Tuesday

Tuesday 20/08/2002I'm sure Monday's diary entry is the sort of thing that Peter Chernin's dead against. Speaking at a conference in the US organised by the Progress & Freedom Foundation -- why do these things have such overtly Stalinist names?

Tuesday 20/08/2002
I'm sure Monday's diary entry is the sort of thing that Peter Chernin's dead against. Speaking at a conference in the US organised by the Progress & Freedom Foundation -- why do these things have such overtly Stalinist names? -- Mr Chernin said that the Internet was a "moral-free zone" with vast amounts of pornography and "worthless content" online. Mr Chernin's day job is president of News Corp., a company owned by Rupert Murdoch, and his expertise in such matters is thus beyond reproach. However, he went on to say that the amoral lawlessness of the Internet was so profound as to prevent any of Murdoch's huge library of content -- he also owns 20th Century Fox and Fox Television -- ever being available online. Someone ought to tell him. Someone also ought to tell him that the Internet is self-correcting, and every case of mendacious falseness creates its opposite. An excellent case is the mesh of Web sites dedicated to quashing the somewhat sinister conspiracy theory that the American government and NASA joined forces to deceive the world by faking the Apollo moon landings. These never happened, say the revisionists, and proceed to offer various bits of evidence as backup -- photography, geology, astrophysics are all brought in. Seeing as the moon landings are probably the best-documented event in the history of mankind, with a billion watching at the time and NASA being a very open public institution, this is a remarkable claim. The evidence for it had better be pretty remarkable. It turns out that the evidence is indeed remarkable, but only in its rank bogusness down to the last datum. It only takes a moment's examination by someone who knows the first thing about any of the subjects. Nobody with an ounce of probity could possibly promulgate such daft ideas: that they have such currency is due in large part to a television documentary that purported to present the theories as if they were unanswerable truth -- mostly by making sure that anyone who knew what was going on didn't get within a light year of the camera. The documentary met with almost universal despair and disgust from the scientific community and huge amounts of perfectly argued refutation: the channel that produced it responded by repeating it as often as possible. Rank amoral commercialism? The maker of that channel is Fox Television. Tell it like it is, Pete.

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