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Thread: Communist Tactics to Force Self-Censorship Sweeping America

  1. #1
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    Communist Tactics to Force Self-Censorship Sweeping America

    Communist Tactics to Force Self-Censorship Sweeping America

    News Analysis

    While many Americans worry about ever-increasing censorship, those responsible for it have managed to amplify its effects by creating a climate of self-censorship.

    Due to the psychological mechanisms of self-censorship, a single account blocked, a single video deleted, or a book banned can result in a broad chilling of speech. Important policy debates don’t occur, news story ideas aren’t pitched to editors, and books aren’t accepted for publishing, or written to begin with.

    In some cases, it appears the censors employ the psychological tricks on purpose, achieving maximum suppression with minimal responsibility. These methods aren’t new—in fact, they have long been employed by totalitarian regimes.

    The principle of self-censorship is that people, just to be on the safe side, refrain from saying even things that aren’t outright banned by some applicable rules.

    An example is the effect of the Johnson Amendment, a law that prohibits tax-exempt nonprofits, including religious organizations, from endorsing or opposing political candidates. Even though the law doesn’t prohibit discussion of political topics and stands virtually unenforced, opponents have long argued that pastors have avoided political topics in their sermons just to be sure they can’t be accused of running afoul of the law.

    Here are a number of methods used to enhance self-censorship.

    Vague Rules

    The Chinese Communist Party (CCP), the world’s most notorious censor of free speech, has for decades used the method of making its policies intentionally vague. During its past political campaigns, for example, the central leadership would issue a decree that “rightists” and “counterrevolutionaries” were to be punished. The next lower rung of Party officials wouldn’t be told what exactly makes one a “rightist” or a “counterrevolutionary” and perhaps not even what the punishment should be. No official, however, would want to be seen as too lenient—that would carry the risk of being labeled oneself. As such, each successive level of bureaucracy would intensify its interpretation of the policy, leading to ever more extreme results. In some periods, the hysteria went far beyond self-censorship, as even refraining from political speech wasn’t enough.

    “During the Cultural Revolution, … people couldn’t buy food in canteens if they didn’t recite a quotation or make a greeting to Mao [Zedong]. When shopping, riding the bus, or even making a phone call, one had to recite one of Mao’s quotations, even if it was totally irrelevant. In these rituals of worship, people were either fanatical or cynical,” the “Nine Commentaries on the Communist Party” states.

    In contemporary China, dissidents are often targeted for “subverting the state” or “spreading rumors.” The regime has proven that virtually any political statement can be subsumed under one of these charges.

    The method appears to now be in play in contemporary America.

    Amazon recently updated its policies to ban books that contain “hate speech,” without explaining what it considers as such. Since Amazon controls more than 80 percent of the book retail market, publishers are left to guess whether a book may get the “hate speech” label and thus be much less profitable to publish.

    Roger Kimball, the publisher of Encounter Books and an Epoch Times contributor, said he so far hasn’t considered avoiding titles that may be targeted by Amazon, but he called it “a very worrisome harbinger.”

    “It is possible that other publishers will do that,” he told The Epoch Times. “Certainly, I think that the atmosphere for opinion is much narrower now than it was in the past.”

    He gave the example of Simon & Schuster, a publishing powerhouse that recently canceled its publishing of the book of Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) due to Hawley’s questioning the integrity of the 2020 presidential election.

    If publishers bow to Amazon, authors may go even further, altogether avoiding topics that may spook the publishers.

    Other tech platforms such as Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter usually provide some definition of hate speech and other content rules, but have acknowledged that they intentionally keep at least part of their policies secret to prevent people from circumventing them. The effect is that users try to guess the boundaries of censorship themselves.

    Those who invested great efforts to build their online followings are likely to adopt especially stringent self-censorship, as they have the most to lose. YouTube, for example, bans any content that says the 2020 election result was affected by fraud. The policy seems relatively clear, yet it appears to have nudged YouTube personalities to avoid the topic of election integrity altogether, just to be on the safe side.

    Perception of Random Targeting

    Another method to induce self-censorship is selective enforcement. During the CCP’s past political campaigns, it would pick targets for persecution seemingly at random. Even the targets wouldn’t necessarily know what exactly had brought the Party’s wrath upon them. In response, people would scramble to make sense of the situation, drawing red lines of self-censorship based on guesswork.

    Elements of this method can be seen in various settings in the West.

    When Amazon recently banned a book that criticizes transgender ideology, published by Encounter Books in 2018, it didn’t explain why. Instead, Amazon quietly updated its book policies on hate speech. It then left it to the public to connect the dots and label the book as hate speech themselves.

    Similarly, other tech platforms commonly refuse to comment on specific cases of censorship or even tell the accused what exactly they did wrong.

