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Posts Tagged ‘Censor’

The New Media Has Become like the Old Media—And That Means the Usual Bias | Mises Wire

Posted by M. C. on October 16, 2020

https://mises.org/wire/new-media-has-become-old-media-and-means-usual-bias?utm_source=Mises+Institute+Subscriptions&utm_campaign=0094d8d93a-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_9_21_2018_9_59_COPY_01&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_8b52b2e1c0-0094d8d93a-228343965

Ryan McMaken

A sizable majority of American adults say—when polled—that social media organizations “censor” political viewpoints:

A Pew Research Center survey conducted in June finds that roughly three-quarters of U.S. adults say it is very (37%) or somewhat (36%) likely that social media sites intentionally censor political viewpoints that they find objectionable. Just 25% believe this is not likely the case.

At this point, of course, it’s hard to see how this is even debatable. While “censor” is perhaps not the most accurate term to use here—given the word’s connotations of state intervention—it is apparent that social media firms, at the very leastlimit discussion and the reach of certain political viewpoints by banning certain users. These firms also openly admit to biasing readers against certain content through the use of “fact checkers.” Anecdotal evidence also strongly suggests that these social media firms also engage in tactics like “shadow banning,” which hides certain posts and content from certain users.

This is no haphazard or “neutral” bias, either. It is clear that the user bans and “fact checking” warnings against certain posts are designed to fall most often on groups that could be described as “conservative,” or “libertarian,” or which advocate in favor of Donald Trump and his allies.

As far as media companies go, this is just par for the course. What is perhaps so unusual in this case is that so many self-identified conservatives and libertarians seem surprised that things turned out this way.

This may be due to the fact that many continue to believe the false notion that social media companies are a sort of “public utility.” The social media companies themselves promote this myth and like to give the impression that they are open forums facilitating open communication. In reality, the firms are essentially just media companies like CNN, NBC, or the New York Times. Like ordinary media companies they modify and promote content to reflect the firm’s preferences. This is clear every time a social media company intervenes to modify “trending topics” lists, or remove content altogether.  Consequently, the only meaningful difference between standard media companies and social media companies is that social media firms don’t produce their own content like ABC News or the Washington Post do. Rather, social media companies have convinced their users to produce all the content. The social media companies then reap the rewards in terms of selling personal information to advertisers and curating user-produced content to suit the companies’ own vision and needs.

Ultimately, the lesson to be learned here is that anyone who holds opinions outside a center-left or far left narrative should expect about as much “fairness” from social media firms as one might expect from CNN or NBC News. In other words, we should expect social media firms to ignore and marginalize the very same opinions and groups that have been ignored and marginalized by established media companies for decades.

This also means that organizations, writers, and publishers of these verboten opinions must do what they’ve always done: create their own publications and find effective methods of disseminating their content outside the control of establishment gatekeepers.

A Brief History of Media Bias

More seasoned observers of media behavior, of course, aren’t surprised or shocked when they hear that social media companies have taken steps to constrain the parameters of acceptable debate or silence certain voices.

The establishment media, its reporters, and its editors have viewed this kind of “censorship” as both necessary and laudable since at least the early twentieth century. It was at that time that American progressives began to make headway with the idea that journalists should act as gatekeepers of truth and that “the press” should determine for itself what it was that people ought to be allowed to read and know.

As I noted last year, this idea was promoted especially forcefully in Walter Lippmann’s 1922 book Public Opinion. Lippmann contended that ordinary people are incapable of reading about events from diverse sources and making up their own minds. Rather, it was necessary for experts to provide only “controlled reporting and objective analysis.”

But how is this “objective analysis” to be achieved? The answer, according to Lippman, lies in making journalism more scientific, and in making facts “fixed, objectified, measured, [and] named.”

Thus was born the idea of the “objective” journalist who was above bias and who communicated to the public the only truth. Naturally, this implies that all “untrue” narratives must therefore be silenced.

