Caitlin Johnstone

Social media censorship is vastly more dangerous than the censored media

The recent ban of Alex Jones on Youtube highlights the start of a worrying trend. Social media is the next great bastion of controlled rhetoric.

 

 

I know objecting to Internet censorship makes me a right-wing Nazi-kissing literal Hitler in the eyes of many in this bizarre funhouse mirror world of online political discourse, but I insist that censorship by powerful corporations is one of the greatest obstacles we face in our fight to survive and thrive as a species in a world that is increasingly imperilled and dominated.

It has become painfully obvious that political solutions to the problems we face are locked shut to us. Democracy does not exist in America in any meaningful way, and those of us who live outside of America are all subject to the whims of the power establishment which has loosely centralised itself there. Here in Australia, we have paper ballots, exit polls and ranked-choice voting, which is a wet dream for many American election reform advocates.

The idea that we can vote our problems away is only useful insofar as it gets the populace trying the doors and learning for themselves that those doors are locked. The rigged US Democratic primary was a perfect example of that; if millions of people hadn’t tried to elect an unauthorised candidate, they never would have discovered that the machine was manipulating the field in a plethora of different ways to prevent them from accomplishing their goal. But beyond that, the door of actual political democracy is bolted shut.

This is not yet the case with democratised information sharing. The operational word being yet.

I highlighted this way back in May when I wrote an article titled “How To Fight The Establishment Propaganda Machine And Win”, which was promoted by Julian Assange and received a fair bit of attention. I’d noticed what a crucial role the mass media plays in manipulating the way ordinary people think and vote, and how the oligarchs would be unable to rule if public trust in their propaganda machine was shattered, so I pointed out the fact that our species has a radically unprecedented ability to share ideas and information and described some ways we can use that new ability to disrupt the machine.


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Just the other day I was supposed to have a live streamed interview on YouTube with progressive commentator Jamarl Thomas, but minutes prior he had his live streaming privileges revoked for reporting on a standard mainstream story about Russiagate. Thomas is someone I’d consider a relatively mellow voice on the progressive circuit, providing thoughtful commentary on the political landscape without extending nearly as far into the realm of conspiracy theory as many of us do, and they censored him of all people, for a story about something that happened on freaking MSNBC. He talks about his experience here in the first part of our conversation.

Hours after Medium announced it had suspended the accounts of right-wing pundits Mike Cernovich, Jack Posobiec and Laura Loomer, Mother Jones Senior Reporter Shane Bauer was on Twitter tagging Medium and telling them that they needed to censor antiwar leftists like myself as well for expressing scepticism of the establishment Syria narrative. The empire and its loyalists will never be content with merely silencing right-wing voices, which is why when Infowars starts receiving strikes from YouTube for merely expressing scepticism, we should all get worried.

I don’t care for Infowars. I think the way echo chamber cultists try to paint it as a white supremacist Nazi outlet is cartoonishly ridiculous, but it isn’t a good source of information and Alex Jones’ analyses of what’s going on in the world rarely seem to consist of much more than him making whatever noises sound most soothing to conservatives who are fed up with the status quo. But the things that he says are infinitely less dangerous than powerful media corporations censoring controversial political speech.

And when I say censorship, I mean censorship. America has a corporatist system of government, with no meaningful separation between government power and corporate power, so corporate media is government media, and corporate censorship is government censorship. When you’ve got Senate Judiciary Committee meetings featuring plutocrat-sponsored Senators meeting with plutocrat-owned social media officials talking about how to use Internet censorship to “prevent the fomenting of discord” in America, you’ve got government censorship.

Oh, you didn’t hear about that last one? Yeah, it’s a thing. A few months ago the Senate Judiciary Committee spoke with top legal and security officials for Facebook, Twitter and Google in a very disturbing way about the need to silence dissenting voices. Democratic Senator Mazie Hirono of Hawaii demanded that the companies adopt a “mission statement” declaring their commitment “to prevent the fomenting of discord.” Former FBI agent and deep state lackey Clint Watts kicked it up even further, saying, “Civil wars don’t start with gunshots, they start with words. America’s war with itself has already begun. We all must act now on the social media battlefield to quell information rebellions that can quickly lead to violent confrontations and easily transform us into the Divided States of America.”

This happened on the Senate floor, right out in the open.

The media manipulators know all about manufacturing the consent of the governed. They know you can’t just say “Hey we want to invade Iraq to destabilise the region and flood the area with terrorists so we can justify troop presence throughout the Middle East, thwart the agendas of Russia and former Soviet allies, and ensure the institution of the petrodollar in key OPEC nations,” so they say “Everyone! Saddam has weapons of mass destruction and he’s trying to do another 9/11!”

In the same way, they can’t say that anyone who questions establishment narratives needs to be censored, but they can come up with reasons to censor soft targets with little mainstream support who the dominant American culture enjoys making fun of. People like Alex Jones. Once they’ve got the public trusting Big Brother to protect them from the Alex Joneses, Mike Cernoviches and RTs of the world using every excuse from “harassment” to “fake news” to “Russian propaganda”, they’ll secure more and more public consent to silence anyone who makes things difficult for the mass media machine.

Don’t like it? Go to Gab, where you can talk about it as much as you like to eleven people with cartoon frog user pics.

No political speech should be censored. The new media is a tool that we need to use to dialogue with one another and share information, and if these vast social media corporations obstruct political speech that is not explicitly violent or pornographic, they are disrupting humanity’s attempts to communicate with itself. This is far, far more dangerous than anything Alex Jones has ever said, because it removes the only obstacle standing in the way of the omnicidal, ecocidal plutocracy which is threatening our very existence with the looming probability of extinction via nuclear holocaust or climate chaos. Individuals with access to unauthorised ideas and information are that obstacle, and the plutocrats are neutering us with censorship.

Refuse to consent to this. They wouldn’t be working so hard with the Russian propaganda/fake news narrative, nor the “Nazis are taking over America” narrative, to manufacture that consent if they didn’t need it. Leave all nonviolent political speech alone and let us sort it out, Big Brother. Ordinary people are far more sane and intelligent than you are.

 

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