Newspaper Sales in Free Fall

Tobacco Control’s War on Smokers is largely conducted through the media. And so it is refreshing to read that the UK newspaper industry is in free fall.

EUreferendum’s Richard North comments:

This cannot correctly be called an industry in decline – it is in free fall. It is a dying industry. No enterprise can sustain this level of losses and expect to survive.

I’m not surprised that it’s dying. I used to be a regular newspaper reader. Times, Guardian, Telegraph, Independent: I’ve read them all at one time or other. I used to read a newspaper every day. A bit like I used to go to the pub every day.

Now I feel that, for the most part, they’re newspapers for people other than despised and excluded smokers like me. So why should I want to read them? And, for that matter, why should I want to watch TV programmes on which smokers are no longer allowed to appear?

The mass media, on which Tobacco Control has a vice-like grip – probably because the advertising revenues from it are so high – has swung in obediently behind the antismoking onslaught. But the result has been that, even though they may keep the income from TC’s antismoking ads and puff pieces, they lose the custom of smokers like me.

I don’t know much about the newspaper industry, but I reckon that advertisers of any sort whatsoever are going to be primarily concerned with the number of readers a newspaper gets, and that are thus likely to notice their adverts. When readership falls, advertisers will walk away. So you first lose readers, and then you lose advertisers, and when you cut costs and lay off reporters and editors and produce an increasingly empty product, you lose even more readers, and it becomes a self-feeding death spiral.

The same probably applies to political parties. Just like the media, the UK’s principal political parties signed up to TC’s War on Smokers (and now drinkers and fat people and other undesirable yucky people). So why should I vote for any of them? And yet it’s voters like me that put political parties into office. And when we stop voting for them, then the political equivalent of advertisers – campaign fund donors – are going to walk away too. Why spend money on political parties that aren’t likely to win office, because they haven’t got enough voters behind them? And that makes it difficult to attract real talent into your party. It’s the same death spiral. And it’s just as likely to lead to the demise of the major political parties as it is to the demise of most of the newspapers.

So, if they’re not reading newspapers, what are people reading instead? Well, blogs like mine, it seems. My readership hasn’t been falling. Here’s the past 17 months hit count since I switched to WordPress (and readership had been climbing steadily on Livejournal before that).

 

What do people find in my blog? In the first place an angry smoker of the sort who isn’t allowed on TV, and who’s ignored by all the main parties, just like most of my angry readers are. And in the second place they’ll find someone who is both a Global Warming sceptic and a eurosceptic. And thirdly they’ll find someone who’ll actually listen to them and respond to them. And maybe they’ll also find a few other curiosities as well: like my new theory of cell growth and division. You won’t find that in the Independent or on the BBC. In fact, you won’t find it anywhere else at all.

And I’m no different. I read the blogs too. Like DP and Leg-iron, and the above-mentioned EUreferendum, and lots of other ones too. I get most of my news secondhand from blogs. Today’s post is an example of exactly this.

There’s no particular reason why such opinions and ideas should be restricted to blogs – except if they have been excluded from the mass media and from public political discourse. Which is of course exactly what’s been happening. And which is why I write my blog.

One day the mass media and the political parties will realise that, when they got behind Tobacco Control’s Global War on Smokers, they sold their soul to the devil.

And what else is it when national institutions of one kind or other (and the medical establishment is another one) declare war on a quarter of their adult population?

As far as I am concerned, they can all go to the devil.

About Frank Davis

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44 Responses to Newspaper Sales in Free Fall

  1. harleyrider1978 says:

    Its why all the online newspapers are going to subscription and generally they will only give you 12-18 free stories a month while others wont even let you see the page you clicked on without going thru a subscription banner!

    • harleyrider1978 says:

      I see the day where giants like GANNET will offer total gannet subscription services bundled in with other online or mass media trash,just so you can see the news.

  2. Tony says:

    And they will go to the devil eventually, thank Christ.

    As I see it the internet is the main reason, I myself stopped buying papers many years ago, most of what they sprout is utter crap. I get most of my news off of the internet these days. The only downside is that one of the worst for crap, the Daily Mail is doing rather well online, that grates with me as it is an awful outlet sprouting the kind of shit that we can do without, for example I have just read another of the tired and often rolled out “2nd hand smoke” codswallop. So sadly even if it is removed from the print it will still exist in online form to some degree.