[RELATED: “‘Objective Journalism’ Has Always Been a Myth” by Ryan McMaken]

In reality, of course, the journalists and editors themselves, like all human beings, brought with them their own biases and partisan sympathies. As the twentieth century progressed, journalism schools at colleges and universities cemented certain biases among those who went to work for major media companies. By midcentury, changes in the technological and media landscape narrowed the number of media outlets and the public became increasingly dependent on fewer and fewer editors and journalists at a shrinking number of companies. As Bruce Thornton has explained at the Hoover Institution:

The second development that increased the malign partisan influence of the media in the postwar period was the rise of television and the decline in the number of newspapers. With that, there were fewer and fewer information sources from which readers could chose, giving the three television networks and the big metropolitan papers, especially the New York Times, inordinate unchallenged power over public information. At the same time, those seeking alternative points of view had fewer and fewer daily papers, while the ones that remained were dependent on a few news services such as the Associated Press, which represents one point of view. To speak in Madisonian terms, one media faction had now expanded to the point that it crowded out and marginalized alternative points of view.

Creating Alternatives to the Establishment Media

This transformation did not go unnoticed. By the 1940s, it was increasingly clear that a distinction had arisen between the “establishment” media and what would come to be known as “alternative media.” As Moira Weigel noted in her review of Claire Potter’s book on alternative media, Political Junkies:

Potter does not define precisely what she means by “alternative media.” But the term really only makes sense in opposition to the “mainstream” or mass media that emerged in the first half of the twentieth century, in the form of national newspapers and magazines, Hollywood film studios, and radio and television stations. These outlets grew up with new standards for objective reporting and new federal agencies and laws that forbade broadcasters from engaging in open partisanship. In 1927, Congress passed the Radio Act, requiring broadcasters to give political candidates equal opportunities to present their views. In 1949, the expanded Federal Communications Commission (created partly in response to the popularity of the antisemitic radio star Father Coughlin) established the “Fairness Doctrine,” requiring broadcasters of all kinds to provide multiple points of view on controversial issues. As more Americans tuned in, a carefully regulated Cold War media pushed them toward what historian Arthur Schlesinger Jr. famously named “the vital center.”

Although the new regulatory regime was allegedly devoted to “fairness,” more adroit observers understood that fairness was really just whatever the major media companies defined as “mainstream” while everything else came to be defined as beyond the pale of civilized discussion.

Naturally, many conservative groups opposed to the “center”—which in the mid-twentieth century really meant a center-left bent reflecting the views of midcentury university professors and other “experts” like Schlesinger himself—understood that the new fairness excluded their ideas.

By the 1940s, “conservative” groups—i.e., pretty much anyone opposed to the New Deal and its legacy—realized they needed to found their own organizations. As noted by Nicole Hemmer at The Atlantic:

The idea of “fair and balanced” partisan media has its roots in the 1940s and 1950s. Human Events, the right-wing newsweekly founded in 1944, was dedicated to publishing the “facts” other outlets overlooked.

This “alternative media” included other publications, many of which came out of the “Old Right,” such as the inimitable Frank Chodorov’s publication analysis, founded in 1944. Chodorov described it as “an individualistic publication—the only one of its kind in America,” and he would go on to edit another new alternative magazine called The Freeman, founded in 1954.

Rightist organizations like these, however, were not the only ones in the alternative media landscape. Weigel notes that independent journalists on the left were also objecting to the mainstream view being promoted by major outlets like the New York Times. Specifically, the work of left-wing journalist Izzy Stone became influential through his acolyte Seymour Hersh:

Hersh first encountered Stone’s work in 1964. At the time, Hersh was working at the Associated Press; by 1966, he and Stone had become friends. Hersh would later recall that Stone helped him recognize how the mainstream media marginalized journalists who dared to embarrass the government, and strengthened his conviction that the public had a right to information that both the media and government were trying to keep from them.

These organizations became all the more solidified in this belief when it became apparent that the federal government was willing to explicitly use the “fairness doctrine” to silent dissenters. Paul Matzko recounts how, “Conservative radio broadcasting surged in the early 1960s as a result of the rise of non-network, independent radio stations that were cash-strapped and willing to air people whose politics were too radical for network radio.”

These independent radio broadcasters criticized the Kennedy administration on a wide variety of topics from trade to foreign policy.

The administration took notice, and

The administration’s plan for dealing with these conservative irritants involved, among other measures, using the regulatory power granted to the executive branch to intimidate their donors and hosts. First, a special campaign of targeted Internal Revenue Service audits challenging their tax-exempt status stemmed the flow of donations to the offending broadcasters. Then, the selective application of the Federal Communication Commission’s Fairness Doctrine pressured station owners into dropping conservative programming altogether. All of this was coordinated from the Oval Office and the Attorney General’s office, part of it even caught on tape.

