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The Censorship Industrial Complex Is in Deep Trouble, and Its Supporters Know It

AP Photo/Michael Dwyer, File

The Censorship Industrial Complex is facing some hard times ahead, thanks to backlash from folks who support free speech and oppose efforts to silence certain voices on digital platforms.

Ever since it became apparent that various organizations funded with your money had been targeting right-leaning news outlets and influencers on social media, the opposition has been fierce – and rightly so.

These entities, under the guise of combating “misinformation” and “disinformation,” have been waging an all-out war against the spread of ideas and viewpoints that are antithetical to progressive ideology. Now, it appears their efforts are in danger, according to a recent report from Bloomberg

These are trying times for people engaged in the yeoman’s work of combating the spread of falsehood. Just ask Nina Jankowicz, who had just started working for the US government when she received her first death threat.

Jankowicz, an expert in the spread of propaganda, was named executive director of the Disinformation Governance Board in early 2022, a body created to advise the US Department of Homeland Security on misinformation. The work of the DGB, which was supposed to aid national security, was paused after a matter of weeks in the face of criticism and exaggerations by Republican lawmakers and right-wing media — distortions which the Biden administration failed to counter. Within months, the board was disbanded.

Jankowicz went on to co-found the American Sunlight Project, a non-governmental organization dedicated to “increasing the cost of lies that threaten our democracy.” But the loose-knit coalition of conspiracy theorists, hard-right politicians and anti-establishment types who oppose her work have not let up. “They are making people believe that those they are writing about have committed treason,” she said.

Yeah, sure, Nina.

The article also mentions the embattled Stanford Internet Observatory (SIO), another misinformation grift that receives funding from the government. The author discusses how the organization is scaling back its operations after a barrage of criticisms and lawsuits targeting its efforts to censor right-leaning viewpoints online.

The team at Stanford is one of several bodies that have been the subject of lawsuits and legislative investigations from Republican lawmakers. Among the critics’ central complaints is the issue that teams engaged in online fact-checking pose a threat to free speech norms. There’s also the allegation that many of them are working on behalf of the US government to censor disfavored viewpoints.

As with all left-leaning diatribes against the effort to stop these entities from suppressing speech while pretending to root out fake news, the author turned his attention to X owner Elon Musk, focusing on the release of the Twitter Files, which exposed much of the inner workings of the company’s censorship regime and its collusion with the federal government to silence speech. The author touches on some of the lawsuits Musk has filed against these operations.

He concludes by discussing concerns Jankowicz raised about the future of the Censorship Industrial Complex. “I’ve spoken to many people who are evaluating whether to continue in this field because of the risks it now involves,” she said, also indicating that it “should worry everyone who cares about free expression.”

Well, if the prime purveyor of the misinformation grift is worried, that is a welcome sign, is it not?

Here’s the thing: The author, like many of his contemporaries, is leaving out the part where groups like the SIO, NewsGuard, the Global Disinformation Index, and several others are not at all concerned with making sure Americans get accurate information online. They are little more than left-wing propaganda outlets seeking to diminish the influence of conservatives and libertarians in the digital realm.

Their objective is not to protect consumers from being fooled by fake news; their aim is to maintain progressive supremacy over these platforms. This was evident since the beginning of the misinformation industry. These organizations fixated on right-leaning media outlets while all but completely ignoring the lies and misinformation coming from the left – and they were paid handsomely by our government to do so.

If these people truly cared about making sure Americans are getting accurate information, they would direct their energies at misinformation regardless of which side of the political divide it comes from. Instead, they overwhelmingly target right-leaning viewpoints in an effort to pressure platforms to silence them. This is what the author did not want his audience to consider, or else he would have discussed it in his article. Nevertheless, these developments suggest that fewer people are falling for the grift, which is why the backlash against the industry has been so aggressive.

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