CNN is giving me a headache
and 24 hours later the internet responded
Freedom of speech is something we feel strongly connected to, something we’re willing to fight for here in Western Europe, and I thought the same applied in the United States.
Now I’ve wrote about freedom of speech before, and the right to make an ass of yourself. However, there seems to be a witch hunt going on on people who try to speak their minds. Based on your own worldview, you can be entertained by some of these examples, or you can be absolutely disgusted by these, or anything in between. However, it should not be up to us to determine what falls underneath free speech or not. Free speech is what has shaped our identity, its what started revolutions and it shaped nations, it shaped the world.
Political correct kills the conversation
Today’s world is starting to be anal about a never ending list of words, phrases, memes and topics. The new default seems to be that we just exclude others from talking about the subject. Males can’t talk about gender issues, caucasian people can’t talk about other ethnicities, non-religious people can’t talk about religion issues (and there are 100 (and counting) more categories where we exclude one or multiple groups based on their identity/worldview from joining the conversation about the specific issue).
Even worse, we publicly shame these people to an unprecedented level, where they will lose all their ability to defend themselves in a fair and reasonable way. They can only “save” themselves by muting their voice for years to come. This doesn’t seem to be an invitation for people to join the conversation, but more an exile into dark places of the internet where people will not be retaliated against when then disagree with a certain worldview, be that left or be that right or be that reason. Especially reason seems to be totally forgotten about in society. You can only get attention when you scream murder or FAKE NEWS.
The other, more ugly side of free speech, is that opinions and ideas are shared that could lead us to very dark places. They make most of us cringe, sometimes it’s a cringe that make us feel just really uncomfortable (because it holds a mirror), or cringe in a way that it scares the shit out of us, realising there are actually people who have these thoughts about others.
Nevertheless it’s critical to see what lives inside people’s minds. It’s critical we are open to listening to their views. Oppressing people by muting them, denying them, or the latest trend, (threatening) shaming them online for the rest of the world to see, doesn’t seem to be a remedy to the polarisation of our modern society.
How do you think the U.S. ended up with Donald Trump as their president? Because we were listening so well to people who were frustrated? Because the U.S. got hacked by the Russians? Both might be (or are) true, they also might be a justification so you can point the finger to someone else to blame. Perhaps you got the president you deserved (Simon Sinek expressed it better). That blaming finger is starting to be very annoying to be honest. It’s always the fault of someone else, it’s never the fault of ourselves. It’s almost instilled in our human behaviour to blame external circumstances for internal decisions and believes.
What’s a God to a non-believer?
If someone say’s he’s a non-believer, some belief that person deserves to be blown into pieces, if someone says they’re gay and fight for their rights, some belief they should be hung, if someone says global warming is not real, we think they are mentally ill (which when you deny evidence that 97% of scientists agree with, could be a valid argument). When someone fights for #BlackLivesMatter and people respond with #AllLivesMatter, the response sometimes seems to be ‘White Silence is Violence’. Whereas I think, the response to the first as to the latter equally lacks curiosity to understand each other. We can go on forever with examples that show responses with little, to no curiosity and willingness to admit, “my view might not be 100% factual, I might be ‘wrong’ about this specific issue”.
News broadcasters and journalists serve a very important purpose in our society, to seek truth (however uncomfortable this might be), and protect free speech. But, when you then see the news respond when they’re made fun of by someone that holds some extreme views on things, proud in threatening to expose this person, we might be at a point of no return.
Educating yourself, and being able to educate others, about what is a better way of doing things, starts with curiosity, not by shaming someone with a different view.
CNN is the latest example of this. They discovered the identity of a Reddit user behind a recent Trump CNN gif, and they “reserve the right” to publish his name (aka shame him and destroy this person’s family and career), should he resume his “ugly behaviour”. This person definitely is frustrated, otherwise he wouldn’t craft memes and use language that definitely can be seen as offensive to some people, maybe even to most people. However, it’s not to the news to “reserve the right” to expose someone. Since when is the news (CNN in this example) the executioner of #JUSTICE. What justice are you doing to the world to limit the same free speech you are fighting for?
I do not share the worldview of the person making offensive memes, nor do I share the worldview of any particular party. In some cases one person, one organisation has one valid point, maybe two, maybe a lot. However, I’ve never seen a person, nor an organisation whereby I agree with everything they say. Me listening to Sam Harris, doesn’t make me agree with everything he says, but it does inspire me to be more factual and deconstruct the problem behind the problem more. Me defending #HanAssholeSolo, doesn’t make me agree with anything this person said, he’s saying some totally crazy shit in my opinion. Just read how he responded, Trump tweeting his meme…
What freedom of speech looks like on the web (parts of it at least)
I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it. — Voltaire
Note: First of all #HanAssholeSolo, there are too many arguments against the existence of a God, nor does your country abide to an ‘Emperor’, only monarchs do. Your country voted on someone (perhaps with some support of the Russians) out of frustration, not because he is God. If he were God, he would have had better hair, better make-up and definitely a better ability to speak in public. On the other side, for someone who’s been billion of years old he looks pretty sharp (or do you belief the world was created 6,000 to 15,000 years ago? because then he doesn’t seem to have long anymore).
Dear CNN, if you promise us breaking news, could you at least not take pride in threatening to expose someone?
Look, what this person said under his pseudonym of #HanAssholeSolo definitely is absurd in my view, but that doesn’t justify me executing this person in public and exposing his identity. I can disapprove in it publicly, I can make fun of it but I’m not in a position (as human being), to decide if someone gets to “live” or “die”. So the question leads to should the CNN be in charge to decide who lives and dies? Isn’t the CNN just a collection of human beings, doesn’t that make them equal to another human being who doesn’t have that right? Might the media, and thus CNN be broken in their model to always increase the views?
If you want to fight for what is right, do it with words, words that are backed by facts, research and even satire. Research whereby scientists have agreed to a consensus of what might be true (for now) and what might still be insufficient to draw conclusions on.
You want to convince me that someone is a lunatic, go ahead. You want to convince me someone is God, go ahead. You want to convince me, the U.S. is the greatest country in the world? Sorry, but that argument you seem to be lost in the light of reality of the present day — but please… still try to… with facts, dignity and style. You just might proof me wrong.
After talking to a good friend of mine, who’s a reporter (July 6) we both knew this CNN threat would get out of hand. Here are some insights from our conversation:
- I think there’s potentially a public interest argument in reporting on the person who made the meme, but given that CNN is the target of the meme they have a pretty big conflict of interest when it comes to how and what they report on it.
- I think it’s bad and stupid of CNN to say what it said, because it is effectively threatening to dox the person and it’s certainly being interpreted that way
- and given that we (press/journalists) have protested vehemently (and rightly so) against BEING doxxed in the past last thing you should do is to then threaten to do so
- it (the article from CNN) reads very very much like legalese/lawyer-speak. so, I’ll bet that it was written by a CNN lawyer who was only looking at it from a legal statement perspective, and it probably never even crossed his/her mind that this would be construed as a threat to dox.
- which means that it comes down to the fault of the executives/management who had to approve the legal statement before it was sent out, cos they should’ve had a broader/different worldview than the narrow legal one.
- oh yeah, it definitely is going to prompt a backlash, and I’ll bet CNN will have to climb down/apologise
Now we’re 24 hours later and the internet responded as expected. It punched back, big time…