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Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen was a model witness yesterday in her testimony before the Senate Commerce Committee.

She was obviously prepared. She was clearly credible. She is educated, experienced and unambiguous. She is thoroughly versed in almost all facets of Facebook’s business model. About those few Facebook departments and strategies with which she is unfamiliar, she said so.

Her testimony was straightforward. She was never evasive or defensive.

She brilliantly reduced the complex into understandable simplicity, and did so without being at all condescending.

She was pitch-perfect as a witness.  I counted more than a half dozen times when Senators asked her a question that began with, “Do you think…” or, “In your opinion, do you?…”

Nah. She’s smarter than that. On each occasion when she was asked to answer a question subjectively or speculatively, she began her response with, “Facebook knows…”

Facebook knows. Facebook knows. Facebook’s own internal research reflects the depths of the company’s knowledge of its harmful impacts.

And that’s the damning truth.

While Facebook can plausibly argue that its devastating societal consequences were “unintended,” they were no less predictable and even inevitable.

If you didn’t directly start the fire, but you willfully provided matches to “adult” children who then burned the house down, you are no less culpable.

Facebook knew.

Facebook knew about its ruinous impact on children, especially girls.

Facebook didn’t invent the “Cult”-ure of Lies, but provided it with a megaphone on steroids. Facebook has directly contributed to the COVID-related deaths of 700,000 Americans.

Facebook gave The Big Lie fuel to metastasize.

Facebook played a major role in the January 6 armed insurrection and attempted coup.

I’m not talking out of both sides of my mouth. Facebook is not a public utility. It’s a private company that has every right to control its content. The problem is not who or what Facebook has banned. There is no “free speech” or First Amendment issue here.

The problem, in fact, is that for purely financial motives Facebook has allowed itself to be used by people, ideologies and countries who have done us irreparable harm.

Radically Rational is a private company that has every right to control its content.

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Paul's Bio

I clearly have the attention span of your median fruit fly.Look! Airplane!

Sorry. I’m back.

It’s both a curse and a blessing. I’ve never bought this stuff about, “He who dies with the most toys wins.” But I do think that a wide range of life experiences helps us grow as people, and helps us better relate to other people. I’ve been fortunate. And I am beyond grateful.

I show up on time. I go like hell. I’m a good listener. I hold myself accountable. I own my mistakes. And I have a natural and an insatiable curiosity. I’m never afraid to say, “I don’t know,” when I don’t. But then I try to find out.

The flip side is I’m a lousy ballroom dancer and my clothes sometimes fit me funny.

Stuff matters to me. I care. But while I take that stuff seriously, I try hard to never take myself seriously. As a result, I have sometimes been told, “Paul, it’s hard to tell when you’re serious and when you’re just having some fun. Which is it? Serious or fun?”

My answer is “yes.” But I think that is a legitimate criticism. I promise I’m going to work on that.

This has been the quickest and strangest half-century I’ve ever experienced. During that period, I’ve been afforded amazing opportunities in news and sports journalism across all platforms. I have taught wonderful students at the high school and collegiate level. Always, I learned more from them than they did from me. I’ve been a high school administrator. I spent ten seasons as a high school varsity football coach. I’ve been an advertising executive. I’ve hosted nationally syndicated television entertainment shows. In maybe the biggest honor I ever received, I was selected by NASA to be “Chet The Astronaut” for the “Land The Shuttle” simulator at Space Center Houston. (All I can say there, is “Do as I say, not as I do.” I put that thing in the Everglades more often than not.) Most recently, I just wrapped up a decade as a television news director, during which time our teams distinguished themselves in holding the powerful accountable, achieving both critical and ratings success.

What does all that mean? It means I am profoundly grateful. It also means I’m ready for “next.” So here we are. Radically Rational. It’s an idea I woke up with in 2017. I scribbled “Radically Rational” on a piece of notebook paper and used a magnet to stick it on our refrigerator. I saw it every day, and it just would not leave me alone.

I am second in charge at Radically Rational, LLC. My wife, Jo (also known as BB), is the president. Clearly, I have failed in my attempt to sleep my way to the top of this organization.

I hope you will learn that I’m loyal as a Labrador. But I will admit that this doggie can bite every now and then. My promise to you? I will show up on time. I will go like hell. I will listen to you earnestly and attentively. I will hold myself accountable. I will never be the least bit hesitant to say, “I don’t know,” when I don’t.

But then I’ll try to find out. Let’s do it.