Right diagnosis, wrong remedy

Robert Reich is right about one thing:

A major characteristic of the internet goes by the fancy term “disintermediation”. Put simply, it means sellers are linked directly to customers with no need for middlemen.

Amazon eliminates the need for retailers. Online investing eliminates the need for stock brokers. Travel agents and real estate brokers are obsolete. At a keystroke, consumers get all the information they need.

But democracy can’t be disintermediated. We’re not just buyers and sellers. We’re citizens who need to know what’s happening around us in order to exercise our right to self-government, and responsibility for it.

If a president and his enablers are peddling vicious and dangerous lies, we need reliable intermediaries that help us see them.

The problem is we have a president who will say anything to preserve his power, and two giant entities that spread his lies uncritically, like global-sized bullhorns.

We can’t do anything about Trump until election day or until he’s convicted of an impeachable offense. But we can and should take action against the power of these two super-enablers. If they’re unwilling to protect the public against powerful lies, they shouldn’t have as much power to spread them.

And his solution? Use antitrust law to break up Facebook and Twitter.

That’s not going to solve the problem. And even if it did, Trump would be into his fifth term before break-up was accomplished.