[ExI] Twitter and free speech

spike at rainier66.com spike at rainier66.com
Fri Dec 2 17:49:47 UTC 2022



…> On Behalf Of Darin Sunley via extropy-chat
Subject: Re: [ExI] Twitter and free speech


>…T'was ever thus. Or did you imagine that Joseph Kennedy and Prescott Bush were good'ol American small-business owners…  Darin




Ja.  Darin, political power and money have always been able to buy each other.  We kinda sorta pretend otherwise, but consider all the career politicians that  ended up rich somehow, even if they never actually had a job or ran a business.  There are well-known and notorious ways around that inconvenient barrier to wealth.  They can give “speeches” for hundreds of thousands in “speaker’s fees” or sell “paintings” and that sorta thing.  Of course political power can buy you money.


But consider specifically the press.  I heard a reference to FoxNews in this forum.  I am familiar with it and consider it an interesting case.  It is often considered politically right wing, but if you look at it, you realize it isn’t so much that as it is market-centric news.  They seem to recognize and do news the way I would if I owned Fox: note which stories get the most and longest views, which makes them the most valuable, then write stories that are most like that.  Result: we get a lot of horrific crime stories, a lot of political scandal stuff, some feels-good articles, some obvious nonsense, but the point is that the owner isn’t American so his focus isn’t on deciding what is “true” or otherwise.  Rather he sells what sells.  Result: if we look at FoxNews, we are gazing into America’s mirror.  We are seeing what we click on the most and the longest.


Another result: FoxNews is the biggest by far.  It is the profiable giant that everyone else wants to be, but to do that the others would need to do things the way Fox does.  This they refuse to do.  Result: they squabble among themselves over an ever-shrinking market, steadily approaching irrelevance, as Fox owns the news business.


Apply that concept to Twitter.  Musk recognizes that Twitter will eventually go out of business if it keeps the same business model that Jack Dorsey held: armies of expensive carbon units doing censorship to keep “misinformation” off the platform, while losing 4 million bucks a day.  Well hell, I am not a business lifeform, but even I can tell you that no business is going to survive losing 4 million bucks a day.  Regardless of how you get there, a business must somehow sustain itself and of course it needs to make profit, the same as a news agency.  Take it from FoxNews: compare its profit and loss statement to any of the other mainstream press agencies.


People are what we are: we click on internet celebrities, funny dog videos, horrific crime stuff, political scandal, cute cat videos, sports stories, approximately in that order of popularity.  So… Fox and now Twitter, being businesses, will give us what we want.  Fox is a mirror, for it reflects us and our taste.  Do gaze into it occasionally.


For some odd reason… some politicians are apoplectic about Musk insisting that Twitter must not only reach breakeven, it needs to pay him some big dividends on that 44 billion clams he dropped into it.  Well imagine that!  He’s a businessman, not a politician.  That’s why he is a skerjillionaire, not a political office holder.  Politicians are jealous his power.  To quote a famous politician:  “I want that money.”  They sure do.  


For Twitter to make money requires a lot of changes, starting out with laying off most of the salaries there.  Well, ja, how would any of us have concluded to the contrary or done anything differently please?  Anyone?  Anyone?





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