Friday, 07 September 2018

Big Tech Censors Alex Jones — Who’s Next?

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With popular right-wing commentator Alex Jones being barred by most Internet sites — while left-wing sites freely spew hate — the sites’ left-wing bias is clearly evident.

 

It feels like the walls are closing in. But the ongoing war by giant technology companies against voices that disrupt the establishment’s narrative is actually good news in a very important sense. Of course, its victims may not see it that way — at least not yet. And those establishment-controlled companies almost certainly did not intend for it to be good news. But in a key sense, the ongoing effort to ban contrarians from the Internet is evidence that truth-tellers are winning, and the establishment is terrified, particularly with the midterms coming up. The bans and censorship show that globalists now realize their lies cannot compete with truth even in a rigged marketplace of ideas replete with “shadow-banning,” promoting establishment voices, and more — much less in a true free market of ideas.

In other good news, Big Tech’s war on free speech appears to be backfiring in a major way, too. But obviously, this is only the beginning.  

The driving factor behind the escalating censorship occurring across social media appears to be the disruption to the establishment’s propaganda efforts and its narratives. For instance, consider that of America’s top 100 newspapers, just two endorsed Donald Trump in the 2016 election. Virtually every major media outlet in America spent endless hours demonizing Trump as a racist, a hater, a sexist, a kook, a conspiracy theorist, a white supremacist, an anti-Semite, and all the other nasty terms they could hurl at him. One study found that more than 90 percent of the coverage of Trump on the big-three broadcast nightly newscasts — CBS, ABC, and NBC — was negative. The establishment media seemed sure their strategy would work, too. The New York Times gave Hillary Clinton an 85-percent chance of winning. The Huffington Post gave her a 98-percent chance of winning the presidency. Newsweek even sent out 125,000 copies of its magazine with “Madam President” on the cover.

But Trump won. Actually, he won a landslide victory in the Electoral College. And ironically, one of the many positions that endeared him to Americans was his willingness to ridicule and expose the dishonest press. Polls in 2016 showed that Americans had largely woken up to the fact that the establishment media was not just biased, but blatantly dishonest. According to a Gallup survey released a couple months before the election, just 14 percent of GOP voters expressed trust in the “mainstream” media. Less than a third of Americans more broadly reported having even a “fair” amount of trust in the press, the lowest level since Gallup started its surveys on the question in 1972. In short, the credibility of the media was destroyed, and even all of the establishment’s propagandists combined could no longer determine the outcome of a presidential election.  

Obviously, the globalist Deep State that dominates the major media was not pleased. Neither were the activists and puppets posing as “journalists.” And so a new narrative was born: Trump won only because dumb, racist Americans were influenced by “fake news” and Russian disinformation, much of it spread on social media. Clearly, a solution to this needed to be found. And so, among other tactics, the globalist-controlled Internet giants, most of which have been in bed with government from the start, began stepping up their efforts to control the narrative. Those schemes included hiding alternative voices via “shadow-banning,” promoting establishment voices via manipulated algorithms, and eventually, outright banning those who question the establishment’s narrative too vigorously or successfully.

Those efforts to silence dissent are now accelerating. As early as March, CNN began openly behaving more like an activist group than a media organization, blatantly pressuring advertisers to stop allowing their ads to appear on Infowars content. Later, they began lobbying social-media companies to take down one of their most significant competitors, something more than a few voices have described as a “conspiracy in restraint of trade.” Behind the scenes, the establishment was panicking, and working overtime to silence its key critics, lest more millions of Americans wake up.

In June of 2018, many of the titans of the Internet and the establishment media — along with heads of government, leaders of the “intelligence” community, royalty, globalist think-tank bosses, top international bureaucrats, agents for the Rothschild banking dynasty, and more — came together behind closed doors and militarized security in Italy at the annual Bilderberg summit to discuss the issue further. The chiefs of Microsoft, Google, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Amazon, among others, regularly attend these secretive meetings with fellow globalists. This year, one of the key items on the agenda released to the public was something described as the “post-truth” world. Basically, Bilderberg bigwigs were distraught by their collapsing ability to mislead the masses, which could ruin all of their plans as humanity increasingly tunes out their propaganda.

