Corporate reality police have stablished themselves as the authorities on what constitutes “information” or “disinformation.”
“Another insidious and oppressive new normal enforced by the Reality Police is that lesbians, and even feminists broadly, must be invisible,”
If there be time to expose through discussion the falsehood and fallacies, to avert the evil by the process of education, the remedy to be applied is more speech, not enforced silence. Justice Louis Brandeis
“The only means to fight the plague is honesty.” -- Albert Camus, 1947
After Donald Trump was elected, the Washington Post published names of websites deemed “fake news,” several of which I read religiously, because they are of the left. They are certainly not fake news, as the links in the articles provide the source material, but the lines of true and false are increasingly blurred by mainstream and social media. The New York Times, the paper of record, repeatedly makes false claims, then not only doesn’t retract them, but repeats them, truth be damned. Though proven false, Russia-gate will never die.
But they are shutting down environmental lawyer Robert F. Kennedy, Jr, because his organization, Children’s Health Defense, challenges the accepted narrative that there is only one science. Kennedy, and thousands of medical professionals worldwide who agree with him, are declared unscientific and censored because they present a growing viewpoint that the response to Covid does not require lockdown and vaccinations. Dissenters are shut down by the new Reality Police, the self-annointed authorities on what constitutes “information” or “disinformation.” If they can shut down Kennedy, they can shut down anybody.
“The New York Times, the paper of record, repeatedly makes false claims, then not only doesn’t retract them, but repeats them.”
Also largely censored is information about how the US’s “for profit” dogma exacerbates the Covid crisis, with no national health coverage, massive evictions and increased homelessness about to begin, and water shut off for inability to pay - even before eviction. The Reality Police say only lockdown and vaccinations are the scientific solution to Covid.
After the recent Capitol riot, it became generally accepted that Silicon Valley execs must stop “extremist” language in order to stop the white supremacists. “It’s about an entire ecosystem that allows misinformation and hate to spread and fester unchecked,” tweeted Mark Warner, the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee. And tweeted Jennifer Palmieri, former communications director both in the Obama White House and the 2016 presidential campaign of Hillary Clinton, “...the day social media companies decided there actually IS more they could do to police Trump’s destructive behavior was the same day they learned Democrats would chair all the congressional committees that oversee them.”
Politico asserts: “…online platforms are private businesses that can host or kick out anyone they want...Silicon Valley’s companies had tried to carve out paths through the Trump presidency that minimized the harm he could cause while skirting the idea that it was censoring the political free speech of Americans. All the while, they were under intense pressure from Democrats, many in the civil rights world, and others to simply turn off Trump’s digital microphone.” In January, Parler, at the time the most-downloaded app in the country, was removed from the Apple and Google Play Stores and then denied internet service by Amazon, after two very prominent Democratic House members publicly demanded it.
Miraculously, Glen Greenwald recently testified at a House Judiciary’s Subcommittee on Antitrust, Commercial, and Administrative Law: “Over the last several years, my journalistic interest in and concern about the dangers of Silicon Valley’s monopoly power has greatly intensified -- particularly as wielded by Facebook, Google, Amazon and Apple. The dangers posed by their growing power manifest in multiple ways. But I am principally alarmed by the repressive effect on free discourse, a free press, and a free internet, all culminating in increasingly intrusive effects on the flow of information and ideas and an increasingly intolerable strain on a healthy democracy.”
“The dangers posed by the growing power of Facebook, Google, Amazon and Apple manifest in multiple ways.”
Yet, shockingly, Media Alliance, a San Francisco based non-profit founded in 1976 to be mainstream media watchdogs, is circulating apetition which says: “Facebook should create a circuit breaker to help prevent dangerous disinformation and incitements to violence from ever reaching a mass audience...By the time millions of people have shared false information, it’s already too late...”
Does Media Alliance remember the multiple Supreme Court cases which carefully deliberated, and protected free speech, as sacred? Why is Media Alliance an arbiter in what constitutes “false” versus “true” information? That good minds sincerely believe Silicon Valley execs should be the Gods of truth in today’s world makes Orwell look cheerily optimistic.
