By: Cliff Kincaid | Accuracy in Media
Under the guise of suppressing “fake news,” the elite media and their allies are creating a censorship regime to ban legitimate conservative news from platforms like Facebook, Google, and Twitter.
In a November 19 editorial, The New York Times complained about “millions of people” having been taken in by “fake news stories,” such as that Pope Francis had endorsed Donald Trump for president. Think about this claim. For over a year Pope Frances has been denouncing capitalism and calling for open borders. Trump had been openly critical of the pope. If anyone believed the pope had suddenly endorsed Trump for president, they were living in a fantasy land. It’s extremely doubtful that millions believed such rubbish.
But the Times went further, citing a “BuzzFeed News analysis” finding that “during the last three months of the presidential campaign, the 20 top fake news stories on Facebook generated more engagement—shares, likes and comments—than the 20 top stories from real news websites.”
Forget for a moment about what constitutes “real news.” Does the Times really want to cite BuzzFeed as a respectable source of news and information? Didn’t President Obama once joke about the site in the context of noting that when he was growing up in Hawaii, a “buzz feed” was associated with smoking marijuana?
I visited the site on Thanksgiving Day and found such stories as, “The Naked Rowers Are Back And Their Butts Are Ready To Fight Homophobia.”
It’s nice to see that a left-wing journalist, Robert Parry of Consortium News, has written a piece noting that the Times, with its focus on “fake news,” is seeking nothing less than censorship of the Internet. He dismisses the notion that “fake news” was exclusively pro-Trump, saying, “I also know that Clinton supporters were privately pushing some salacious and unsubstantiated charges about Trump’s sex life, and Clinton personally charged that Trump was under the control of Russian President Vladimir Putin although there was no evidence presented to support that McCarthyistic accusation.”
Parry then adds, “The simple reality is that lots of dubious accusations get flung around during the heat of a campaign—nothing new there—and it is always a challenge for professional journalists to swat them down the best we can. What’s different now is that the Times envisions some structure (or algorithm) for eliminating what it calls ‘fake news.’” That structure is being set in place by Facebook’s founder and chief executive Mark Zuckerberg, in association with Google, whose parent company chairman, Eric Schmidt, worked hand-in-glove with the Clinton campaign. Google has already been caught altering search engine results to benefit Clinton during the campaign.
Parry cites examples of what he calls “fake news” carried by the Times and asks, “So, should Zuckerberg prevent Facebook users from circulating New York Times stories?”
Parry notes that “the Times and other mainstream news outlets—along with some favored Internet sites—now sit on a Google-financed entity called the First Draft Coalition, which presents itself as a kind of Ministry of Truth that will decide which stories are true and which are ‘fake.’” He says, “If the Times’ editorial recommendations are followed, the disfavored stories and the sites publishing them would no longer be accessible through popular search engines and platforms, essentially blocking the public’s access to them.”
He links to a Reuters article noting that “Facebook and Twitter have joined a network of over 30 news and technology companies to tackle fake news and improve the quality of information on social media…” Reuters said, “Members of the group include the New York Times, Washington Post, BuzzFeed News, Agence France-Presse, and CNN.”
The “First Draft” coalition says it wants to expose “Hoaxes and fake stories generated for financial or political gain.” But Washington Free Beacon writer Bill McMorris has written a very informative article, “All the News That’s Fit to Fake,” about the fake news The New York Times published during the 2016 presidential campaign. He cites Times stories about how the Hispanic vote was going to carry Hillary to victory, and how whites weren’t going to turn out for Trump. Other “fake news” stories in the Times concerned how Clinton hoped a mandate and coattails would give Democrats control of the House and Senate, and how the stock market would crash if Trump won. The latter ran under the headline, “Debate Night Message: The Markets Are Afraid of Donald Trump.”
The Dow has hit a new high of 19,000 in the wake of Trump’s victory.
The push to ban “fake news” by the elite media, in association with fringe sites like BuzzFeed and Al-Jazeera, is outrageous. But outrage won’t stop the First Draft Coalition from implementing a censorship regime in coordination with Facebook and Google.
In fact, the process is already underway. The misnamed Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), which is one of the richest components of the extreme left, is working with Twitter on the “content-policing” of its platform, in order to ban what it considers accounts that spread “hate speech.” USA Today reported that Heidi Beirich, a spokeswoman for the group, told the paper that “the center had asked Twitter to remove more than 100 accounts of white supremacists who violated Twitter’s terms of service.” The banning of these accounts has already begun.
Of course, “white supremacy” is a term that can be assigned to a variety of groups, some of them truly objectionable, but others which simply want to give a voice to the concerns of European-Americans and supporters of Judeo-Christian values.
Twitter might have a case to make if the advocacy of certain views could be directly linked to violence against minorities. Ironically, however, it’s the SPLC that once inspired violence at the headquarters of the Family Research Council, a conservative Christian group falsely accused of “hate.”
The SPLC itself spews fake news, in the form of false allegations picked up by the media which claim that people like me are radical extremists associated with bigoted members of the Ku Klux Klan, neo-Nazis, and the New Black Panthers.
The fact that the elite media and outlets like Twitter use information provided by the SPLC is an ominous indication of where the new censorship regime is headed. It’s time for more honest journalists on the left to follow Robert Parry’s example and speak out against the 1984-style “Ministry of Truth” that is emerging right before our eyes.
Cliff Kincaid is the Director of the AIM Center for Investigative Journalism and can be contacted at email@example.com. View the complete archives from Cliff Kincaid.