    I have said this before (at DP’s I think) and what I think is that people are turning away from the mainstream media and getting their news from the alternative media, in the eyes of many that makes them conspiracy theorists because they dare to believe that the mainstream media do not tell the truth 100%.

    And the BBC is one of the worse, sprouting ready-defined talking points to a (mainly) gullible audience. We only have ourselves to blame for allowing this to happen. Get the tinfoil hats at the ready but David Icke absolutely nails it on how the BBC works, from 15 minutes in. Superb.

    People love to knock him but he talks so much sense.

  3. harleyrider1978 says:

    Rose or anyone:

    I just found this and its the first time Ive ever read it:

    The amount of plaque buildup is about 2/3 that of smoking, and this greatly increases one’s chance for cardiovascular disease.

    1. Anybody ever heard such Bullshit!

    http://www.wtoc.com/story/19324626/is-eating-egg-yolks-as-bad-as-smoking

    • churchmouse says:

      They were saying this back in the 1970s — along with shellfish, other ‘danger’ foods for people with heart disease. Hard yolks were seen as moderately acceptable (a max of 3 per week), but soft yolks were a no-no. My family members and friends with heart disease were told by doctors to avoid these foods.

      All this was debunked a couple of years ago (I might have the link somewhere), so it is sad to see it reappear this quickly.

  4. harleyrider1978 says:

    Even more TC INSANITY!

    Syracuse (WSYR-TV) – According to a new study, 60 percent of children between 3 and 11 years old are regularly exposed to tobacco smoke.

    The study in “Tobacco and Nicotine Research” looked 38 healthy children, ages 10 to 17. About half were exposed to tobacco smoke at home. The others were not.

    To compare their coughing reflexes, scientists gave them an irritant to induce a cough.

    The children exposed to second-hand smoke needed twice as much of the irritant to make them cough twice. The result is concerning because coughing protects lungs from potentially damaging toxins, and the kids exposed to smoke had a less effective cough reflex.

    Those who can’t protect their lungs are more likely to get pneumonia or bronchitis.

    [[The findings may also explain why children of smokers are more likely to become smokers themselves since they are less sensitive to the irritating effects of cigarette smoke.]]

    No, its why children of smokers grow up with healthier immune systems than some dumb ass green vegans kid that gets the sniffles at the first sign of a nice steak!

  5. jaxthefirst says:

    I too have become a somewhat belated admirer of Mr Icke. I had the distinct advantage of being lent, as a diehard sceptic, one of his books by a friend who was a keen adherent of his some years after he had written it, and I was truly astonished by how much of what he had said 10 years previously had either happened or was in the process of happening. I had a similar experience when I re-read 1984 only just recently (having first read it before 1984 and breathed a sigh of relief when 1984 itself came and went with no obvious evidence of any manifestations of the book’s scenario. If only I’d realised that Orwell had just got the date a bit wrong!).

    Since then I’ve always kept an eye on what Icke says because, even if one doesn’t buy into all his “truth vibrations” stuff (and I’ve yet to be totally convinced on that side of his theories) his description of the whole “problem, reaction, solution” process is absolutely spot on every time. And, at a subconscious level, I think that many people may well have started to recognise that that is what the newspapers are basically all about – they are used by the powers-that-be to create and inflate the “problem” which the gullible public then demands that they “do something” about. Which is, of course, precisely what they want. So it must be very worrying for “the authorities” to think that some people might be starting to rumble that newspapers – their No 1 propaganda vehicle – aren’t actually there to inform; they are there to manipulate. As we all know only too well from the whole anti-smoking scenario.

    No wonder, then that those very same authorities are looking somewhat askance at the internet and wondering how on earth they are going to be able to control that. They could, of course, try and whip people into a frenzy through their usual “for the sake of the cheeldren” line by connecting the internet with porn, fast-food adverts, scenes of people smoking etc (as indeed they already have), but without the help of the MSM, how on earth are they going to get their “something must be done,” message out there strongly enough for people to start asking for greater controls on all of our internet use “for the sake of the cheeldren” in the first place?

    • smokervoter says:

      If only I’d realised that Orwell had just got the date a bit wrong!

      I used to think that myself until I realized that Big Brother (at least to we 25% of the population who now find ourselves under his belated totalitarian thumb) did indeed materialize in 1984 in the form of C. Everett Koop on May 10, 1984. At the time, I don’t recall reading about his speech declaring a smokefree world by 2000, nor paying any attention to him or his quixotic campaign, but there’s no denying it set a lot of this perpetual Global War on Smokers in motion.

