Posts from November 2022

The Intercept
“I’ll have to repair nearly every article I’ve ever written since my tweets got wiped out,” journalist and videographer Vishal Singh wrote on Mastodon on Monday, after being banned from Twitter. “Hundreds of articles written by countless journalists used my tweets. From all sides of the political spectrum. Academic papers that cited my tweets. These links and embeds are now all broken.”
The ability to purge the public record is a good argument against citizens relying on private companies to host/protect the public record.
Washington Post
”Passing this bill is our chance to send a message to Americans everywhere: No matter who you are, who you love, you deserve dignity and equal treatment under the law. That’s about as American [an] ideal as it comes.”
More like this please.
"Between January 2020 and September 2022, Twitter suspended more than 11,000 accounts for breaking Covid misinformation rules and removed almost 100,000 pieces of content that violated those rules, according to statistics published by Twitter."
Not any more. Those accounts are back and there’s no effort to remove misinformation. "Public square" now considered actively harmful.
"One might think—or hope—that, after Enron, WorldCom, Bernie Madoff, Jordan Belfort and the 2008 financial crisis, that the business press could harbor skepticism about financial and business leaders in general, but particularly those in a shadowy, emerging sector known for its instability (Forbes, 5/10/22) and its susceptibility to scams (Forbes, 9/23/22)."
The business press functions as a cheerleader rather than a critic. People who care about the impact of businesses on people are in a different business.
"Democrats running on pro-abortion rights nearly swept the table, and every ballot initiative aimed at restricting abortion lost, while ballot initiatives strengthening abortion rights prevailed and even outperformed Democratic candidates in some cases."
Where is all the media soul searching and feature articles about abortion rights voters?
Talking Points Memo
"There are various theories purporting to explain Musk’s hard right turn: a childhood in apartheid South Africa, his connection with Peter Thiel, disappointments in his personal life. Whatever the truth of the matter, whatever right-leaning tendencies he may have had before a couple years ago appear to have been latent or unformed. Now the transformation is almost complete. He’s done with general “free speech” grievance and springing for alternative viewpoints. He’s routinely pushing all the far right storylines from woke groomers to great replacement."
Billionaires are not immune to radicalization. Unfortunately society is not immune to billionaires.
" is a place to find blogs that interest you."
A new blog directory dropped like it's 2002. This is by Phil Gyford, so great--read things! By people!
WNYC Studios
"Even if the attention of the world were to move away from [Mastodon] it will absolutely sustain itself because it only requires a bunch of committed people to say, 'hey I want to do this'. Things like that are very robust."
Brooke Gladstone interviewing Clive Thompson about what Mastodon is and why anyone should care.
The removal of the president from the two offices that interested him most—the presidency and his twitter account—gave the platform new life. The hellsite was still a shadow of its earlier days, sure, but finally began to reemerge as a somewhat more healthy medium for serious communication.

And then Elon bought it.
Excellent summary of the current state of Twitter and why it's time to move on.
New York Times
"In a letter to Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and in interviews with The New York Times, the Rev. Rob Schenck said he was told the outcome of the 2014 case weeks before it was announced. He used that information to prepare a public relations push, records show, and he said that at the last minute he tipped off the president of Hobby Lobby, the craft store chain owned by Christian evangelicals that was the winning party in the case."
Corrupt court.
"When one bidder asked for details about who owned what and where, Ingenious, the UK-based group working on behalf of the band, couldn’t get a straight answer from Gilmour and Waters. Most of the interested parties say they haven’t heard from the sellers in weeks."
When you see an email come in about setting up a meeting re: $500 million sale and you roll your eyes and click delete.
New York Times
"Every election denier who sought to become the top election official in a critical battleground state lost at the polls this year, as voters roundly rejected extreme partisans who promised to restrict voting and overhaul the electoral process."
So we’ve got that going for us.
Popular Information
"The political media has substituted polling analysis, which is something only people managing campaigns really need, for substantive analysis of the positions of the candidates, something that voters need. "
Dewey defeats Truman, but permanent and across all media. Why? My theory is that Republicans own and control all media and reporters want to please their bosses. There won't be consequences for journalists who got this election so wrong--there will be promotions for cheerleading Republicans.
"Even if academic Twitter ends up largely moving to Mastodon, the big question is whether the general public will move there, too, allowing scientists to communicate with more than just each other. “When I tweet, I’m talking to my neighbor and the person in the grocery store and the teenager who is thinking about studying science in college,” Fiesler says. “That’s the beauty of scientists on social media.”"
My wife signed up for Mastodon yesterday to follow covid researchers. She doesn’t post, isn’t a scientist, and just wants to follow experts having public conversations. That’s just one data point but I think people will move to where conversations are happening. And if that conversation environment doesn’t also have to feed the advertising machine it could be healthier.