Internet

Media Watchdogs Ask FCC to Track Internet Hate Speech

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A group of liberal media watchdogs, including Free Press, the Media Access Project, and Common Cause, have sent a letter to the FCC asking the agency to track media "hate speech" and its effects, including on the Internet. The letter states that "hate, extremism and misinformation have been on the rise" and asks the agency "to examine the extent and effects of hate speech in media, including the likely link between hate speech and hate crimes, and to explore non-regulatory ways to counteract its negative impacts." (See Ars Technica for a longer summary.)

The letter ties its request to changes in the media and journalism markets, stating: "The Internet gives the illusion that news sources have increased, but in fact there are fewer journalists employed now than before." But shifts in news-industry employment are mostly irrelevant. How many of the jobs lost would have been focused on hate speech? In the heyday of American journalism—whenever you think that was—was there significantly more reporting on so-called hate speech? The implicit argument here is that the FCC should track hate speech in order to plug a newly developed hole in news coverage. But I see no evidence that this is actually the case.

And, of course, taking on this project would mean that the FCC would be forced to make difficult and highly controversial judgment calls about what constitutes hate speech. Would speech that takes after Republicans be tracked? How about anti-Democrat speech? The request focuses on racially-charged expression, but invariably, political views would be brought into the equation. The letter, in fact, refers to responses to Arizona's newly passed immigration law. Thus, tracking hate speech would put the FCC in the impossible position of drawing a line between reasonable and unreasonable support for the law. I find the law deplorable, but its advocates deserve the right to be able to express their support without fear that a federal agency will label their speech dangerous.

But that's exactly where hate-speech tracking would lead. The letter indicates that its goal is primarily to collect such information and make it available to the public, and states that any follow-up action should be "non-regulatory." But does anyone believe it would stay that way? And even without regulation, it would still have a chilling effect on free expression. The hate speech designation, even without regulatory intervention, is a way of dividing speech into good and bad, acceptable and unacceptable, officially approved and unapproved. Even if the FCC never ventured into explicit censorship, such a designation is bound to put pressure on  speakers and speech. "Free speech" should not mean "free but frowned upon."

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  1. I can’t wait until they shut down the NYT online editorial page for hate speech masquerading as journalism.

  2. Warning! Warning! Danger, Will Robinson!

  3. I hate media watchdogs, including but not limited to Free Press, the Media Access Project, and Common Cause. I hate pants-wetting little bitches who can’t understand the First Amendment protects people from this sort of shit. And, yo, fuck the FCC. I hate them, too.

    1. but life’s not fair!!!!!

      1. Fuckin’ A.

      2. but life’s not fair!!!!!

        It never has been.
        It never will be.
        Get over it.

        1. I could swear that I typed J sub D’s Mom into the name box. Yet the HTML code for apostraphe appeared rather than a simple apostraphe.

          Reason.com webmaster – Please fix that. In advance, thank you.

          1. I think the 039 is a Freudian slip about the number of men who’ve boned your “girlfriend” recently — and by recently, I mean today — J sub. 😉

            1. I think talking about boning somebody’s mom is hateful – unless Mom has a Facebook page titled, “Bone me…and Bone me again!!!”
              Than its pretty obvious that its not hate speech, but just giving the lady what she wants (a big bone).
              Now say you were talking about boning someone’s sister…

            2. Hey, it keeps the mortgage up to date.

              1. LOL — +1

  4. Gotta love “The Free Press” and how they are constantly trying to expand the power of the FCC…

  5. Fascist

    Commissar

    Commission

  6. Oy! The idiocy of statism never seems to surprise me. By the way when did reason use a spam filter?

  7. They are probably looking to get a understanding of the roughly 50 to 1 disparity between “white” on black and black on “white” violence that is likely due to hate speech. If only white, Hispanic, and Asian people wouldn’t say such mean things, black people wouldn’t have to rape and kill them in such disproportionate numbers.

