The (New) Court of Public Opinion

Discussion in 'The War Room' started by Sabin, Jul 30, 2015.

  1. Sabin

    Sabin Blue Belt

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    Started to write this as a reply to the Hogan thread, but then thought this deserved it's own.

    Justice as an ideal is supposed to be equally applied and have codified degrees of right and wrong and proportional responses. Not whims.

    Instead, now the question is - did the incident go viral? If so, appease the mob, and destroy the offender and most of the time, do it fast. No weighing of evidence and no due process.

    I'm beginning to even question the motives of some of the people releasing offensive viral videos. Are they truly interested in justice, or just destroying someone they don't like. Got an enemy you don't like? Stalk him with a camera, or set up a hidden camera and be patient. Everyone is bound to do or say A Ton of stupid things over their 80 year life span, better hope it doesn't get caught on camera...

    The nuance here, the current precedent is that leaders and celebrities are held to a much higher standard and apparently anything goes with them. While his comments are horrible, they were also 8 years ago and from a private conversation. What if the tape were 20 years old? How about 30? 50? So according to precedent it's ok cause he's a celeb (I don't like this precedent), but I don't think we want this to trickle into the general population.

    This online community is not the traditional in person court of public opinion. Where if you say something about someone in person, you might encounter his friends or family and have to stand by your comments. Online is scorched earth. And while most of the time the person is guilty of wrong doing, it's important to keep in mind this is the same community that attempted to destroy Curt Schilling's daughter and Robin William's daughter for no GD reason whatsoever. And in the case of Zelda she just lost her dad, wtf is wrong with people. Even when they're right, to whatever degree, this is probably not a court you want to give credibility to.

    Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Thought, Due Process, Justice and Reasonable Expectations of Privacy, at the new interfaces of high technology and human nature, all of these high ideals are being threatened at the moment.

    Do we want to get closer and closer to thought crime and a Hitler youth tattle-tell society?
     
  2. Shokushu Goukan

    Shokushu Goukan Banned Banned

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    How can we let racists and gay haters live in today's society? We are so enlightened. This old idea of people being able to have "wrong" opinions and be able to have a job, earn a living, and feed their family is just so last century.
    We have to punish these people. Make a spectacle out of them. Maybe bring back the pillory and if they do not apologize we can maybe burn them at the stake.

    We are at the moral height of what is exactly right, and we must punish any dissension. We cannot handle change. Those thoughts are passe.
     
  3. Nonsense

    Nonsense Silver Belt

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    I agree with a lot of what you say, in particular about over-"enlightened" mob mentality and the motives of those trying to ruin people.

    But having freedom of speech and the right to due process does not mean that society can't react to your words or jump to conclusions. No one is entitled to due process in the court of public opinion, because there is no process. There are only loud, obnoxious, unforgiving voices that love watching people fall.
     
  4. Cubo de Sangre

    Cubo de Sangre Titanium Belt

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  5. IngaVovchanchyn

    IngaVovchanchyn Titanium Belt Platinum Member

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    This. The tolerant crowd has forgotten what it means to tolerate.
     
  6. ChillyPalmer

    ChillyPalmer The One True King

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    The benefits still outweigh the positive.

    Sure, sometimes it can go overboard. Like that poor Justine woman. For the most part it exposes and shames the bigots, and brings to light some topics society as a whole needs to talk about.

    Pretending everything is great and nothing is wrong is ridiculous.
     
  7. Nonsense

    Nonsense Silver Belt

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    There's a middle ground, and I don't think that publicly shaming someone for something they said nearly a decade ago in private is the middle ground.
     
  8. emefer

    emefer Brown Belt

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    I find your court to be guilty of "suck"

    Oh, didn't read butthead.
     
  9. OldGoat

    OldGoat Red Belt

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    People just like to watch others suffer. It's self-righteous assholery.
     
  10. spin

    spin Gold Belt

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    Just more good old days nonsense.

    Public opinion has never been fully just or benevolent.
     
  11. RIPWarrior

    RIPWarrior Banned Banned

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    White people must be publicly shamed since only whites are racist. The TVnews told me so.

