The last 5 years have witnessed a fantastic degree of development in American Orwellianisms.
Chief among them is “disinformation”, a vague and undefined term for certain kinds of speech whose content is deemed intolerable and dangerous. We’re not talking bomb instructions here or death threats. Indeed, most “disinformation” is said to be so dangerous because “it casts doubt on the credibility of state institutions”.
Exactly the argument why political speech has been censored since time immemorial.
America was born out a document that “cast doubt on the credibility of state institutions” after all.
Now the war against “disinformation” has escalated to absurd censorship theater by the media which can’t possibly let the public hear what officials are saying.
Here’s the FOX News edition.
Moments into a Trump campaign press conference on Monday afternoon at which White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany charged that Democrats were “welcoming fraud” and “illegal voting,” Fox News host Neil Cavuto had heard enough.
“Whoa, whoa, whoa, I just think we have to be very clear. She’s charging the other side is welcoming fraud and welcoming illegal voting,” Cavuto said, interrupting the video feed of the briefing, which McEnany said she was conducting in her “personal capacity” rather than in her official White House role. “Unless she has more details to back that up I can’t in good countenance continue showing you this. I want to make sure that maybe they do have something to back that up, but that’s an explosive charge to make — that the other side is effectively rigging and cheating.”
Since when has the standard for press conferences been, “I want to make sure that maybe they do have something to back that up”?
Must I even point out that we’ve sat through 4 years of Democrats screaming that the Russians elected Trump without having anything more to back that up than a guy with a sandwich board screaming about aliens.
But it’s okay, they were fighting “disinformation”.
Forget all that.
“I can’t in good countenance continue showing you this,” is the key line here. A news network showing a politician or his spokeswoman’s press conference is not personally vouching for the material. The network is free to contradict it. Broadcasting it is not a test of personality credibility, but its newsworthiness.
Is the White House press secretary alleging election fraud newsworthy? Obviously.
But it’s now the job of the media to censor what she’s saying. They’re not reporting the news. They’re the gatekeepers. All of this makes FOX’s old slogan, “We report, you decide” laughable.
Now it’s, “We decide what to report to you so we can control your decisions.”
How is that any fundamentally different than the rest of the media?