Thursday, August 05, 2021
Facebook has kicked New York University researchers off of its site. The investigators were looking into the extent of disinformation advertising during the last election. Facebook claims they were gathering data on people and violating their privacy. NYU says it was doing no such thing, but it had determined that Facebook was hosting ads propagating lies into November 2020 after it claimed it had controlled them. This is a black eye for Facebook and a PR faux pas. If the company had nothing to worry about, it could have allowed the researchers to continue. Transparency is a key to credible social media, and Facebook's action guaranteed it isn't ready to share with the public what shows on its platform. It couldn't have come at a worse time for the company. Congress already is moving to legislate controls on social media.
Wednesday, August 04, 2021
Tuesday, August 03, 2021
The National Labor Relations Board is recommending a do-over of the Amazon union drive in Alabama. It cites illegal action on the part of Amazon to influence the vote its way. Amazon is predictably upset and is going to appeal. The Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union is satisfied and ready to start again. Any way one looks at this event, it is clear the NLRB is sending a message to the company that it cannot act in a high-handed fashion to get its way. It is also a communication to laborers in Amazon's other warehouses that they can organize if they wish. Should Alabama's workers vote for the union on the second try, other facilities will follow. It is sad that the company has not reevaluated its labor policies to prevent organizing action. It believes it is in the right, and that is its first mistake.
Monday, August 02, 2021
Because of this, it is clear President Biden's celebration of victory over COVID was too soon. July 4th Independence Day from the virus was but a blip in the disease's course. The Delta variant is raging across the country and even fully vaccinated people are getting sick. The Center for Disease Control's advice to relaunch the mask mandate is a PR blow to the President. He put his credibility on the line by having a party for 1000 on the White House lawn. No one became ill, but it was at the same time the Provincetown cluster was developing. Citizens are tired of masks and social distancing. Those not vaccinated are in worse peril than before but they don't seem to care. Biden and health authorities are preaching to a wall. It's disheartening to witness.
Friday, July 30, 2021
A Hong Kong court has given a pro-democracy demonstrator a 9-year sentence for protesting the Chinese government's restriction of free speech in the territory. One can no longer criticize Beijing's rulings and tactics and not be held accountable. The heavy hand of the state has destroyed diversity of political opinion. The communist government is well into an experiment that has already failed -- Marxist capitalism. Business can operate in China but it must refrain from saying anything negative about the state. The same restriction has now been applied to Hong Kong, traditionally a free-wheeling entity. In such an environment, public relations is difficult. One is constantly looking over the shoulder to determine what is acceptable to bureaucrats. Publicity must be vetted. What an organization says about itself must be approved. Even mild disagreements raise the specter of prison time. China can get away with destruction of speech for decades, but eventually its citizens will rebel again.
Thursday, July 29, 2021
This scientist wrote that the universe has no meaning beyond itself. It is pointless and there is no deity behind its creation. You can imagine what believers think. They have argued with him from the moment he penned the statement. Yet, how do you communicate the existence of a God in a world where everything emanated from a Big Bang and continues according to natural laws that need no divinity? It is not easy, especially since science has become a secular endeavor. Belief is personal and stems from a need for justice in a world where there is little. The rich get richer and the poor die young. The innocent are accused and self-interest is the rule. It's too harsh of a world for believers to accept, so, according to scientists, they invent a deity who makes things right before and after death. The scientist's view is bleak and without hope. Religion refuses to accept it. The two sides talk past one another and leave people confused.
Wednesday, July 28, 2021
The House panel investigating the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol started off with testimony from four police officers who were assaulted by the mob that day. Testimony was harrowing and brought the ugly incident to life. This was intentional by the Congressional investigators. They want to communicate to American citizens not to forget what happened and crimes committed. The panel will soon descend into dry analyses of documents, readiness and fixing the blame for the uprising. It will get political because it has to. Instigators of the event were the President himself and Congressional leaders who supported him with fiery speeches at a rally that morning. The question remains whether their goal was to incite the crowd to overturn the election certification in Congress that day or to inveigh against an "unfair" result. Either way, the people responded. Trump will not get off lightly. His supporters in Congress will continue to dub the panel as a political hack job, but the testimony of the four officers is a reminder that a mob went out of control.