    This is how you implement proper change!
     
  12. Kafir-kun

    Kafir-kun Autocratic Centrist

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    Of course but technology has slowly eroded our privacy. Cameras are increasingly small and prevalent in our lives and are increasingly capturing private, sometimes intimate, moments. Our internet history is also a window into our personal lives and increasingly that information is becoming available to 3rd parties. I'm sure we've all Googled something we wouldn't want an employer or the general public to know we've Googled. We knows companies like Google and Microsoft sell the information they hae on us to companies for advertising purposes so I don't think its crazy to think in the future it might be sold/leaked for other purposes.

    When you couple this with the overzealous witch hunts I think it paints a scary picture; anyone is fair game and everyone, or at least everone who has used the internet, is vulnerable.
     
  13. panamaican

    panamaican Senior Moderator Staff Member Senior Moderator

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    The court of public opinion has always operated this way. Mob rule has always settled social matters that don't concern the law.

    More often than not, when people decry the effect of the court of public opinion, they're often decrying that they're on the less popular side of the issue. In these cases, it's not the court of public opinion that they are upset with - it's that the court doesn't agree with them and they fear that the consequences of an issue will negatively impact them.

    Tellingly, people often ignore the numerous issues/agendas that don't "go viral". There are literally thousands of new videos/audio of individuals and celebrities uploaded to the internet every day. 99.999% of them are mostly ignored because the issues being addressed don't contradict the general public's idea of what's best for society. The very few that do, go viral not because of someone's agenda but because society as a group has strong feelings about the subject.

    In short, people just don't like being on the wrong side of public opinion because they feel that it will eventually hurt them. But that's life. What society deems acceptable is always in flux and what was accepted last year or 2 years ago or 20 years isn't guaranteed to be accepted tomorrow, in 5 years or in 15.
     
  14. panamaican

    panamaican Senior Moderator Staff Member Senior Moderator

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    I slightly disagree with this but only because I think it takes a very short view of history and technology. If you go back to when people lived in small villages, privacy was even less than it is now. The negative effects of being on the wrong side of public opinion were even more pronounced.

    It's only when you compare the scope that the internet provides that the impacts seem greater. But even then, I think people surprisingly ignore how much they're actually creating that environment.

    Websites like TMZ wouldn't be so popular if people weren't already obsessed with stripping down their privacy for fame or people weren't so obsessed with the goings on of others to consume the content. Hulk Hogan for instance intentionally put himself in the public sphere. He spent money trying to boost his daughter into the public sphere so she could sell us albums. He spent time and money making people want to know as much about him as they could so that he could capitalize off their interest. So, it shouldn't be surprising that that interest might turn negative once he loses control of the message being sold. He created the interest, not the public.

    I said in the other thread that people create an artificial concept of "privacy" for some opinions while spending their time breaching the privacy of others and disregarding their own privacy en masse. There's a significant amount of dissonance in play there.
     
  15. drstrangelov

    drstrangelov Hey.

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    In some ways, society has forgotten how to forgive. Nobody wants to be less strict about personal decency than the rest of the mob, so no resolution is ever readily acceptable once someone has been publicly accused of some universally reviled behavior.

    Also, empathy has become taboo in many cases. There are whole groups of people who self identify with a narrowly defined group, and do not want to cede any common ground over their "unique" struggle. It's not enough to have experienced oppression, subjugation, poverty, ridicule, whatever, it needs to have come for a common reason.

    I pretty much recognize that this is not really the norm though. The most vocal people control the way the public engages with an issue and that's nothing new. I'm sure most folks don't give a shit about what hulk hogan says during pillow talk, and don't care who wants to use the unicorn restroom as long as it doesn't impact them, but I don't know if I'm behind the term "silent majority." It's just a buzzword used by people attempting to carve out a little chunk of the media echo chamber for themselves.
     
  16. Kafir-kun

    Kafir-kun Autocratic Centrist

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    Interesting point about privacy in small villages. I've read that in such villages most crimes prosecuted were moral crimes like adultery because for the most part they were relatively safe so its a good point.

