Published June 16, 2003
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Hi, I'm Bill O'Reilly. Thanks for watching us tonight.
Sex, lies and videotape on the Internet, that's the subject of this evening's Talking Points Memo. Nearly everyday, there's something written on the Internet about me that's flat out untrue. And I'm not alone. Nearly every famous person in the country's under siege.
Today's example comes from Web sites that picked up a false report from The San Francisco Chronicle that said a San Francisco radio station dropped The Radio Factor. If anyone had bothered to make even one phone call, they would have learned that Westwood One made a deal with another San Francisco radio station, weeks ago to move The Radio Factor. Thus the word "dropped" is obviously inaccurate and dishonest. We'll see if The Chronicle runs a correction, but you can bet you won't be seeing many corrections on the net.
The reason these net people get away with all kinds of stuff is that they work for no one. They put stuff up with no restraints. This, of course, is dangerous, but it symbolizes what the Internet is becoming.
In truth, The Chronicle's story [is] small stuff compared to other Internet sins. The child molestation people have now figured out a way to chat about their crimes without being charged with obscenity. And the Supreme Court actually helped these people by ruling that virtual child porn, computerized images of kids being raped, are legal, an extension of free speech.
So all over the country, we have people posting the most vile stuff imaginable, hiding behind high tech capabilities. Sometimes the violators are punished, but most are not. We have now have teenagers ruining the reputations of their peers in schools on the Internet. Ideologues accusing public officials of the worst things imaginable. And creeps gossiping about celebrities in the crudest of ways.
The Internet has become a sewer of slander and libel, an unpatrolled polluted waterway, where just about anything goes. For example, the guy who raped and murdered a 10-year old in Massachusetts says he got the idea from the NAMBLA Web site that he accessed from the Boston public library. The ACLU's defending NAMBLA in that civil lawsuit.
Talking Points noted with interest the hue and cry that went up from some quarters about the FCC changing the rules and allowing big corporations to own even more media properties. But big corporations are big targets. If they misbehave, they can be sued for big bucks. These small time hit and run operators on the net, however, can traffic in perversity and falsehoods all day long with impunity. It's almost impossible to rein them in.
So which is the bigger threat to America? The big companies or the criminals at the computer? Interesting question.
And that's The Memo.
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