 “Post-truth” was selected by Oxford English Dictionary as the “word of the year” for 2016. It was defined as “relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief.” In essence, Deep State globalists, outraged that Americans no longer believe their propaganda organs, decided to unleash the lie that people no longer value objective facts, as defined by their propaganda organs. In reality, though, Americans and people around the world were still very interested in facts and truth — they simply realized that the establishment media was not going to provide much. And so, on social media, citizens turned to sources that were offering truth — or at least more truth than they were getting from the Deep State’s propaganda machine. The 2016 election, in short, was a major wake-up call to the globalists.

The Purge

In response to the death of their credibility, the Big Tech giants launched an ongoing purge of alternative voices from the Internet. That has now culminated in the mass ban of everything Alex Jones from virtually every platform. In early August, after months of threatening to do it, the purge began. Under the guise of enforcing rules against “hate speech,” in just one day, Apple, YouTube, and Facebook all removed Jones’ content — content that included an exclusive interview with Donald Trump that almost certainly played a role in the president’s victory. Other firms quickly piled on, with lesser-known companies such as Spotify, Stitcher, LinkedIn, Pinterest, MailChimp, Vimeo, and more joining the frenzy to send Jones and all the content he ever produced down George Orwell’s infamous “memory hole.” Even Disqus, which provided the comments section for Infowars, banned the site. Not a single one of the companies explained what specific content had allegedly violated their rules. Most cited vague allegations of “hate speech” or even “encouraging violence,” without providing examples. The establishment media provided cover for the operation by endlessly claiming that Jones had referred to the Sandy Hook shooting as a “hoax,” something Jones has repeatedly apologized for — and is hardly hateful.

Overnight, Jones and his media empire became the most censored media outlet in the world. In an instant, with the click of a button, YouTube — a behemoth owned by Google’s parent company Alphabet — removed Infowars videos that, combined, had been viewed billions of times. Jones also lost access to his nearly 2.5 million subscribers. The numbers tell an incredible story. Despite a relatively tiny budget, Jones was a superstar on the YouTube scene. For perspective, Jones’ 2.5 million subscribers was about a million more than Fox News, the leading cable news station, had managed to amass. It was almost 2 million more than legacy networks CBS News or NBC News had attracted so far. The Washington Post had fewer than 400,000 subscribers a week after the purge of Jones began, while the New York Times had fewer than 1.5 million. Only CNN, which reportedly has been buying huge numbers of fake followers on social media, had more subscribers than Infowars.

During the election, though, the reason for the establishment’s panic became clear. On an average day during election month — November of 2016 — Infowars was receiving 2.75 million views just on its YouTube channel, according to an analysis of the viewership numbers by the Next News Network. That figure does not account for the massive radio and website audience that helps Infowars reach many millions more around the world. Throughout election month in November, Infowars received more than 82 million views on YouTube alone. By contrast, Fox News’ YouTube channel received fewer than 2 million views on an average November day, totaling around 60 million for the month — significantly fewer than Infowars. CNN received less than a million per day — or 30 million for the month — on average. MSNBC received fewer than 750,000 average daily views during election month.  

In short, with a tiny fraction of the budget available to the establishment’s propaganda organs, Alex Jones and his Infowars operation were reaching more people just on YouTube than many of the nation’s leading establishment propaganda organs — combined. He also dominated at other social-media services, with millions of followers on Facebook and beyond. Obviously, Jones’ competitors at the legacy media were outraged: How could this “fringe radical extremist kook right-wing conspiracy theorist” be leaving them in the dust? As of early August, they no longer had to worry about the competition, with Jones having been “de-platformed” almost everywhere — or so they thought. More on the backlash later.     

Perhaps nothing illustrates the establishment media’s obsession with Alex Jones better than the social-media pages of CNN senior media reporter Oliver Darcy and his sidekick Paul Murphy. Reading their Twitter feeds, it feels like one has entered an alternative universe. For months, the dynamic CNN duo hounded advertisers and social-media companies about Jones and Infowars. They also gave constant updates on their progress. On August 14, for instance, after spending weeks lobbying to have Jones and Infowars removed from social media, Darcy had breaking news to report. “Twitter spox confirms to me that the company has limited key functions on Alex Jones’ account after determining he violated another one of network’s policies,” Darcy reported in one of countless similar moment-by-moment updates in CNN’s war on Infowars. “He can still browse Twitter, but can’t tweet, retweet, etc. for 7 days. Jones also required to delete offending tweet.” Less than a day later, another breaking update. “Twitter spox confirms to me that Twitter has suspended most functions on the InfoWars account for 7 days for posting [the] same video they took action against on Alex Jones,” Darcy gushed.

