good ideas like the bill of rights have been made possible.

I believe Churchil said... We believe America will do the right thing after they try everything else..

We (the history of the world) have tried everything else!

To pretend that we have reached some pinnacle of civilisation and that we no longer need to protect ourselves would be to turn back the clock.. in the words of VP Biden "put us all back in chains".

Synova said...

Some of us existed on Usenet for years where the question of moderated or unmoderated was a huge issue. Unmoderated is hard, but moderated is usually a death knell, at least dependent on the nature of the dictator in any case. No one wants to talk about things that everyone agrees upon because what is the point? So the forum dies.

You Tube has rules and they take stuff down all the time. It's not as though there isn't a "line", it's that the line is never quite where anyone thinks it ought to be. Althouse gets attacked for allowing a whole lot of offensive speech, because something always offends someone.

If someone isn't grasping their pearls there's nothing to grasp them over, which means there's *nothing*.

Chuck said...

I thought that the pervasive and institutionalized suppression of free speech -- supposedly for the protection of Arabic masses from themselves -- was one of the biggest sins of those autocracies (Saddam's Iraq, Ben Ali's Tunisia, Mubarak's Egypt, Ghaddafi's Libya, Assad's Syria, etc.).

So we want international communications to be more like the Baathists?

EMD said...

YouTube is in the free speech business, frankly.

Lem said...

In the context of free speech Hitchens summarized the great works on the subject by saying…
"It is not just the right of the speaker to be heard, it is the right of everyone in the audience to listen and to hear and every time you silence somebody, you make yourself a prisoner of your own action because you deny yourself the right to hear something. In other words, your own right to hear and be exposed is as much involved in all these cases as the right of the other to voice his or her view."

EMD said...

To a degree ...

Seven Machos said...

I remember in college, in some philosophy class, I had to read some essay by a couple goofball fascist philosopher professors setting the forth the absurd notion that people should have to pass a complex test on finance before being allowed to buy and sell stocks and other financial instruments.

Mind you: this is before Ameritrade, before the Motley Fool, etc. So nobody took such goofy fascism seriously.

It's an important reminder, though, that goofy fascists with their goofy, fascist ideas will always be with us, typically in academia.

Shouting Thomas said...

Man, I gotta check this place out! Far out!

Dangerous Speech Project at the World Policy Institute.

Original Mike said...

We put Eric Alterman in charge of policing speech on the net years ago. Is he not doing a good job?

AJ Lynch said...

Do we really need another panel of unelected experts? Can't we get the Obamacare panel to do double duty?

Lem said...

I forget where I heard this but somebody was saying that eyewitness testimony can often times be unreliable... there are many contributing factors causing this to be so that frankly for the purposes of this comment and not boring you I'm not going into right now... there's also the fact that I'm no expert either...

Anyway.. as I was saying before I interrupted myself.. the factor that contributes to unreliable eyewitness testimony above all others is our inability to have command complete situational awareness... its a limitation we have.. nothing to be ashamed of.

Simply put... our "vision" is not as good as we think it is.

And, to finally come to my point, our hearing as a conduit to recognition, cognition is much worst.

Simply put... our hearing is not as good as we think it is... we may need to hear something several times before we "get it"... specially if that something is abstract.

Now, in this world of blind deaf people leading blind deaf people in comes sensorship.

AJ Lynch said...

Btw- I heard the Websters folks just changed the definition of beclown to "what credentialed elitists do best".

wef said...

More evidence.

The political class is going insane.

There will come a time when it must be put down.

Trundle.

Guillotine.

Lem said...

And even if we could have complete situational awareness.. lets say we accidentally wished it, as one of the three wishes our secret taping Aladdin caught us wishing for... We probably would change our minds and ask for an Obama waiver.

JAL said...

Why is it the intelligentsia who are so anti-free speech?

If you had told me 30 years ago that there would be people in positions of responsibility advocating limiting the First Amendment I would have told you you were crazy.

I mean -- it was all about making sure anyone could burn flags freely and march through Skokie with a pillowcase on their heads back then.

It has to be all the pot those people were smoking -- it's finally showed up in dead First Amendment brain cells.