      And I, too read the book prior to 1984. It was required reading along with Animal Farm at my school. I somehow doubt that it is required anymore, seeing as many school boards and government people would rather kids not catch on to the reality that they’re quite amenable to totalitarianism as long as it’s in the name of public health/behavioral adjustment. It’s their raison d’être nowadays.

      Koop oddly enough had a beard but no mustache. Sly chap that Big Brother, but plenty malevolent nonetheless, just like in the book.

    • To be a total pedant, Orwell was actually writing about 1948 but his publisher insisted he turn the novel into a dystopian fantasy rather than a contemporary analysis of post-war Europe by changing the title. Orwell simply switched the digits. That the work seems prescient to us is a sign of how close we are moving to a true Stalinist state, a little nearer every day, which east Europe drank bitterly of after 1945.

    • Tony says:

      Spot-on mate, he’s got that “Problem, Reaction, Solution” down to an absolute tee!

      I don’t agree with all his theories but some of them are remarkably accurate, and more people are starting to see it too.

  6. mikef317 says:

    Newspaper / magazine circulation has also been declining in the U.S. for a long time. Ditto ratings for the big national TV (ABC, CBS, NBC) network’s half-hour nightly newscasts.

    Just by coincidence, today’s News Hour on the “prestige” PBS (Public Broadcasting System, similar I think to the BBC) had a segment on smoking. It’s basically a six minute commercial for Tobacco Control. Nary a dissenting word.

    http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/globalhealth/july-dec12/smoking_08-20.html

    • Junican says:

      At the present time, what else can happen? All the boats are going with the prevailing wind. The MSM will go with Tobacco Control until TC stop paying them and/or the new story becomes ‘smoking tobacco is good for you in moderation’, which must surely happen in due course.

    • smokervoter says:

      Just so happened to finish watching that PBS segment. Recap.

      Grey-haired nondescript prof Gary Someone from University of Something in Buffalo rattles on with his latest earth-shaking, boring smoking study. This one I think is about the BRIC countries. 40-something % of men smoke, snooze, and 15%-something of women in Russia, India and China smoke. Oh no, the sky is falling and everyone is dying. But Brazil and Uruguay have declining rates cuz’ they’ve got tobacco control going full blast. Mentioned in triplicate form. Snooze. Cash that check TC boy, now go away. Next story please.

      Now they’re whipping a kid in Mali for smoking. For smoking I tell ya’. Did ya’ stick around for the next story there professor Gary Someone? Should make you happy. After all, whipping is a form of tobacco control, is it not?

      A long, long, long smokefree life in a miserable, fanatic-controlled Taliban craphole in Timbuktu is what’s important, right Gary?

      memo to the execs @ the fading PBS newshour media empire (now on life-support):

      The endless rotation of smoking, obesity and global warming stories is what is killing you, and us – through sheer boredom.

    • beobrigitte says:

      It’s basically a six minute commercial for Tobacco Control. Nary a dissenting word.

      Who got further than:
      British Medical Journal The Lancet studied tobacco use in 14 developing nations..?
      The first 5 words indicate tobacco control propaganda. Hardly news then, is it?

  7. waltc says:

    My house became “newspaper-free” in the mid to late 90′s. It started inadvertently when I cancelled the NY Times– I’d thought, “for a couple of weeks” when I went on vacation, but realized when I returned that I was no longer starting my mornings enraged at their political point of view and their agitation for bans. The rest of if happened gradually. There were a few off-beat papers I agreed with politically (or that didn’t enrage me) but I let my subscriptions slide when, slowly but surely and in line with the growing fashion, they editorialized for bans and against smokers in general. My thinking was: Why would I give these people money? And that was all before the internet really bloomed.

    I think the decline of print has been mostly caused by the net– and the digital generation– but secondly by the PC politics it blats which speaks only to its like-minded liberal base. Hard to tell what percentage is attributable to which of those things. OTOH, I steadily read http://www.realclearpolitics.com which offers a good smattering of what both sides are saying since I still think “Know Thy Enemy” is a good piece of advice.

  8. John Gray says:

    Indeed, the newspapers have been in decline now for some time. However, the bad “news” is, that as the internet becomes even more important as a means of communication, the more incentive governments have to want to regulate and control it.

  9. beobrigitte says:

    EUreferendum’s Richard North comments:

    This cannot correctly be called an industry in decline – it is in free fall. It is a dying industry. No enterprise can sustain this level of losses and expect to survive.

