The Rise of the Digital Brownshirts

The Rise of the Digital Brownshirts
(AP Photo/Mel Evans, File)

The discussion about free speech and online censorship has become one with no easy answers as tech titans and advocacy groups begin to embrace the rhetoric of reform, if not quite the spirit of it.

Case in point: a U.K.- based group called the Center for Countering Digital Hate is using its stated platform of countering digital hate by hatefully attempting to censor conservative groups online for the crime of disagreeing with their position on climate policy.

The Center — which Influence Watch describes as “a London-based advocacy group that targets accused ‘hate groups’ and individuals for de-platforming campaigns to remove them from major social media outlets” — has set their sights on conservative publishers such as the Media Research Center, Daily Wire, TownHall, Breitbart, and others for their apostasy on environmental issues.

And, as is often the case, the group, writes MRC’s Joseph Vazquez, is tied to some rather nasty players with an interest in leftist “eco-extremism”. In this case, China.

The U.K.-based Center for Countering Digital Hate wants to censor organizations that disagree with it on climate policy. It released an absurd report attacking the Media Research Center and eight other conservative organizations in an attempt to shut them down online.

The leftist group behind the attack is led by a socialist who co-authored a book about “how to defeat” conservative ideas. The group promotes leftist eco-extremism, but behind all that are its deep ties to Communist China. The CCDH is funded by a leftist eco-group that financed a “greening” scheme for Communist China’s Belt and Road Initiative.

The propaganda report headlined “THE TOXIC TEN: How ten fringe publishers fuel 69% of digital climate change denial” includes three recommendations to censor the organizations the group doesn’t agree with. These include: “Stop monetizing” their content; stop allowing them to buy ads and it even wants social media firms to “comprehensively label” what it calls “climate denial.”

MRC founder and President L. Brent Bozell slammed the attack. “Digital brownshirts are attacking conservative organizations for daring to have an honest debate on climate policy. These anti-free speech bigots want to shut down anyone who dares to disagree with them. Calling for more biased fact-checks as a way of silencing scientific debate is insane. This is another typical left wing cancel culture attempt borne out of anti-conservative bigotry. Stop Big Tech Cancel Culture!”

The report released by the Center is called “The Toxic Ten.

According to Vazquez’s piece, the Center is funded by the Oak Foundation, receiving $100,000 in 2020 to “allegedly help shine ‘a spotlight on digital misinformation platforms that are polluting the public discourse on issues such as climate action, women’s rights, and racial equality.’ [Emphasis added.]”

Vazquez quoted The Capital Research Center’s (disclosure: I’m employed by The Capital Research Center) piece debunking the integrity of the “greening” language used by Oak Foundation in regards to polishing the reputation of China’s Belt and Road Initiative.

Jane Nakano, a senior fellow of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, expressed strong skepticism about the rhetoric of environmentalism surrounding the Belt and Road Initiative, and said the attempts by the U.N. and the Chinese government to rebrand the project with a ‘greening’ effort should be seen as a case of ‘greenwashing,’ likening the Initiative’s environmental forum to a ‘useful customer relations occasion for Beijing,’ [emphasis added].

Steve Milloy, founder and former advisor to President Trump on the EPA, released a statement on the effort to silence conservative publishers who diverge from leftist climate orthodoxy.

“Despite owning and controlling most of the media, climate activists continue to struggle to convince the general public that the weather can be controlled by higher energy prices and a reduced standard of living,” Milloy said. “This is best demonstrated by numerous polls and elections all showing that the public is unwilling to suffer pointlessly for the climate agenda. Having failed at intimidating, silencing and censoring opponents of their agenda, they have moved on to trying the same tactics on media outlets that report on what their opponents are saying. While their desperation is unlikely to pay off, it does reveal their totalitarian nature. You may agree or disagree with the opponents of climate activists, but we aren’t trying to shut anyone up or shut media outlets down.”

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