By the late 1960s, it was clear who was in charge of media: a small number of major media outlets backed up by the federal government. It was these players who would decide what was “fair,” what was “the center,” and what was acceptable political debate.

Naturally, this wasn’t done through any explicit announcements. Rather, the media used tactics such as what political scientists call “agenda setting,” “framing” and “priming” to set the terms of acceptable debate. These tactics involve the media emphasizing certain events over others, creating standards by which events ought to be judged, and simplifying issues by presenting only a small number of opposing viewpoints. This naturally has the effect of limiting which viewpoints end up being perceived by the public as “normal.” Viewpoints outside those presented as mainstream then strike the viewer or reader as “extreme.” Moreover, as the media picks and chooses which events to cover, some events and persons gain prominence in the national discussion while others fade into the background. This is an easy way to manipulate how the public views which facts are relevant and which are not.

The effect of all this is that many ideologies, persons, and facts are “censored” simply as a result of being ignored or excluded by media stories in broadcasts and printed texts.

The Rise of the Internet

In spite of all this, many independent media organizations continued to make inroads into the establishment media domain through radio broadcasts. This was especially true of conservative and right-wing broadcasts, which became immensely popular during the 1990s and early 2000s and influenced the media landscape considerably. The most successful of these was likely The Rush Limbaugh Show, although there were many imitators such as Michael Medved, Sean Hannity, and Michael Savage.

So lucrative had this conservative “alternative” become that Fox News, which began broadcasts in 1996, attempted to capitalize on the notion of presenting “unbiased” news that would depart from the bias of organizations like CNN and NBC News. “We Report, You Decide” became the tagline, and many followers of conservative talk radio tuned in to hear the allegedly unbiased version of broadcast television news.

The landscape changed again as internet websites became increasingly influential. The Drudge Report, which began as an email newsletter in 1995 and went online in 1997, attracted an enormous readership after it became a source for information on the Clinton-Lewinsky scandal, which the establishment media had initially refused to carry.

By 1999, numerous editors, webmasters, and organizations—ones generally ignored by the establishment media—were founding their own websites and producing their own content. Sites like LewRockwell.com, Antiwar.com, and mises.org—among countless others—were gaining access to a far larger audience than had ever been available in the days of mailed newsletters. Meanwhile, more established publications like National Review moved much of their content online, capturing a much larger audience than had ever been possible in the days of magazines sent only to paid subscribers.

The Rise of Social Media

During this period, it is understandable that many followers of alternative media began to believe that it would finally become possible to compete with the old establishment media on its own terms.

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Contact Ryan McMaken

Ryan McMaken (@ryanmcmaken) is a senior editor at the Mises Institute. Send him your article submissions for the Mises Wire and The Austrian, but read article guidelines first. Ryan has degrees in economics and political science from the University of Colorado and was a housing economist for the State of Colorado. He is the author of Commie Cowboys: The Bourgeoisie and the Nation-State in the Western Genre.

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Facebook and Twitter Cross a Line Far More Dangerous Than What They Censor

Posted by M. C. on October 16, 2020

Just weeks before the election, the tech giants unite to block access to incriminating reporting about their preferred candidate.

https://theintercept.com/2020/10/15/facebook-and-twitter-cross-a-line-far-more-dangerous-than-what-they-censor/?fbclid=IwAR3L6rzYD8e1usv2XiXgFqJQFzMdHjGKvsifDJ9cObFW9S0Bjpr1MNptSFo

Glenn Greenwald

The New York Post is one of the country’s oldest and largest newspapers. Founded in 1801 by Alexander Hamilton, only three U.S. newspapers are more widely circulated. Ever since it was purchased in 1976 by media mogul Rupert Murdoch, it has been known — like most Murdoch-owned papers — for right-wing tabloid sensationalism, albeit one that has some real reporters and editors and is capable of reliable journalism.

On Wednesday morning, the paper published on its cover what it heralded as a “blockbuster” scoop: “smoking gun” evidence, in its words, in the form of emails purportedly showing that Joe Biden’s son, Hunter, traded on his father’s position by securing favors from the then-Vice President to benefit the Ukranian energy company Burisma, which paid the supremely unqualified Hunter $50,000 each month to sit on its Board. While the Biden campaign denies that any such meetings or favors ever occurred, neither the campaign nor Hunter, at least as of now, has denied the authenticity of the emails.