Steven said...

So, I see this bit of "news analysis" didn't mention that the New York Times is a corporation beholden only to its stockholders (down to two classes of stock just like Google), that the New York Times traffics in speech, that the New York Times and Google are competitors in advertising and news provision, or that newspapers have similarly sparked violence (like in the case of the Mohammed cartoons).

Lem said...

Why is it the intelligentsia who are so anti-free speech?

The freedom the internet portents threatens them.. it trivialises them.

The early church didn't want people reading the bible.

Cedarford said...

Hitchens - "every time you silence somebody, you make yourself a prisoner of your own action because you deny yourself the right to hear something. In other words, your own right to hear and be exposed is as much involved in all these cases as the right of the other to voice his or her view."

Hitchens missed the whole point of the russian and jewish Bolsheviks, then the Brownshirts, wartime censors serving the nation, then the New Left, then the PC speech code crowd was that you were NOT prisoner, deprived of learning what the speaker had to say. You already had a pretty good idea of what they were going to say....The point was to shut it down so OTHERS would not be hearing what the the speaker or writer said.

Sometimes it was for ill on society, but on other occasions, shutting down communication on military ops, classified info, or stopping someone from inciting a riot before casualties and destruction happened was a good thing.

Lem said...

but on other occasions, shutting down communication on military ops, classified info, or stopping someone from inciting a riot before casualties and destruction happened was a good thing.

The burden to prove the value of censorship should be on the sensors in perpetuity.

Cedarford said...

One problem is that more and more, the avenues of speech are though a smaller and smaller number of communications channel owners.

Either owned by the State, or set up purely to serve the quest for power and profit by the private owners...

The question is how we maintain the People's best interest in this.
That means some government oversight - is not per se sinister - but for the most part in the public interest.

We see the problem with a private company with lots of airwaves and channels steering political information. To only that which serves GE/NBC's interests.

We see some positive solutions in things like the public airwaves regulated to limit obscenity. To require employees in prominant media roles to disclose any financial interest in firms they praise or disclose that they have an interest firm that benefits from them using a media organ for trashing a competitor

Lem said...

This cockamamie "speech expert panel" idea makes that court packing plan the professor blew out of the water a few months back look like an Athenian find.

Seven Machos said...

more and more, the avenues of speech are though a smaller and smaller number of communications channel owners

What's stopping you, dude, from opening your very own communications channel? Besides the dastardly Jews, I mean. And the blacks.

Lem said...

In all those examples you cite there is a burden I would call "the greater good" where a majority of a limited interest has to decide within a limited scope what that "greater good" is.

Asking a panel to sensor the Internet?

Why not just take a whiteout to the first amendment?

Seven Machos said...

Cedarford doesn't understand that the internet is not and cannot be owned by the government the way the limited spectra of radio and broadcast television airwaves were deemed to be. Therefore, since the government has no ownership interest and because the First Amendment trumps Cedarford's tender anti-Semitic sensibilities, it is virtually impossible for the government to do anything about what internet communication owners do with their property.

Cedarford doesn't understand this because Cedarford is a lousy thinker.

Erika said...

I never, ever would have believed even 2-3 years ago that we remaining non-insane Americans would be forced into having to evangelize about and defend the very concept of freedom of speech. Or that it would be so-called liberals who would be leading the attack on it.

Lem said...

Is anything safe under the Obama regime?... remember when the Fluke cacophony was going on the left asked how was it possible that we were discussing contraceptives in the year 2012?

Well.. he we are in the year 2012 discussing how best to limit free efing speech!

I mean... while he got women voters worried about the phantom threat to "reproductive rights" from the right... Obama is going through with his promise of transforming the Unites States.

Lem said...

I would have thought that by now there would be an avalanche of Innocence of Muslims coming from every nook and crevice, hi and lo, paid and pirated, driving home the point that we are not going to let anybody threaten, much less inhibit our freedom of expression.

Nook and cranny... why did I say crevice?

Lem said...

No sit-ins, no bed-ins, no kiss-ins for the first amendment?

Whats going on out there?

