Comedian Meets Times of Israel: A Draw?

December 3, 2019

News about Borat – I mean Baron Cohen – has been flowing. A US pundit gushed over a speech by Mr. Cohen, a comedian. The Times of Israel took another approach to the Cohen critique of social media. “It’s not Facebook, Sacha, It’s Humanity” stated:

Baron Cohen is charismatic, well-spoken, and appeals to the most primal emotion of all mankind: fear. This makes him an excellent propagandist. That does not mean he is completely wrong, but it does not make him entirely right, either.

DarkCyber noted this statement in the write up:

The main argument Baron Cohen made in his speech, which is neither original nor new, is that social media platforms do not assume the mantle of preventing the numerous lies and profound hatred that is disseminated through them. Baron Cohen echoed the global criticism of the ease by which one can spread conspiracy theories, invent news headlines, make up figures, and incite against sectors, genders, minorities, and religions.

The write up pointed out:

Human history shows that where information does not flow freely and in times when information is blocked by geographical barriers and can only slowly creep out to the rest of the world — that is when the worst kind of atrocities take place.

Is there a fix? The article suggests:

There are many issues with the way Facebook, Twitter, and Google operate, but very few of them stem from the lack of regulation of the content posted on them. If anything, it would be much more practical and appropriate to review these companies’ conduct as service providers.

The comedian or the journalist? Where does the truth set up a camp site?

Stephen E Arnold, December 3, 2019


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