This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion
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When Politicians Want to Control the Narrative
In 1773, US patriot John Peter Zenger was jailed for publishing a story accusing the British governor of corruption. His actions were deemed to be in violation of Royal British laws prohibiting “any slanderous news” which may cause discord between the King and the people. This included a prohibition against writing negative stories about the colonial government or the ruling elite.
After Zenger spent eight months in prison, the case went to trial. Zenger won based on the argument that his accusations of corruption were true. This case became the precedent for the First Amendment freedoms of press and speech protected by the US Constitution. Today, under the American legal system, your words do not have to be proven to be true for you to have the right to say them. Unfortunately, the same Party who opposes the Second Amendment seems to want to undo the First Amendment, as well.
Big Tech Information Coup
White House pandemic advisor Dr. Scott Atlas’s tweet against wearing masks has been blocked by Twitter. His videos and posts have previously been blocked or removed by YouTube and other social media because he voiced an opinion that lockdowns were unnecessary. Prominent Republican James Woods was locked out of his Twitter account for posting a House Judiciary Committee document about Hunter Biden, which violated the Democrat narrative. This was Woods’s final post before being blocked: “This is an official press release of the United States Government. The New York Post article is embedded at the end. It is possible to open the link and read the article (Twitter censors won’t let you retweet it, however). Twitter MUST be regulated.” When even a discussion about censorship can be censored, the country has lost the right to free speech completely.
The editor of The New York Post had his account locked for sharing the Hunter Biden story. He wrote, “One of the nation’s largest papers by circulation can’t post one of our own stories that details corruption by a major-party presidential candidate, Biden.” Twitter even prevented users from sharing the story through direct messages to their contacts. Additionally, Twitter locked the personal account of White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany for sharing news Democrats do not like. Many have called this a Big Tech information coup or a digital civil war. When the White House is blocked from social media, this is a national security issue. Additionally, we are in the final days before the election. It undermines democratic process to ban one or the other party from posting.
The Atlantic referred to the Republican reaction as “paranoia about anti-conservative bias on social platforms.” Paranoia, by definition is an “irrational fear.” Since this censorship is clearly happening, it is not irrational to believe that it is happening. Even more, it is irrational for Americans – particularly the media – to support censorship, knowing that it undermines our two-party system and infringes on our rights of free speech and free press. Both sides must be free to have a voice.
Recently, Mainstream Media reported that Antifa attacked pro-Trumpers who were protesting in favor of free speech. The fact that free-speech protesters are – correctly – assumed to be pro-Trump is a frightening indictment of our society and of Democrats. While Republicans are fighting for free speech, Democrats are complicit in the dismantling of the First Amendment.
One of the topics which has been censored has been any discussion of the obvious problems with mail-in ballots. Here are just a few of the many recent headlines from non-left, non-mainstream sources confirming that mail-in ballots are failing:
- “353 Counties Have 1.8 Million More Registered Voters Than Residents” – The Epoch Times
- “Pennsylvania Rejects 372K Mail-in Ballot Applications, as Voters Err” – The Epoch Times
- “Over 100 Absentee Ballots Found Discarded in Kentucky Dumpster, Investigation Launched” – Newsweek
- “More than 28,000 Pennsylvanians Could Have their Mail-in Ballots Discarded or Rejected, Data Suggests” – Bucks County Courier Times
- “Ballots Stolen from Mailboxes, Discarded on Roadsides in Washington Town” – Fox News
The Biden campaign has asked Twitter and Facebook to remove posts about the problems associated with mail-in voting. Facebook said that they would promote mail-in voting, although President Trump has attacked it. And Twitter has put warning labels on Trump tweets about mail-in ballots, although there is ample evidence that mail-in ballots are riddled with problems.
Blocking “Unverified” Stories
In reaction to censorship of the New York Post article about Hunter Biden’s laptop, some have applauded Twitter and Facebook for blocking a “garbage story.” But who is to determine when a story is “garbage,” when it is verified, or when it is proven to be true? In the past, stories ran in major media based on the editorial review process within those media. After the story was public, further investigation by other media, watchdog groups, citizens, and possibly law enforcement took place. Eventually, the claims might be “verified” in a court of law as evidence of guilt or innocence of the party in question, not the media which reported it. This process often took years, but the story was permitted to run the entire time. And certainly, citizens were permitted to send the story to one another, or to repost the story, or discuss, believe or disbelieve the story.
It is unlikely that Facebook or Twitter conducted an investigation in one day, across international borders, to determine that the Hunter Biden story was untrue. And even if they had, under the First Amendment of the Constitution, the story still must be published and people have the right to read and decide for themselves.
Facebook has banned QAnon conspiracy theory accounts and has determined “to remove or restrict groups and accounts sharing and promoting QAnon material.” Once again, not only is the story itself being banned, but also citizens are being denied the right to repost and discuss the story publicly. Facebook justified the action as a way of preventing QAnon from “spread[ing] political disinformation to US voters.” Who gets to determine what qualifies as “disinformation?” BBC reported that QAnon spread “disinformation about candidates and child trafficking rings.” Once again, has it been verified that this was disinformation? And if so, by whom? And, as in the case of Zenger, given the power disparity between the common people and the elites, it does not seem fair to allow the elites to verify what is and is not true of the elites or to decide what is allowed to be written and published about the elites.
Alexandra Brinkley is a News Desk writer for NRN. She seeks out the truth and reports the news based on facts.