Laura Hollis, The American public deserves the truth — from its politicians and from any and all media. This should be a noncontroversial statement. But it is controversial, apparently. Not only are we not being told the truth; we are being prevented from hearing the truth told to us by anyone who has it — or is actively seeking it. We are increasingly unable to even access information we could use to form our own independent assessments of what is true and what is not. This is appalling, and we must demand that it stop.
Our national press has a long history of keeping the truth from us — and even telling outright lies when doing so fits its preferred narrative (or helps its preferred political candidate). The press’s manipulation of the flow of information has been exposed time and time again.
For decades, America had the politicians/press one-two punch: Politicians lie, and the left-wing media cover up for them — at least if they’re Democrats.
Until talk radio and the advent of the internet, the public had few sources outside of newspapers and major TV networks, which gave “journalists” (and their pet politicians) a de facto monopoly on the flow of information. But those newer media — to which social media was added even more recently — meant that anyone investigating stories traditional media chose to spin (or ignore altogether) had new platforms for reaching people who were unsatisfied with lies, half-truths and information blackouts.
Now that, too, has been throttled. In place of the old one-two punch, we now have the unholy trinity: Politicians lie; traditional media cover for them; and the Big Tech social media companies (Google, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube) demonetize, deplatform and otherwise censor any information they don’t want the American public to have.
We’re told these steps are necessary to protect the public from being hornswoggled by unreliable sources peddling “fake news” — like concerns about election fraud.
First of all, as noted above, the traditional media has a lousy track record when it comes to deciding what’s true and what isn’t, and — oddly — those decisions seem to consistently coincide with the personal and professional interests of left-wing politicians.
Second, what’s “unreliable” is a matter of some debate.
Take the National Enquirer, for example. Traditionally known as a gossip rag that peddles unsubstantiated stories from unidentified sources, it was nevertheless the Enquirer that, in the early 2000s, broke the story about Democratic presidential contender John Edwards’ affair with Rielle Hunter. Edwards was a Democratic Party golden boy, and so — unsurprisingly — the “reliable” media had largely ignored rampant rumors about Edwards’ extramarital liaisons — and the child those liaisons had produced.
If the social media companies are going to follow in the legacy media’s footsteps, there’s no reason to think their decisions will be any better. Indeed, it’s evident that those decisions are even worse.
Dennis Prager’s organization, Prager University, or PragerU, publishes popular videos expounding on conservative policy positions. YouTube was sued for blocking and demonetizing PragerU’s videos, effectively preventing it from reaching its intended audience and crippling its business model. PragerU lost; the judge held that YouTube is a private company that can publish whatever and whoever it likes.
YouTube has been emboldened by this decision and now routinely deplatforms or demonetizes videos with conservative content in ways that even some traditional liberals — like Glenn Greenwald and Matt Taibbi — warn is dangerous and destructive to a free society.
The Epoch Times just announced that it has been demonetized by YouTube. One may dislike the conservative editorial posture of the Epoch Times — just as one may dislike the progressive bent of The New York Times — but the Epoch Times is a legitimate newspaper with actual investigative journalists. Who are the social media companies to say that the Epoch Times cannot disseminate information it has for its readership?
Ah, but the Epoch Times’ alleged crime is its ongoing reporting about election fraud. The powers that be have decided that there was no fraud, there can be no discussion about fraud and any attempt to provide information about fraud will be shut down.
The social media companies have no right to deprive Americans of information on this issue — or any other. Contrary to what we are being told, litigation, investigations and legislative efforts are ongoing in states across the country:
— In Virginia in October, a judge ruled that accepting mailed-in ballots that arrived without postmarks after Election Day was unconstitutional and banned the practice going forward.
— Maricopa County, Arizona, has just begun a forensic audit of votes cast in the 2020 presidential election, and a resolution has been introduced in the Arizona Senate to hold the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors in contempt for its refusal to turn over information and equipment ordered by subpoena.
— In Michigan, election officials have been ordered to turn over information to ongoing investigations into state election procedures.
— And states across the country — especially those with Republican-controlled legislatures — are expected to push for election-integrity legislation in advance of the 2022 midterm elections.
Much of this is being driven by widespread concerns about vote fraud that preceded the 2020 election and were exacerbated by it. Americans have a right to get the information they want about this issue and others — and a right to make their own determinations. We are not just going to accept what we’re told to believe, especially when those who have the most to lose from truth seem hell-bent on preventing us from finding it.