After writer C J Hopkins was blocked on Facebook, he responded: “Corporatocracy feel sufficiently threatened by random people on Facebook that they are conducting these COINTELPRO-type ops... I am not Stephen King or Margaret Atwood. I’m not even Glenn Greenwald or Matt Taibbi. I’m a midlist-level author of unusual literature, and a political satirist, and a blogger, basically, and yet Facebook, and their partners at the Atlantic Council, and AstraZeneca, and Pfizer, and Moderna, and who knows which other global corporations and transnational, non-governmental entities like the WEF and WHO, consider someone of my lowly status enough of a threat to their “New Normal” narrative to warrant the attention of the Reality Police. It’s not a bunch of pimply-faced IT nerds writing sloppy code in Menlo Park. It’s GloboCap and the Military-Industrial Complex…
“If you’re a Palestinian, a Syrian, a Yemeni, the president of an uncooperative African country, or some other type of non-Western person, you might very well be physically vaporized. For Westerners, vaporization is less dramatic and final. You will simply be disappeared from the Internet, fired from your job, socially ostracized, deemed a “dangerous individual,” a “racist,” an “anti-Semite,” a “conspiracy theorist,” a “white supremacist,” a “domestic terrorist,” an “anti-vaxxer,” a “Covid denier.” “
Another insidious and oppressive new normal enforced by the Reality Police is that lesbians, and even feminists broadly, must be invisible, if not condemned outright. That the term “radical feminists” has a negative connotation brings shivers to my 68 year old bones, which marched in the 1970s behind the Women Take Back the Night banner. Tragically, 50 years later, women are certainly no safer.
But, the Reality Police tell us we need to remember everybody’s pronouns when we first meet them. Why do progressive political meetings begin with name, affiliation and pronoun? It was always hard enough to remember the first two, but I will be called transphobic for asking the question. Glen Greenwald was called transphobic for citing the article Where Have all the Lesbians Gone?, which is a terrifying look at “lesbian erasure.”
“Why do progressive political meetings begin with name, affiliation and pronoun?”
Apparently, it is trendy to transition, but lesbians and feminists must be silent or they are denounced as TERFs, Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminists. Anything associated with being a lesbian is immediately considered anti-trans. The Reality Police censor feminist speakers like Max Dashu through “lesbian erasure.”
With this kind of ideology, any man who says “I feel like a woman” can demand to be in a battered women’s shelter, women’s dressing room, women’s bathroom, and compete in women’s sports. A trans woman went to a women’s spa and sued the staff who wouldn’t wax “her” balls. Women-born women should have a right to gather in their own space, but that demand is policed and silenced .
Mount Holyoke College, a liberal arts school for women, canceled a scheduled performance of The Vagina Monologues because it is not inclusive of transgender women. The Reality Police require “chest feeding” and not “breast feeding,” “pregnant person,” and not “pregnant woman.” I was recently in a zoom meeting with 8 women, and after I said it was great to work with a group of women, it felt like a faux pas because one of them is a they. I felt sad.
Anonymous Lesbian wrote a devastating critique of the Boston Dyke March after the organizers put out this alert: TERF [Trans-exclusionary radical feminist] graffiti has been popping up. We are doing our best to remove any stickers and signs from FIST [Feminists in Struggle], a known transphobic group. If you find anything while attending The March, please inform one of our volunteers. We unequivocally believe that trans women are women. If any TERF harassment happens at the March, find a volunteer immediately and we will deal with it with the ferocity of a thousand burning suns.
The Reality Police also declare that a conspiracy theorist must have delusional thinking, although COINTELPRO is a vivid reminder of what the State is capable of. More people now believe that Lee Harvey Oswald was the only one who killed John F. Kennedy. If questions are raised about Robert Kennedy’s murder, conspiracy theorist is thrown around, and the issue dismissed. Biden calls Putin a killer but Hilary celebrated Kadafy’s murder with “we came, we saw, he died.” Jeremy Scahill describes US imperialism as The Assassination Complex. Who is the arbiter of truth here?
People are not stupid, and know when they are being lied to. Many of Hilary’s “deplorables” are rambling around the country, in cars, campers and RVs of families homeschooling their kids in the woods rather than behind a screen. They know the recent stimulus, if they receive it, is a pittance, and that Amazon’s Bezos makes over $300 million dollars a day. The Trump people aren’t going anywhere, as their ubiquitous signs demonstrate, and they know they are being ignored. A boiling pot, if held down long enough, will boil over.
The free flow of ideas is essential and central to a healthy society. No wonder we are far from healthy.
Riva Enteen, former Program Director of the SF National Lawyers Guild, is a lifelong peace and justice activist, retired social worker, lawyer, and editor of "Follow the Money," a collection of Pacifica Radio's Flashpoints Interviews. She can be reached at [email protected].
Margaret Kimberley’s Freedom Rider column appears weekly in BAR, and is widely reprinted elsewhere. She maintains a frequently updated blog as well at patreon.com/margaretkimberley and she regularly posts on Twitter @freedomrideblog. Ms. Kimberley lives in New York City, and can be reached via e-Mail at Margaret.Kimberley(at)BlackAgendaReport.com.
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