I read my colleague Nick Arama’s report from Sunday on the disturbing “Reliable Sources” segment between CNN’s resident media hall monitor, Brian Stelter, and former Facebook chief security officer, Alex Stamos, and — like many on the right — it made my blood boil.
For those who missed it, here’s what Stamos told an approving Stelter about the supposed need to limit the reach of conservative-leaning news sources like OANN and Newsmax by urging Big Tech to take away the platforms they use to communicate to their audiences:
“…we have to turn down the capability of these conservative influencers [like OANN and Newsmax] to reach these huge audiences. There are people on YouTube, for example, that have a larger daytime — larger audience than daytime CNN, and they are extremely radical and pushing extremely radical views.
And, so, it is up to the Facebooks and YouTubes in particular to think about whether or not they want to be effectively cable networks for disinformation. And then we have to figure out the OANN and Newsmax problem, you know, these companies have freedom of speech but I’m not sure we need Verizon, AT&T, Comcast and such to be bringing them into tens of millions of homes.”
The irony of a former Facebook senior official pretending to champion free speech while at the same time advocating for ways to effectively shut down alternative news sources should not be lost on anyone.
All of this is being done under the guise of preventing people from being exposed to “extremely radical views” — like asking questions about election results. It’s an odd position, considering that prior to November 2020, questioning election outcomes was practically a requirement at “news” outlets like CNN and MSNBC, provided it was questioning President Trump’s 2016 presidential election victory over Hillary Clinton, and Democrat hero and media darling Stacey Abrams’ 2018 loss to Brian Kemp in the Georgia gubernatorial election.
Yet here we are.
I say that what Stamos, Stelter, and others in the media, on the left, and in Big Tech are advocating is “under the guise of” because their real concerns come from very self-serving positions, despite them wanting people to believe otherwise.
If Stelter and other media figures were really worried about news broadcasts/reports inspiring bad characters to commit wrongdoing, they wouldn’t have gaslit the American people last year for months about the radical protesters in BLM and Antifa who spent the entire summer and the early fall months wreaking havoc on major American Democrat-run cities by way of rioting, looting, taking over entire city blocks, throwing incendiary devices at federal courthouses, terrorizing neighborhoods, etc.
I mean CNN and MSNBC were literally filing live reports in front of burning buildings and with rioters throwing things off in the distance while at the same time reporters at these networks were declaring what was going on as “mostly peaceful.”
If these supposedly “reliable” news networks were truly concerned about truth and honesty in reporting, they wouldn’t have spent the last four years touting “bombshells” about the Trump administration that never panned out, like the Russia/Trump collusion hoax. They also perpetuated the lie that Trump called the Neo-Nazis in Charlottesville “very fine people”, and they also spent a considerable amount of time “reporting” other quotes from Trump that were taken out of context to mean something he didn’t even say.
What these supposed gatekeepers of truth are really trying to do boils down to two things: shut down competitors like Fox News (Oliver Darcy has led the way on that front), and promoting “portion control” — that is, controlling what viewers and readers see come from media newsrooms. The news they “report” will mirror state-run TV, which CNN didn’t hesitate to experiment with after Election Day.
Stelter said the quiet part out loud in October when he proclaimed it was the media’s job to “protect the public” from certain things politicians, candidates for higher office, and the like say.
In media-speak terms, that was code for “it’s our job to control the message and to prevent audiences from hearing things we don’t like.”
His obedient sidekick, Oliver Darcy, also ranted not long after about how media coverage of stories that are damaging to Democrats – like the Eric Swalwell and Hunter Biden stories – must be kept “in proportion” to alleged scandals involving Republicans — because left-wing narratives and so forth.
Independent journalist Glenn Greenwald put a finer point on it in a thread he posted after watching the Stelter/Stamos segment:
In that clip 👆, the CNN & Facebook censors are deeply worried that people who consume conservative media never hear anything that challenges their assumptions or views.
When is the last time – outside an occasional Jake Tapper segment – Dems hear anything on CNN that does that?
— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) January 17, 2021
“There are people on YouTube for example that have a larger audience than daytime CNN,” says the Facebook censors to a nodding Brian Stelter.
Exactly. And that’s their real problem. People are tuning them out. They think it’s unfair. And they want their entitled monopoly back.
— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) January 17, 2021