The Post’s hyping of the story as some cataclysmic bombshell was overblown. While these emails, if authenticated, provide some new details and corroboration, the broad outlines of this story have long been known: Hunter was paid a very large monthly sum by Burisma at the same time that his father was quite active in using the force of the U.S. Government to influence Ukraine’s internal affairs.  

Along with emails relating to Burisma, the New York Post also gratuitously published several photographs of Hunter, who has spoken openly and commendably of his past struggles with substance abuse, in what appeared to various states of drug use. There was no conceivable public interest in publishing those, and every reason not to.

The Post’s explanation of how these documents were obtained is bizarre at best — they claim that Hunter Biden indefinitely left his laptop containing the emails at a repair store, and the store’s owner, alarmed by the corruption they revealed, gave the materials from the hard drive to the FBI and then to Rudy Giuliani.

While there is no proof that Biden followed through on any of Hunter’s promises to Burisma, there is no reason, at least thus far, to doubt that the emails are genuine. And if they are genuine, they at least add to what is undeniably a relevant and newsworthy story involving influence-peddling relating to Hunter Biden’s work in Ukraine and his trading on the name and power of his father, now the front-runner in the 2020 presidential election.

But the Post, for all its longevity, power and influence, ran smack into two entities far more powerful than it: Facebook and Twitter. Almost immediately upon publication, pro-Biden journalists created a climate of extreme hostility and suppression toward the Post story, making clear that any journalist even mentioning it would be roundly attacked. For the crime of simply noting the story on Twitter (while pointing out its flaws), New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman was instantly vilified to the point where her name, along with the phrase “MAGA Haberman,” were trending on Twitter.

(That Haberman is a crypto-Trump supporter is preposterous for so many reasons, including the fact that she is responsible for countless front-page Times stories that reflect negatively on the president; moreover, the 2016 Clinton campaign considered Haberman one of their most favorable reporters).

The two Silicon Valley giants saw that hostile climate and reacted. Just two hours after the story was online, Facebook intervened. The company dispatched a life-long Democratic Party operative who now works for Facebook — Andy Stone, previously a communications operative for Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, among other DC Democratic jobs — to announce that Facebook was “reducing [the article’s] distribution on our platform”: in other words, tinkering with its own algorithms to suppress the ability of users to discuss or share the news article. The long-time Democratic Party official did not try to hide his contempt for the article, beginning his censorship announcement by snidely noting: “I will intentionally not link to the New York Post.”

While I will intentionally not link to the New York Post, I want be clear that this story is eligible to be fact checked by Facebook’s third-party fact checking partners. In the meantime, we are reducing its distribution on our platform.— Andy Stone (@andymstone) October 14, 2020

Twitter’s suppression efforts went far beyond Facebook’s. They banned entirely all users’ ability to share the Post article — not just on their public timeline but even using the platform’s private Direct Messaging feature.

Early in the day, users who attempted to link to the New York Post story either publicly or privately received a cryptic message rejecting the attempt as an “error.” Later in the afternoon, Twitter changed the message, advising users that they could not post that link because the company judged its contents to be “potentially harmful.”

Wow. twitter going even further than FB and is no longer letting ppl tweet the NYPost story. This is what pops up if you try. https://t.co/YVlOTeF1iX pic.twitter.com/66kzYdwq21— Alex Thompson (@AlxThomp) October 14, 2020

Even more astonishing still, Twitter locked the account of the New York Post, banning the paper from posting any content all day and, evidently, into Thursday morning. The last tweet from the paper was posted at roughly 2:00 p.m. ET on Wednesday. 

And then, on Thursday morning, the Post published a follow up article using the same archive of materials, this one purporting to detail efforts by the Vice President’s son to pursue lucrative deals with a Chinese energy company by using his father’s name. Twitter is now also banning the sharing or posting of links to that article as well.

In sum, the two Silicon Valley giants, with little explanation, united to prevent the sharing and dissemination of this article. As Los Angeles Times reporter Matt Pearce put it, “Facebook limiting distribution is a bit like if a company that owned newspaper delivery trucks decided not to drive because it didn’t like a story. Does a truck company edit the newspaper? It does now, apparently.”

That the First Amendment right of free speech is inapplicable to these questions goes without saying. That constitutional guarantee restricts the actions of governments, not private corporations such as Facebook and Twitter.

But glibly pointing this out does not come close to resolving this controversy. That actions by gigantic corporations are constitutional does not mean that they are benign.

