Archive for January 10th, 2021

Facebook Censors…The Tax Foundation?

Oh, you thought this censorship stuff wasn’t about you, because you weren’t about Trump.

A friend of mind posted the follow on Facebook, only to have the site apply a “fact-check” to it. Understand that “fact-checks” are more than just checking facts. When run by the AP and by FB, they amount to entering the debate on the leftist side.

The Tax Foundation – the source of the data for the graphic used by Fox News – is a thoroughly center-right think tank, devoted to tax policy at all levels of government. The “fact-check” isn’t a fact-check, since it admits the facts are correct. In fact, the “context” that is allegedly missing – that the rates posted are only for the top earners, is literally in the headline for the graphic.

I look forward to any post by the left-of-center Brookings, The Urban League, Urban Institute, or Bell Policy Center being similarly “fact-checked.”

More realistically, we should be waiting to see how long it is before the Tax Foundation is demonetized and then deplatformed altogether.

But consider this an object lesson in how even policy-based right-of-center discussion is forced into pariah status. By putting a “fact-check” on this, it forces someone who posts it to defend the Tax Foundation and their work, with the allegedly objective FB and AP having put their thumb on the scale. Conservatives must work even to have their analyses considered legitimate and within the bounds of informed discussion, never mind get a debate on the facts. Left-of-center posts, no matter how far to the left, are granted immediate legitimacy.

Image may contain: text that says 'TOP TAX RATES BY STATE UNDER BIDEN TAX PLAN California New Jersey 62.6% 60% New York State 58% City i 62% Missing Context The same information was checked in another post by independent fact-checkers. See Why 5 Like 12 Comments Related Articles Comment AP Associated Press Fact-Check Graphic shows top tax rates by state only for high-income earners'

No Comments

A Word on Book Links

With some frequency, I’ll be posting about books that I’m reading, will read, have read, or look forward to reading when I get the chance. I will try to post a link to those books, in the event that you’re interested in reading them, too.

In the past, that would have meant a link to Amazon, but no longer. I would link to ABE Books, but they have been bought by Amazon, so I will link to eBay instead. The eBay preview isn’t the sexiest, so I may also have to add a copy of the cover just for aesthetics.

Obviously, if you’d prefer to order from Amazon, the choice is yours. You can search on the author and title and probably find the book pretty easily. But I won’t be linking to them directly.

It’s a sad moment, another tiny step in the direction of a Red America and a Blue America. But after Amazon’s assist in crushing smaller businesses during the Covid shutdowns and the riots of 2020, and now their discontinuing of inconvenient apps, it’s one that I prefer to take.

No Comments

Freedom of the Press – Created, Not Inherited

I finally finished Daniel Boorstin’s The Americans: The Colonial Experience. It’s 372 pages long, divided up into bite-sized chapters of 5-10 pages each. For all that, it needs careful reading, and there’s something worth flagging in every chapter.

For instance, the press labored under government restrictions on this side of the Atlantic much longer than it did in Britain. Partially, this was because chronic shortages of paper, ink, and typeface made a successful press harder to run. But it’s also because the colonial governments passed press licensing laws here, and then kept them in force after similar laws in England had lapsed in the 1690s.

For instance, on page 329:

Authorities were still impressed by the great power for irresponsible attack which a press could put into any man’s hands. The European governing classes would no more have thought of leaving the manufacture of explosive printed matter unregulated than they would have permitted the unlicensed manufacture of gunpowder or the raising of private armies. In America control was exercised, sometimes in one way, sometimes in another, and the need to censor varied with the flow of events. But one fact is clear: the traditional European idea of monopolizing the press to cement the social order was successfully transplanted to American shores.”

We tend to think of our liberties as having been ancient, inherited from England, and being encroached upon by the Crown. But in at least this instance, freedom of the press was included in the First Amendment not from inheritance, but from the experience of not having had it.

No Comments