Time Period Problems
This week, I engaged with CBS’s Face the Nation and the On the Media podcast titled “Band-Aid On A Bulletwound.” Face the Nation’s moderator, Margaret Brennan, discussed the rules and procedures of the impeachment inquiry against President Trump while he insists, he committed no wrongdoing during the Ukraine phone call. “Band-Aid On A Bulletwound” explored the cause of the California wildfires through a metaphor, the website 8chan going offline and its possible rebirth, and the right to be forgotten. From these two episodes, a common theme I noticed pertained to lessons from the past, present, and future.
Margaret Brennan continued to ask each guest on Face the Nation about the timeline of the impeachment proceeding. Both the House Majority Leader, Steny Hoyer, and Representative Jackie Speier gave vague details about when the White House will release the witness testimonies from the depositions, when the public hearings begin, and what the next steps are moving forward. Will several witnesses testify in a single day, or will it be spread out? How many hearings will the White House have?
The CBS moderator said the House Democrats aimed to wrap up the impeachment inquiry by Thanksgiving. House Majority Leader, Steny Hoyer said, “Time is not constraining us. The truth and the facts are constraining us. We are going to move as soon as the facts and the truth dictate that we have” (“Face the Nation”). To provide comprehensive transparency, it requires them to stretch the impeachment proceeding past their deadline to synthesize the massive amount of information from the transcripts and trials for public consumption. This relates to a citizen’s ability to access government meetings and records to provide “greater government transparency” to “shed light on their decision making” (Trager 291). I wondered how much of the transcript from the public hearings will get released, and how they will be disseminated to the public? Who will be the first person to have their public hearing transcript released?
I enjoyed the three segments from the On the Media podcast, which dealt with future, present, and past problems. Brooke Gladstone and writer, Quinn Norton, discussed technical debt regarding problem-solving. Norton claimed, “Much of our technical debt around the globe comes from not understanding how the world worked,” but through advancements in technology and knowledge we can make better predictions (“On the Media”). By realizing everything is interconnected, we can transform, “the decisions made a hundred years ago by people who didn’t want to deal with the system they were in,” to change our present actions to make good causes for the future (“Band-Aid...”).
On the Media producer, Micah Loewinger spoke with Frederick Brennan who is the founder of 8chan, an anonymous forum website. They discussed their views about the temporary solution to halt the conspiracy theories, radical political arguments, and extreme rhetoric discussions by de-platforming 8chan. This is an example of a short-term solution because currently, “Our politicians seem unwilling to enact policies that would curb mass violence” (“Band-Aid...”). Although the 8chan administrators strive to rebuild the site with a new name, precautionary measures taken by Cloudflare, 8chan’s network provider, to no longer support the site, will increase the difficulty for them to launch a new one in the meantime.
Instead of perceiving these actions as technical debt, Brennan perceives this as a step in the right direction to achieve a long-term goal. However, I think they are solving a narrow issue, as Norton described, instead of thinking about how this website fits into the larger societal system. Eradicating the platform, which the QAnons use to communicate, is helpful. But, what actions can one take to change the QAnons deeply rooted ideologies within themselves and others when the site no longer exists? While 8chan’s network providers may stop supporting 8chan, removing one’s unfavorable story from the internet is not as simple.
The right to be forgotten stems from people’s desire to want others to forgive their past mistakes because they are a different person in the present. Chris Quinn, head of cleveland.com, receives requests from people to remove stories about their regrettable actions, so they no longer pop up in internet searches. On one hand, these articles “were crushing [these people] psychologically” (“On the Media”). On the other hand, the value of having these stories provide a reference for how to handle similar future situations. The question comes down to deciding which information will be relevant in the future? To implement the right to be forgotten, I think cleveland.com may remove the people’s names from the story, but they should still be left available for people to find, read, and others to read learn from “past transgressions” (“Band-Aid...”).