First Line of Defence?

Dave Winer may be a very smart guy, who effectively invented blogging, RSS, and podcasts, but he’s lost his mind in this post:

We are now all complete newbies when it comes to understanding how networks can be used to spread misinformation. We might look back in a few years and realize that our first line of defense was Facebook, Inc. Maybe tearing them down is like the press tearing down HRC in 2016. I don’t trust their judgement on this stuff, do you?

– Dave Winer, Untitled Scripting News post

The first sentence is fair enough, but the second? Facebook is the first line of attack, rather, on our democratic freedoms. See Cambridge Analytica stories, passim. Or if not the first, then the most powerful tool in the armoury of the anti-democratic forces that plague us.

The ‘them’ he refers to is, I think, journalists. Or ‘journalism,’ as a collective entity:

I judge journalism in the aggregate.

In other words, I say “journalism” did this or that.

– Dave Winer, Journalism in the aggregate

One of the main things he does these days is to rail against journalism.


Ad Subtract

Amused by Dave Winer’s comment: “can’t stand podcasts with advertising.” I’m far from a lover of advertising, but podcast advertising is, to me the best kind. Or the least-bad kind, anyway. I use Linode, and TextExpander, and 1Password, and Hover… all because I first heard about them on podcasts (and/or because I got discounts on them from podcast ads).

But maybe that’s a particular kind of podcast, or a particular kind of ad. They tend to be independents or small companies like Relay FM; ads that are read by the presenter, in their own voice – sometimes, though not always, in their own words. (Sometimes not their words, but weirded up.)

Dave goes on to say:

What’s even worse is podcasts with advertising with the proceeds going to charity. WTF goes through their minds. Why do they even bother.

– Dave Winer, Untitled

Not sure what he’s talking about there.

What I don’t like is adverts that are injected separately from the body of the podcast. Another voice cuts in (or precedes, or concludes), talking about something irrelevant. Those ones are comparable with TV advertising, and I always skip them.