Media

When Fighting 'Misinformation' Is Really Fighting Free Speech

There is no "fake news" exception to the First Amendment.

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In the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, a national election bitterly contested by the losing candidate, and the January 6 Capitol riot, eradicating "misinformation" from television and social media has become a top concern of politicians.

In February, two Democratic members of Congress sent letters to the presidents of Comcast, AT&T, Verizon, Cox, Dish, and other cable and satellite companies implying that they should either stop carrying Fox News, One America News Network, and Newsmax or pressure the stations to change their coverage. According to the lawmakers, these conservative channels are responsible for promoting fake news and the kind of content that inspired extremists to march on Washington, D.C., and storm the Capitol.

"To our knowledge, the cable, satellite, and over-the-top companies that disseminate these media outlets to American viewers have done nothing in response to the misinformation aired by these outlets," wrote Reps. Anna Eshoo and Jerry McNerney, both of California.

Released in advance of a February 24 House Committee on Energy and Commerce hearing on "Disinformation and Extremism in the Media," the letter made it clear that some lawmakers do not want television providers to let their customers watch conservative news channels. Eshoo and McNerney asked the companies which "moral and ethical principles" guide their programming decisions; how many viewers watched these channels during the four weeks before the Capitol riot; and what steps were being taken to "monitor, respond to, and reduce the spread of disinformation." Committee members also took aim at the CEOs of tech companies such as Amazon, Google, Apple, and Hulu, who are perpetually accused—along with Facebook and Twitter—of undermining democracy and profiting from hate.

False claims do appear with some frequency on conservative news channels, streaming services, and social media. But they also appear in The New York Times, on CNN, and in other mainstream media outlets. Many pundits and legislators use "misinformation" and "disinformation" to refer not just to just clear falsehoods but also to information that is contentious, disputed, or highly partisan yet nevertheless true.

There is no "fake news" exception to the First Amendment. Officials may have a role in using their own speech to counter speech they do not like, but they may not determine who gets to speak.

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  1. Is it misinformation or disinformation to suggest that speech you don’t like is misinformation or disinformation? That is, is it disinformation because it’s not true that speech you don’t like is officially designated misinformation or disinformation, or is it misinformation because it isn’t officially designated yet?

    1. We have seen a neverending stream of disinformation campaigns over the last decade, run out of think tanks and NGOs that are funded by billionaires and major multinational companies.

      The libertarian press wants do do the classic “pox on both your houses” libertarian move, it is clear that the real effect of this skews hard in one direction, and it is indeed dangerous to the future of our democracy.

      Team D has made it clear for about 15 years now that their aim is to completely silence all opposition. They have a long heritage of this, dating back to the fairness doctrine fights in the 90’s and even earlier. Pretending that this isn’t true just because the NYT and NBC news tells you that it isn’t true is a dangerous way to proceed.

      1. Indeed, Reason is participating in the Left’s disinformation campaign themselves.
        Just look at the graphic they chose to put at the top of this page.
        Pure propaganda in service of The Party.

      2. Modern liberals are on the communist-totalitarian spectrum.

      3. I’m ticking off on my fingers the number of billionaire we have had as president. My history must be bad, because I can’t count only one.

        p.s. I happen to personally know one billionaire in real life. No names, but he is a Republican. The idea that all billionaires are from one party is a profoundly Leftist idea, one that smacks of Marxist class warfare.

        1. The idea that all billionaires are from one party is a profoundly Leftist idea, one that smacks of Marxist class warfare.

          All one has to do is go to Silicon Valley to see that being a billionaire isn’t an inherently right-wing thing. Pretty much the entire FAGMAN tech trust, with the possible exception of Bezos, are joined at the hip with Democrats from the ground up and top down.

          1. Gosh, I live here, and that is not what I see. The billionaires certainly aren’t Trumpistas, but neither are they all uniformly flag waving Democrats. The one billionaire I personally know is right here in Silicon Valley. And he’s Republican. And conservative. The Trumpistas hate him because he’s not a populist, but that doesn’t mean he’s not conservative.

            Google is incredibly Democrat. Last I checked around 90% of its employees were registered Democrat. Which is crazy even in this area (not even Berkeley has that kind of percentages). But that’s not Page and Brin’s fault. The idea that a single person gets to impose his politics on all of his employees is stupid. That culture happened because for the longest time employees got to veto any new hire for any reason. Plus their a campus and have some of the same pressures that college campuses have (everyone lives together, eats all meals together, even do laundry together, so they tend to end up aligned culturally).