    I, too, am not surprised that newspaper sales have dropped. Too much hate mongering and too little independent information.

    Seriously, who wants to read day in day out “smoking this, smoking that”; “weight loss programmes”; “healthy living” etc.
    and only well hidden away finding articles such as:
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2012/jul/19/disabled-workers-stike-remploy-factories
    Smith was also sceptical about the government’s promise that workers would find jobs in the mainstream market. He had to implement cuts of £14m from the council’s public spending last year. There are £20m more to come.

    There is nothing about how much money is wasted on Tobacco control and why their funding has not been cut. According to them we all “live longer” if we abstain from smoking.

    Like this?

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2167927/A-licence-abuse-patients-Theyve-attacked-stolen-vulnerable-care-But-rogue-nurses-struck-off.html

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/jun/01/bristol-care-home-failure-every-level

    What about the care of the “longer living” population?

  10. c777 says:

    Exactly look at watts up with that ,the circulation is over 123,000,000 views.
    Compare that tO the sickening propaganda rag the Guardian, a pitiful 200,000.
    No small wonder the troughers, charlatans, and criminals who run the Political Corporate axis want to control the web.
    They cannot handle the truth going mainstream.

  11. yvonnebones says:

    Keep up the good work Frank.
    I am a non-smoker, categorised as an ex-smoker because I smoked less than 10/day for about 10 years of my life, i.e. less than a 1/4 of my life, but categorised nevertheless.
    My husband smokes in excess of 60/day and indoors too. People ask “Do you ALLOW him to smoke indoors? For heavens sake! Do I ALLOW him to smoke indoors!! Surely he can smoke in his own home. An Englishman’s home is his castle and all that.
    However, he had a nagging cough for several months and other chest pains. First doctor he saw put him straight on a nebuliser and sent him to see the chest nurse. She said his lungs were bang on his age despite his ‘heavy’ smoking. Several doctors later he has been diagnosed with something totally unrelated to smoking, but only because he was persistent.
    The sooner doctors start questioning the so-called smoking related illnesses the sooner people will get better diagnosed and possibly off sickness benefits too.

    • jaxthefirst says:

      Yvonne, I think that’s one of the most insidious side-effects of the one-eyed preoccupation with smoking as the cause of any and all ailments, and particularly those related to chest infections or complaints. The moment the medical profession allowed themselves to be convinced that smoking was pretty much the only cause for any of those complaints, they simply saw no need to look into any other causes. And the introduction of Passive Smoking into the equation has escalated this problem by closing their eyes to any other possible causes of chest complaints in non-smokers, too.

      Who knows, maybe if the anti-smoking industry hadn’t been allowed to get as strong and powerful as it has, we might well have cures for a whole host of illnesses which we presently don’t have, because research would have continued and the real causes ascertained. After all, if the researchers of the day had allowed themselves to be totally convinced that the Plague was indeed caused by “bad air” – as was commonly believed at the time – we might never have discovered that it was in fact caused by fleas and carried by rats!

      Research is only ever based on what we don’t know; the moment we (whether actually or erroneously) think that we do know something, the need for research vanishes. Perhaps, then, it’s no wonder that even after years of research we still haven’t found a definitive cure for any of the multitude of cancers which have become the modern-day Plague. In fact, in respect of cancer and other so-called smoking-related illnesses, it would seem that the medical profession haven’t actually moved their approach any further than where they were in the Middle Ages. As far as the general public are concerned, “we know” must surely be one of the most dangerous phrases the medical establishment have ever uttered.

      • Rose says:

        Wilhelm Hueper, post-World War II epidemiology, and the vanishing clinician’s eye.

        “To understand why Hueper pressed his attack so insistently, we need to look beyond methods to what he saw as the broader implications of the new epidemiology.”

        He suspected that pressures from corporations and a state-run nuclear industry reached into the NCI itself, especially when Director Heller shut down Hueper’s epidemiological initiatives entirely in 1952.
        NCI epidemiologists continued to pursue field studies of certain industries, but Hueper inferred similar influences on his colleagues.”

        “Just as fundamentally, Hueper’s resistance reflected his concerns about how the new epidemiology would become translated into clinical and medicolegal decision making.

        If physicians came to agee that smoking was such a universal and important cause of lung cancer, even in their work-patients, then liability and compensation suits by workers in the industries that did cause lung cancer in workers, such as coke, chromate, or asbestos production stood in dire jeopardy.”

