NORMAL-LY, in the world that we thought we knew, whenever there is a serious case of suppression of press freedom or free speech, it is government that is the bully and the oppressor, and the media and press freedom are the victims.
Today, in the bizarre and unpredictable world of US politics and the imminent presidential election on November 3, the traditional relation of forces has been turned on its head. It is the media industry and digital platforms that are bullying and burying press freedom. The government of the day (administration) is the victim.
Donald Trump, of all people, is the hapless figure, who excites sympathy and succor.
Trump running vs the media
Ron Hart described the situation starkly in an article on the Daily Caller website on October 20: “Trump isn’t running against Biden — he’s running against the media.”
“Since before Donald Trump was inaugurated, the Democrats have used all their Deep State dirty tricks to hurt him and his family. From the FISA court lies used to spy on his campaign, to the fake DNC-bought Steele dossier, to impeaching him for calling the Ukrainian president, Democrats have used every dirty trick in their bag to kill Trump. He gets Covid-19, and many are actively rooting for his death. But he emerges in three days and is perfectly fine…
“Beating the virus was like a WWF victory for Trump. He then appeared triumphant on the balcony of the White House and demanded a match with syphilis.
“What was so hypocritical about the sham impeachment of Trump was that it was the Bidens who have been doing shady deals in Ukraine. Nazi propaganda minister Goebbels said it best, and the Democrats practice it: ‘Accuse the other side of things of which you are guilty.’
“Dems impeached Trump just for asking the Ukrainians about the Biden family shakedown of their country for money. Dems also got a special prosecutor to go after Trump for colluding with Russia in the 2016 election, when in fact it was Hillary and the DNC who did that.
“Dem operatives accused Trump of philandering, when it seems Biden did. The ex-husband of Jill Biden claimed in an ‘Inside Edition’ interview that Joe and Jill did not meet on a blind date in 1975 as they tell everyone. In fact, Bill Stevenson says his wife and Biden started seeing each other in 1972 while they were still married. In short, when you are a Democrat and lie or create a false narrative, no one in the media calls you out on it. So why not keep doing it?
“The media do not report the news objectively. They create narratives they then seek to validate. They really hate Republicans, especially Trump. Anyone who hurts their target is considered heroic….”
Twitter’s blackmail operation
In a hard-hitting editorial on October 28, the New York Post, which first exposed the corrupt foreign dealings of Hunter Biden and blew the lid on Joe Biden, accused Twitter of running a blackmail operation: “Cooperate or no traffic for you.”
The Post, the oldest and fourth largest newspaper in the US, was censored by Twitter in its exposé of the Hunter Biden emails. The paper, its staff, its readers and even the White House are barred from using Twitter to share the Post exposé with the public.
Facebook similarly censored the Post story from its platform.
The Post said in its editorial:
“For all their talk of ‘neutral platforms,’ the Big Shots at Big Tech — Twitter, Facebook and Google — are running a protection racket. They figure they can dictate what Americans get to see and read, and what other media companies must do to reach the public via those platforms.
“It’s a clear threat to a healthy democracy — and Congress has noticed. On Wednesday, the Senate launched a hearing to investigate ‘Big Tech’s bad behavior.’
“Center-stage: Twitter’s strong-arm tactics to censor the Post ever since we began reporting on Hunter Biden’s emails. First, it froze our account and banned our stories; then, amid a public backlash, it agreed to unfreeze us — but only if we deleted our original tweets.
“Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey sounded like every mob enforcer and shakedown artist in history: Nice paper you got there, New York Post. Shame, should something happen to it. He knows full well media outlets depend on social media, and Google search algorithms, to help readers access our reporting.
“Sen. Ted Cruz wasn’t fooled: ‘Mr. Dorsey, who the hell elected you and put you in charge of what the media are allowed to report, and what the American people are allowed to hear?’ he thundered. ‘Why do you persist in behaving as a Democratic super PAC, silencing views to the contrary of your political beliefs?’
“Dorsey tried to claim it was all a mistake that had been fixed, but the Post account remained locked, even as he spoke…
“If it was an honest error, then why does it only happen to one side? As Sen. Marsha Blackburn noted, Twitter has ‘censored’ President Trump 65 times and Joe Biden zero.
‘There is a pattern of subjective manipulation of information.’
“Nor can Twitter and Facebook claim there’s anything wrong with the stories. Asked if they had any ‘evidence’ of that, Dorsey and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg both admitted they didn’t.
“Some folks think the paper should’ve just caved immediately and deleted the story. The problem isn’t the Post’s failure to squelch stories — it’s Big Tech’s heavy-handed shakedown.”
Erosion of trust
Neil Patel, co-founder of the Daily Caller, wrote on October 29 a mordant piece on the US media situation that I will quote here to conclude this piece. He wrote:
“Regardless of the outcome, the partisan unfairness we have seen through this election cycle will further erode what we need most in our country: a renewal of trust. Trust is down in almost every national institution. When the people don’t trust government, private business, educational institutions and the media, our country becomes less stable. But those bemoaning the erosion of trust spend little time talking about how much the institutions in question have earned the lower regard they now hold.
“In the face of this long-term trend, the most destructive thing to come from this election may be the continuation and even acceleration of the loss of trust Americans have in our nation’s formerly trusted institutions.
“The New York Times has always been liberal, but it used to have standards. When the Times published their famous ‘anonymous’ op-ed by a ‘senior administration official’ attacking the president, they led everyone to believe that the official was someone very high up. Everyone from Vice President Mike Pence on down was under suspicion. It was marketed as a testament to how dangerous and crazy this president was — that someone in his own orbit was coming out to undermine him in the New York Times. The problem is the author was not a ‘senior administration official’ at all. The author, Miles Taylor, was a 33-year-old deputy chief of staff to the Homeland Security secretary. He was not close to the president in any way. He wasn’t even listed on his own cabinet agency website’s leadership page. There are thousands of people who may qualify as a senior administration official the way the Times defined it. It’s just not honest to pretend that the op-ed was a true reflection of Trump’s senior team. People have a right to expect the New York Times to be honest, even when covering a politician who they clearly don’t like.”