Conservatives, the Media and Big Tech Censorship
President Donald Trump has a marvelous ability to bring attention to issues that affect us all, but would normally either receive little attention, or be buried by the mainstream media. By involving himself, the President makes everyone talk about the problem, and inevitably divides people into two camps, but also unearths carefully hidden hypocrisies, crimes and cover ups.
Big Tech Censoring Conservatives
It did not happen any differently with the Twitter debacle that has given attention to a much larger matter – big tech censoring conservatives. Being the biggest and strongest democratic country, and the leader of the free world, the US unavoidably – and perhaps unwittingly – makes some of its own problems our own, independently of where we may live. It is in the United States where the examples of freedom of expression, technological innovation, the idea of protesting freely, of democracy and fairness, lady justice and meritocracy come from. Naturally, seeing any of these under attack unsettles even the most indifferent among us.
Twitter is the US President’s medium of choice, in which he communicates with his voters, sympathizers and everyone else. Donald Trump found, perhaps the hard way, that the usual channels of communication were not transmitting his message as intended by the President. The media was distorting what he was saying for its own political agenda. CNN, the New York Times, MSNBC, the Washington Post and many others were clearly rooting for Hillary Clinton to win. They never forgave Trump for winning the Presidency fairly from their chosen candidate. So, they decided that open war against him would be the next step. Fairly enough, the President decided to bypass the distorted mediums, in pursuit of a more direct communication – one in which his message would not be altered.
Twitter Decides to Clamp Down on POTUS
After four years of using Twitter, the social media decided to fact check one specific twit of the President, regarding mail-in voting. Trump had been advocating against the use of such practice for voting believing it to increase the chances for fraud and thus distorting the real verdict of the American people, come November. Democrats are instead in favor of mail-in voting, just as they are in favor of voting without an ID and also including non-American citizens to vote in American elections. Suspiciously, Twitter, using CNN as a fact checking source, decided the President’s message was false. So, the social media is taking a side. It is deciding what is right or wrong based on what one party in the discussion believes.
Twitter has created a commission of sorts inside the company to investigate and decide what twit is false and what is allowed. The head of this committee is a known far-left activist who has in his twitter account posts deeming President Trump a Nazi, attacking members of his administration and so on. Can anybody believe that this man will decide in an unbiased manner what truly is a fake twit? CNN, through its declared far left pundits, is urging the CEO of Twitter to go against the President and shut down his account. How peculiar is it that a terribly biased media is urging a social media claiming to act without bias to stop being a forum where opinions can be shared freely? Just as odd that the social media claiming to be fair and just is using the terribly biased news channel as a fact checker.
Fall in Line … Or Else …
CNN’s actions, however, are a symptom of a much greater plague. Follow the party line because if you diverge from the one ideology the media and the left dictate, you will be the next target. That was the underlying message the left has given to social media executives. Progressives, with their totalitarian mentality, have bullied Silicon Valley into defending them and attacking their opponents. It does not matter that conservatives advocate for a free market, low taxes, deregulation and incentives to innovate. The bullying and shaming from the left is a stronger incentive that anything the conservatives in the US or Europe can offer.
It is not the first time that this has happened. Many conservative journalists, activists or pundits have been censored and even had their accounts suspended. This has been going on for years and strangely enough only those that hold right wing views get censored. It simply got a higher attention now as an issue because the most powerful man in the world is involved and receiving the same unfair treatment as thousand of conservatives.
Mainstream Media Censorship on Steroids
This is a continuation of what the mainstream media has been doing for decades in the US and in America. Throughout the years there has been a concentration of the media in the hands of a few companies who own the major news channels in the US. Corporate media is used to tip the scale in elections. The Board of Directors of these companies decides that they do not want a candidate. This message is transmitted to the news managers and so on down the corporate ladder. In 2016 they wanted to do the same thing. They focused on Trump, giving him countless hours of free publicity because they thought he was the weakest of the Republican candidates. When they saw he was a risk for Hillary Clinton, they switched to attacking him relentlessly.