            But Facebook is not like that. Netflix is not like that. LinkedIn is not like. Don’t know about Twitter as I don’t know any Twitter employees. Yes, Silicon Valley in in the San Francisco bay area, so it’s going to skew Democrat. That doesn’t mean the billionaires here are universally Democrat puppets.

            1. But Facebook is not like that.

              Zuckerberg was the one who pumped millions into the Center for Tech and Civic Life, which is a left-wing organization.

              Netflix is not like that.

              Netflix’s CEO was front and center in demanding “net neutrality,” and is highly connected to the Democratic party power structure.

              LinkedIn is not like.

              LinkedIn’s founder is heavily connected within the Democratic party.

              That doesn’t mean the billionaires here are universally Democrat puppets.

              Didn’t say they were. But the largest ones empirically are.

              1. Netflix did dish out some serious cash to the Obamas.

    2. In saner times, falsely labeling politically unfavorable information as “misinformation” or “disinformation” would be grounds for a libel lawsuit. Today it’s grounds for an early morning raid by armed federal agents on your political opponents.

  2. “A managed democracy is a wonderful thing… for the managers… and its greatest strength is a ‘free press’ when ‘free’ is defined as ‘responsible’ and the managers define what is ‘irresponsible’.” – Heinlein

  3. “There is no “fake news” exception to the First Amendment. Officials may have a role in using their own speech to counter speech they do not like, but they may not determine who gets to speak.”

    This is a rather sanguine take on a grave threat to free speech by a government with the legislative and executive under one party control.

    1. The threat is already manifest. They are just trying to codify it and stop the bits leaking around the edges.

      Go ahead and try posting something on YouTube, Facebook or twitter about the CDC being wrong about something related to Covid 19. Even a sitting governor having a panel discussion with noted scientists from major university research hospitals gets taken down for daring to question the CDC.

      But not, interestingly, a left wing blue check mark like Trevor Noah. He posted a rant about the CDC and their incoherent guidance that precisely echoed what conservative voices have been saying for most of a year. He didn’t get taken down.

      Political censorship is in place, and it is operating fairly effectively. Disinformation campaigns are well coordinated across all media. Christian Britschgi had an article about Cuomo and DiSantis relaxing restrictions the other day. The propaganda machine went to work and very quickly #DeathSantis was trending.

      https://twitter.com/ianmsc/status/1389324743229067266?s=10

      This requires mass coordination over very long periods of time.

      I have the impression that this is what it felt like living in the Soviet Union in the 70’s and 80’s, seeing the news of the day filtered through Pravda. Everyone knew they lied all the time.. but of course no one knew what the actual truth was either.

      1. Bread and circuses. And Facebook.

  4. Cancel free speech culture

  5. Just think what a wonderful world it will be when we’ve eliminated all misinformation along with all hate speech and everyone learns to follow the science. I just hope they can donit before our 12 years are up…

  6. Here’s some more disinformation, calling last summers riots “mostly peaceful protests” when the video evidence shows everything (you remember the video evidence right, it just got a man convicted of murder and kicked off much of the violent riots). Even more is the federal governments decision not to prosecute violent criminals who participated in the looting, rioting, burning, etc.

    But yeah the official narrative is that its Fox News or conservatives on social media causing the problems. You lose when you accept that narrative.

    1. How dare you contradict the official narrative! 6ou know that our benevolent overlords only what what is best for us. And of course only those supported by the losing party could possibly be the bad guys.

      Just because people got hurt, businesses got looted and building were burned doesn’t mean they weren’t peaceful. If they chanting party slogan (for the right party) then they’re inherently peaceful It’s like you’ve not even tried reading the newspeak dictionary.

    2. Good point. There were over 10,000 of such protests riots across the country, and every single one of them resulted in the city or town being burned down. They’re still rebuilding the downtown where I live after a couple hundred people riotously marched down Main St., burning and looting every building they passed.

      1. Yeah, “mostly peaceful” is accurate. Of course it also means “partly violent”. I think there was some disgusting glossing over of the riots and other violence associated with some BLM protests, and some incredible hypocrisy in not calling whatever it was happened on 6 January a “mostly peaceful protest”. But it’s also important to keep perspective. There were thousands of BLM events in towns and cities everywhere and most by far were peaceful.
        I also think a lot of the casual protestors are being useful idiots for some pretty awful ideology, but that’s another question.