    This method can also work through changes and exceptions to the rules. The CCP has been notorious for constantly changing its policies. Allies of the revolution of yesterday found themselves enemies of the Party today, but could expect to be called upon to cooperate with the Party tomorrow. Hence came the saying, “Party policy is like the moon, it changes every 15 days.” People have found themselves in a position of constantly trying to figure out how to be in alignment with what the Party is currently saying and even anticipating what the Party might say next and preemptively avoid saying anything that might be deemed problematic in the future.

    The tech platforms of today openly acknowledge that their content policies are a work in progress. Over the years, new rules have been repeatedly added and are usually applied retrospectively. Thus, content that was acceptable yesterday may get banned and removed today. More restrictions can be expected tomorrow, or the companies may reverse themselves on some issues.

    Rules can also be bent for political convenience. Facebook, for example, considers verbal attacks on people based on their race, sex, or sexual proclivities to be hate speech. But its contracted moderators were informed in 2018 that for a period of time, attacks on straight white males would be exempted as long as they were “intended to raise awareness for Pride/LGBTQ,” an internal memo said.

    Guilt by Denial

    Another method is using denial or resistance as evidence of guilt.

    In current progressive ideologies, denying that one is racist or has “white privilege” counts as a confirmation of the charges. In fact, any resistance to the ideology and its labels is often labeled as “white fragility” or “internalized oppression” and thus illegitimate. Leaving no room for rightful criticism, the ideology discourages debate. Rather than deal with the grief of being pejoratively labeled, many keep their objections to themselves.

    Jodi Shaw, a former student support coordinator at Smith College, an elite women’s college, recently left her job over what she described as a “dehumanizing” environment.

    In 2018, the liberal arts institution put in place a number of initiatives to fight “systemic racism” at the school. Yet the efforts didn’t sit right with her, Shaw told The Epoch Times in a phone call.

    She was instructed to treat people differently based on their race and sex, which in practice meant projecting onto people one’s own stereotypes, she said.

    She said it felt fake.

    “There’s a script for white people and a script for people who aren’t white. And it felt like you kind of had to stay on the script,” she said.

    It was clear to her that there was no room for disagreement or even doubt.

    “You just cannot talk about it out loud,” she said. “You can’t express your doubt out loud.”

    A staunch liberal, she tried to get along with the program, telling herself it’s just being done “to help.”

    When the doubts persevered, she even questioned her own morality.

    “Does that mean I’m racist?” she asked herself.

    “I think a lot of people on the left have this issue where they feel a little confused. They feel like something doesn’t feel right, but I’m not supposed to think that something’s not right,” she said.

    The staffers in her department were “true believers,” she said, but she talked to seven or eight people from other departments who privately shared her concerns.

    “Whispers, you know, in hallways and stuff, alone, they’re like, ‘Yeah, this is just like, something’s really messed up about this,’” she said.

    Ultimately, she concluded that there was no “inner racist” talking, it was her conscience, and the ideology was just messing with her psyche.

    “It’s how this ideology works. It gets into your head, and I think it’s damaging,” she said.

    Guilt by Association

    Another way to impose self-censorship is extending blame beyond the target to anybody even tenuously associated with it.

    Totalitarian regimes have long used this tactic, punishing family, friends, colleagues, supervisors, and other associates of dissidents.

    Examples of guilt by association are common today. Media, universities, and other institutions willing to host speakers from another political camp are criticized for “giving a platform” to “hate” or some other pejorative. Anybody uttering a word of support for one of the censored figures can expect to be targeted next.

    When Shaw started to talk about her concerns publicly, she found that the Smith staffers who privately agreed with her suddenly became unavailable.

    “The fear of guilt by association is so terrifying that people—they won’t even text me,” she said.

    That not only induces self-censorship in one’s circle but also further isolates the target.

    “You get isolated, and you’re not able to talk it through with somebody else and determine that, yes, indeed there’s something wrong,” Shaw said.

    Kari Lake, former news anchor at Fox 10 in Arizona, faced criticism for merely setting up an account on alternative social media sites Parler and Gab. The critics argued that she was guilty by association, since Parler and Gab had been labeled as a favorite platform of “Nazis.”

    While the attacks never made Lake question her beliefs, it did prompt her to self-censor, she told The Epoch Times in a phone call.

    “I actually find myself not posting stories that are just factual because I’m like: ‘Oh, just posting that, even though it’s true, might anger some people. It might just get the left mad and I don’t want to, you know, kick the hornet’s nest,’” she said.

    It’s been especially disheartening for Lake to see censorship endorsed by many fellow journalists.

    “They’re just fine with it, and it saddens me,” she said.

    She’d like to see more diversity of viewpoints among journalists, estimating that most in the profession lean left. Even the few conservative ones she knows are “very, very closeted about it.”

    “The people I know might even act or pitch stories that might appear left-leaning to kind of show people, ‘look, I’m not conservative,’” she said.

    A few weeks ago, Lake quit her job.

    “I realized, well, I’m part of that. I’m part of this system. I’m part of the media, and if I don’t like it and I can’t do anything to change it, then I need to get out,” she said.

