Not On Team Starbird

Glenn Greenwald tweets:

The "misinformation research group" Starbird leads is the Center for an Informed Public, hosted at the University of Washington (where she is an Associate Professor). Frankly, she's pretty low on the list of free speech threats. She has no policing power, no authority to limit or control "political discourse".

There might be partisan asymmetry in the "misinformation" that Starbird's organization chooses to examine and debunk; that's hard to check.

Greenwald should go after bigger, more 1A-dangerous, game.

Also of note:

  • A response to Ketanji Brown Jackson. Earlier this month, Matt Taibbi highlighted a query made by the SCOTUS Justice to a plaintiff in the Murthy v. Missouri censorship case (emphasis Taibbi-added):

    JACKSON: So my biggest concern is that your view has the First Amendment hamstringing the government in significant ways in the most important time periods…

    Can you help me? Because I’m really — I’m really worried about that because you’ve got the First Amendment operating in an environment of threatening circumstances from the government’s perspective, and you’re saying that the government can’t interact with the source of those problems.

    A commenter to that post, in Taibbi's view, Nailed It! And I like the comment too:

    "As Brown Janckson put it, "What would you have the government do?""

    Well, it seems pretty simple. Make its case publicly as well as it can. Compete on facts, ideas, reasoning, evidence and persuasive power of message that seeks truth. Leave media companies alone and don't censor or intimidate. Trust people to use discretion — you're not smarter or better just because you're in government. Don't deprecate and denigrate your fellow citizens. Use the bully pulpit to compete and try to win in the contest of ideas, and not by extinguishing the vibrancy of free expression.

    Why is this even complicated?

    Why does a Supreme Court Justice not understand?

    Well, yeah.

    Note that Taibbi's quote of KBJ leaves out some important context, and the commenter may have been misled as to her actual views. But otherwise, his response is excellent.

  • It's not like I was going to start watching NBC News. But now I have an extra reason to avoid it. Robby Soave examines Ronna McDaniel and the Media's Election Denial Double Standard.

    If McDaniel's proximity to the RNC means her credibility as a commentator is suspect, then MSNBC host Jen Psaki should be considered a major liability; Psaki served as White House press secretary under President Joe Biden while negotiating her role at MSNBC. There's nothing particularly new or stranger about this—political communications officials frequently move from government to campaigns to cable news and back again. Anyone who pretends that this was the major issue with McDaniel is lying.

    NBC has no objection to hiring partisan hacks, as long as they are Democrat partisan hacks.

  • At the Dispatch, Will Rinehart explains Why DOJ’s Antitrust Case Against Apple Falls Flat. It's a sample of his newsletter, which looks interesting.

    I’ve read all of the complaints against the tech giants, and this one against Apple follows a similar pattern. They are laid out as modern tragedies—in Aristotle’s sense of a tragedy—with a beginning, a rising action, a change of fortune, and a fall from grace. Like any good tragedy, the Apple complaint ends with a catharsis, an act of purification or cleansing as the ancient Greeks would have understood it. And also like any good tragedy, the remedies need to match the behavior.

    The beginning of this particular tale starts in 2007 when, in the DOJ’s words, “Apple launched the iPhone, a smartphone that offered high-end hardware and software applications, called ‘apps,’ built atop a mobile operating system that mimicked the functionality and ease of use of a computer.” Initially, the company only offered a small number of apps, but it “quickly realized the enormous value that a broader community of entrepreneurial, innovative developers could drive to its users and the iPhone platform more broadly.”

    In fairness, Steve Jobs originally wanted to keep the iPhone ecosystem relatively closed. But when the late Apple co-founder previewed the application integration system at Apple’s developer conference in 2007, it was largely seen as a miss. Pressure from the developer community and the success of Facebook’s platform coaxed Jobs into opening the system. “We are excited about creating a vibrant third-party developer community around the iPhone,” Jobs said, “enabling hundreds of new applications for our users.” Those “hundreds” of new applications quickly turned into millions.

    Well, at least a bunch of lawyers are getting rich.