State censorship is not the only kind of censorship. Private-sector repression of speech and thought, particularly in the internet era, can be as dangerous and consequential. Imagine, for instance, if these two Silicon Valley giants united with Google to declare: henceforth we will ban all content that is critical of President Trump and/or the Republican Party, but will actively promote criticisms of Joe Biden and the Democrats. 

Would anyone encounter difficultly understanding why such a decree would constitute dangerous corporate censorship? Would Democrats respond to such a policy by simply shrugging it off on the radical libertarian ground that private corporations have the right to do whatever they want? To ask that question is to answer it.

To begin with, Twitter and particularly Facebook are no ordinary companies. Facebook, as the owner not just of its massive social media platform but also other key communication services it has gobbled up such as Instagram and WhatsApp, is one of the most powerful companies ever to exist, if not the most powerful. In June, the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust, Commercial, and Administrative Law launched an investigation into the consolidated power of Facebook and three other companies — Google, Amazon and Apple — and just last week issued a sweeping report which, as Ars Technica explained, found:

Facebook outright “has monopoly power in the market for social networking,” and that power is “firmly entrenched and unlikely to be eroded by competitive pressure” from anyone at all due to “high entry barriers—including strong network effects, high switching costs, and Facebook’s significant data advantage—that discourage direct competition by other firms to offer new products and services.”

In his New York Times op-ed last October, the left-wing expert on monopoly power Matt Stoller described Facebook and Google as “global monopolies sitting astride public discourse,” and recounted how bipartisan policy and legal changes designed to whittle away antitrust protections have bestowed the two tech giants with “a radical centralization of power over the flow of information.” And he warns that this unprecedented consolidation of control over our discourse is close to triggering “the collapse of journalism and democracy.”

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Make It Impossible To Walk Through Your Park Peacefully – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on April 22, 2020

Anyone who will censor seeks to attack sincerity, courage, and honesty, seeks to limit the ability of two people to communicate, seeks to limit the mutual pursuit of truth. Seeks to do the most anti-social of activities: to stop individuals in a culture from stumbling together through the hardships, joys, and lessons of this thing we call life.

That fellow human needs that truth from you. Needs that sincerity. Needs that courage.

And that courage is so contagious.

Please give it to them. You will be repaid many times over.

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2020/04/allan-stevo/make-it-impossible-to-walk-through-your-park-peacefully/

By

Some time ago, I resolved to do a thing dangerous in our era.

I resolved to speak truthfully to the people I met. If they didn’t like it, I would stop, and let the conversation wrap up shortly thereafter, to allow us both to spend our time in ways we’d each prefer.

It’s not really that dangerous once you get used to it.

A few people may find contempt for you, but in all likelihood, they were never people whose admiration you would want anyway. The contempt of some can be taken as a compliment.

When you speak truthfully, you give an often welcome, much in demand, offer to a fellow human. You invite them to speak truthfully back to you, and the way that this invitation tears down walls is nearly unmatchable.

You don’t even need to speak an invitation. You don’t need to acknowledge what you are doing. You merely need to take a risk and speak a single, truthful sentence that you believe. Sometimes, you might need to speak a second, truthful sentence so that the other person has a moment to get over the shock of someone speaking truthfully to them.

You must forgive them for any hesitation to engage immediately. It can take a moment in the empire of lies, where truth is treason, to confirm for oneself that what one thinks is happening is really happening: a person is being honest and inviting the same.

Courage is contagious.

Sincerity can be too.

But then be ready. You might not have time to get a word in edgewise for a while. It might be time for you to be quiet and listen, because it may have been some time since someone sincerely wanted to communicate with that person. And that means you may be party to a special opportunity: you might hear some suppressed sincerity that has long gone unheard.

That shaken bottle might become uncorked with vigor. The more vigor, the more that person likely wanted this sincerity you were able to offer. The more the person needed this honesty.

And if life gets tough, don’t be surprised if they come looking for you again. If life gets complex, don’t be surprised if they come asking. Don’t be surprised if they just need someone sincere to honestly share their view of the world with.

Humans need sincerity. Humans need honesty. Humans need courage. Without those, humans cannot come to know truth, cannot come to engage reality, will not be able to reconcile a life that is anything more than a fairy tale, that they are expected to be entertained through, and to have no explanation for why that fairy tale did not bring them fulfillment.

American culture is particularly susceptible to this.

The lies are wound tight. The structures against what is permissible to say, share, or think are thick.