    Solution

    Censorship in America is peculiar in its form as it’s largely not the doing of the government. It’s not even necessarily the result of government pressure, though that now seems to be underway as well. Rather, it’s based on actors both in and out of government across the American society aligning with an ideology that’s totalitarian at its root.

    It’s unlikely that Americans can rely on somebody pushing against the ideology from the top. In fact, the ideology appears to now be endorsed by a majority of the government.

    Yet it may be that government measures wouldn’t offer a solution as long as a significant share of the population still subscribes to the ideology or is willing to go along with it.

    As Judge Learned Hand said in his 1944 speech “The Spirit of Liberty”:

    “Liberty lies in the hearts of men and women; when it dies there, no constitution, no law, no court can even do much to help it.”

    It appears Americans’ stand is now to rekindle that spark of liberty in the hearts of their peers.
    Follow Petr on Twitter: @petrsvab


    Source:
    https://www.theepochtimes.com/commun...a_3724784.html

  2. #2
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    Today’s Big Tech tyranny is a dry run for future dystopian censorship

    We look around as conservatives and Christians and think that Big Tech is really coming down hard on us over certain topics like voter fraud and Covid vaccines. But this isn't the height of censorship. Not yet. It's a dry run. Things are going to get worse and they're only going to get better on platforms that are not "woke."

    by JD Rucker | March 10, 2021

    Things are really bad, right? Big Tech tyranny is absolutely horrendous right now with censorship, suspensions, and outright bans on accounts that talk about voter fraud, transgenderism, Covid vaccines, and a few other taboo topics. But as bad as it all seems right now, it’s only going to get worse. In fact, what we’re seeing today is just a dry run of the total control and dystopian policies we’re going to see in the near future from Big Tech.

    There are several reasons to believe it’s going to get worse, most notably the fact that suppressing discussions of voter fraud is pointless. We’re on day 50 of the Biden administration. The appetite to fight over Dominion Voting Systems, mail-in balloting, and any other attempts to correct the results of the 2020 election are down to nil. Even QAnon is regrouping under different talking points. Censoring accounts at this stage serves no purpose. The machinations of Big Tech, mainstream media, the Democratic Party, and the various interested globalist parties have been fully realized.

    The truth is they’re normalizing this type of censorship. They’re backing conservatives and Christians into a corner where we must decide between telling the truth and getting booted off of the big platforms or self-censoring and playing their game like good little sheep. Unfortunately, most in conservative media are still beholden to the Silicon Valley overlords for traffic and exposure, so most are playing along. Many have even convinced themselves, perhaps out of contempt for their own cowardice, that none of the forbidden topics are worthwhile. Therein lies the key to the accelerating degrees of censorship. If we had already seen Big Tech’s endgame, they would be lightening their iron grip. Instead, they’re squeezing even tighter.

    The scary part is we do not know for sure what the real censorship show is going to target. We can speculate that it will be used to usher in globalist plans like “The Great Reset.” We can assume that there will be a further Cultural Marxist crunch on speech that turns any criticism against anyone who isn’t a straight, cisgender, Caucasian male is “hate speech.” But my best guess at this point is that they’re going to go after religious discussions. Just like in Communist China, backwards North Korea, and oppressive Iran, it may soon be dangerous to discuss faith in a Biblical worldview in the very near future in America.

    On the latest episode of NOQ Report, I went over this topic thoroughly, playing off of my interview last night with John B. Wells on Caravan to Midnight. The topics we discussed for an hour and a half seemed to meld together behind the notion that the evil forces arrayed against us are driving the Big Tech censorship we’re seeing today. Our conclusion: We haven’t seen the last of this censorship. It’s just going to get worse.


    Source:
    https://noqreport.com/2021/03/10/tod...an-censorship/

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    Hughinn is offline Banned
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    When a citizen has to censor himself for fear of speaking in contradiction of the dogmas of a specific group of people, because of the risk to his life and livelyhood, then we've lost freedom of speech.