    (it really is hard to resist going there…)

  8. “The Internet gives the illusion that news sources have increased, but in fact there are fewer journalists employed now than before.”

    Good thing arbitrarily figuring out who is and is not a journalist isn’t done with mirrors.

  9. FUCK YOU, COMMON CAUSE.

    1. No, no, it’s FUCK YOU NATIONAL HISPANIC MEDIA COALITION (“NHMC”), e.g. BENTON FOUNDATION, CENTER FOR MEDIA JUSTICE, CENTER FOR RURAL
      STRATEGIES, CENTER ON LATINO AND LATINA RIGHTS AND EQUALITY OF
      THE CITY UNIVERSITY OF NEW YORK SCHOOL OF LAW, COMMON CAUSE,
      ESPERANZA PEACE AND JUSTICE CENTER, FREE PRESS, HISPANIC / LATINO,
      ANTI-DEFAMATION COALITION SF, INDUSTRY EARS, JOINT CENTER FOR
      POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC STUDIES, LA ASAMBLEA DE DERECHOS CIVILES,
      LEAGUE OF RURAL VOTERS, LEAGUE OF UNITED LATIN AMERICAN CITIZENS
      (“LULAC”), MAIN STREET PROJECT, MEDIA ACTION GRASSROOTS NETWORK
      (“MAG-NET”), MEDIA ALLIANCE, MEDIA JUSTICE LEAGUE, MEDIA LITERACY
      PROJECT, MEDIA MOBILIZING PROJECT, MOUNTAIN AREA INFORMATION
      NETWORK, NATIONAL ALLIANCE FOR MEDIA ARTS AND CULTURE,
      NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF LATINO INDEPENDENT PRODUCERS (“NALIP”),
      NOSOTROS, OFFICE OF COMMUNICATION, UNITED CHURCH OF CHRIST, INC.,
      PEOPLES PRODUCTION HOUSE, PRAXIS PROJECT, PROMETHEUS RADIO
      PROJECT, RAINBOW PUSH COALITION, RECLAIM THE MEDIA, TRANSMISSION
      PROJECT, UNITED STATES HISPANIC LEADERSHIP INSTITUTE

      1. Oh look another Paleocon blaming hispanics. You people need a new mantra.

        1. Piss off moron, and RTFA.

        2. What, for trying to undermine core American liberties which happen to inconvenience them?

  10. What’s wrong with hate anyway? Seriously.

    1. Well it depends

      For conservatives hate is ok when its directed at muslims, minorities, other non-christians and libertarians

      For Liberals hate is ok when its directed at christians, whites and libertarians

      1. For libertarians, hate is okay as long as it isn’t directed at top-hatted monkeys engaged in knife fights.

        1. My money’s on the Rhesus with the bowler!

          1. He’s got game, but I’m afraid his opponent is a shaved cheetah with an ass painted red.

          2. I wager 1,000 quatloos on the gibbon!

        2. Lol Win +1

  11. Don’t worry guys we are only going to track the hate speach as defined by a bipartisian commission. Who could have a problem with that? do you really want these crazies spreading their conspiracy theories like the plague?

    do you really want children to be exposed to crazzy talk about WTC 7 falling due to some shady conspiracy to start a war and bring in a police-corporate-global state? do you really think we should be asking more questions about 9/11?! I hope not, of course the government investigation was honest…anyone who disagrees should at least be tracked.

    1. Go back on your meds, gabe. And get a new joke handle, for fuck’s sake. This one is as stale as your conspiracies.

      1. Go eat some more nutrasweet packages it will make you even smarter, because Donald Rumsfeld does love you sugarfree.

        1. I just wish I could be there when they finally come for you.

          1. Come on sugar free, they will probably come for you before me.

            You must admit that it would be a good thing if the government got involved to try and fight some of the horrendous conspiracy mongerers that are out there spreading dangerous rumors. These hateful memes are what motivates the most dangerous homegrown terrorist and nobody can deny that homegrown terrorism is the biggest threat we face, right?