        1. I also think a lot of the casual protestors are being useful idiots for some pretty awful ideology, but that’s another question.

          I think the focus on race ignores deeper issues, but I’m not sure what you mean by awful ideology.

          1. Marxism? Communism? Authoritarianism? Fascism? Totalitarianism? Just spit balling here.

          2. I mean the new flavor of racism that is calling itself “anti-racism”. I think it’s more than too much focus on race. If you haven’t, read some stuff by James Lindsay. He says it better than I will.

        2. And there are many interactions between cops and blacks that are mostly peaceful too.

          Guess all BLM chapters can pack up and go home, problem solved.

          1. Problem is not solved, but I don’t see the current incarnation of BLM doing much that can actually solve the problems that exist. Pretty much everyone agrees that black lives matter. Good job. Now what?

      2. Not sure this is the road you wanna go down. By your logic then BLM needs to shut its mouth because interactions between cops and black americans are mostly peaceful.

  7. “False claims do appear with some frequency on conservative news channels, streaming services, and social media. But they also appear in The New York Times, on CNN, and in other mainstream media outlets. ”

    There is water in the ocean, but also, there is water in this small creek here.

    1. The NYT literally outed themselves in a meeting with news staff and editors, where the editors told them that their efforts to use the Russia story to get Trump removed had failed, and they promised to come back with a new initiative to get rid of Trump. That initiative was promoting racism, kicked off by their 1619 project.

      First we had a cia/fbi plot run out of the Obama White House to get an opposition politician morph into a years long media disinformation campaign, then we had a years long disinformation campaign morph into riots burning cities….

      But sure. OANN published some goofy internet rumor, so clearly the same thing. I mean, really the right is more guilty, when you think about it…

      1. No matter how many times we respond to raspberry/tony you’ll never actually get a direct response to your point. It seems like their goal is always deflection through some insane barbed insult to remove anyone from the real topic.

        1. I’ve been arguing with Tony for years and this raspberry guy isn’t Tony.

          I don’t know why you guys feel compelled to believe that when anyone says anything similar to someone else then they must be the same person.

          By that logic Sevo, R Mac, JesseAz, and Mother’s Lament must all be the same person.

          1. Let’s add Red Rocks, Brian, and don’t look at me to the list of Trumpistas who must all be the same person by your logic.

            1. Sarc getting what your saying and where you’re coming from and I think you do have a valid point. Tony and Rasp have the same writing style, dictation, use of grammar that’s it not hard (not necessarily right) to make that connection to the too. They basically read like a plagiarized college paper.

              1. Tony and Rasp have the same writing style, dictation, use of grammar that’s it not hard (not necessarily right) to make that connection to the too.

                Or, it’s just evidence that modern leftism is such a hive-mind that these guys all sound alike. It’s not an accident that people on the right are far better at identifying what leftists actually believe than the other way around.

                1. If you think I’m a leftist then you’re a complete moron. I thought you were smarter than that.

                  1. Funny, because the part I quoted was about raspberry and Tony. Why do you think I was talking about you?

                    1. Because I’m constantly being bombarded with accusations of being a leftist. The other day we had a reasonable discussion. So I apologize for saying you called me a leftist.

                    2. It is amazing watching you cry about people calling you a democrat (you are) as you call others rightists and trumpistas.

                    3. Because I’m constantly being bombarded with accusations of being a leftist.

                      Must be everybody else then! That terrible Mean Girls cabal and all.

                      Hey, didn’t you spend about 9 hours and over 90 posts in a thread about 2 weeks ago proclaiming that you, your half dozen sockpuppets, and cytotoxic’s half dozen sockpuppets were going over to Glibertarians where you can wank your radical Marxist boners without fear of contradiction? Did that not work out for you?

                2. This seems like the most likely explanation.

        2. Tony believes that not-taking is giving, that not-giving is taking, that property ownership is an initiation of force, and that there’s no difference between taxes funding government services and taxes redistributing income.

          In short he’s a bonehead. Not unintelligent, just obtuse.

    2. The NYT, CNN, NBC, etc. independently confirm their disinformation, so that makes it true?

    3. You’re incredibly guilty of auditing Fox News in a way you have never audited any other media corporation ever.

      Which is very telling.