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    You weren’t complaining about censorship when Donald Trump was threatening to shut down the “fake news media.” Maybe if the right stopped peddling conspiracy theories and straight up lies like Qanon and the fake voter fraud scheme, then whatever the hell big tech is wouldn’t need to shut them up. Me, I prefer not to hear or read bullshit. The same bullshit keeps coming from the same side. Obama’s a Muslim, Hillary is a criminal pedophile, Bill Gates created the virus, George Soros is funding the riots, etc. you see, I and others like me are intelligent and discerning enough to know fact from fiction. A big part of this country isn’t. Most people out here shouldn’t even have access to the internet. The storming of the capitol happened because of the peddling of lies and incitement of violence based on those lies. Since those low-IQ-anon “patriots” don’t have a fucking brain, they need to be controlled, we now need to censor the bullshit so they dummies don’t lose their minds again. Our dumbass ex president was claiming covid was another flu and nothing to worry about, and because of that type of information, half of this forum thought covid was a hoax, until some literally got it... it’s funny to me that the ones complaining about censorship are the ones who were peddling lies. Don’t lie and you won’t get censored. Simple. The ones who were wrong, and continue to be wrong about almost everything have their feelings hurt because their source of garbage is getting censored... give me a break. Please, Big Tech, continue to censor every POS lie peddler out there.
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    Hughinn is offline Banned
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    Quote Originally Posted by Test Monsterone View Post
    You weren’t complaining about censorship when Donald Trump was threatening to shut down the “fake news media.” Maybe if the right stopped peddling conspiracy theories and straight up lies like Qanon and the fake voter fraud scheme, then whatever the hell big tech is wouldn’t need to shut them up. Me, I prefer not to hear or read bullshit. The same bullshit keeps coming from the same side. Obama’s a Muslim, Hillary is a criminal pedophile, Bill Gates created the virus, George Soros is funding the riots, etc. you see, I and others like me are intelligent and discerning enough to know fact from fiction. A big part of this country isn’t. Most people out here shouldn’t even have access to the internet. The storming of the capitol happened because of the peddling of lies and incitement of violence based on those lies. Since those low-IQ-anon “patriots” don’t have a fucking brain, they need to be controlled, we now need to censor the bullshit so they dummies don’t lose their minds again. Our dumbass ex president was claiming covid was another flu and nothing to worry about, and because of that type of information, half of this forum thought covid was a hoax, until some literally got it... it’s funny to me that the ones complaining about censorship are the ones who were peddling lies. Don’t lie and you won’t get censored. Simple. The ones who were wrong, and continue to be wrong about almost everything have their feelings hurt because their source of garbage is getting censored... give me a break. Please, Big Tech, continue to censor every POS lie peddler out there.
    If Donald Trump had shut down and censored his opposition, you can bet I'd be staunchly against his actions in doing so test.

    I firmly believe in freedom of speech and expression. Regardless of which side it's coming from.

    "Conspiracy theories" sir, are no more than opinions, and everyone has a right to thier opinions, and they have a right to say them out loud without fear of censoring or retaliation.

    I understand your disagreement with much of the right sir. And I respect your opinions, and enjoy reading your perspective. I've learned from some of it.

    However, censoring free speech in my opinion, should be an outrage to every liberty loving american in this country. Regardless of whether or not you agree or disagree with whatever is being censored.

    I'm old enough to remember when the old school liberals were more active. And they fought censoring of all free speech, not just the speech they disagree with.

    They stunk like pitchouli oil, and we're annoying as hell. But I damn sure miss them now.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hughinn View Post
    If Donald Trump had shut down and censored his opposition, you can bet I'd be staunchly against his actions in doing so test. He sure as hell did his best to censor and shut down "Rinos".

    I firmly believe in freedom of speech and expression. see below Regardless of which side it's coming from.

    "Conspiracy theories" sir, are no more than opinions, and everyone has a right to thier opinions, and they have a right to say them out loud without fear of censoring or retaliation. Calling democrats satanic baby fuckers and baby eaters is outright dangerous. And the big lie caused deaths and kidnapping attempts and faulty pipe bombs. Slander is NOT protected by the first amendment.

    I understand your disagreement with much of the right sir. And I respect your opinions, and enjoy reading your perspective. I've learned from some of it.

    However, censoring free speech in my opinion, should be an outrage to every liberty loving american in this country. Regardless of whether or not you agree or disagree with whatever is being censored.

    I'm old enough to remember when the old school liberals were more active. And they fought censoring of all free speech, not just the speech they disagree with.

    They stunk like pitchouli oil, and we're annoying as hell. More insults. But I damn sure miss them now.
    Freedom of speech.
    This isn't an attack but a clarification.
    If I am wrong please feel free to correct me.

    Your version of freedom of speech is that people can say whatever the fuck they want BUT...
    People can't express their displeasure with what other people say.

    (This comes from the Seuss thread where you said it is OK for Seuss to print books but it isn't OK for people who are offended to express their views.)

    From my understanding... expressing ones beliefs, even a belief that they are offended, is covered by freedom of speech.

    I think the courts would disagree with your version of freedom of speech.

    Again, this isn't an attack... I am simply trying to clarify the situation.

    Side note: just like this Steroid Forum is free to ban people... Instagram is also free to ban people.

    Constitution of United States of America 1789 (rev. 1992)

    Amendment I
    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.


    The first amendment deals with government prohibiting free speech.
    It does not say that private companies have to let everyone have a turn at the microphone.
    Last edited by The Deadlifting Dog; 03-11-2021 at 05:17 PM.

  7. #7
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    The Sovietization of the American Press

    The transformation from phony "objectivity" to open one-party orthodoxy hasn't been an improvement

    I collect Soviet newspapers. Years ago, I used to travel to Moscow’s Izmailovsky flea market every few weeks, hooking up with a dealer who crisscrossed the country digging up front pages from the Cold War era. I have Izvestia’s celebration of Gagarin’s flight, a Pravda account of a 1938 show trial, even an ancient copy of Ogonyek with Trotsky on the cover that someone must have taken a risk to keep.

