There’s been a question, trying to form in the back of my head, like an itch I can’t reach, concerning our investigation of Russian meddling in U.S. elections. I do worry about Trump’s possible collusion with a foreign power and the corruption it would imply – though corruption seems to be the way of things in our capitals these days.
I found that itch yesterday, as I was talking about it with my wife — and here it is.
What’s the difference between Russia’s efforts to sew distrust in our government with social media and our efforts to sew distrust in the Soviet/Russian government during the Cold War with Voice of America broadcasts?
There is an important difference, I believe. VOA sought to “win the attention and respect of listeners” behind the Iron Curtain by offering a “consistently reliable and authoritative source of news.” (Words from the VOA Charter of 1959.)
We wanted to help intelligent people in the USSR, to recognize true news and reject the Soviet propaganda.
Russia, on the other hand, wants to appeal to unintelligent Americans’ willingness to believe sensationalist propaganda and reject true news.
That’s the difference!
Perhaps, rather than investigating Russian meddling, we should be investigating education policy that wants students to memorize the right answers to questions, instead of teaching them the discipline of asking questions and the wisdom to question the answers.
I discovered something interesting, while leaving Hannah’s Coffee House yesterday. It was a flyer for a new company in Shelby called BizHub. It is a coworking space, opened last August, that serves professionals, creatives and organizations in the Shelby area who have a need for temporary work or meeting space. At BizHub, you and I can rent a desk, a conference room or an office for a week, a day or an hour – professional work space with high speed WiFi, printers, coffee and sodas, big screen TVs, etc and etc. Wikipedia describes coworking space as being “attractive to work-at-home professionals, independent contractors, independent scientists or people who travel frequently who end up working in relative isolation.”
A friend of mine, Brian Russell, established the first coworking space in the research triangle, Carrboro Creative Coworking. Even though Carrboro was to far from Raleigh to be practical for my use, the concept fascinated me, as an independent home-office professional.
Jason, with whom I spoke at BizHub, said that they host meetings for groups who found coffeeshops too noisy. They also have business travelers who use their space for working while on the road, locals who need a formal office for a period of time and other professionals who simply need some work time away from their usual workplace.
I loved being an independent worker, what Dan Pink called a free-agent worker, and spaces like BIzHub make it a lot easier to do work independent of corporate or government direction.