Business Week agrees with NewsCorp executive Peter Chernin that the Internet is a “moral-free (sic) zone”. In a too-long story, they let us in on a secret: the Internet makes “Drugs. Gambling. Terrorism. Child Pornography. ” more accessible than ever!
What’s weird is that they start with a gut-wrenching anecdote that has nothing to do with these issues, and for which they propose no solution:
It’s the kind of call everyone dreads. For Kristen Bonnett, the daughter of NASCAR race driver Neil Bonnett, it came on Feb. 11, 1994–the day her father crashed during a practice run at the Daytona International Speedway. A few hours later, he died. Bonnett was devastated, but she got on with her life. Then, seven years later, came a second call. This time, it was a reporter asking for comment on autopsy photos of her father that were posted on the Internet. Shocked, she quickly got online. “Forty-eight thumbnail pictures, basically of my Dad on the table, butt-naked, gutted like a deer, were staring me directly in the face,” says Bonnett. Now, when she thinks of her father, she pictures him lying atop an autopsy table.
Warning: You are about to enter the dark side of the Internet. It’s a place where crime is rampant and every twisted urge can be satisfied. Thousands of virtual streets are lined with casinos, porn shops, and drug dealers. Scam artists and terrorists skulk behind seemingly lawful Web sites. And cops wander through once in a while, mostly looking lost.
I’m not saying that terrorism and child pornography aren’t bad. But this story is the latest manifestation of the long tradition of Internet alarmism among print and TV journalists. The long-term effect is to create an atmosphere of anxiety in which citizens are willing to trade their rights in exchange for security from…what?