    These relics, with dramatic block fonts and red highlights, are cool pieces of history. Not so cool: the writing! Soviet newspapers were wrought with such anvil shamelessness that it’s difficult to imagine anyone ever read them without laughing. A good Soviet could write almost any Pravda headline in advance. What else but “A Mighty Demonstration of the Union of the Party and the People” fit the day after Supreme Soviet elections? What news could come from the Spanish civil war but “Success of the Republican Fleet?” Who could earn an obit headline but a “Faithful Son of the Party”?

    Reality in Soviet news was 100% binary, with all people either heroes or villains, and the villains all in league with one another (an SR was no better than a fascist or a “Right-Trotskyite Bandit,” a kind of proto-horseshoe theory). Other ideas were not represented, except to be attacked and deconstructed. Also, since anything good was all good, politicians were not described as people at all but paragons of limitless virtue — 95% of most issues of Pravda or Izvestia were just names of party leaders surrounded by lists of applause-words, like “glittering,” “full-hearted,” “wise,” “mighty,” “courageous,” “in complete moral-political union with the people,” etc.

    Some of the headlines in the U.S. press lately sound suspiciously like this kind of work:

    — Biden stimulus showers money on Americans, sharply cutting poverty

    — Champion of the middle class comes to the aid of the poor

    — Biden's historic victory for America

    The most Soviet of the recent efforts didn’t have a classically Soviet headline. “Comedians are struggling to parody Biden. Let’s hope this doesn’t last,” read the Washington Post opinion piece by Richard Zoglin, arguing that Biden is the first president in generations who might be “impervious to impressionists.” Zoglin contended Biden is “impregnable” to parody, his voice being too “devoid of obvious quirks,” his manner too “muted and self-effacing” to offer comedians much to work with. He was talking about this person:



    Forget that the “impregnable to parody” pol spent the last campaign year jamming fingers in the sternums of voters, challenging them to pushup contests, calling them “lying dog-faced pony soldiers,” and forgetting what state he was in. Biden, on the day Zoglin ran his piece, couldn’t remember the name of his Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, and referred to the Department of Defense as “that outfit over there”:



    Split to allow for two videos

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    The Sovietization of the American Press || Part II, continued from above




    It doesn’t take much looking to find comedians like James Adomian and Anthony Atamaniuk ab-libbing riffs on Biden with ease. He checks almost every box as a comic subject, saying inappropriate things, engaging in wacky Inspector Clouseau-style physical stunts (like biting his wife’s finger), and switching back and forth between outbursts of splenetic certainty and total cluelessness. The parody doesn’t even have to be mean — you could make it endearing cluelessness. But to say nothing’s there to work with is bananas.

    The first 50 days of Biden’s administration have been a surprise on multiple fronts. The breadth of his stimulus suggests a real , while hints that this administration wants to pick a unionization fight with Amazon go against every tendency of Clintonian politics. But it’s hard to know what much of it means, because coverage of Biden increasingly resembles official press releases, often featuring embarrassing, Soviet-style contortions.

    When Biden decided not to punish Saudi Prince Mohammed bin Salman for the murder of Washington Post writer Jamal Khashoggi on the grounds that the “cost” of “breaching the relationship with one of America’s key Arab allies” was too high, the New York Times headline read: “Biden Won’t Penalize Saudi Crown Prince Over Khashoggi’s Killing, Fearing Relations Breach.” When Donald Trump made the same calculation, saying he couldn’t cut ties because “the world is a very dangerous place” and “our relationship is with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” the paper joined most of the rest of the press corps in howling in outrage.

    “In Extraordinary Statement, Trump Stands With Saudis Despite Khashoggi Killing.” was the Times headline, in a piece that said Trump’s decision was “a stark distillation of the Trump worldview: remorselessly transactional, heedless of the facts, determined to put America’s interests first, and founded on a theory of moral equivalence.” The paper noted, “Even Mr. Trump’s staunchest allies on Capitol Hill expressed revulsion.”

    This week, in its “Crusader for the Poor” piece, the Times described Biden’s identical bin Salman decision as mere evidence that he remains “in the cautious middle” in his foreign policy. The paper previously had David Sanger dig up a quote from former Middle East negotiator Dennis Ross, who “applauded Mr. Biden for ‘trying to thread the needle here… This is the classic example of where you have to balance your values and your interests.’” It’s two opposite takes on exactly the same thing.

    The old con of the Manufacturing Consent era of media was a phony show of bipartisanship. Legitimate opinion was depicted as a spectrum stretching all the way from “moderate” Democrats (often depicted as more correct on social issues) to “moderate” Republicans (whose views on the economy or war were often depicted as more realistic). That propaganda trick involved constantly narrowing the debate to a little slice of the Venn diagram between two established parties. Did we need to invade Iraq right away to stay safe, as Republicans contended, or should we wait until inspectors finished their work and then invade, as Democrats insisted?

