Probably the most recognizable stories to come out of this week is the removal of conspiracy theorist Alex Jones’ “InfoWars” outlets on Facebook, Apple and YouTube. Twitter has said that his Twitter account would remain, at least for now. CNN supposedly did an “investigative” report on Alex Jones’ InfoWars posts on twitter, and of those posts “investigated” by CNN, according to a spokesperson for Twitter, “seven were found to have violated Twitter’s rules.” CNN further states, “CNN’s investigation found that InfoWars’ and Jones’ Twitter accounts had published content that degraded groups of people on the basis of their religion and gender identity, engaged in the harassment of individuals, glorified violence, and promoted conspiracy theories about the Sandy Hook and Parkland shootings.“
Let me make clear, I do not believe in most conspiracy’s. I do not believe in the conspiracies that Alex Jones talks about. However, as an American, I do believe in his fundamental right to talk about and to believe what he chooses, without fear of persecution or prosecution. According to CNN, and with no evidence presented with the article, he made posts that, among other things, “degraded groups of people on the basis of their religion and gender identity” and/or “glorified violence.” Perhaps that is true, perhaps it is not. I do not follow Mr. Jones on Twitter, and CNN did not specify the posts they were claiming made these threats. In contrast, famously, Representative Maxine Waters (D) speaks in public on demeaning those that work in the current administration. Arguably giving a green light to harass anyone in support of the President. Whether or not she green-lighted violence, some feel she did, she did degrade a group. Granted, it was based on their political beliefs (which are sacred beliefs, and right thereof afforded by the Constitution) and not if they were gay or a Christian, but it was promoting the degradation of a group of people based off of their beliefs. And this from a United States Congresswoman.
One more example, conspiracy theorist Michael Moore is still on Twitter and Facebook. Conspiracy theories that are works of fiction, like Bowling for Columbine, or the arguably falsified “Fahrenheit 9/11.” This has not tarnished his account on Twitter.
However, this article is not to point out all of the liberal accounts on Twitter, Facebook, Apple and YouTube that incite, and promote violence and hatred against anyone who disagrees with them, or that they disagree with. No, this is about the fundamental fabric of information and Gestapo style censorship.
The First Amendment of the United States Constitution states gives every American the freedom of speech, the freedom to assemble, and the freedom of expression (among other freedoms.) These freedoms are exercised daily by liberals and conservatives alike. It allows Representative Waters to make the statement(s) she has. It allows Michael Moore to make the statement(s) he has. It allows Robert De Niro to make the (vulgar) statements he did and that CNN celebrated. And, like it or not, it allows for Alex Jones to make the statements that he has. Especially when it is on public forums.
Freedom of speech is one of the fundamental bedrocks of our society. Increasingly, however, the liberal mindset is that it is only free speech if they approve or if it does not “offend” someone (neither of which is specified in the First Amendment, or anywhere with the Constitution of the United States of America.) Any prohibition to that freedom is a threat to our Republic, and democracy as a whole. With social media becoming an increasingly important transference of information, for better or for worse, censorship of contradicting beliefs is even more threatening.
When an entire generation gets information from just one, far side of the spectrum, opinions and understanding cannot be achieved. This article is but one example of what can happen with information is one-sided, and comes from one political extreme of a spectrum. It is called Nazi Germany. Especially, “During the first weeks of 1933, the Nazi regime deployed the radio, press, and newsreels to stoke fears of a pending “Communist uprising,” then channeled popular anxieties into political measures that eradicated civil liberties and democracy.” This is startlingly apparent by the USA Today in which is it exclaimed, after multiple insults hurled at the President, and arguably at the people that elected him, that the Presidency should be abolished (interestingly, and even more concerning, they were influenced by Comedy Central.)
More and more, platforms are banning or “shadow banning” conservative voices and content. For instance, Twitter claims that they do not “shadow ban”, but readily admit that the content may be harder to find. What this means is that to a casual user of Twitter, stories or posts from some conservatives will not show in the “feed”, and so the influence over that casual user is solely from one side of the spectrum. To aging adults, this is likely not an issue. However, for millennials and younger, who have not learned the realities of the world, and the historical contexts of anything, it is frightening. It is eerie to look at the parallel of what young adults and youth are learning today, and what they are being subjected to from CNN, MSNBC, etc., and what was being channeled in Germany in 1933 to influence the populace of what was “right or wrong” as the Government saw fit.
This is what makes censorship, and form of censorship, dangerous to all democracy. The ability to choose what you want a society to believe, whether it is right or wrong, is frightening. But that is what “Tech Giants” are doing. They are deciding what flow of information that they want an entire generation to see, and they are influencing and dictating what they should believe. That is why “shadow banning” and outright removal of people that say or believe things that one may not believe, or even that one may find “offensive” matters. It matters to our way of life. It matters to our freedom. It matters to our liberty.