        “If a worker happened also to be a smoker – which most blue collar workers tended to be – then companies would argue that he brought it on himself.

        Epidemiologists themselves did not argue that the new smoking evidence distinguished the influence of workplace exposures from that of smoking in any individual case.

        Yet Hueper knew how defence attorneys and their medical witnesses would seize upon a plaintiff’s smoking to provide a “convenient escape for the guilty industrial part to pay compensation to the victim or to his widow and orphans.”
        http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1381166/?page=8

        But these days smoking causes everything.

        Miners win historic compensation claim – 1998

        “Mr Justice Turner awarded the six test case miners up to £10,000 each for pain, suffering and disability from emphysema and chronic bronchitis.
        All but one of the claims were reduced because smoking contributed to the diseases.”
        http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/49973.stm

        So the non-smoker had emphysema and chronic bronchitis from inhaling coal dust but the smokers had emphysema and chronic bronchitis to which their smoking contributed, is the judge trying to say that if those smokers hadn’t smoked they would have milder emphysema and chronic bronchitis than the non-smoker?
        But then they would have been non-smokers who had emphysema and chronic bronchitis from inhaling coal dust and would have got the full amount.

        Is it just me?

        • beobrigitte says:

          Nope, Rose. It isn’t just you.
          Ths “brown lungs” do exist but they are not the ones of smokers. They are the ones of coal miners. Would someone kindly inform Tobacco Control to get their facts straight? One might ask “which ones” and the answer would be: ALL!!!

          The moment the medical profession allowed themselves to be convinced that smoking was pretty much the only cause for any of those complaints, they simply saw no need to look into any other causes.

          Which is what Prof. Grieshaber (non-smoker) points out in his book.

  12. Taking things a stage further, see here
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthadvice/9486430/Is-there-a-cholesterol-cover-up.html
    “Smith’s film will be released as video on demand next month and was “crowd funded” – made with money he raised from the general public”

  13. The only people I know who take a daily paper are all my parents’ ages – in their 70s and 80s, as they have done for decades, while increasingly wondering why. And that is by definition a dying market.

  14. Plain packaging – common sense or nonsense? You decide… @commonsenseHQ

  15. Rose says:

    Bradford politician joins campaigners against non-branded tobacco packaging

    “Mr Sutcliffe said: “I’ve never smoked and supported the introduction of the smoking ban, but I believe this proposal (to enforce plain tobacco packaging) does not make sense.”
    http://www.thetelegraphandargus.co.uk/business/business_news/9883812.Bradford_MP_backs_plain_cigarette_packs_opponents/?ref=rss

    If he could vote for 20% of the public to be turned into social outcasts, why would he concern himself over what’s printed on a bit of cardboard?

    • jaxthefirst says:

      Aah, well, Rose. Maybe the said gentleman likes a tipple or two and, now that his precious ban is in, done and dusted, he’s started seeing some rather nasty signs of that much talked-about “slippery slope” that he and his anti-smoking friends always claimed didn’t exist …

      Isn’t it funny how clearly people can see things once one of their own pleasures are threatened?

      • smokingscot says:

        Yup, like one of their “safe seats” taken by none other than George Galloway!!

        And four of their council members plus one Tory getting their posteriors booted out of office by Respect.

        And where does a lot of their support come from? Little bitty, hitherto ignored shopkeepers – and many of them, in fact darned near 80% of them, have a non-white colour scheme.

        Once in a while real life catches up – even amongst politicains!

  16. Marvin says:

    I haven’t bought a newspaper for years.
    On the brief occasions I turn the telly on, the PC propoganda is unbearable.
    I get my “news” from Forums, Blogs, Facebook etc. and they ALWAYS beat the dead tree press.
    This is because the people who actually live there, or work there, report the story first hand, sometimes even providing a video, shot on a phone. NO paid for hack can compete with that.

    On the subject of “experts”…
    I was on a forum some time ago, when an irrate “journalist” from the Sun newspaper started threatening us, for simply speaking the truth, I might add, not libeling anyone, and she had been told by one of her expert colleaques, that we could all be traced by our IP addresses.
    Knowledgable members made it crystal clear to her that this was BS as IP addresses change and are at best only a “gateway” to the Internet.