    The new, cleaved media landscape advances the same tiny intersection of elite opinion, except in the post-Trump era, that strip fits inside one party. Instead of appearing as props in a phony rendering of objectivity, Republicans in basically all non-Fox media have been moved off the legitimacy spectrum, and appear as foils only. Allowable opinion is now depicted stretching all the way from one brand of “moderate” Democrat to another.

    An example is the Thursday New York Times story, “As Economy Is Poised to Soar, Some Fear a Surge in Inflation.” It’s essentially an interview with JP Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon, who’s worried about the inflationary impact of the latest Covid-19 rescue (“The question is: Does [it] overheat everything?”), followed by quotes from Fed chair Jerome Powell insisting that no, everything is cool. This is the same Larry Summers vs. Janet Yellen debate that’s been going on for weeks, and it represents the sum total of allowable economic opinions about the current rescue, stretching all the way from “it’s awesome” to “it’s admirable but risky.”

    This format isn’t all that different from the one we had before, except in one respect: without the superficial requirement to tend to a two-party balance, the hagiography in big media organizations flies out of control. These companies already tend to wash out people who are too contentious or anti-establishment in their leanings. Promoted instead, as even Noam Chomsky described a generation ago, are people with the digestive systems of jackals or monitor lizards, who can swallow even the most toxic piles of official nonsense without blinking. Still, those reporters once had to at least pretend to be something other than courtiers, as it was considered unseemly to openly gush about a party or a politician.

    Now? Look at the Times feature story on Biden’s pandemic relief bill:

    On Friday, “Scranton Joe” Biden, whose five-decade political identity has been largely shaped by his appeal to union workers and blue-collar tradesmen like those from his Pennsylvania hometown, will sign into law a $1.9 trillion spending plan that includes the biggest antipoverty effort in a generation…

    The new role as a crusader for the poor represents an evolution for Mr. Biden, who spent much of his 36 years in Congress concentrating on foreign policy, judicial fights, gun control, and criminal justice issues… Aides say he has embraced his new role… [and] has also been moved by the inequities in pain and suffering that the pandemic has inflicted on the poorest Americans…

    You’d never know from reading this that Biden’s actual record on criminal justice issues involved boasting about authoring an infamous crime bill (that did “everything but hang people for jaywalking”), or that he’s long been a voracious devourer of corporate and especially financial services industry cash, that his “Scranton Joe” rep has been belied by a decidedly mixed history on unions, and so on. Can he legitimately claim to be more pro-union than his predecessor? Sure, but a news story that paints the Biden experience as stretching from “hero to the middle class” to “hero to the poor,” is a Pravda-level stroke job.

    We now know in advance that every Biden address will be reviewed as historic and exceptional. It was only a mild shock to see Chris Wallace say Biden’s was the "the best inaugural address I have ever heard.” More predictable was Politico saying of Thursday night’s address that “it is hard to imagine any other contemporary politician making the speech Biden did… channeling our collective sorrow and reminding us that there is life after grief.” (Really? Hard to imagine any contemporary politician doing that?).

    This stuff is relatively harmless. Where it gets weird is that the move to turn the bulk of the corporate press in the “moral clarity” era into a single party organ has come accompanied by purges of the politically unfit. In the seemingly endless parade of in-house investigations of journalists, paper after paper has borrowed from the Soviet style of printing judgments and self-denunciations, without explaining the actual crimes.

    The New York Times coverage of the recent staff revolt at Teen Vogue against editor Alexi McCammond noted “Staff Members Condemn Editor’s Decade-Old, Racist Tweets,” but declined to actually publish the offending texts, so readers might judge for themselves. The Daily Beast expose on Times reporter Donald McNeil did much the same thing. Even the ongoing (and in my mind, ridiculous) moral panic over Substack ties in. Aimed at people already banished from mainstream media, the obvious message is that anyone with even mildly heterodox opinions shouldn’t be publishing anywhere.

    Those still clinging to mainstream jobs in a business that continues to lay people off at an extraordinary rate read the gist of all of these stories clearly: if you want to keep picking up a check, you’d better talk the right talk.

    Thus you see bizarre transformations like that of David Brooks, who spent his career penning paeans to “personal responsibility” and the “culture of thrift,” but is now writing stories about how “Joe Biden is a transformational president” for casting aside fiscal restraints in the massive Covid-19 bill. When explaining that “both parties are adjusting to the new paradigm,” he’s really explaining his own transformation, in a piece that reads like a political confession. “I’m worried about a world in which we spend borrowed money with abandon,” he says, but “income inequality, widespread child poverty, and economic precarity are the problems of our time.”

    Maybe Brooks is experiencing the same “evolution” Biden is being credited with of late. Or, he’s like a lot of people in the press who are searching out the safest places on the op-ed page, the middle of the newsroom middle, in desperate efforts to stay on the masthead. It’s been made clear that there’s no such thing as overdoing it in one direction, e.g. if you write as the Times did that Biden “has become a steady hand who chooses words with extraordinary restraint” (which even those who like and admire Biden must grasp is not remotely true of the legendary loose cannon). Meanwhile, how many open critics of the Party on the left, the right, or anywhere in between still have traditional media jobs?

