Monday, September 08, 2003

A Michael Powell Interview

Worth reading: Michael Powell's interview with the Online Journalism Review at USC.
OJR: There's a long-running debate about keeping some elements the same when news is personalized -- for instance, if there's a major event in your city you should not be able to opt out. Would you draw a line personally?

MP: I think it's very difficult to say because the dividing line as decided by who? The value American culture holds highest is that of an individual to make free choice, so the minute you decide there's some value in them not having a choice as decided by who?

This is why I think media actually is so difficult because a lot of times people cite legitimate concerns, but the solution they invite is even more dangerous -- which is do you want the government to decide? I am Mike Powell. I'm a government official. The First Amendment says the government shall make no law abridging the freedom of the press, so if I think you should really [run] that piece about Rush Limbaugh ...

Who do you want to ask to serve that function? That's why I think we believe in a free press and that's why I think you ought to believe in a free media, because even if there are downsides to private organizations, newspapers, media companies making those decisions, they're better than government making those decisions in our society because you don’t want political discourse skewed with the preferences of the people who have the guns and the money.


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