around the web

DeJoy Is Hell-Bent on Wrecking the Postal Service — and Maybe Your Life (Lauren Weinstein)

[Postmaster General Louis DeJoy's] 10-year plan for destroying the USPS, by treating it like his former for-profit shipping logistics business rather than the SERVICE is was intended to be — was released today, along with a flurry of self-congratulatory official USPS tweets that immediately attracted massive negative replies, most of them demanding that DeJoy be removed from his position. Now. Right now!

A Biden Appointee's Troubling Views On The First Amendment (Matt Taibbi)

The Cliff’s Notes version of [a thesis of Columbia prof Timothy Wu, recently appointed to the National Economic Council]:

— The framers wrote the Bill of Rights in an atmosphere where speech was expensive and rare. The Internet made speech cheap, and human attention rare. Speech-hostile societies like Russia and China have already shown how to capitalize on this “cheap speech” era, eschewing censorship and bans in favor of “flooding” the Internet with pro-government propaganda.

— As a result, those who place faith in the First Amendment to solve speech dilemmas should “admit defeat” and imagine new solutions for repelling foreign propaganda, fake news, and other problems. “In some cases,” Wu writes, “this could mean that the First Amendment must broaden its own reach to encompass new techniques of speech control.” What might that look like? He writes, without irony: “I think the elected branches should be allowed, within reasonable limits, to try returning the country to the kind of media environment that prevailed in the 1950s.”

Meaning, enforce a balance of viewpoints, presumably, as government did under the old Fairness Doctrine. Taibbi believes Biden's antitrust people don't want to break up big tech companies so much as harness their broad reach. (For good, of course.) Taibbi quotes another writer, Matt Stoller, comparing social media monopolies to Tolkein's One Ring of Power that of course everyone wants. But will the "difficult" voices who are currently being deplatformed in droves be returned to their pulpits under Biden? Not likely, since Timothy Wu's beloved 1950s were a time of top-down control, "fairness" notwithstanding.