    All of this has created an atmosphere where even obvious observations that once would have interested blue-state voters, like that Biden’s pandemic relief bill “does not establish a single significant new social program,” can only be found in publications like the World Socialist Web Site. The bulk of the rest of the landscape has become homogenous and as predictably sycophantic as Fox in the “Mission Accomplished” years, maybe even worse. What is this all going to look like in four years?
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  9. #9
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    Big Tech Censorship Is a Big Deal: We Need a Smarter Framework for Protecting Free Speech

    Timothy Head | Posted: Mar 16, 2021 10:30 AM

    The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees free speech to all private citizens. But as conservatives have had to learn the hard way, our First Amendment protections are not safe in the era of Big Tech.

    Recently, we’ve witnessed unprecedented efforts on the part of Big Tech monopolies to coordinate the censorship of conservative political views. Just recently, Amazon Web Services, Google, and Apple conspired to boot the conservative-friendly social media app Parler off the web. And every day, more stories emerge of conservatives and Christians who find their social media accounts suspended, banned or otherwise censored for voicing their views.

    If these trends continue, it won’t matter that we have the First Amendment at all; conservatives and Christians will still find it impossible to voice their opinions online and in the media. We need a change, and we need to hold Big Tech accountable.

    America was founded to be a safe haven for free speech and religious liberty. Many, if not most, of the original colonists were fleeing religious and political persecution at home. In response, the Founding Fathers built our country from the ground up to protect people from persecution for expressing different viewpoints or practicing their religion peaceably.

    Today, Americans still enjoy greater freedoms than almost any other country in the world, and our Constitution protects every citizen from censorship by state actors. But those same constitutional protections don’t safeguard speech from Big Tech.

    For years now, Big Tech companies have grown ever more left-leaning. While these companies have a legal right to decide what speech is published on their platforms, they’re increasingly abusing that right to advance a partisan political agenda. Mainstream media sites, alongside many , treat censorship by Big Tech as an essential instrument in the fight to protect American democracy. In reality, Big Tech censorship means silencing, distorting, and suppressing ordinary American viewpoints for no other reason than political gain.

    I have firsthand experience of how misguided and inappropriate Big Tech censorship can be. For months, my daughter had her own Pinterest account. She used that account to create informative pins with inspiring Bible verses, and even utilized Pinterest to organize an online Bible study. But Pinterest banned her, on the specious grounds that her posts contained “violent language.”

    I can personally attest that all my daughter posted was Biblical language. It frankly doesn’t matter whether Pinterest has the legal right to moderate content on its own platform; this kind of one-sided and politically charged censorship of straightforwardly Christian views should be intolerable to all of us in America. When just a handful of companies can decide what views count as appropriate or inappropriate in the public sphere, we’re no longer living up to the vision our founders had for this country.

    Luckily, a few politicians are taking action to protect free speech. Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida has put forward new laws to prevent unbridled tech censorship, and there is a bill in Texas that would give citizens a legal right to petition for declaratory relief if their online accounts are unfairly suspended.

    We need more politicians to step up to the task and tackle censorship head-on. And we need conservatives and Christians across the country to advocate for their right to speak their minds, discuss their views and share their faith.

    Political tensions are high in America today. We can’t afford to let private tech monopolies conspire to make politically motivated decisions about what is or is not allowable speech. There may not be an easy fix for the situation we’re in. But the time is now to fight for a better, smarter framework for moderating speech. Inaction or silence might cost us our freedom.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hughinn View Post
    If Donald Trump had shut down and censored his opposition, you can bet I'd be staunchly against his actions in doing so test.

    I firmly believe in freedom of speech and expression. Regardless of which side it's coming from.

    "Conspiracy theories" sir, are no more than opinions, and everyone has a right to thier opinions, and they have a right to say them out loud without fear of censoring or retaliation.

    I understand your disagreement with much of the right sir. And I respect your opinions, and enjoy reading your perspective. I've learned from some of it.

    However, censoring free speech in my opinion, should be an outrage to every liberty loving american in this country. Regardless of whether or not you agree or disagree with whatever is being censored.

    I'm old enough to remember when the old school liberals were more active. And they fought censoring of all free speech, not just the speech they disagree with.

    They stunk like pitchouli oil, and we're annoying as hell. But I damn sure miss them now.
    Your boy Donnie's repeal of net neutrality has been allowing ISPs to block content they don't like or to throttle/deny service to people who are dissident.

    I agree with the idea of free speech, but it's got to be a 2-way street.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Honkey_Kong View Post
    Your boy Donnie's repeal of net neutrality has been allowing ISPs to block content they don't like or to throttle/deny service to people who are dissident.

