Our News Feeds Are Toxic

We need a way to clean up our media environment

The Clean Water Act requires that major waterways of the United States be “swimmable and fishable” . . . The media environment should be similarly clean

With the fishable and swimmable premise established for the media environment we can follow the Clean Water Act’s guidance even further. The Clean Water Act focuses on regulating “point source polluters” — entities that introduce pollution directly into the environment — the pipe owners themselves. When the EPA seeks to punish an automobile plant for dumping leftover car paint into a river, they fine the plant not the autoworker who painted the car. The same should hold true for the owners of the media pipes — the Facebooks, Twitters and YouTubes of the world. Sure the guy who made an islamaphobic, fact-free meme is culpable. But even if you succeed in tracking down and punishing the meme-maker (good luck on that one), the pipes remain unfiltered and ready to spill more bile. That’s why we need to police the Media Outflow Pipe Owners (MOPO’s?) so that they in turn police the bad actors using their platforms.

New York Times bestselling author of Four Fish as well as The Climate Diet: Fifty Simple Ways to Trim Your Carbon Footprint paulgreenberg.org

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