      1. You’re incredibly guilty of auditing CNN in a way you have never audited any other media corporation ever.

        Which is very telling.

        .
        .
        .
        .

        See how incredibly stupid your attempt at cleverness is?

        1. Not really.

          I hear “Faux News” screeched about 10x more than “CNN is biased!”

          1. Really? You don’t hear the constant refrain of “Lamestream media” and “liberal bias” all the time? I do. And I never hear the people making those complaints ever say anything critical about FOX News.

            That’s when someone who considers themselves to be clever would say “That’s very telling.”

            1. If you think you’re living in a world that’s totally aware of CNN’s bias, but is taking Fox News as gospel, then you’re living in a very different world from mine.

              I note the democrat congressman in the article didn’t mention a peep about CNN.

              That’s very telling.

              1. You getting upset about people not obsessing about what you feel to be important isn’t “very telling” about them.

                It’s “very telling” about you.

                1. I’m really not interested in the government proposing a one-sided partisan media.

                  That could be a problem.

                2. Now tell us about the cabal of Trumpista Mean Girls that are persecuting you.

            2. Fox is considered niche while the others are considered mainstream and deny their bias. The other media deserve more criticism because their product differs more from their brand.

              In reality every news source other than Fox is as or more biased left as Fox is right.

              1. Fox is false opposition.
                They accept all the premises of the left and spread that bullshit as if it were reality.

                1. Amen. Fox is part of the “Lamestream media”, not an antidote to it.

    4. The NYT is indistinguishable from Pravda at this point.

      1. Except the Times still shills for the uber-rich designer fashion and jet-set mansion types–presuming they support socialism.

    5. According to David Byrne, “There is water at the bottom of the ocean…”

  8. Great idea California Democrats! Silence them through the media! Force them to speak in bullets.

  9. And that’s the waaaaAAAAAAAyyyyyy the news goes!

  10. “China has already revealed plans to unify Taiwan by force‘”

    Should Taiwan’s democracy be allowed to fall?

    1. Too small to not fail?

    2. “Should Taiwan’s democracy be allowed to fall?

      Unless Taipei can guarantee Disney, Nike and Apple the same profits as Beijing, and line the Dems and prominent GOPe’rs pockets with as big of bribes, absolutely.

      1. Moreover, imagine how immediately fucked we’d all be if TSMC got slagged.

    3. Nonsense. Our wise and enlightened Chinese friends are merely going to Fortify Taiwan’s Democracy.

    4. Taiwan gets a vote on that. A couple of heckler’s vetoes, glowing harder than some of Nardz’s posts.

      China is posturing. They know that all they have to do is wait, probably not even 15 years, and Taiwan will willingly come back into the fold with a Color Revolution. Look at Mandarin vs Hokkien usage rates among young people, as well as generational splits in attitudes towards the PRC. The old fart KMT guys are dying off, and people are allying themselves with the bigger dog.

      1. and Taiwan will “willingly” come back into the fold with a Color Revolution.

        Color revolutions tend to not be representative of the populace, much like our most recent election, where more voters chose Trump but Biden still got more votes.

        In any case, it’s actually the KMT’s coalition that’s been angling for greater cooperation and integration with the mainland. The official narrative is that they’re still holding on to their claim over the entirety of China, but the result has been moving closer to unification under the Communist party. The pan-green coalition has been gaining ground at least partly on a platform of breaking ties with Communist China and declaring independence as Taiwan.

        1. Thank you for that. But it’s really surprising: I mean, the KMT leaders know how this, “greater cooperation and integration with the mainland,” shit works, right? Were they asleep during the recent reintegration of Hong Kong with the PRC?

          Depending on how young their leaders are, their atonement for the sin of disrespecting Emperor Xi might be done a piece at a time…

          1. I mean, the KMT leaders know how this, “greater cooperation and integration with the mainland,” shit works, right?j

            I’m no expert in Taiwainese culture or politics so take this with a grain of salt, but I imagine this is a big reason for their cultural swing towards a Tawainese identity (as opposed to a Chinese identity) in the last decade or so.

  11. “national election bitterly contested by the losing candidate”

    I see what you did you mfer.

    1. Interesting fodder for conspiracy theorists…

      The California recall petition of Governor Newsome is being contested. Thusfar they have rejected about 20% of signatures. These are collected in person.

