Hat tip to Matt Taibbi for pointing out that Columbia law professor Timothy Wu, now appointed to the National Economic Council by President Biden to revise antitrust law, wrote an article in 2017, “Is the First Amendment Obsolete?”
Taibbi notes the discrepancy between Wu calling himself a “devotee” of the great Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis (a proponent of “counter speech” against bad speech), while creeping up to the idea that the First Amendment “should be adapted to contemporary speech conditions.”
Such as … “to try to return the country to the kind of media environment that prevailed in the 1950s.”
Taibbi asks just what was it about the journalism of the 1950s we should celebrate – “a historically repressive atmosphere of conformity … all sorts of glaring social problems covered up or de-emphasized with relative ease,” including the impact of Jim Crow laws?
Money quote: “Every time a Democratic Party-aligned politician or activist says he or she wants the tech companies to take action to prevent, say, the dissemination of fake news, one has to realize that it makes little sense for those same actors to then turn around and advocate for breakup of those same firms.”
Does if it makes sense for the White House to rely on someone to revise antitrust law to break up Big Tech social media companies – ostensibly because of dysfunctional speech – who also believes the First Amendment is a relic of a bygone era, like wigs and stockings?