Modern communication plays an essential part in our lives. From our families to how we interact with our immediate communities, new methods of communication have facilitated our daily lives, made us more connected and empowered us with the decisions and information that affect us. With the new media, we have unprecedented access to information, opinions and events on a global scale.
This maelstrom does not escape politics, governmental decisions, or the very root of society’s coexistence. During the presidential campaign of President Barack Obama, in the United States, popular sentiment was awakened and the involvement of all those who wanted to participate, from the palm of their hand could make their voice heard with a cell phone. Historical events of the past decade were marked by information, social media and a globalization of people’s feelings. The Arab Spring managed to change governments in many nations, and a sleeping giant was awakened with moments like Black Lives Matter.
It seems that nothing that matters anymore will be exempt from the very scrutiny of the masses at a speed and scale never before seen. New York State is no exception; in fact it is the epicenter of many modern communication movements in many ways: politics, business, society, economics and community are all happening at the same time on millions of cell phones in the Big Apple. During the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, millions of New Yorkers had to immediately switch to digital information management. It was no longer an option, modern life forces it.
In the case of Governor Kathy Hochul’s nomination of the Honorable Judge Hector LaSalle to the Chief Justice of the New York Court of Appeals, these methods of information and communication have played a momentous role, but with very deep attention to an evil that has been plaguing the digital media: misinformation. This is a profound issue, fake news, the assassination of reputations and the intention to change real facts for those that best suit particular interests, has never been such a latent danger with such a powerful tool: social media.
It is there that the detractors of a professional of the highest qualifications such as Judge LaSalle, have found a breeding ground for their agenda. A very direct example is the selection of a small number of judicial decisions to try to establish the character of the judge. By any empirical measure a number of three out of five thousand is a very small number. This means 0.06%, if we take the same number and place the measure in three cases out of seven thousand, this percentage is only 0.04%. These figures in some scientific measures such as quantum mechanics would be taken into consideration by scientists, but without being an expert in the field, I know of no measure of human behavioral studies that would consider this percentage as a tendency, inclination or norm. Yet for Judge LaSalle, in a directed and orchestrated way, this has been taken as the norm of his thinking.
One would have to be an expert in social behavior to be able to have a close opinion about the behavior of any human being on any subject, taking into account only 0.06% of his actions. Yet this is what Judge LaSalle’s detractors have sold as the truth and have found in the social media who replicate it, comment on it, publish it and buy it as the truth. One of the things the Web is good for is selling, and this is what these people have done, they sold their idea and found a market. This market is the immediacy, the desire for the simple and the tendency to the ease of not thinking. Social networks also have a bit of this, that is why it is so easy on all platforms to like, share and post; there is a simple button for this that requires less effort than thinking.
We Latinos, African-Americans and all communities that have historically been disadvantaged, as always, are also the ones who suffer the most from all the bad things that come our way, including the negatives of the information age. That is what Judge LaSalle has suffered. It is becoming more and more important that this great digital universe is also a tool for us. Let it be used for our empowerment and demand for a place at the table. If we allow the evaluation of our own to be brought into the digital universe in an unfair way, we will pay in the real world to be sentenced for this injustice.
The author is Communications Director for New York’s 32nd Senate District.
He is a graduate of EDP University of Puerto Rico in Business Administration and Management.
He has 15 years of experience in social media management, mass communication and political communication.
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