Very few people use landline phones for much of anything. So when you talk about things like online chat and social media messages and emails, what you're really talking about is the full extent of human communication.
It is true that the Internet can be used to disseminate falsehoods quickly, but it just as quickly roots them out and exposes them in a way that the traditional model of journalism and its closed, insular, one-way form of communication could never do.
It shouldn't take extreme courage and a willingness to go to prison for decades or even life to blow the whistle on bad government acts done in secret. But it does. And that is an immense problem for democracy, one that all journalists should be united in fighting.
Embedded in 'The New York Times' institutional perspective and reporting methodologies are all sorts of quite debatable and subjective political and cultural assumptions about the world. And with some noble exceptions, 'The Times,' by design or otherwise, has long served the interests of the same set of elite and powerful factions.
There's a perennial debate about whether the propagandistic tripe produced by establishment media outlets is shaped more by evil or by stupidity. Personally, I think it's both: a healthy dose of each is needed. The system design is malicious, while those who serve as its public face are generally vacant.
I've praised Obama's record on same-sex equality as enthusiastically as anyone: it's one area where his record has been impressive. I understand, and have expressed, the emotional importance for LGBT Americans of his marriage announcement as well as its political significance.
The virtue of gay equality has become increasingly recognized in the U.S. because people have been persuaded of its merits, not because state officials, acting like Inquisitors, forced people to accept it by punishing them for their refusal.
Many of the benefits from keeping terrorism fear levels high are obvious. Private corporations suck up massive amounts of Homeland Security cash as long as that fear persists, while government officials in the National Security and Surveillance State can claim unlimited powers and operate with unlimited secrecy and no accountability.
An elite class that is free to operate without limits - whether limits imposed by the rule of law or fear of the responses from those harmed by their behavior - is an elite class that will plunder, degrade, and cheat at will, and act endlessly to fortify its own power.
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