In between those two tweets, the CNN reporter expressed frustration that Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey had suggested that putting Jones in “timeout” might change his behavior. “Uhhh,” wrote the “senior media reporter.” Shortly after that, Darcy was at it again, chastising the company for “only” giving Jones a seven-day suspension despite alleged “multiple rule violations.”

Indeed, of all the major social-media networks, only Twitter resisted the CNN lobbying and the hateful mobs demanding Jones be censored. But then, even Twitter partially caved, giving Jones a “suspension” in mid-August. In an interview with The Hill, CEO Dorsey said the “timeout” was meant to “guide people back towards healthier behaviors and healthier public conversation.” In other words, the CEO of Twitter wants to use behavior-modification techniques to change its users and make them “healthy.” If the behavior modification does not work on Jones, he will no longer be welcome on Twitter. To his credit, Dorsey admitted afterward that Twitter leans left, quite an understatement, but important nonetheless.   

Of course, Jones was not the only high-profile media star to be purged from socialmedia. Another heavyweight who was silenced was Gavin McInnes, a pundit with CRTV, along with his group “Proud Boys,” which protects conservative speakers from violent fascists styling themselves “Anti-Fascists” or Antifa. According to Twitter, which took down his accounts, it was to enforce a prohibition on “violent extremist groups.” Also, black conservative Candace Owens with Turning Point USA was censored on Twitter for sending out the exact same tweets as the New York Times’ newest editorial board member — a racist, sexist hatemonger who said being cruel to elderly white men gives her joy. The difference: Owens replaced the word “white” with “Jew” or “black” — and she didn’t mean to be offensive; she was simply making a political point about the hypocrisy of the New York Times. Other personalities to face social-media censorship include Ron Paul Institute leader Daniel McAdams, Antiwar.com’s Scott Horton, former State Department staffer Peter Van Buren, former Breitbart editor and “conservative” homosexual Milo Yiannopoulos, and countless lesser-known names. Twitter was even exposed “shadow-banning” prominent Republican congressmen. And a Twitter engineer was caught on camera admitting to an undercover Project Veritas reporter that the platform’s algorithms supposedly aimed at stopping “bots” are actually used to target Republicans.

Facebook has been just as bad, if not worse, in targeting voices far beyond Infowars. Websites such as CodeIsFreeSpeech.com, which defends the right to distribute computer code that can be used to print 3D firearms, are banned completely. A GOP candidate for Congress had her ad banned because she mentioned the Communist Cambodian genocide, which her family survived. Even the Bible is unwelcome on Facebook. Amid blatant manipulation of its algorithms to clobber traffic levels of conservative and Christian voices, the site has literally been banning people for expressing biblical views. Prominent Brazilian evangelist Julio Severo, for instance, was put in Facebook “jail” for posting a Bible verse (Leviticus 18:22) about homosexuality — and nothing else. It was dubbed “hate speech” by the giant company, until the resulting scandal forced it to back down. In late 2017, Severo was again penalized by Facebook, this time for saying it was a Christian’s duty to love homosexuals and all other sinners. Apparently even implying that homosexuality is a sin — the Bible, the Torah, and the Koran all state that explicitly — is enough to have Facebook “discipline” a person like a misbehaving elementary-school child. In other words, the religious beliefs of Christians, Jews, Muslims, and countless others are all considered “hate speech” by Facebook. Severo was previously targeted by PayPal, which continues to deny him service based on his religious beliefs.