    I agree with the idea of free speech, but it's got to be a 2-way street.
    That repeal eliminated rules preventing broadband providers from blocking or slowing down access to websites or charging companies extra to deliver content faster. But, the court also found that the FCC had overstepped its authority when it banned states from enacting their own open internet rules,

    Basically the power to regulate local internet content, was taken out of the hands of the federal government, and the fcc, and moved it back to local municipalities.

    I don't see how you call that restriction of free speech or censorship.

    But whatever. I agree it has to be a 2 way street.
    Last edited by Hughinn; 03-18-2021 at 05:54 AM.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hughinn View Post
    That repeal eliminated rules preventing broadband providers from blocking or slowing down access to websites or charging companies extra to deliver content faster. But, the court also found that the FCC had overstepped its authority when it banned states from enacting their own open internet rules,

    Basically the power to regulate local internet content, was taken out of the hands of the federal government, and the fcc, and moved it back to local municipalities.

    I don't see how you call that restriction of free speech or censorship.

    But whatever. I agree it has to be a 2 way street.
    Except ISPs are throttling sites of dissidents. They are blocking content that they don't like from being accessed by their customers. If customers are reported to the ISP for saying thing which they don't like on places like Facebook and Twitter, they're threatened with termination of internet service (I know first hand that Spectrum does this).

    It's not reported on, but it happens all the time. Fact is both sides of the false left/right political paradigm hate free speech (along with all the other freedoms we take for granted). It's always one side violates those rights while their ideologues either put their heads in the sand or make excuses for it. Then when the other side takes over it's a travesty!

  13. #13
    Hughinn is offline Banned
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    Quote Originally Posted by Honkey_Kong View Post
    Except ISPs are throttling sites of dissidents. They are blocking content that they don't like from being accessed by their customers. If customers are reported to the ISP for saying thing which they don't like on places like Facebook and Twitter, they're threatened with termination of internet service (I know first hand that Spectrum does this).

    It's not reported on, but it happens all the time. Fact is both sides of the false left/right political paradigm hate free speech (along with all the other freedoms we take for granted). It's always one side violates those rights while their ideologues either put their heads in the sand or make excuses for it. Then when the other side takes over it's a travesty!
    I agree with you. And I believe that what you say is true. That isp people are guilty of what you say.

    Now it's a matter of taking it up with state officials.

    https://www.google.com/amp/s/thehill...t-google%3famp

    Texas has already started.

    I do believe there is a strategy here. The federal government and the recently struck down law was limited in the sense that it did not and could not regulate privately owned companies as far as censoring and bias. Example is facebook and google.

    But the states themselves can now step in and make thier own determinations. This was done, in part as a way for citizens to challenge big tech, service providers and news providers directly.

    I believe we're on the same page in this matter honky.
    I'm just of the opinion we'll get a fairer shake from the states than we would from the fed.

    I hope I'm not wrong. Time will tell
    Last edited by Hughinn; 03-18-2021 at 11:47 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hughinn View Post
    I agree with you. And I believe that what you say is true. That isp people are guilty of what you say.

    Now it's a matter of taking it up with state officials.

    https://www.google.com/amp/s/thehill...t-google%3famp

    Texas has already started.

    I do believe there is a strategy here. The federal government and the recently struck down law was limited in the sense that it did not and could not regulate privately owned companies as far as censoring and bias. Example is facebook and google.

    But the states themselves can now step in and make thier own determinations. This was done, in part as a way for citizens to challenge big tech, service providers and news providers directly.

    I believe we're on the same page in this matter honky.
    I'm just of the opinion we'll get a fairer shake from the states than we would from the fed.

    I hope I'm not wrong. Time will tell
    The other benefit is that, if your state passes shitty legislation, it’s pretty easy to move to another state. Federal regulations make shit quite a lot harder to escape, especially on the current environment.

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    Wow...
    More government involvement to fix a perceived problem.

    Damn private companies doing their own thing.
    Who do they think they are???

    So fucking crazy...
    Just last night I called Fox News and demanded some air time.
    And they refused!!!!!
    Why should Tucker get to rant for an hour but I can't say two minutes of science???

    Call the government!!!!
    We need more government!!!!!
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  16. #16
    Hughinn is offline Banned
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Deadlifting Dog View Post
    Wow...
    More government involvement to fix a perceived problem.

    Damn private companies doing their own thing.
    Who do they think they are???

    So fucking crazy...
    Just last night I called Fox News and demanded some air time.
    And they refused!!!!!
    Why should Tucker get to rant for an hour but I can't say two minutes of science???

    Call the government!!!!
    We need more government!!!!!
    So fucking crazy?

    Crazy is requiring the government to dictatate hiring practices to privately owned businesses and companies, setting up quotas based on skin color and nationality and calling it "anti discrimination" because discrimination is supposed to be illegal, but,, then pretending like that same government would be out of line by disallowing tech giants to discriminate against American citizens based on political opinions.

    That seems bat shit crazy, seriously contradictory and plain ass backwards to me.

    But what do I know? I didn't go to an ivy league school.
    Last edited by Hughinn; 03-19-2021 at 08:43 AM.

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