There are a few stories we were watching closely at the end of 2020, and we wanted to bring listeners up to date. First up is Section 230, the law that provides a degree of immunity to online platforms – from social media to community radio stations – for consequences resulting from what their users might post or share on their platforms. Trump had urged its repeal, apparently to get back at big tech companies like Twitter, and installed a new FCC commissioner in December who is very supportive of the FCC taking over administration of the statute, regulating online speech. That put eyes on the FCC’s January meeting. We’ll tell you what happened.
We’ve also been tracking controversies at the Voice of America, where a political appointee has been pressuring staff to avoid news coverage critical of the US. The situation recently came to another head. Then our reflection on VOA’s mission spurs Paul to share the story of when his grandmother was a broadcaster for the service.
We also spend some time learning about Jennifer’s new podcast project, and discuss the evolution of podcast formats since the early days of the medium.
- On these two episodes Prof. Christopher Terry discusses the recent controversies over Section 230:
- Podcast #265 – Inside the “Little Known” Voice of America and the U.S. Agency for Global Media
- PBS Newshour: What we saw the day the Capitol was attacked | ‘America, Interrupted’ Podcast
- Marc Maron reflects on the medium of podcasting in the 300th episode of WTF
- Updates on changes at the USAGM and VOA in the days following the recording of this episode: Leadership Changes at U.S. Agency for Global Media and Voice of America