Monday, December 22, 2014

Sony Caved - Obama Led the Way

Sony Caved – Obama Led the Way
Commentary by Sanford D. Horn
December 22, 2014

I don’t particularly care about Sony. I had and still have even less interest in this film “The Interview.” And I think former United Nations Ambassador John Bolton said it best when he said of the North Korean hackers, “They picked a trivial industry to go after.”

That said, the bigger picture is not how it affects Sony, but how it depicts the nation as a whole – weak and spineless, and for that I place blame on the narrow shoulders of both Barack Obama and Sony Entertainment CEO Michael Lynton who can argue all day long that Sony did not cave, has not given in, did not capitulate, when in fact they did all of the above. Lynton can make all the excuses he wants, but the bottom line is Sony pulled the film on the heels of a cyber-terror threat. Yes, Lynton is correct that he/Sony doesn’t own the theaters, but there are plenty of theaters who believe in the First Amendment to the Constitution and would have shown the film.

Therein lies the bigger issue – censorship. If Sony can be intimidated by such a cyber-threat, what will be next? A television network? How about a newspaper or magazine? This is the entertainment industry, and while I agree with Bolton that it is a trivial industry, news and information are more important industries and the people in the United States rely upon a free and open press, again, one of the guarantees of the First Amendment.

As for Obama’s culpability in this crisis, he has set the bar at its lowest with his “leading from behind,” mantra, his disastrous deal making from a position of weakness when he is able, yet unwilling, to lead from a position of strength. This is evident in at the very least, the Bergdahl and Cuba cases. Obama’s leadership style, if it can be called as such, is weak and feckless. He injects himself into incidents where he should not, does not do so when he should, and is more often than not, wrong on his stances on the issues where he does inject himself.

Obama and his poor leadership aside, as he will be out of the White House in 25 months; a greater concern is the ability of hackers, regardless of from where they come, to infiltrate the banking industry. If that is hacked with the ease with which Sony was hacked, the entire nation could be brought to its knees. Electronic records destroyed would eradicate trillions and trillions of dollars of wealth, earnings, and retirement accounts thus affecting the housing industry as well as commercial real estate. This would send the United States into a financial tailspin that would make the Great Depression feel like a party with the Gatsbys. The devastation would be global and catastrophic.

So while Sony is a minor player on this stage of hacking and censorship, it is vital for all of corporate America to shore up its defenses, create more firewalls, and have as many paper trails as possible. Sometimes the Luddites are better prepared for the financial Dark Ages that may be beset upon the world.

Sanford D. Horn is a writer and educator living in Westfield, IN.

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