Google and YouTube, both owned by Alphabet, have for years been manipulating what people see by designing algorithms that suppress voices they disagree with and promote voices they think should be promoted. It has been getting worse and worse. Prager University, an online creator of mainstream educational videos, is one of countless prominent voices that has been all but crushed by YouTube, which is now restricting its content. “We are opening the eyes and the minds of the next generation, one five-minute video at a time ... and the left doesn’t like it,” PragerU founder Dennis Prager said in a recent e-mail about the lawsuit they filed against the video site. “Silicon Valley giants like YouTube continue to censor the ideas they don’t agree with. They promote their Leftist ideology and restrict conservative speech.” Over 500,000 people have signed a petition supporting PragerU. On Facebook, changes by the site eliminated 99.9999 percent of PragerU’s reach. Only after the censorship became a national scandal did Facebook back down and apologize.

The censorship is so out of control that even YouTube creators who simply talked about Alex Jones got penalized. Comically, the popular H3 podcast was taken down while it was defending YouTube’s decision to censor Jones. Apparently the name Alex Jones in the title triggered some sort of automatic censorship program that caused the broadcast to be taken down and the channel to receive a penalty.

Even when it isn’t actively censoring things, YouTube is now increasingly trying to sway public opinion. For instance, on videos dealing with “climate change,” the social-media giant owned by Google’s parent company now adds disclaimers aimed at building up support for the increasingly discredited man-made global-warming hypothesis.

Establishment leftists funded by billionaire globalist George Soros developed a complex plan to target conservatives online. In a leaked 2017 document called “Democracy Matters: A Strategic Plan for Action,” far-left Democrat operative David Brock of Media Matters outlined the goals and the strategy. “In the next four years, Media Matters will continue its core mission of disarming right-wing misinformation, while leading the fight against the next generation of conservative information: The proliferation of fake news and propaganda now threatening the country’s information ecosystem,” explains the memo, with “fake news” defined as anything that contradicts the establishment’s narrative. Among the goals is ensuring the “defeat [of] Trump either through impeachment or at the ballot box in 2020.” And to do so, the group boasts of working with social-media giants and Google to limit conservative voices while boosting the reach of voices they support.

As an illustration of just how far the tech giants can and will go to purge dissidents from the World Wide Web, an astounding case from fall of 2017 offers a troubling picture. Basically, when an obscure racist made fun of a victim of what was reported to be a racist attack, he was completely disappeared from the Internet, with his hosting company taking down his website entirely. Virtually nobody defended the speech itself, but even the CEO of one of the companies that disappeared the Nazi “Daily Stormer” site in question expressed concerns. “Literally, I woke up in a bad mood and decided someone shouldn’t be allowed on the Internet,” the CEO of Cloudflare was quoted as saying in an e-mail to employees. “No one should have that power.” And just as countless analysts and pundits predicted, it did not take long for the purge to spread and accelerate.

For those who, despite all the evidence, still wonder whether the purge is political, a brief survey of all the anti-Christian bigotry and the open calls for violence against conservatives plastered all over social media should suffice. Indeed, as if to prove how radically left-wing the Internet companies’ views are, many of them have openly partnered with the far-left Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). Founded by Morris Dees, who was accused in court documents of sexually molesting his stepdaughter, the radical group has become a bad joke even to mainstream left-wing activists. Just in recent years, it has smeared a prominent Muslim as a top “anti-Muslim extremist,” a Cherokee Indian married to one of Sacajawea’s descendants as the “matriarch” of the “anti-Indian movement,” and a prominent black law professor as a supporter of white supremacy. Even the mild-mannered Ben Carson was deemed an “extremist” by the SPLC for supporting marriage.

By contrast, the group had nothing but glowing praise for communist terrorist Bill Ayers, whose murderous terror group, working with Castro’s intelligence services, murdered American police, bombed the Capitol and the State Department, and made plans to re-educate and exterminate millions of Americans with help from foreign communist dictators. Leading U.S. Christian groups such as the American Family Association have labeled the SPLC an “anti-Christian hate group.” Left-wing activists have denounced it as a money-making scam. And yet, virtually all of the tech giants have jumped in bed with the radical group, alienating millions of Christians and conservatives in the process.  

