Since the 2016 election, we have been incessantly and ceaselessly assaulted by claims that Russia
bought stole influenced the outcome with a massive disinformation campaign aimed at harming Hillary and electing Trump. “Bot farms” became a regular part of our vernacular, with liberal commentators claiming that Americans are so dumb that a few well-placed articles turned brilliant Hillary supporters into drooling MAGA morons.
We prosecuted an entire impeachment campaign based on the ridiculous notion that Russian authorities actually believe Republicans are better for communism than Democrats.
The narrative has never ended, and, in fact, has only intensified as we creep closer to another Election Day. Social media entities have become obsessed with fighting the spread of “fake news” by employing fact-checkers, shifting algorithms, and outright banning some stories and comments. They do it for us, for our own good. They’re fighting disinformation for the sake of all Americans.
But this is not a matter of disinformation or misinformation. It’s not even a matter of low information. We are living through the era of no information. In a day and age where you can have any answer to any question in the time it takes to type a few characters, we find ourselves in the position of not being allowed to see the information at all, in the first place.
Take the most recent example of the Chinese whistleblower virologist who escaped her country in fear for her life after she claims she uncovered information about the virus’ origins. Dr. Li-Meng Yan purports to have evidence that the virus was created in a lab, and the “wet markets” explanation was nothing but a smokescreen from the Chinese government. Facebook immediately moved to censor the post, adding “fact-check” warnings and burying it in algorithms designed to suppress its visibility. Twitter went a step further by suspending Yan’s account outright.
Earlier this week came news out of Nashville that local officials were caught hiding information about minimal COVID spread after restaurant and bar reopenings. Presumably, the goal was to continue to enable the nearly unlimited emergency powers of state and local officials.
Google censors their searches so we can’t see competing ideological articles.
Twitter and Facebook both consistently ban/suspend accounts that question the efficacy of mass mask policy, refer to China as the originator of the virus or discuss the medical value of hydroxychloroquine as a treatment. None of these things seem especially controversial considering there is ample evidence to back up every positive claim. Even if you question the evidence, or simply don’t believe it, it’s there. If it’s there, that means it has a place in a discussion. I’m homeschooling this year and we’ve been learning about the Scientific Method. One thing that you learn right away is that information is not information at all if there’s nothing to compare it to. Why can’t we even talk about this stuff?
We can’t talk about it because Big Bad Orange Man. We can’t talk about it because the millennials we’ve been making fun of for a decade are now beginning to fill positions of influence and innovation at the tech companies we’ve all come to depend on for our livelihoods. After 2016, they no longer see themselves as a part of any national conversation, they see themselves as obligated to set the national conversations. The Boomers have basically been eaten by their own creations at this point, and the GenXers who invented social media are rich enough (and GenX-ish enough) to simply not care about the consequences of letting millennials set social policy.
Why on earth would it be considered at all controversial to suggest that China has nefarious intentions when it comes to The United States? You don’t have to have a custom-fitted tinfoil hat to at least imagine that the Chinese have been tinkering around with biological weapons against international treaties. Why do all these respiratory viruses start in China anyway? They’re not the only people on earth who eat bats. And maybe Yan’s claims are not true and the virus is genuinely the result of people eating the same animals they’ve been eating for hundreds of years. Who knows? We certainly don’t because we’re not allowed to know. Some cranky, spoiled kid in San Francisco has already decided for you that because Trump doesn’t trust China, that makes China the virtuous entity. Trump can only lie, but the Chinese brought us The Avengers and LeBron James.
Hydroxychloroquine is not some made up, essential oils, holistichealingmagic dot net chemical. It’s a medical treatment that we already use for malaria. If our politicians are saying that we’re never “going back to normal” unless there’s a cure, shouldn’t we be robustly discussing every single possibility for curing this sickness? It is literally science. But some cranky, spoiled kid in San Francisco has already decided for you that you don’t need that information, that it’s only propaganda because the man who stole the election from the smartest woman in the world happened to mention it one day.
Dr. Yan is a doctor. An Expert Scientist™. Everything that comes out of her mouth is information, and yet it is squashed and hidden…for your own good.
The problem really isn’t guys like Zuckerberg and Jack Dorsey. The problem is the kids that had been assured by every adult they trusted beyond any shadow of a doubt that Hillary Clinton was going to be their president…and these kids always get what they want. So when they didn’t get the president they were promised, they threw a hissy fit. We’ve raised an entire generation of children with absolutely no sense of curiosity and an outsized sense of their importance in this world. Ignorance mixed with arrogance is a dangerous combination, and we are living out the consequences right now.
The millennial Left and the few “old folks” remaining that haven’t yet pissed them off keep trying to tell us they’re only trying to control disinformation, but regardless of their intentions (nefarious or otherwise), the result has been to halt information altogether.
The powers that be at our social media giants have thrust us into the age of No Information.
God help us all.
*Here is my most recent post on my public Facebook page explaining why I am limiting my engagement and moving my interactions to a censorship-free site. I can no longer depend on the bitter post-grad set to control my professional future. Join my growing DavisNation community over at Locals if you’re looking for me.