Fake News, Internet and Communication Tech Companies, and American Society

This post diverges from agriculture and food…but not really

…and excuse the following generalizations (there are good folk in all the places I criticize).

Apple’s CEO made a recent statement on Fake News.

Article on the Statement

Apple has more historical credibility here than the others…but…

He states the need to create methods to ‘find’ fake news without stepping on freedom of speech.

Excuse my frankness, but if Google and Facebook and Twitter and all these other social media entities had – in the beginning – collaborated with publishers and newspapers (rather than intellectually and economically demeaning them for a buck to be the hot new technology) …this entire episode would not have happened….

AND Facebook and Google and Twitter..etc. would today have had a much better business model.

Watch what happens now….

It’s a huge mess…I disagree with Cook that it is going away quickly…will NOT go away without better business models for Internet companies. The advertising model has all the integrity …and ‘spendability’…of a wooden nickel.

I’d even suggest Google is only marginally on firm financial ground.

Facebook, Twitter…even certain aspects of Amazon….are in the bulls-eye of the coming information reformation.

The peripheral companies like Yahoo are already seeing their ephemeral balance sheets crash.

Google and others (like Bezos and Musk) also constantly scramble to get into other businesses…I wonder if this is just ‘expansionist’ capital… or fear of the fragility of the core business financial model?

I was, for 20 + years, in publishing …loved it and was extremely good professionally (information graphics and descriptive communications at the most sophisticated and intelligent levels of the industry….sorry for the ‘personal back-slapping’…but I was pretty darn successful).

In 1994 I left the field because I no longer saw a route to practicing with an ethic similar to my practice at The University of Chicago Press and Scientific American. Fortunately The University of Chicago Press is still robust (do not know about Scientific American).

In many ways the industries of publishing and journalism (and the integrity of those industries) were ‘stolen’ by the Internet’s ephemeral models.

Our society had also…for the previous 30 years (60s through 80s) evolved a culture and law of hyper-individualism….where personal rights in law supercede the rights of family, community.

It is also the period where ‘individual rights’, ‘rights to aggregate’ and  ‘rights to be corporate’ superceded traditional ideals of justice for all….even superceded BASIC rights enumerated in the U.S. Constitution. We now have an entire set of inane laws that are fundamentally and profoundly contradictory.

We are now seeing the results of the changes in law and culture from the 60s to the present:

  1. We have a PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES who has built a career (since the 60s) on the manipulation of information/communication for his own “individual’ gain (and his need for attention). He does not see any moral, ethical, or cultural connection/contradiction with his severely dishonest actions. I am not a psychiatrist and do not know what his diagnosis would be…but am certain he is not healthy.
  2. We have forty years of law based upon the idea that an individual is more important than a community or a family. The political dialogue seldom even acknowledges the complexity of the laws created…the ultimate absurdity being the public discussion and laws related to abortion, sexual rights, etc.
  3. We have forty years of financial corporations and financial professionals whose goal is the personal acquisition of money (not wealth in the traditional sense). Not that America was ever without sin (remember the American Indian, the African slave)…but we originally created law – with our country’s formation – meant to alleviate oppression, respect one another, and allow for the pursuit of happiness (I would have used the word ‘health’ rather than ‘happiness’…but the intentions were sterling). Those formation documents are simple, straightforward, understandable, and consistent with my understanding of human behavior.
  4. We have also created an agriculture economy based upon the aggregation of ownership and money at the expense of farming integrity…an agriculture that has deteriorated the fundamental means of production (the soil and the reproduction of animals) based upon someone’s or some corporation’s ‘individual rights’.
  5. We have created food that reflects the aggregation of money by debasing ingredients and quality of raw materials.

Fortunately, a more and more robust sector of our society sees the problem, understands the problem, and has some pretty spectacular start-up suggestions on how to reform our culture.

A subset of that group also has amazingly high moral, ethical, and religious values at a young age – remarkable in our current economy.

They are going to need a strong stomach and sturdy limbs…prophetic action will be resisted.