Masthead CMC Magazine / March 1, 1996
Blue Ribbon Protest  The Dimming of the Web, by John December

The Chilling Implication of the Communications Decency Act

Finally--and perhaps most chilling--the press coverage of and the passing of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 points out an alarming cultural gap. Considering some of the reports in the "old" media (television, radio, paper publications), there's little doubt why some people have been shocked into mistrusting the Net. Editors and reporters who otherwise seek balance and truth have consistently portrayed the online world as a racy place full of undesirable people and useless information. Yet their knowledge of the Net--as these writers often unknowingly reveal--is often shallow. Rather than mastering information literacy and reporting on the nature of online communication and information spaces, these reporters write only about the most lurid, sensational aspects of life online. Similarly, members of the general public with only the most cursory knowledge of online communication often smugly declare the Net "useless." And, adding to this widespread misconception are the commercial services, publishers, and manufacturers that sell access to and information about the online world with such frenzy and hype that the reality of the Net no doubt gets lost on many. --

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