As Dante wrote in the unfinished Convivio (The Banquet), those lacking guidance from their elders early in life are more easily lost to the whims of the world.

We live in an era where the elder generations, have overwhelmingly abrogated the duty of passing on wisdom from the past to those in the generations that succeed them.

This does not affect all, of course, but this is a difficult-to-miss trend that affects so many, and across multiple generations.

The wisdom cannot be passed by pop culture. It is passed down one-on-one, one trusted person at a time. This is not to be mistaken for the guru of eastern tradition, that leads a man along a set path throughout life. This is the path of the westerner: where needed wisdom can be found at various points on one’s individual journey, except the people who today line that journey – parents, clergy, instructors, family, neighbors – have not done the work to gain the wisdom, and don’t willingly share what little wisdom they have.

We are often left to our equally lost peers to sort this mess out, stumbling through the darkness together, grasping at the slightest hints of truth, vowing to never let the succeeding generation feel so lost, so cut adrift by their elders.

The most vital inheritance handed down from the previous generation is not monetary, and neither is the most vital inheritance handed down to the next generation monetary. Yet, the imperative of our era is increasingly to speak only the trite, the inoffensive, the intentionally bland-to-the-point-of-being-dishonest statements.

Political correctness is a political attack on sincerity, in hopes of stopping people from speaking that with which the censor disagrees. All censorship, in all ages, is an attempt to silence truth. There’s no need to silence lies. Lies can be easily laughed off. Fake news leaves the fake news source incredible.

Anyone who will censor seeks to attack sincerity, courage, and honesty, seeks to limit the ability of two people to communicate, seeks to limit the mutual pursuit of truth. Seeks to do the most anti-social of activities: to stop individuals in a culture from stumbling together through the hardships, joys, and lessons of this thing we call life.

It is the exact opposite of a debate. It is the exact opposite of shared exploration. It is the exact opposite of love. It is the exact opposite of reveling in what it is like to be a human.

It is a dirty trick, played on what so many fundamentally want, probably what every one of us, in our healthiest of moments, fundamentally wants: to know at least as much truth as needed to negotiate life as well as possible.

You refuse to let that attack on the social take place when you speak a truthful sentence to a stranger.

You announce your sincerity.

You allow them to join you there.

And in this very tense time in human existence, a time that barely feels real, you do your fellow human a great service by showing a little courage and speaking a true statement.

So many live lives in which they feel they could collapse under the weight of the neglected reality, under the weight of the lies.

Don’t be surprised if in a situation like that, a person reacts sharply to your invitation to sincerity, perhaps even finds themselves crying – in sorrow, in relief, in anger, in joy, in some combination.

Do not be surprised, either, if a daily habit of honesty with those you encounter, will, days or weeks from now, build into a ministry of honesty.

In some places, in the midst of the lockdown, the parks, the grocery stores, the sidewalks are the only places where people might even come into each other’s orbit, with even that being prohibited in many jurisdictions.

If you continue bravely in such a moment and do the natural thing, deep down, the natural thing for a human, and take a risk to connect honestly with this stranger, who probably laughs a lot like you, and probably hurts a lot like you too – then you will be so richly rewarded.

In a moment of crisis like the one we are in, you will barely be able to walk through the park peacefully.

But it will be a blissful walk through the park.

The people who run into you will stop you. Be the most honest voice in their lives, and you will be surprised at how many times each day, you hear that a person had been hoping to run into you, especially in a moment of crisis – personal, or global, like the one we face.

So many lies are poured onto a person each day. So many taboos seek to prevent them from reacting with honesty. So much pressure and manipulation surrounds them.

The people around you – those known to you and those unknown to you – need your courage, want your sincerity, long for someone with honesty, who they can be honest back to. This is a sharp contrast to the way in which many go through each day: being seen as an annoying object, whose truth needs silencing, no matter what manipulations and contortions it takes to silence that truth.

That fellow human needs that truth from you. Needs that sincerity. Needs that courage.

And that courage is so contagious.

Please give it to them. You will be repaid many times over.