    It soon became clear to me, that in their hermetically sealed world, “in the land of the blind the one eyed man is king”, is very true.
    No doubt the expert colleaque was the one who finally learned how to program his video and was promptly promoted to “Chief Scientific Correspondent”.

  17. Messalina says:

    I get all my news from blogs such as yours, and alternative news sites on the internet. I haven’t read a mainstream newspaper in years, as I don’t believe anything in the MSM anymore – it’s all either sensationalist scare stories, celebrity gossip or someone’s political agenda. You get the truth from blogs on the internet as these are written by genuine people with no ‘party line’ to tow. I must also say that since I’ve been reading your blog and other freedom of choice/anti Tobacco Control sites, my health has improved greatly!
    Oh by the way, Hello from the sunny island of Malta, where I live now. I’ve only recently got my internet connection, so it’s been a while since I’ve commented.

  18. garyk says:

    “when national institutions of one kind or other (and the medical establishment is another one) declare war on a quarter of their adult population?”

    It is ONLY 25% because the TC antis say that is the percentage.

    EVERY ONE of that 25% have spouses, significant others, or close/dear friends that are also effected by the war on smokers.

    50% is a more accurate number.

    My wife and I used to enjoy going to the local taverns and playing video games and pinball.
    Since the smoking ban, I refuse to go and my wife gets zero pleasure from the thought of going alone.

    Since I like to have a smoke with my meals, dining out is a rather hurried affair. I refuse to leave my wife at the table while I go outside to smoke.
    Besides, she would cause me bodily pain if I did such a thing.

    So, we do a lot of carry-out or delivery to home dining. We get the same food; but, the wine is less expensive and Father is happy.

    This makes Mother happy and it is well known that “If Mother is not happy, nobody is happy!”

    I am sorry about the waitstaff losing tips; but, the ban was not my idea.

    I have not gotten the local paper for years.
    They delivered to the end of the driveway and that is 50 feet from my front door.
    The paper wasn’t worth going out to get in the rain or in the cold and snow of Winter.

  19. Junican says:

    I suspect that our strength lies in our diaspora, Frank. You yourself said some time ago that you were amazed at the number of countries, all over the world, from which views of your blog originate. I have had the same experience.
    One of our strengths is the variety of different directions from which we approach the horror of smoking bans. For example, Nothing 2 Declare majors on cross-border shopping, VGIF is concerned with the general nonsense of TobcoN studies, Dave Atherton is into the epidemiology, I myself, at Bolton Smokers Club, give a lot of attention to growing tobacco plants. This spread of interests bring attention from diverse sources and cannot be anything but good. But progress is necessarily slow, and that is a problem. Having said that, it is only a problem if there is a rush. We have to be patient.
    Certainly, it is likely that Governments will try to control the internet, but there are big problems. I suspect that they will concentrate on Internet Service Providers in much the same way that they have concentrated on Tobacco Companies. But it is hard to see what they can do. Is Government to forbid the word ‘tobacco’ from appearing anywhere? To even attempt to do so would breach freedom of speech in a massive way. Can it stop us revealing how much of TobcoN’s material is propaganda and lies? I think not.

    • smokingscot says:

      If they did that it would be an admission that humble bloggers were making an impact.

      Their policy was to ignore us, yet CRUK broke ranks with their TT gibberish. Ostesibly it exists to rubbish you guys, yet – and George Galloway knows this only too well (as does Simon Chapman) – any publicity is good, even bad publicity.

      People who have their own domain can switch ISP’s; in fact they too can have it hosted out of the Netherlands.

      My gut tells me that wordpress and blogger and such would be very pissed off if there was any restriction on freedom of expression. They all know perfectly well how popular these blogs are. Long before the debate, they’d simply switch you and Frank etc. to one of their subsidiaries.

      The only country that has successfully completely blocked all forms of free expression is North Korea. But folks in the South have been known to use balloons to send over smart phones that work perfectly up to 12 miles from the border – and all have cameras.

      Love it! Peasant meanders on to the commune field and sees a blown balloon with a wee box attached. Therin lies a low end Samsung phone with simple instructions and numbers to call!

  20. waltc says:

    On the subject of the Plague: In the 19th c American West– before they discovered it was spread by rats, they believed it spread by Chinese immigrants. The Chinese were quarantined, forbidden to work and forbidden to leave their ghetto or mingle with “whites.” Sound familiar?

    See, eg, the book “Silent Travelers,” by Alan Kraut. Many examples of the use of Public Health as a rationalization for bigotry…in every country in every era.

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