            1. A Ministry of Truth, in other words?

            2. Oh, gabe. If you were only half as smart as you are crazy might be interesting to talk to.

          2. They’re coming to take me away, ha-haaa,
            They’re coming to take me away, ho-ho, hee-hee, ha-haaa.
            To the happy home. With trees and flowers and chirping birds and basket
            weavers who sit and smile and twiddle their thumbs and toes and they’re
            coming to take me away, ha-haaa!!!

            1. I prefer this song, but to each his own.

            2. That was considered politically incorrect hate speech directed at the mentally ill when released in 1966.

              Well played.

            3. Did anyone else listen to the Dr Demento show back in the 1980’s?

              seriously though…I am only saying that it does make sense for the governemnt to try and stop some of these conspiracy theorist out there. you guys disagree? sugarEspiarch?

              we can’t tolerate the anti-governemnt crazies out there making up all of these bad stories about government corruption. Even from the scholarly libertarian perspective, we’d all be better off if the anti-government articles were left up to responsible journalist like the people at Reason right? wouldn’t us educated libertarians be happier if the FCC could stamp out some of the anti-semitic or whitepower type “libertarian” content on the internet?

              1. gabe builds such good strawmen. They will help him fight off the Octopus People of Europa when they finally reveal themselves and begin to eat us in vaguely sexual ways.

                1. I’m not even sure who gabe thinks he’s mocking. Weigel, maybe?

                  1. He’s mocking the non-gabe libertarian in his diseased brain. And that imaginary creature sure is getting the worst end of it, I tells ya.

                  2. Mocking people is trite…mocking ideas is my game.

                    “Conspiracy theories are teh axis of evil!” is what I am mocking here.

                    This idea seems to be big with Michael Moynihan and others who 100% buy the 9/11 commission stry and all the reason folks that love their vaccines with extra mercury, flouride and corn syrup.

                    1. Mocking people is trite…mocking ideas is my game.

                      Actually, you go further and mock the entire concept of ideas or thinking.

                2. Don’t you mean the Kochtopus people, Sugarfree?

      2. Go back on your meds, gabe. And get a new joke handle, for fuck’s sake. This one is as stale as your conspiracies.

        I think it’s still funny.

  12. It’s weird, I thought these media watchdog goofballs were already keeping track of anybody who had the temerity to publicly disagree with them. Why ask the Feds to do what you are already doing? Clearly, they want somebody on their team who can fine or imprison people who engage in speech they hate.

    1. Because then you and me and other productive people will fund it, and they can do something else nonproductive.

  13. Free? You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

    1. From the “Principles of Newspeak” appendix to Orwell’s “1984” :

      “The word free still existed in Newspeak, but could only be used in such statements as “The dog is free from lice” or “This field is free from weeds.” It could not be used in its old sense of “politically free” or “intellectually free,” since political and intellectual freedom no longer existed even as concepts, and were therefore of necessity nameless.”

  14. There are some groups trying to bring about the boot of the gummint on certain types of speech they don’t agree with?

    Sounds pretty hateful to me.

  15. Media Watchdogs Ask FCC to Track Internet Hate Speech

    Does this mean they will also start monitoring people who have cap locks keys that are stuck.

    PS. FUCK THE FCC I HATE THE FUCKING CUNTS. (track that assclowns)

    1. CAP LOCKS ARE HATEFUL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
      AND SO ARE EXCLAMATION POINTS!!!!

      AND SEMI-COLONS!!!! GOD HOW I HATE SEMI-COLONS!!!!!!!

  16. Another power-grab for the FCC, and another function it is NOT supposed to perform.

    1. Which is why I wouldn’t be surprised at all if they floated a response to this, in that they’ll do the “monitoring”.

    2. you guys are a little paranoid me thinks…this is just about dumb people who really want to make things less hateful in this country…this is not some byzantine conspiracy to gain power…government isn’t smart enough to do that…besides the media would sniff out a conspiracy like that in no time.

