Kevin Bae

Non-Social in a Socially Networked World

Actual government censorship is coming

The First Amendment to the Constitution reads, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” COVID-19 knocked out religion and the freedom to assemble. The 2020 election knocked out the redress of grievances since the courts refuse to hear the cases Trump brought before them. Now Congress is ready to take the next step and kill off freedom of speech.

Tomorrow there will be a Congressional hearing on free speech… or I should say a hearing against free speech.

Free speech scholars argue that for a democracy to function, informed debates and the marketplace of ideas must be able to work off of a shared set of facts. Many experts agree that dangerous disinformation about the coronavirus disease of 2019 (COVID-19) and the 2020
presidential election has greatly intensified an already deadly public health crisis, further divided the nation, and fomented an insurrection.
While much of the blame has been placed on the widespread disinformation on social media platforms, industry participants have also noted that broadcast and cable outlets have played a role in the spread of disinformation.

What are the “shared set of facts” we’re supposed to be debating? The Russian collusion hoax? The Ukraine impeachment hoax? The Charlottesville “very fine people” hoax? That last one is supposedly the entire reason Joe Biden ran for president.

We all knew that the slippery slope was started when social media companies started de-platforming people for disagreeing with people’s opinion on the 2020 election, COVID-19 lockdowns, COVID-19 treatments, and COVID-19 vaccines. Now Congress is moving into actual censorship territory.

Experts have noted that the right-wing media ecosystem is “much more susceptible…to disinformation, lies, and half-truths.” Right-wing media outlets, like Newsmax, One America News Network (OANN), and Fox News all aired misinformation about the November 2020
elections. For example, both Newsmax and OANN “ran incendiary reports” of false information following the elections and continue to support “an angry and dangerous subculture [that] will continue to operate semi-openly.” As a violent mob was breaching the doors of the Capitol, Newsmax’s coverage called the scene a “sort of a romantic idea.” Fox News, meanwhile, has spent years spewing misinformation about American politics. These same networks also have been key vectors of spreading misinformation related to the pandemic. A media watchdog found over 250 cases of COVID-19 misinformation on Fox News in just one five-day period, and economists demonstrated that Fox News had a demonstrable impact on non-compliance with public health guidelines. One online platform suspended and demonetized OANN’s channel online because it was spreading COVID-19 misinformation. Newsmax has amplified allegations that members of the Chinese Communist Party helped to develop the COVID-19 vaccine.

Letter to AT&T from members of Congress

Hmmm… I see no mention of CNN’s coverage of the “mostly peaceful” protests while cities were literally burning behind the reporter.

Does this qualify as misinformation or disinformation?

What the Democrat majority Congress is doing is very dangerous here. Make absolutely no mistake that no good can come of this intimidation.