I hate to sound like an alarmist but..

When Orson Wells did his War of the Worlds radio play that led to some unfortunate events directly attributed to the play people mistook as real news bulletings... we didnt baned radio plays we didnt put Orson Wells in jail and we sure as hell didnt... did we?

Well, well, well what do we have here?

Later studies suggested the panic was less widespread than newspapers had indicated at the time. During this period, many newspaper publishers were concerned that radio, a new medium, would render them obsolete. In that time of yellow journalism, print journalists took the opportunity to suggest, that radio was dangerous by embellishing the story of the panic that ensued.[14]

Hasn't this story been fueled by television from day one? the burning, the chanting..

It just so happens television news has been hemorrhaging viewership to the web... I think they, along with the print press would be very pleased to see the web curtailed as long as it doesn't affect them.

Seven Machos said...

Lem's point is important. It's vital to recall that this awful movie didn't have dick to do with these well-planned radical Islamist mobs on...wait for it...September 11.

Lem said...

I know.. which is really frustrating because despite the loss of viewership and readership the MSM still drives what passes for information in this country.

I mean the web has mostly sped up the delivery but its pretty much the same colluding bunch.

Ironically, if anything the smaller the audience the more power they have ... I mean if there are less people paying attention there are less critics... less critics more power.

Lem said...

Thats really it isn't it?

The less criticism... the better the chance people will love each other and live in peace and harmony like a 70's Coca Cola commercial.

omg.. there is vigina at the end of the comercial... I'm not kidding.

Thank you Naomy Wolf.

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pm317 said...

That is probably the most ridiculous idea I have heard. Tim Wu is obviously a liberal fellow.

kentuckyliz said...

The Administration also fears the impact of memes...search YouTube using the keyword bugout.

What are people expecting?

Dante said...

Why is it that Bob Wright and Glenn Loury feel it is OK to constantly interrupt women who disagree with them? It has to be hard to get a word in edgewise.

Meanwhile, Wright seems intent on not seriously considering your point, but trying to brush it off with distractions.

In any event, there was a blogging heads diavlog, in which one of the academics suggested it might be beneficial for academic writing to have two meanings, one for the proles, and the other for the intellectual elitists.

Unfortunately, the US has become too polarized. Looking through this blog, for instance, it is hard to have a reasoned discussion with some. They are impervious to reason and thinking. Oh, and they invariably are the leftists (actually, Andy is reachable, but not others).

AprilApple said...

an oversight board of regional experts

Wow the left are gross. No matter where you are in time or space - the left want to rule your life, your thoughts, your speech. Nothing new.
The collective left insist it's compassion. They insist their guardianship over free speech is for your own good.
This is not compassion. It's Tyranny.

AprilApple said...

If Nokoula didn't exist, the Obama administration would have to invent him.

The scandal the pro-Obama hack press refuse to cover.

DADvocate said...

I volunteer to be on the board that controls what's written in the NYT by law professors.

On a more serious note, I know Midwestern English, Southern English, Southern Appalachian English, and Middle Appalachian English. I'm at least as qualified as Tyrone.

Stephen said...

How many kitten videos do i have to,post before I can be considered a You Tube Expert?

Marshal said...

AprilApple said...
an oversight board of regional experts

Wow the left are gross. No matter where you are in time or space - the left want to rule your life, your thoughts, your speech. Nothing new.


It does seem the left is constantly seeking new people to elevate over the rest of us. Kneelers, to borrow a name from fiction. They're not satisfied unless they're kneeling in obedience to someone.

paul a'barge said...

Want to see a photo of Mr Fascist Tim Wu?

Click here

Behold the face of evil.

Good grief. This guy looks like a Wu Tang gangster. And he can't even grow a beard. And he's a law professor in America?

Wait. Did I say Wu Tang? Hey! Tim Wu :: Wu Tang. I made a funny! Get it?

What an asshole.

paul a'barge said...

Hey, talk about befouling Youtube with Teh Nasty, Click to view a lot of Tim Wu blowing smoke out of his tiny Oriental ass:

Tim Wu on Youtube

I say again ... what an asshole.

