I’ve been warning everyone who would listen about the greatest threat to freedom of speech, freedom of the press and freedom of religion in America today.
It’s not government.
Instead, the overt attack on America’s First Amendment comes from the corporate behemoth new media gatekeepers who are in ideological lockstep with each other – from Google to YouTube to Facebook to Twitter to Apple to Amazon.
This week, YouTube and Facebook followed Apple’s lead in banishing Alex Jones, the iconic, high-energy voice that rails against globalism and the Deep State daily on radio, podcasts and his own Infowars TV show. He was an easy target – and a predictable one, a controversial figure, without doubt, and a high-profile one with a sizable following.
Not everyone wants to defend Alex Jones – certainly not everything he says.
Yet, the First Amendment wasn’t crafted by America’s founding geniuses to protect tepid, non-controversial speech. It was crafted to protect just the kind of fiery dialogue – the kind that offends some people, some sensibilities. Alex Jones is a good choice to start the censorship juggernaught rolling if you think like the Southern Poverty Law Center. And one thing Apple, Google, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Amazon all have in common is their love of, reverence for, edification of, partnerships with this extremist band of smear merchants who never met anyone right-of-center on the political spectrum they didn’t label a “hater,” a “fascist,” a “Nazi,” a “racist” – including, of course, the current president of the United States.
So, first the Digital Cartel came for Alex Jones.
Who will be next? I don’t know, but I don’t plan to find myself in the position in which Martin Niemöller found himself in Nazi Germany. He’s most famous for this prescient quotation: “First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out – Because I was not a Socialist. Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out – Because I was not a Trade Unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out – Because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me – and there was no one left to speak for me.”
I’m going to defend Alex Jones’ right to say what he wants – even if I sometimes, or even often, find myself in disagreement with him. And I’m going to condemn this cabal of bloated mega-corporations imposing their ideology on America’s most vital public square – the digital media.
Maybe you say, “Well, Farah, don’t these corporations have the absolute right to approve and disapprove of the viewpoints they carry – just like you do?” The answer may be surprising: No, they don’t. None of these conglomerates are publishers, content producers, part of the “press.” They are more akin to “utilities” – like the telephone companies of old or the electricity producers who have a public obligation to be fair and neutral in offering the services they provide to all, without regard to race, religion and ideology. They don’t have to like Alex Jones. They don’t have to listen to Alex Jones. But if they are going to have privileged positions making money distributing all manner of content, data, information, they dare not think of themselves as “gatekeepers” against offensive political speech. And they better not designate the partisan hacks of the SPLC as their content cops, which is what they have done – all of them!
I know I sound like a broken record on this theme, but I’m going to keep pounding on it until the public catches on to the threat these trillion-dollar monopolies pose to America’s precious institutions of free speech, the free press and freedom of religion. We need congressional hearings. We need action in Washington. We need President Trump to recognize who the biggest purveyors of fake news really are. It’s not just CNN and the Huffington Post. It’s their distribution arms – Google, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Apple and Amazon – the Digital Cartel.
It’s time to throw down the gauntlet, draw a marker in the sand, file class-action lawsuits, summon our leaders to action.
Are we going to let this cabal render the First Amendment null and void?
I’ve been telling you how they have attacked WND relentlessly and ruthlessly through its politically and religiously discriminatory algorithms. I’ve told you how they have been coming after the independent media, especially since the 2016 election that so disappointed all of them.
Do you really want to talk about supposed Russian interference in our free society when this powerful monolithic cartel is setting the rules of debate for Americans out in plain sight – openly censoring voices they don’t like while systematically elevating those they do like? What a sick joke!
As for me, I will defend the voices of dissent, and even controversy, as long as I have a soapbox upon which to stand. I know they are coming after me and the first independent online news company I founded 21 years ago. Once, again, I ask you to stand with me or find yourself living in a country you won’t long recognize. No privacy. No freedom.