      Meanwhile, California rejected less than one percent of the signatures on mail in ballots in the 2020 election… Despite these being collected without witness.

      1. Well, the petition to recall was tainted since only white supremacists, anti-Semites, and anti-immigrant racists signed it, according to Gavin Newsom.

      2. So much for their concern over disfranchisement.

        Apparently voter fraud is a myth except when it endangers Democrats.

  12. I saw an Al Jazeera reporter get shot mid-sentence during a broadcast. Bang, Zing! If he would have stayed out of the gunfight that he was reporting on, he would have lived. This will not end well, they are too easy to target.

    1. I am mildly surprised that newsies haven’t been targeted more domestically. Other than Antifa cracking the skull of anyone who doesn’t sing on key, of course.

      Goes with that whole ‘adoption of Third World governance norms’ thing.

  13. Officials may have a role in using their own speech to counter speech they do not like

    That’s too much like work. Plus they would have to actually have a counter argument and they usually don’t, other than just calling anyone they disagree with a “Nazi” or some shit. It’s much easier to just make people they don’t like shut up, or else.

  14. “To our knowledge, the cable, satellite, and over-the-top companies that disseminate these media outlets to American viewers have done nothing in response to the misinformation aired by these outlets,” wrote Reps. Anna Eshoo and Jerry McNerney

    Well, *that’s* the ticket! Fox News, One America News Network, and Newsmax should simply preface everything with “To our knowledge …”.

    1. “We ran this by our crack fact checking team, and they spit up their pablum, so it’s good to go!”

    2. “Anonymous sources say…”

  15. I’ll believe that politicians care about misinformation when they stop lying.

  16. The First Amendment applies to the Congress, and by way of the 14th Amendment, the state and local governments.

    It does NOT apply to private individuals and organizations picking and choosing who they will publish or not publish on their private platform. That some of these platforms may be big does not suddenly make them a government.

    Now of course I would like those platforms to publish accurate information, and to be biased towards my own ideological druthers. But there is no Constitutional law that they must do so. This pisses the Democrats off to no end. This also pisses the Republicans off to no end.

    China’s “social scoring” scares the shit out of me. And I fear we will get a private sector version of it for the big platforms if Senators keeps whining about snotty tweets. I don’t trust the private sector (I’ve been embedded in it too long to trust it) but I trust the public sector even less. And the public sector has a history of pushing the private sector to censor for it. The MPAA and Comics Code, for example. If we get a Social Media Social Score Scoring Association, it will be because government threatened social media to impose one. Threats pushed by Josh Hawley and his twin Elizabeth Warren.

    Now excuse me, I need to got wank off to the thought of Josh Hawley in a nekked deathmatch with a woodchipper.

    1. That some of these platforms may be big does not suddenly make them a government.

      Like I’ve pointed out repeatedly, these platforms got as big as they did precisely because the government sponsored them. They’re big by *design.* Contrary to the popular narrative, they didn’t grow organically through the power of the market and personal pluck, they grew because they either had front men for the government giving them access to cutting edge technology and millions in angel investment, or because their CEOs were politically connected to those at the upper echelons of power, particularly those within the Democratic party.

      These are independent entities in name only. They’re no different than the Gilded Age trusts who operated the exact same way, up until their monopolies caused so much political and social upheaval through labor unrest that the feds were finally compelled to rein them in through anti-trust actions in order to keep the country from ripping apart.

      What is it that we’ve said on here repeatedly? That if you want to get in bed with the government, you ultimately have to march to their tune? Well, sooner or later, the partnership arrives at a crossroads where the government has to weigh the costs and benefits of continuing to allow your trust to operate with impunity, or whether you need to be broken up and reined in. Big Tech is approaching that crossroads, whether they or anyone else likes it or not, and when it does, they won’t be able to hide any longer behind their highly selective anarcho-capitalist/Maoist progressive business/social model anymore.

      1. I’ll give you a third off-ramp for that decision intersection, Red: what if the tech trusts became the Government? De facto, not de jure.

        1. You mean like we become the United States of FAGMAN or something like that? I guess it would depend on whether they are able to actually fund the military out of their own pockets, like Marius did.

          If it gets to a point where the Tech Trust legitimately takes over the country, it’s going to be a dystopia the likes of which we can only barely conceive.

