Those cheering the creeping censorship are oblivious to their own threat.
As the world sits back and watches the reverberations of the President becoming routinely de-platformed by social media companies there is a very unsettling trend rising today. A number of people and outlets who are media figures — those who not only are supported by but rely upon freedom of expression — are actively supporting the silencing of the President.
Twitter gave a statement to explain why it completely disbanded President Trump’s account. The examples given had zero provocation to violence, but the company insisted there was enough subtext to be interpreted as a call for violence — as big of a stretch as can be imagined. This was met by far more support than criticism from many in media circles.
Over at CNN Oliver Darcy has ramped up his usual practice of trying to get a particular outlet, or an individual, de-platformed and punished professionally. His latest quest is to begin pressuring cable television providers to drop Fox News, One America News Network, and NewsMax. If this sounds eerily like the practice of third world dictators that is for good reason.
The fact is that so many are blinded by their personal contempt for the President that their knee-jerk applause at the news of his suspensions displays their ignorance of the threat. You would think that a best-selling author, someone who profits off of his freedom to express himself, would understand.
Sir, free speech does not include the right to yell “Fire!” in a crowded theater. That is what Donald Trump was doing, and why he has been rightfully banned. https://t.co/hPXDTg7pXv
— Stephen King (@StephenKing) January 9, 2021
Add in a broadcaster, cheering for Trump to be silenced.
— Quddus (@iamQuddus) January 9, 2021
These, and numerous other examples scattered around the web, can be explained away as those with a personal animus. That does not make their position correct, or smart, but it at least can be explained. What is deeply troubling are the growing examples of main outlets making institutional declarations in support of muzzling voices.
On Friday, Reddit banned r/donaldtrump, its major online hub for grassroots Trump fans, for inciting violence and glorifying the armed attack his supporters carried out on Capitol Hill. https://t.co/leqg3onIFs
— Mother Jones (@MotherJones) January 9, 2021
Now Mother Jones is not a shocking example, as they are so leftist that opposition to Trump is almost compulsory. But they are a publication, and the support for suppressed speech is still a bad look. It becomes more pernicious when one of the tech industry corporations comes out with its paradoxical position on the matter.
This is a hell of a boilermaker. pic.twitter.com/zDu5Z1omSX
— Schadenfreudelish (@aggierican) January 9, 2021
It becomes either a cruel irony or the most abject example of obliviousness — they are literally defying their own stated mission statement. ‘’We work to ensure the internet remains a public resource that is open and accessible to all. That is, until they disagree with you politically, then all bets are off.
And it is apparently getting worse. These examples are current moves, essentially addressing past examples found of language that had been sent by President Trump. Forbes Magazine has taken an even bolder step. It has announced that going forward it will be holding companies in a particular light if they are to be found to have hired any names from the Trump administration in the future. Here is the message just delivered by the Chief Content Officer of the magazine.
Let it be known to the business world: Hire any of Trump’s fellow fabulists above, and Forbes will assume that everything your company or firm talks about is a lie. We’re going to scrutinize, double-check, investigate with the same skepticism we’d approach a Trump tweet. Want to ensure the world’s biggest business media brand approaches you as a potential funnel of disinformation? Then hire away.
This is amazing. Here is a major publication making the declaration that it will be dispensing with common journalism practice and making the assumption that a company is making fraudulent comments. The hell with ethics — if you hire a particular name they will simply ‘’assume’’ you are lying.
Randall Lane, the writer of this debased new standard, tries to elide the expected pushback by insisting what he is proposing is not cancel culture. He calls that practice a ‘’social blight’’. So it is wrong to have someone removed from a position due to political connections, but preemptively keeping people out of work for the exact same reasoning is perfectly acceptable.
For Forbes to exhibit this attitude as a publication is a remarkable example of how far the media will go in its desire to back one movement, and demonize another. We are in a perilous time as these outlets are essentially going to be insulated with a Democrat-run Biden term in office. It will be up to us to watch carefully the way these outlets contort their ethical stances in the coming years.