Published by Front Page Mag
By Daniel Greenfield
Manufacture a crisis and eliminate free speech.
Trump’s election victory was the Reichstag fire of internet censorship. The fury and conspiracy theories that followed were not just about bringing down President Trump, but ending free speech online.
It’s no coincidence that the central conspiracy theory surrounding the 2016 election involves free speech or that the solution is internet censorship. The claim that Russian trolls and bots rigged the election has zero actual evidence behind it. But it’s a convenient tool for not only delegitimizing Trump, but the very idea of a free and open internet where anyone can say anything they choose.
Senator Ben Cardin, Rep. Jerry Nadler and other members of Congress compared the election influence conspiracy to Pearl Harbor. Rep. Jim Himes went even further, suggesting that it had eclipsed 9/11 by claiming that it, “is up there with Pearl Harbor in terms of its seriousness as a challenge to this country.”
What they’re really saying is that Democrats losing an election is worse than the murder of 3,000 people. It’s why they will oppose a terror state travel ban until Islamic terrorists start voting Republican.
And what did this greatest attack since Pearl Harbor consist of? Speech. On the internet.
The central Russiagate conspiracy theory isn’t really about hacking: it’s about fake news sites and bots. The new Pearl Harbor comes from too many people saying the wrong things and the need to make them stop saying them. If they go on saying those things, it’s worse than the murder of 3,000 people.
If this was the new Pearl Harbor, does that mean we should be at war with Russia?
Democrats have little appetite for military conflict with anyone except Nevada ranchers. Trump has put more Russian fighters into the ground in one day of fighting than Obama did in eight years in office. When it comes to Moscow, the Democrats want to slap on some meaningless sanctions, before pushing the Reset Button once they get into the White House. It’s not Russia they want to crack down on, it’s us.
The accusations of treason and the cries of wartime emergency are pretexts for a domestic crackdown.
The election Reichstag fire manufactured a crisis that had to be urgently addressed. Alarmist wartime rhetoric justified civil rights violations from eavesdropping on Trump officials to internet censorship. The “collusion” effort to impeach Trump and imprison his associates through everything from eavesdropping to the Mueller investigation has been the loudest part of the campaign. Internet censorship has been the shadow campaign. Its implications aren’t as obvious, but extend far beyond this election.
The bulk of the remedies (beyond going back to paper ballots which are a lot easier for local lefty activists to stuff) involve internet censorship. The campaign began with alarmists warnings about Fake News. President Trump successfully seized the phrase and turned it against CNN, but the program to purge conservative material from Facebook, Google, and other services and sites is still going strong.
Before the election, Obama had urged, “We are going to have to rebuild within this wild-wild-west-of-information flow some sort of curating function.” The talking point that the internet has become a dangerously unregulated environment is at the heart of the internet censorship campaign. The First Amendment prevented direct government action, so the regulation had to take another form.
The “curating” was managed by pressuring Facebook, Google and others to embed a middle layer of lefty non-profits, from media fact checkers to activist groups like the Southern Poverty Law Center, to determine what belonged and who didn’t belong on their services. The middle curation layer would promote “trustworthiness” and curtail “divisiveness”: Orwellian euphemisms for political censorship.
This middle layer allowed Google and Facebook to outsource censorship by curation to “trustworthy” organizations. Or at least those organizations considered trustworthy by the left. The same media echo chamber which had manufactured the speech crisis had put itself in charge of imposing the solution.
And the solution was restoring a media monopoly by turning the internet into a gated community.
Putting the left in charge of determining the “trustworthiness” of content is political censorship. And Google and Facebook’s control over huge swathes of the internet meant that the censors would gain control over the eyeballs of more people than any single government could possibly manage.
Without the banner of “Fake News”, the censorship is harder to track. Some of it gets reported. And much of the rest is anecdotal. It’s the shadowbannings, demonetizations and suspensions that have become part of life for vocal conservatives as part of the political repression after the 2016 election.
Some of the results were obvious. Others were algorithmic. Visits, hits, views and retweets dropped. Some users and sites were banned. Others vanished into the shadowban twilight. The many grades of censorship ranged from full bans to demonitzation. But all shared a common leftist political agenda.
After a year, the left has made significant inroads in banning and restricting conservatives. Some battles were temporarily won. Facebook is pulling back from its reliance on the left’s “fact check” sites, Google’s knowledge panels no longer roll Snopes smears into search results for conservative sites and Guidestar’s defacing of the non-profit listings for conservative sites with Southern Poverty Law Center ratings was also rolled back. But the left is still winning the censorship war as the internet is reshaped away from an open marketplace of ideas to a “trustworthy” source of ideas “curated” by non-profit lefty partners.
See the full story here.