Censorship the New Normal in America
by Stephen Lendman (stephenlendman.org – Home – Stephen Lendman)
Government and social media efforts to control online content threaten First Amendment rights in America like never before – on the phony pretexts of prohibiting hate speech, protecting national security and other invented reasons.
What’s going on is all about controlling the message, wanting online content dissenting from the official narrative suppressed. Is digital democracy’s abolition next?
A new Ipsos poll found 43% of self-identified Republicans want Trump empowered to shut down media he believes are engaged in “bad behavior.”
Only 36% of respondents disagreed. Nearly half of them believe “the news media (are) the enemy of the American people.”
Survey results showed 12% of self-identified Dems and 21% of independents support giving Trump the power to shutter media for “bad behavior.”
Banishing any media compromises speech and press freedoms – the hallmark of totalitarian societies.
Major media aren’t threatened. Congress and the courts protect them. For independent online news, information and analysis, it’s another issue altogether.
Led by neocon Dem Mark Warner, undemocratic Senate Dems drafted a thought control policy paper on the phony pretext of combating disinformation they support when sticking to the official narrative.
Titled “Potential Policy Proposals for Regulation of Social Media and Technology Firms,” it falsely accused Russia of spreading fake news, along with using online technology to interfere in America’s 2016 presidential election – bald-faced lies.
Saying Moscow aims “to undermine Americans’ faith in democratic government” turned truth on its head. No evidence suggests it.
US-style democracy mocks what rule of the people is all about. Undemocratic Dems want online platforms held legally liable for alleged “defamation, invasion of privacy, false light…public disclosure of private facts,” and other designated content diverging from the official narrative.
The policy paper states: “The size and reach of (certain online) platforms demand that we ensure proper oversight, transparency and effective management of technologies that in large measure undergird our social lives, our economy, and our politics” – code language for supporting thought control if these ideas become the law of the land.
After targeting Infowars.com for alleged “hate speech,” Twitter banished Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity’s Peter Van Buren and its executive director Daniel McAdams.
Van Buren said he was falsely accused of “harass(ing), intimidat(ing), or us(ing) fear to silence someone else’s voice.”
Responding to the action, he explained the following:
“I don’t think I did any of that, and I wish you didn’t have to accept my word on it. I wish instead you could read what I wrote and decide for yourself.”
“But Twitter won’t allow that. Twitter says you cannot read and make up your own mind. They have in fact eliminated all the things I have ever written there over seven years, disappeared me down the Memory Hole.”
“That’s what censorship does; it takes the power to decide what is right and wrong away from you and gives it to someone else.”
“Hate what I write, hate me, block me, don’t buy my books, but please don’t celebrate handing over those choices to some company.”
“I lost my career at the State Department because I spoke out as a whistleblower against the Iraq War. I’ve now been silenced, again, for speaking out, this time by a corporation. I am living in the America I always feared.”
Antiwar.com’s editorial director Scott Horton was banished for allegedly using improper language against journalist Jonathan Katz.
McAdams was banished for retweeting his remark, Horton saying he was “suspended from Twitter for calling @KatzOnEarth a ‘boo hoo little bitch,’ for tattletaling on Peter Van Buren and getting him suspended. Dan McAdams has also been suspended for RTing me.”
On August 3, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) digital rights groups said in its supposed effort to police “misinformation,” Facebook “deleted an event page for the anti-fascist protest “No Unite the Right 2 – DC.”
It unjustifiably claimed the event was sponsored by an “inauthentic” organization with possible foreign connections – despite no evidence suggesting it.
FB refused to give event sponsors the right to dispute accusations against it.
Cracking down on alleged “misinformation” is part of a campaign to suppress news and views conflicting with the official narrative.
EFF Santa Clara Principles on Transparency and Accountability in Content Moderation “call on social media platforms to provide human review of content removal and give users meaningful and timely opportunity to present additional information as part of that review” – to prevent unacceptable censorship.
UK libertarian politician Nigel Farage said banning Infowars “represents a concerted effort of proscription and censorship that could just as soon see any of us confined to the dustbin of social media history.”
Will US thought control legislation come next – banishing online content dissenting from the official narrative?
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My newest book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”