          1. Nevada is already allowing them to set up their own political states with no oversight of any kind. We’re literally back to the company town model.

      2. They grew through the network effect. That is all. The value of Facebook and Twitter is with everyone being on the same social network. And so they tend to push out the smaller social networks.

        Google is far bigger than Facebook and Twitter, yet the Google+ social network failed. That was NOT the government picking and choosing who the winners would be, that’s was just the network effect.

        Now as publicly traded corporations they do get the benefit of certain tax and regulatory structures. But all corporations get that. I think those policies should change, but they don’t mean that private companies are government pawns. Stop being an idiot populist. Again, you sound like a Class Warfare Leftist.

        1. They grew through the network effect. That is all.

          Bullshit. Facebook was nothing more than a shitty MySpace clone for college campuses until it got angel investment from Peter Thiel, whose own website Palantir was the recipient of millions from the CIA’s investment arm, In-Q-Tel, and Jim Breyer from Accel Partners, which has long been known as a front for the government’s intel and defense communities. Suddenly, Facebook gets access to a cutting-edge graphic user interface and unprecedented data mining capability.

          Google Earth is based off of Keyhole Earth Viewer, which is a CIA-funded project. Google itself was funded practically from the beginning by the CIA and NSA, for the precise reason that they wanted to exploit its signal-intelligence gathering capabilities. All this stuff isn’t conspiracy-mongering, it’s open-source information.

          Google is far bigger than Facebook and Twitter, yet the Google+ social network failed.

          Your missing the forest for the trees.

          Stop being an idiot populist. Again, you sound like a Class Warfare Leftist.

          You might want to read up again on what happened about 120-130 years ago when a similar situation was taking place. Warning you about what’s coming down the pike doesn’t make me a Class Warfare Leftist, it makes me an educated person who understands how history informs current perceptions and future actions.

        2. It’s going to be absolutely delightful watching you eat a bullet from the guns of the oligarchs whose cocks you so obsequiously sucked your entire life. It’ll be well worth watching the rest of society fall to shit just to bask in the glory of that schadenfreude.

    2. I agree with the jist what you’ee saying here, but please no triggering messages about Josh Hawley and nekkidness in the same sentence. It is always suppertime somewhere and specifically here at this moment. 🙂

  17. “Now excuse me, I need to got wank off to the thought of Josh Hawley in a nekked deathmatch with a woodchipper.”

    Hawt! I mean, who?

  18. Greenwald’s latest. Money quote:

    The outlets that most vocally claim to condemn disinformation and fake news — to the point of agitating in favor of corporate and online censorship of their critics and competitors in the name of combating it — are the most prolific, aggressive and destructive disseminators of disinformation.

  19. there should be zero exceptions to 1A. nothing says a person has to act on the words of another whether incitement to riot or to fight, and vulgarity is subjective

    1. What about death threats?

      1. not a crime.

        1. Threats of force have no victim?

          1. words are words. I don’t have to believe you.

            1. On the other hand, if I choose to believe you and shoot you in the face while you’re running mouth like a stupid little bitch making death threats, that shouldn’t be a crime either. Feel free to take full and complete ownership of your values while you LARP as a tough guy online you pathetic fucking faggot.

    2. Well the 9th Amendment is the addendum to all rights and it means you have a right to freedom of speech, press, and expression that does not deny or disparage individual rights held by others.

      You have a right to speak, but not from a PA bullhorn outside of a sleeping person’s bedroom window.

      You have a right to write, but not on the walls of someone’s home.

      You have a right to use a computer and printer you own, but not a right to take someone else’s.

      And you have a right to any form or tone of peaceful expression, not a right to put fear into someone for their exercise of their Life, Liberty, and Property. (And words can do that if they are assumed to have truth about the intentions of the user.)

      In other words, the 9th Amendment affirms that there is no right in logic to violate the rights of other individuals.

      1. >>not from a PA bullhorn outside of a sleeping person’s bedroom window.
        >>not on the walls of someone’s home.
        >>not a right to take someone else’s.

        those are all acts. the words and thoughts behind them are protected.

  20. NewsMax, OANN, and hundreds more like them are distributed mostly by podcast. So if they ever do get successfully silenced, it will be because monopolists have successfully locked up the entire Internet. To avoid this I urge viewers to use, and pay for, Internet services that don’t come from the Big 6 media multinationals.