Be seeing you

 

 

 

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Alternative News Reasons Why Many People Refuse The Flu Shot: Facebook Has No Right Censor This Information

Posted by M. C. on December 5, 2019

https://www.collective-evolution.com/2019/12/03/reasons-why-many-people-refuse-the-flu-shot-facebook-has-no-right-censor-this-information/

By

In Brief

  • The Facts:Despite the fact that Facebook and other platforms like Google are censoring important information pertaining to vaccines, science is science and should be made freely available. Studies show that the flu vaccine is not really effective.
  • Reflect On:Why are terms like “anti-vax” and ridicule used by advocates of vaccines instead of simply addressing and countering the points made by vaccine safety advocates?

If you haven’t already heard, Facebook is censoring information and articles about vaccines that are “anti-vax” or information that in some way paint vaccines in a harmful light. This is extremely concerning, because there are a number of experts in the field, doctors and scientists, who have been publishing research in several peer-reviewed journals that do bring up concerns about vaccines. It’s simply facts, information and science, yet it’s still being censored which makes no sense.

Why is Facebook limiting the reach of posts and articles that are presenting peer-reviewed science and the view-points and research of medical health professionals and scientists? Is it because Facebook’s ‘fact checkers’ are funded by big pharmaceutical interests? An important question to ask. FakeNews watchdog NewsGuard aims to hold independent media accountable for their stories. Funded by Clinton donors and big pharma, with ties to the CFR, NewsGuard seems to have a clear agenda in favour of mainstream media. That’s one example, and  you can read more about that here. Why does mainstream media always use ridicule and terms like “anti-vax” instead of simply addressing and countering the concerns made by vaccine safety advocates, like the points presented in this article?

When it comes to the flu vaccine specifically, Dr. Alvin Moss, MD and professor at the West Virginia University School of Medicine emphasizes in this video:

The flu vaccine happens to be the vaccine that causes the most injury in this country. The vaccine injury compensation program, 40 percent of all vaccinations in this country are flu shots, but 60 percent of all the compensations are for the flu vaccine. So a disproportionate number of  vaccine related injuries are the flu shot. I think many of you it’s been recommended to you that you get the flu shot, I don’t know if you’re aware of the fact, the CDC statistics are, that every year they look at vaccine effectiveness, for this particular year the vaccine effectiveness is 48 percent, so that means it’s not highly effective. It’s not even all that effective, if you look at the scientific literature…the evidence to support giving the flu vaccine is moderate to weak. It is not strong evidence. They say the evidence to support giving the flu vaccine to people over the age of 65 is not there, it’s inconclusive. So a lot of the things we’ve been told as Americans about vaccinations are not really based on the science. (source)

Here’s a great video of Doctor Toni Bark, who has been the medical director for various departments and hospitals, explaining why vaccines are not a one size fits all product. Here’s another one of Dr. Mary Holland, who is a professor at New York University School of Law. This is evident when one examines the The National Childhood Vaccine Injury (NCVIA), because it’s already paid out approximately $4 billion to compensate families of vaccine injured children. As astronomical as the monetary awards are, they’re even more alarming considering HHS claims that only an estimated 1% of vaccine injuries are even reported to the Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS).

If the numbers from VAERS and HHS are correct – only 1% of vaccine injuries are reported and only 1/3 of the petitions are compensated – then up to 99% of vaccine injuries go unreported and the families of the vast majority of people injured by vaccines are picking up the costs, once again, for vaccine maker’s flawed products. Furthermore, this act safeguards pharmaceutical companies from harm, meaning that they cannot be sued or blamed, nor held accountable for their productscausing injury. Therefore, vaccines are a liability free product that are being mandated on children, the manufacturers have no incentive to make a safe product.

What We Did As A Result of Censorship…

The Takeaway

We are living in an age where access to information is becoming extremely limited. Independent media outlets that present information and evidence, no matter how well sourced, are being blocked and threatened by social media platforms like Facebook and organizations like Google if the narrative threatens various corporate and political agendas. This censorship should serve humanity, and play a role in waking up even more people as to just how wrong this is, clearly, there are many people out there who are feeling threatened by organizations that share credible information that threatens their interests. At the end of the day, truth cannot be stopped and will continue to leak out on various topics. When it comes to vaccines, science, and the questioning of vaccine safety should obviously encouraged, and not shunned.

Highly Recommended: Flu Vaccine Facts: What You Need to Know for 2018-19

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Shocking Proof How Google Censors Health News – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on November 9, 2019

Who are the Google-trusted health websites that now dominate health searches? WebMD and Healthline.

WebMD, as you may recall, was in 2010 caught providing users with a fake depression screening test. The test — in which 100% of quiz-takers ended up having a “high likelihood of major depression” and were directed to talk to their doctor about treatment7,8 — was sponsored by drug giant Eli Lilly, the maker of Cymbalta.

