The Great Information War is Here
A few days after the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Florida, many conservative commentators began to notice they were also being targeted. They were not being “flamed” by bloggers or online trolls but instead were simply erased from social media platforms such as Facebook and YouTube by the Big Tech companies. Some of them were little known, while others were popular media figures such as Dennis Prager and Mike Cernovich.
In some cases, their videos were taken down on YouTube without warning; or their Gmail accounts were terminated without explanation; or their Twitter pages were shadowbanned. Much of the censored material had nothing to do with the Parkland tragedy. It was simply a moment for the Left to flex its muscles.
Sadly, this was merely the latest in a series of battles over the information that American citizens will ultimately be allowed to see. Let’s call it the Great Information War. It started a decade ago with the landmark Supreme Court decision in Citizens United vs. FEC, which allowed a film critical of Hillary Clinton to be aired just before an election. That ruling did not end the debate over free speech—it was, in fact, just the opening salvo. For a decade now, the Left has never stopped trying to overturn that ruling or mitigate its effects. In that sense, it’s a shadowy conflict because officially this country cannot allow any abridgment to free speech. The Left now believes that it can run over the First Amendment and limit free speech on social media platforms because the Internet is ruled by corporations and not the federal government.
Ironically, the Left used to rail at corporate ownership of the media, when the target was Salem Media, Fox News, or Citizens United. When corporate media is Google and Facebook, however, censorship is their friend.
Since 2008, too many people have been fired like James Damore, or seen their numbers drop on Facebook, or had their website downsized to be coincidental. The new reality that all Americans must face is that prominent members of the Democratic Party are openly collaborating with Big Tech to silence their fellow Americans and render the First Amendment inoperative.
Sadly, this is not just the tyrannical view of a few politicians. Various polls in the last few years have shown that a majority of Democrat-leaning voters are in favor of limiting free speech. Since leftists can’t get their way through the ballot box, they are more than happy to use social media companies to do their bidding. But that is exactly why we have a First Amendment—so that no political faction can silence the opposition. As even leftist intellectuals like Franklin Foer have argued recently, the time has come to “protect privacy as the government protects the environment” or there will be none left.
In fact, the time has come for these social media monopolies to be broken up or regulated like utilities. They simply cannot be allowed to continue in their current forms if the citizens of this country value their freedom of speech or their privacy or the power of their vote.
Published in American Greatness, March 7th 2018