    However, I will say that with technology our transgressions are recorded for much longer in much more detail. I think its less likely for something from a decade past to pop up in a small village the way it can now. Of course its still possible if it was kept a secret by someone who eventually spilled the beans but that's a world of difference from video/audio evidence and computers complicate the matter a lot. Its been well documented that people feel safer revealing the details of their personal lives with computers. In some sense many have a more intimate relationship with Google than they do with most people in their own life because most people are willing to search things there that they wouldn't admit even to close friends and families for fear of judgement. However, now its becoming increasingly clear that this intimate relationship is being recording and stored meticulously and monetized.

    Given that this intimate information is collected and sold I don't find it hard to imagine that it might be sold eventually for more sinister purposes than advertising. Politicians are in the public sphere so is it a stretch to think that this information might be sold to smear political opponents? How about political opposition in general, regardless of whether or not they're running for office? Perhaps I'm getting into conspiracy territory here but after the NSA scandal I don't think its too crazy to fear the potential for abuse all this information can lead to.
     
  17. panamaican

    panamaican Senior Moderator Staff Member Senior Moderator

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    I agree that the internet has created a permanence for certain actions and behaviors. For instance, anyone can look up my 6 years worth of posting and probably will still be able to do so 50 years from now. It could be frightening or it could lead me to be more responsible in what I write. I can't necessarily blame society because I choose not to take precautions.

    As for sinister purposes, I think you're being entirely too forgiving to individuals of the past. Smearing political opponents, business rivals, etc. by obtaining private information is as old as competition itself. In the old days, people simply kept files of all the dirt they could dig up on people to sell or use as necessary. Humanity's upper echelons of power have never played nice.

    I don't know if transgressions were easier or harder to cover up in the past. Probably easier to cover up but also harder to disprove blatant falsehoods too. So some sort of balance was in play. An interesting look at balance is this current obsession with police shootings.

    There's nothing to indicate that the amount of shootings are increasing but as the ability to cover them up has decreased, the ability of the public to push for some sort of reform has increased. The specific ability of technology to preserve events for later consumption that might be increasing society's sense of justice.
     
  18. Kafir-kun

    Kafir-kun Autocratic Centrist

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    I don't think you'd be very happy if your livelihood were to suffer because of something you posted on Sherdog though.
    I'm not being forgiving of individuals of the past, in fact its because there's a robust history of obtaining private information to smear opponents that I'm worried. Now with the internet that private information is more private and there's a lot more of it and with how vast the information is it wouldn't be too hard to take some of that information out of context to craft a misleading picture of that person's private internet use. Take a few Google searches here and an email or two there and you can have a very different picture of what the person was actually doing. Before you needed to catch someone cheating on their wife or soliciting a prostitute, now you might only need to know if they had an Ashley Madison account, one they might have never even intended to use seriously, or Googled escorts, perhaps out of curiosity, to smear them.

    Let's take something that's in the public eye: ISIS. If you check into the WR threads on them you'll find there are a lot of people who are fascinated by them, some of whom might've done their own research. Take a few Google searches and perhaps some browser history showing some ISIS twitter accounts and slap on the headline "ISIS sympathizer? A Psych Major's internet history and what it might tell us about his politics". Now that might not be enough to get me charged with terrorism but it might be enough to keep me from winning an election if timed right.
    I don't want to make it seem like its all bad, the police videos are a good example of how the ubiquity of cameras and the internet can do good.
     
  19. OldGoat

    OldGoat Red Belt

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    That ain't it. You are educated and smart but you are missing the danger of the way outrage can be amplified with ease. It used to require large efforts for propaganda to have an effect. Now with social media and the Internet banging your best friend's girl and saying something non PC can ruin you. That's not right. If anything the adultery ought to be the problem. Nope. It's a word endemic in subculture but is used as an intellectually dishonest "gotcha!"
     
  20. ultramanhyata

    ultramanhyata Gold Belt

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    But the key to understanding what is so wrong about the Hogan situation involves realizing that if he'd been critical of his daughter dating Italians on the tape and been referring to them as "dago's" the WWE would have felt no financial pressure to erase his name from the fake wrasslin' history books.
     

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