      1. Such a trusting soul.

        1. “libertarian guy”, do you really think the Group of 30, the CFR and the Bilderbergers got together with the Free Press guys last week to try and track all the people who write comments critical of the governemnt so they can ship them off to FEMA camps? Never understimate stupidity…the government expansion we have seen thus far is purely accidental, once we get a good free-market school voucher system implemented then we will see many of ur problems reverse course.

  17. A group of liberal media watchdogs, including Free Press, the Media Access Project, and Common Cause, have sent a letter to the FCC . . .

    Why do you flatter them with the label ‘liberal’? Ask yourself is there anything about their belief system that could be found in Locke, or do they have more common cause with a political theorist as illiberal as Marcuse? Obviously the later, as there is nothing liberal about their actions here or anywhere.

    Even where they have common cause with liberals, as in open and free immigration there purpose is not a consistent application of principle but instead it is to expand upon a spoils system. It is only out of habit we let them soil the word with their imprint when we should be pushing them to find a more apt identification.

    Of course, the most liberal position would be to eliminate the FCC altogether.

    1. perhaps they are using liberal in the sense of ‘excessive’.

    2. Damn homophones.

  18. A group called free press is demanding the government to regulate the press.

    1. this ain’t the first time they’ve done it either. They were trying to get the FCC in to regulate on the whole play for payola thing a few years back.

  19. “explore non-regulatory ways to counteract its negative impacts”

    Would this be like libertarian paternalism?

    1. non-regulatory ways to counteract its negative impacts

      is newspeak for subsidies for “opposing” points of view. IOW, for liberal watchdog groups.

  20. You must admit that it would be a good thing if the government got involved to try and fight some of the horrendous conspiracy mongerers that are out there spreading dangerous rumors.

    Wrong.

  21. The letter states that “hate, extremism and misinformation have been on the rise”

    By which we mean, anything written that doesn’t tow the lion for progressive talking points.

  22. we can’t tolerate the anti-governemnt crazies out there making up all of these bad stories about government corruption.

    It’s not really necessary to “make them up”.

  23. An I has hayt for teh President, an hayt for teh Joos, an teh Ayrabs, an teh gaayz, an teh whyt peoples, an teh pyrats, an teh messicans, an teh womens, an teh peeopls wif teh dissuhbilties, an teh blaks, an teh ritards, an teh rich peepls, an teh poor peeopls, an Cahtliks, an Boodis, an all teh relijins.

    An I hayt librl an consrvtiv an teh Congress.

    An I hayt dawgz an hopes teh SWATs shoots evry wun.

    There, has I miss anywon? Trak this wif me, FCC! I scratch out ays layk a Monstar Kitteh! ROWR!

    1. O, yah, an fuk teh polees!

  24. Mr. Suderman’s analysis and headline are misleading…the letter asks the FCC to “examine the extent and effects” of hate speech, not to “track” it.

    Now, I know Mr. Suderman was just throwing a little red meat to the wolves here but let’s try to be fair about it..

    1. Starve the troll, please.

      1. Can I has cheezburgrs if I skrtch its ays out?

        1. Yes you can.

  25. The lolcat Bible on hate speech (Matthew 6):

    Happy Cat tawt about prayz

    5 so u be all leik MCHammertime and pray jus 2 make it 2day and stuff.6 Ceiling Cat is watching you prostrate but u donut no he is tho.7 ur pray shood not be made of fail.8 Ceiling Cat knows what u donut hate.

    1. Preech on bruthr Kitteh!

  26. Tracking hate speech means defining hate speech, the crucial first step in regulating it. Examining its effects means enumerating all the “harm” it does, the next step in building the brief for regulating it.