    1. I am all for using alternatives to Big Tech and I also encourage others to do the same, but no calls for siccing Big Government on Big Tech or turning Big Tech into public utilities. We won’t know the end of censorship if government owns or controls Big Tech.

      1. There’s no fucking difference right now, dumbass.

  21. Bitterly contested? Filing perfectly legal challenges which he is entitled to do is bitter? If anything he didn’t fight hard enough.

  22. In February, two Democratic members of Congress sent letters to the presidents of Comcast, AT&T, Verizon, Cox, Dish, and other cable and satellite companies implying that they should either stop carrying Fox News, One America News Network, and Newsmax or pressure the stations to change their coverage.

    Every commenter (or Reason writer) that sniffed “private companies, they can do what they want” are nothing more than useful idiots.

    And just so you all are keeping up, a lot of this was pushed by Brian Stelter of CNN.

    1. In the aftermath of trump’s 2016 victory I remember democrats bringing in people from social media companies to demand answers about Russian ads and stuff.

      But hey it is a private company so why did Democrats do that? The companies broke no laws.

      1. Hey, there’s nothing wrong with private companies having a nice, friendly chat with their representatives in D.C. and then doing exactly what their representatives in D.C. have instructed them to do.

  23. It’s hard to believe that liberalism, which helped found the ACLU has been reduced to stamping out individual thought.

    1. That’s not liberalism. If the word has any meaning at this point.

      1. Yes, sarcasmic, it is, you stupid cunt. “Liberalism” reached its full maturity with the French Revolution. It’s always been a bloodthirsty, revolutionary ideology.

  24. I’m old enough to remember when trump won we had people calling for “faithless electors” not to vote for him. So they wanted to essentially toss out the votes for him. The votes didnt matter. Maxine Waters didnt want Biden to certify him. Celebrities put out a PSA begging faithless electors to choose someone else.

    I dont recall this being called an attack on democracy. And before someone tries to deflect to January 6th: dont go there. Months before that happened the mere fact trump was challenging the election results was called an attack on democracy. But nobody called Waters or the rich elite celebrities with massive influence anti democratic.

    I would say be consistent or be silent. If it is okay for rich elites to try to toss out votes you can endure legal challenges from trump, and you can do it with a smile.

    1. There was also rioting surrounding Trump’s inauguration. And it sure seemed like in 2020 there was going to be a lot more of it, and a lot of challenges to the legitimacy of the election.
      I’m no fan of Trump’s style or a lot of his actions, but a little consistency would be nice. But the whole point of politics now seems to be to tear down your opponents by whatever means is possible and to hell with honesty or consistency.

  25. An inalienable right is one that cannot be given or taken away.

    Do you understand? That means that there can be no legally binding contract between anyone to restrict any speech whatsoever.

    It doesn’t matter what your school rules are, nor your employers. If you are persecuted for exercising free speech your rights have been violated and the law MUST have your back. Anything less is a violation of the constitution.

    Lying isn’t afforded the protection of 1a.

    It’s coercion, assuming the authority of truth to compel others to act in the liars interest instead of their own.

  26. “… eradicating “misinformation” from television and social media has become a top concern of politicians.”

    The last place I would be looking for the truth is from a politician or today’s media. For politicians, and their media lackeys, the truth is fugitive and whatever furthers the immediate requirements of their agendas.

  27. For an ostensibly libertarian website Reasons installation of bigotry mute user buttons demonstrates the shallowness of their principles.

    In an environment of “free speech” you don’t get to “mute” counter arguments that you don’t want to hear.

    It’s a sad day for 1a at Reason.

    1. What’s 1a?
      Meantime, there’s a BIG difference between muting a voice just for yourself and muting a voice for any/everyone who might otherwise hear it, or be able to.
      Muting a particular voice FOR YOURSELF violates no one’s freedom of speech. There is a freedom to (not) listen, too.

  28. And the party to bring fascism to the USA??????
    The Democratic NAZI (def; National Socialist) Party!

    In February, two Democratic members of Congress sent letters to the presidents of Comcast, AT&T, Verizon, Cox, Dish, and other cable and satellite companies.

    And last election; other Democratic members called to have President Trump censored..

    I get the feeling they’ve been doing this for a VERY LONG TIME…

  29. Any point of view I dislike is misinformation, and anyone expressing such must be silenced and punished for speaking out – IMMEDIATELY and severely.

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