Preview: Who’s Widening America’s Digital Divide?

February 7, 2013

This weekend, Bill explores America’s digital divide — why high-speed Internet access is available only to those who can afford it, at prices much higher and speeds much slower in the U.S. than they are around the world. Joining him to answer those questions is Susan Crawford, former special assistant to President Obama for science, technology and innovation, and author of Captive Audience: The Telecom Industry and Monopoly Power in the New Gilded Age.

Crawford explains how our government has allowed a few powerful media conglomerates to put profit ahead of the public interest — rigging the rules, raising prices, and stifling competition. As a result, she says, all of us are at the mercy of the biggest business monopoly since Standard Oil in the first Gilded Age a hundred years ago.

“The rich are getting gouged, the poor are very often left out, and this means that we’re creating, yet again, two Americas, and deepening inequality through this communications inequality,” Crawford tells Bill.

Also on the show, journalist Nick Turse describes his unprecedented efforts to compile a complete and compelling account of the Vietnam War’s horror as experienced by all sides, including innocent civilians who were sucked into its violent vortex. Turse, who devoted 12 years to tracking down the true story of Vietnam, unlocked secret troves of documents, interviewed officials and veterans – including many accused of war atrocities – and traveled throughout the Vietnamese countryside talking with eyewitnesses to create his book, Kill Anything That Moves: The Real American War in Vietnam.

“American culture has never fully come to grips with Vietnam,” Turse tells Bill, referring to “hidden and forbidden histories that just haven’t been fully engaged.”

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