    Anyone who doesn’t see this as the slippery slope to the content controls on the internet is a purblind fool.

    1. you really think the government thinks ahead like that, RC? they aren’t systematically planning to regulate free speach, they are just trying to end hate crimes. I suppose you just want to wait for the next Tim McVeigh?or Mathew Sheppard incident?

      White supremicist organizations are on the rise and I guarantee there will be increasing levels of homegrown terror due to all the anti-government conspiracy theories. If we don’t want the government to regulate free speach then our community as a group of educated libertarians needs to do a better job ourselves of shouting down these people “asking” why Max Cleland resigned from the 9/11 comission or what happened to the black boxes on the airplanes. Obviously our government does not lie about issues that affect the public’s opinion of foriegn wars so we should not accept people questioning our own leaders about their stories(even if they are a little fishy at times).

      Lets be honest, if we don’t regulate speach then we can be surprised ourselves then we can’t be surprised if the government has to put on the big boy pants and stop the insanity themselves.

      On another issue, we can’t let these recent threats to the independence of the Fed gain any more traction.

      Educated people don’t need any further explanation on this issue, but if you really need me to color all the pictures for you first graders I will.

      1. if you really need me to color all the pictures for you first graders I will.

        Yes, please.

    2. Anyone who doesn’t see this as the slippery slope to the content controls on the internet is a purblind fool.

      Or expects the slipperly slope to be a feature, not a bug.

  27. Get your head out of your ass, Dan.

  28. Remember guys…the scary government is going to “track” your speech…soon all libertarians are going to be sent to the gulag……..ooooooooooooooooooooooohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

    1. while I don’t generally agee with Dan T on much…he does have a good point.

      All cosmotarians know the government is not scary or sophisticated enough to track people using computers. They are incompetent and basically have no hope to stop all the extra freedom we have been getting recently. Look at how much better life has gotten …slavery ended! Ipads are teh awesome and it is nice to have porn available for free whenever we want. Our standard of living is beter than a king in 1850. All the extra cameras we see on the streets will actually just be used to protect us from the police…we must ignore the paranoid fringe conspiracy theorist and keep society moving in the libertarian driection we are going…the only people who really have problems with our society are the old fogies who have gold fetishes and get mad when the see guys kiss on TV…but in almost every way we are freer than ever before!

      There is a new danger of rising xenophobic populism that wants to institute a shria law-like gold standard and take away the feds independence and then engage in isolationism. We need a strong defense to intimidate all the other countries into not pissing us off. We have to take responsibility for the world and implement the VAT tax to save democratic capitalism.

    2. Mr. T., we have here incontrovertible evidence that you have been a frequent poster on a hate site. You don’t deny that, do you? And don’t give us the hackneyed “But I was a well-known opponent of their views” or “But I was just doing research” foolishness ….

  29. The letter states that “hate, extremism and misinformation have been on the rise”

    It also notes “The current media landscape is ridden with false, misleading, divisive and dehumanizing language”.

    ReadTFL. You will not be ROTFL.

  30. I think it’s still funny.

  31. You only have to look at Canadian Human Rights Commissions/Tribunals to see what happens when you put loony-left bureaocrats in charge of regulating hate.

    Muslims calling for genacide of Jews are ignored, and Christians quoting the bible are charged with hate.

    1. word

    2. You only have to look at Canadian Human Rights Commissions/Tribunals to see what happens when you put loony-left bureaocrats in charge of regulating hate.

      Muslims calling for genacide of Jews are ignored, and Christians quoting the bible are charged with hate.

      I wonder what would happen if far-right wing Christians were in charge of regulating hate.

  32. I think they’ll stay pretty busy monitoring Halo 3 headset trash talk.

  33. Today, hate speech; tomorrow, Janet Jackson’s wardrobe malfunctions.

  34. If the FCC were to read the newsgroups alt.revisionism and alt.politics.white-power, it would occupy them all day.

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