Shanna said...

serious YouTube users

????

I've seen the comments on you tube. Yes, those are the people who should be making free speech decisions!!

Matthew Sablan said...

Serious YouTube users are probably a lot like serious Wikipedia users.

Laurence Kahn, D.C. said...

Mr. Wu's article is the most offensive, vile, disgusting and inhumane article I have ever read on the internet. I mean that sincerely, as a free-born American and as a believer in the principles undergirding the Enlightenment and Western culture.

Common decency demands that Wu be the subject of a torrent of the most hostile invective imaginable, and such verbal ridicule would be wholly and perfectly appropriate in any forum, including this one, especially this one, were it not for the request of the host.

If there is any type of speech that should be banned, Mr. Wu has uttered it.

EMD said...

One problem is that more and more, the avenues of speech are though a smaller and smaller number of communications channel owners.

It's actually going the other way.

EMD said...

Jimmy Choo bag with skills

No, it's Tim Wu, not Jim Choo.

Some commenters are so dumb.

AprilApple said...

Just wait until ObamaCare's Panels of Regional Experts are in charge of your healthcare.
+ taxation = compassion.

Pookie Number 2 said...

Serious YouTube users are probably a lot like serious Wikipedia users.

I bet Andy SuperDouche is a serious YouTube user.

TMink said...

If the Muslims can't handle free speech, I suggest they use Sharia to outlaw Youtube.

Trey

Nathan Alexander said...

Sigh. I miss the days of my youth when American lefties actually believed in free speech.

American lefties never believed in universal free speech.

Then, as now, they wanted free speech only for themselves.

The difference is now they are in power, and want to retain power they feel slipping away.

Nathan Alexander said...

Where are shiloh, garage, and ritmo to tell us how this topic is just going to make Romney lose worse in the upcoming election?

And where is ARM to tell us this isn't really about free speech?

...although now that ARM has been called out by Ms. Althouse, we should be on the look out for a new sockpuppet handle for the anonymous Media Matters operative.

Peter said...

So, what will these geniuses come up with next- that we not only need to "manage" free speech, but we need to "manage" democracy as well?

Because, there's responsible speech and the other kind (which should be suppressed). And sometimes the People make the wrong choices, and need some, umm, guidance.

"Managed" sounds a bit harsh. So, shall be call it a "guided" democracy?

paul a'barge said...

Oh look. Tim Wu Tang Wu has a Wiki page.

Born in Canada. Father is Chinese. Mother is British. Not fit to be in America but someone f'ed up and let his sorry oriental ass in.

I repeat. What an asshole.

paul a'barge said...

Tim Wu Tang Wu contributed to the Howard Dean and John Edwards political campaigns.

He's the big dog of so-called Net Neutrality. Remember that?

Tim Wu Tang Wu. Need I repeat myself.

KLDAVIS said...

"The Net interprets censorship as damage and routes around it." - John Gilmore

Aridog said...

AprilApple said...

The collective left insist it's compassion. They insist their guardianship over free speech is for your own good.
This is not compassion. It's Tyranny.


Of course it is...the good Professor Tim Wu is the mac-daddy of "net neutrality"...remember?

Regulate the Internet to keep it free proposals, naturally morph in to regulating how free is free...or what is is.

elkh1 said...

"an oversight board of regional experts" would have decided the filmmaker should be drawn and quartered for causing such an embarrassment to the president of the United States, our dearest Dear Leader of all times.

Ambrose said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ambrose said...

Future e mail chain:

"Charlie - We are trying to schedule a meeting of the regional oversight board. Can you make it next Tuesday?

"Ed - Sorry, that's the first Tuesday of the month. I am booked at the Death Panel meeting all day. How about Wednesday?"

Methadras said...

Leftards are butt hurt and they are looking for ways to inflict their butt hurt on others. Hey Allie or whatever the fuck you're calling yourself now. You see what your little free-speech suppression looks like?

Methadras said...

Why not just institute a human rights commission everywhere, then everyone can get butt-hurt hate speech horrified all at once and run to them for recompense for their fake grievances of perpetual victimhood status.

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