The mainstream media has become so one sided and bitterly ideological that their only goal now is destroying President Trump and denigrating his supporters and whoever gives him a fair shot. Organizations such as Media Matters threaten with boycotts and violence individuals who advocate freedom of expressions. As Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity, two pillars of American journalism, report, they were threatened by Media Matters several times. There is big money going through the mainstream media to attack everyone who is a conservative. The same is happening to the conservative Vox in Spain, Fratelli d’Italia and Lega in Italy, Orban in Hungary and every conservative elsewhere. This is one of the greatest threats we face today, because a media with a political agenda helps brainwash the masses. However, many are seeing through this. That is why CNN, the New York Times and many other once respected media, now are failing. CNN and MSNBC’s viewers combined are consistently far less than Fox News’. So, the left has turned to social media to help in its mission. In America, the mainstream media has very little chance of recovering from the abyss it has thrown itself.
Progressive Tech Bros
It is no secret that the majority of Silicon Valley is progressive, and they contribute to progressive causes and individuals. It is also a fact that the 2016 Presidential election proved that social media are a powerful weapon that can make the difference in the outcome. The issue is whether we can hold all this power accountable. Silicon Valley billionaires have made tremendous technological breakthroughs. There is no doubt about that. However, they can change the course of an election with a few lines of programming. Are they held accountable for that? How far-reaching is their influence, their ability to distort free speech and messaging? Twitter is proving that it has been purging the views of those people who are disliked by its executives. These companies enjoy exemptions that Congress has carved out for them. It is logical to think that these exemptions need to be looked at and adapted for our current reality.
It is not only the unfairness of social media being biased. There is a blatant hypocrisy discovered here. Why did nobody at Twitter fact check the Russia collusion hoax, the slanders against conservatives and President Trump, the accounts of the Chinese communist party or the propaganda of the Ayatollah of Iran? For this last one, Senator Ted Cruz is calling for a criminal investigation into Twitter for “willfully and blatantly violating U.S. sanctions on Iran”.
What About Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg?
On the other hand, Mark Zuckerberg has chosen a smarter path. Many times, he has repeated that Facebook, and private companies, should not be the arbiters of truth. And Zuckerberg is a liberal, who attracted the ire of the left when he instituted this policy. Nevertheless, he is right precisely because of a law that social media executives use to shield themselves – the famous Section 230 that conservatives in the American Congress and President Trump are putting under review. The law considers social media such as Facebook and Twitter as distributors of news and not publishers. The media are publishers and as such are also fact checkers. However, by getting into fact checking, Twitter is considering itself to be a publisher. And with this change, come other responsibilities, which social media do not want. So, by going against the President of the United States, Twitter is working against its own best interests.
The President and Congress should not get into the business of regulating and overseeing content because it may prove even more damaging. If some bureaucrat in Washington examines the even-handedness of social media every certain amount of years, how is that any different from what Twitter’s politically motivated executives are doing? How can any person, who by nature is opinionated and maybe politically appointed decide what type of speech is allowed and what not? More government interference into private companies should not be an option, because it would mean legalizing what is currently going on with the left using social media for their purposes. Politics is not simply a clash of facts, rather of morals and principles. So, we cannot allow Twitter or government bureaucrats to decide what is allowed to be said and written. It is up to the voters to decide what information to believe by having decentralization of the distributors of information.
There are two solutions to the issue of conservative censorship and the threat of social media. The first is to leave it. If the President and conservatives feel their free speech is under attack, they can close their accounts and move to other platforms. Twitter is a business and it makes profits based on the amount of people who choose it. If the President of the US, who has around 80 million followers, decides to leave and his fans follow, how will Twitter react? It is how a free market works. If you do not get the service you want, in exchange for the data you give and the marketing revenue generated because of your presence in the social media, you can simply leave. Even better, conservatives are free to create their own platforms to compete. In a society, competition leads to the best products, without the interference of the government.
The second solution comes from the lawmakers. One example to be followed could be the law in Australia which prohibits publications related to murder, terrorism, pornography, violence. For example, the far-left American comedian, Kathy Griffin posting a picture of a decapitated Trump would not have been allowed to do it, had that law been passed in the US. Twitter, at the time, did not censor the so-called comedian. Nor did it shut her account. In this case, the law would be a fair referee. Therefore, there are legal ways that ensure freedom of speech and limit the possibility for abuse.
By now, conservatives should not be surprised at the attempts of the left to censor them. Instead, they should focus on the pillars of their ideology – freedom of expression, innovations, free and fair markets, deregulation and fair laws.
With these pillars, it is possible to find the solution to censorship and ensure the truth reaches the public without interference and distortions.