Thinking Citizen Blog — A Culture of Censorship: Youtube, TikTok, and the “Sovietization of the American press”
Thinking Citizen Blog — Saturday is Justice, Freedom, Law, and Values Day
Today’s Topic: A Culture of Censorship: Youtube, TikTok, and the “Sovietization of the American press”
The harshest critic of Wall Street over the last two decades, Matt Taibbi, has recently denounced the sycophancy of the American press (specifically the New York Times and the Washington Post) with respect to Joe Biden. Taibbi calls it the “Sovietization of the American press.” But the culture of censorship has spread beyond the press to corporations. Recently, Youtube has canceled any skeptical, scientific voices on Covid policy and TikTok has shut down Dennis Prager, the conservative radio talk show host. Jonathan Zimmerman, a liberal commentator, has asked the question, “When will liberals stand up for free speech?” Experts — please chime in. Correct, elaborate, elucidate.
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1. Reason: “trafficking in misinformation….it included content that conflicts with the consensus of local and global government authorities regarding the efficacy of masks to prevent the spread of Covid-19.”
2. But clearly the panelists were highly credentialed experts. What “misinformation” did they spread? That masking children is not a good idea if you do the cost-benefit analysis.
3. An Icelandic study found that “even if children do get infected they are less likely to transmit the disease to others than adults. We have not found a single instance of a child infecting parents.” A Swedish study published in the New England Journal of Medicine in February reported that of 1.8 million children in school and mask-less not one died of Covid-19.
NB “But the evidence is overwhelming that masking can harm children’s developmental progress.” (Dr. Jay Bhattacharya, physician, economist, professor at Stanford Medical School).
LIBERALS HAVE ABDICATED CHAMPIONSHIP OF FREE SPEECH — Jonathan Zimmerman
1. “Professor, why are you so conservative about free speech?” Several students have asked me versions of this question recently, which speaks volumes about universities right now. I’m a liberal and a Democrat: I’m pro-choice, pro-ObamaCare and vehemently anti-Trump. But I’m also a strong supporter of free speech, which marks me as a right-winger on campus. That’s because my fellow liberals have largely abandoned free speech to conservatives.”
2. “Sure, we’ll invoke it when Republican state lawmakers try to ban critical race theory. But in our own house, free speech is seen increasingly as a tool of repression rather than liberation… Here’s how the argument usually goes: White people love free speech, because it lets them say any hateful thing they want. But the real burden of it falls on racial minorities, who are forced to absorb constant slights and slurs against their very existence. That’s why we need to police racist speech: to protect its victims.”
3. “The problem is that people will inevitably differ about which speech qualifies as racist. The term has become our own scarlet letter, an all-purpose way to prohibit ideas you dislike. So we need to defend the free-speech rights of everyone, even avowed racists. The best response to hateful speech is to raise your own voice against it, not to ban it. Once you decide to swing the censorship hammer against racist speech, almost anything can look like a nail.”
NB: “I’m glad that conservatives have embraced free speech, but I’d also like to see my fellow liberals reclaim it. We need the courage to speak up again for free speech, which remains the best vehicle for righting the wrongs of America.”
THE SOVIETIZATION OF THE AMERICAN PRESS — Matt Taibbi
1. “The transformation from phony “objectivity” to open one-party orthodoxy hasn’t been an improvement.”
2. “Coverage of Biden increasingly resembles official press releases, often featuring embarrassing, Soviet-style contortions.” Taibbi uses the example of New York Times treatment of Biden’s policy with respect to the Khashoggi murder to their coverage of Trump’s. Night and day even though the policy was no different.
3. The range of allowable opinion with respect to Biden’s economic policy is from “it’s awesome” to “it’s admirable but risky.”
NB: “A news story that paints the Biden experience as stretching from “hero to the middle class” to “hero to the poor,” is a Pravda-level stroke job.”
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