“I think it’s because it has worked that partisan agents and actors will continue to use the technique,” Ball said. “They encouraged this outrage so that Emily Wilder was fired. And then they have the recklessness to cry for ‘canceling the culture’ ”.
That is the current phrase used by the political right to describe punishing people for “bad thoughts.” According to Pew, most Americans are now familiar with the term, but there are mixed feelings about whether it is beneficial, leading to a more responsible society, or a cruel form of punishment, intentionally taking people’s actions out of context. .
Part of the problem is how the Internet has warped time. Everything is moving faster than before. An individual’s employer or affiliated institutions are expected to be held accountable immediately after content from years ago is discovered. Who you were a year ago, or five years ago, or decades ago comes down to who you are now. Time has collapsed and everything is in the present because it takes microseconds to activate it. Context or personal evolution is little appreciated.
And it’s happening not just to journalists and politicians, whose jobs invite frequent public reflections, but to high school students and business executives, because we’re all online most of the time now.
Some see the benefit of this change. In the same Pew poll, of more than 10,000 people, more than half approved of calling people for their behavior on social media, saying it helps hold people accountable. “People take a closer look at their actions, which forces them to examine what they are doing, why they are doing it and what are the consequences of those actions,” said one of the people surveyed.
Ms. Ball is hopeful that things will change. “The reactionary culture is harmful, useless and really brutal for everyone involved,” he said. “Much of our society wants to see ourselves as believers in forgiveness, believing in redemption, believing in people’s ability to learn, grow and improve.”
He noted the backlash against the dismissal of Ms Wilder; dozens of staff members wrote an open letter to the AP expressing dismay.