Calls for More Purges

But of course, alienating those who care about honesty and free speech is OK with liberal powerbrokers — both those liberals on the Internet and those in government — because the end game is to so marginalize conservatives that they will be afraid to speak up lest they feel leftist wrath. The totalitarians are desperate to regain control of the narrative and have no intention of allowing Jones and others to continue reaching the masses — much less reaching them with essential information that undermines the establishment’s propaganda talking points and agenda. And some of the most virulent would-be totalitarians in government have already dropped the mask.

Consider Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), who has an atrocious 14-percent cumulative score for voting constitutionally on The New American magazine’s Freedom Index. Shortly after Infowars was taken down, Murphy made clear that this is just the beginning. “Infowars is the tip of a giant iceberg of hate and lies that uses sites like Facebook and YouTube to tear our nation apart,” he fumed on social media, perhaps oblivious to the irony of using social media to tear America apart while complaining about the same. “These companies must do more than take down one website. The survival of our democracy depends on it.” Setting aside the fact that Murphy apparently does not even know what form of government America’s Founders created — a republic — the threat was unmistakable: Censor more voices or face the wrath of lawmakers and establishment globalists. He did not cite any examples of “hate” or “lies” spread by Infowars.  

Another U.S. senator, Democrat Mark Warner of Virginia (Freedom Index score: 11), went even further, brazenly proposing a government takeover of the Internet. In a leaked proposal widely blasted by critics as a plan for a “fascist takeover” of the Internet, Warner called for new rules for social-media companies that would force them to take down “fake news” and other content. The scheme, entitled “Potential Policy Proposals for Regulation of Social Media and Technology Firms,” would also provide federal funding to “media literacy programs” that would supposedly help consumers sort through information online and help them determine what is true and what is not. The scheme seeks “more disclosure requirements for online political speech,” too.

Under the guise of stopping “Russia,” the plan would also end online anonymity, demanding that social-media platforms “authenticate and disclose the geographic origin of all user accounts or posts.” Basically, “mandatory identity verification,” a gambit that was earlier pursued by Obama, would force everyone to provide proof of their identity to social-media giants. Of course, the Founding Fathers often published anonymously — see the Federalist Papers. And still today, journalists, whistleblowers, and people with unpopular political opinions regularly rely on anonymity to be able to function online. Ironically, all of the scheming is said to be needed to protect trust in “our institutions, democracy, free press, and markets.”   

“The size and reach of these platforms demand that we ensure proper oversight, transparency and effective management of technologies that in large measure undergird our social lives, our economy, and our politics,” the policy paper argues. “The hope is that the ideas enclosed here stir the pot and spark a wider discussion — among policymakers, stakeholders, and civil society groups — on the appropriate trajectory of technology policy in the coming years.” Basically, the plan seems to be to put Bigger Brother government in charge of Big Brother technology companies to finish demolishing Internet freedom. Of course, many of the companies — Google, Amazon, Facebook, Microsoft, and others — are already in bed with government. Some analysts suggested the massive, coordinated assault on Infowars may have been sparked by word of Warner’s proposals.   

Even if the government does not overtly take over, though, the jihad against free speech and content that exposes the establishment’s lies will continue to become more brazen and more sophisticated. Microsoft, for instance, threatened to shut down an entire social network, Twitter alternative Gab.ai, because one user posted anti-Semitic comments. And Mozilla, an organization that once defended online freedom but fell to the left and even chased out its leader for supporting heterosexual marriage, has now teamed up with a George Soros-funded “fact-checking” service to develop the “Mozilla Information Trust Initiative.” Google has also started adding far-left “fact check” results that are notorious sources of disinformation, including the discredited Snopes.com. And Twitter CEO Dorsey proposed creating new rules for Twitter based on the UN “Universal Declaration of Human Rights,” which explicitly states that rights and freedoms may not be used contrary to the purposes and principles of the UN.

The battle to disseminate truth to the masses has been raging for centuries. But with the stakes now higher than ever, Americans must redouble their efforts.

Original Photo: Michael Zimmermann

This article originally appeared in the September 17, 2018 print edition of The New American. The New American publishes a print magazine twice a month, covering issues such as politics, money, foreign policy, environment, culture, and technology. To subscribe, click here.

Update: On Sept. 6, after this article was published in the Sept. 17 print edition of The New American, Twitter banned Alex Jones for life.

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The Way Forward: Bypassing Big Tech Censorship

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