The quiz was in fact direct-to-consumer advertising masquerading as a valid health screen, and this is perhaps the most hazardous kind of drug advertising there is.

Boycott Google by avoiding any and all Google products:

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2019/11/joseph-mercola/shocking-proof-how-google-censors-health-news/

By

Mercola.com

June 3, 2019, Google implemented a broad “core update”1 that in one fell swoop eliminated most Mercola.com pages from its search results. Virtually overnight, Google traffic to my site dropped by approximately 99.9%.

Considering Mercola.com has been the most visited natural health site for the last 16 years, it’s no great surprise that we were listed as one of the biggest losers in Google’s June algorithm update.2

I wrote about the ramifications of Google’s core update in two articles at the end of June 2019. In Part 1, I discussed the effects that the new search algorithm and updated quality rater guidelines is having on traffic to this site.

As mentioned in that article, Google’s “quality raters” are manually lowering the ranking of what they arbitrarily decide is undesirable content and burying even expert views if they think they’re “harmful” to the public.

In Part 2, I revealed how Wikipedia censors information and crafts narratives to benefit certain groups, and how Google raters use Wikipedia’s skewed and biased articles to ascertain the expertise and trustworthiness of any given author or website.

Today’s videos and article will show you just how clearly and deliberately Google has eliminated my articles from its search results.

After more than 15 years of being considered a highly relevant source of content, Google has removed all those high-ranked results, and replaced them with health information from advertising companies that promote junk food and drugs instead. Below, I’ll provide clear examples of how this works.

For many years now, I’ve been warning about how Google’s monopoly presents a clear danger to the free-flow of information, and health information in particular, seeing how holistic health is a direct threat to the drug industry. The fact that Google would eventually grow big enough to dictate what people see and don’t see was predictable, and we’ve now entered the era of blatant internet censorship.

How Google Censors High-Ranked Health Content

A major reason for my success as a physician running my own practice was the ability to resolve extremely challenging cases of arthritis. One of my articles describing my arthritis treatment protocol generated over 1 million views, and was consistently a top search result when doing a Google search for arthritis.

Today, even if you use my name in a search for arthritis, you will not find that highest-ranked article. What you find instead is an article copied from my website — without permission — by a Croatian website operated by Zdravko Mauko, followed by a few articles about arthritis from my pet site, followed by a short piece about arthritis that I contributed to Creations Magazine.

The top search result for “Mercola arthritis” is a tiny, insignificant site that in no way, shape or form could possibly compete with Mercola.com. When you compare the ranking of our sites on Alexa, you find my site (as of October 8, 2019) ranks 9,002 in global internet engagement over the past 90 days.3…

Censorship Strategy No. 2 — Content Mix-Up

Giving precedence to a site with a relevance ranking that is 1,000 times lower than my own would be bad enough, but it doesn’t end there. Even if you try to use a restricted search, which allows you to search for results within a specific website, Google has you barking up the wrong tree.

When doing a restricted search for “Mercola.com arthritis,” or “site: Mercola.com arthritis,” which theoretically should provide you with links to the most popular articles about arthritis within my site only, Google provides the top search results for arthritis on our veterinary website!

The entire first page of search results; 10 of 12 of the search results on Page 2; and 6 of 10 results on Page 3 direct you to our Healthy Pets website. How is that for relevance? Google has really outdone itself in “helping” users find relevant information, hasn’t it?

Google-Owned YouTube Uses Similar Obfuscation Tactics…

Who Now Dominates Online Health Searches?

Who are the Google-trusted health websites that now dominate health searches? WebMD and Healthline. But are they really the most trustworthy sources on the web? Their track records certainly suggest otherwise.

WebMD is owned by the global investment firm KKR & Co.,5 which also owned RJR Nabisco at a time when it sold junk food and tobacco products. As described in my 2018 article, “Google and WebMD Partner To Be Your Virtual Doctor,” KKR also owns Medscape and MedincineNet.com and, according to Fast Company,6 “is trying to corner the market on internet-based health information dissemination …”

WebMD, as you may recall, was in 2010 caught providing users with a fake depression screening test. The test — in which 100% of quiz-takers ended up having a “high likelihood of major depression” and were directed to talk to their doctor about treatment7,8 — was sponsored by drug giant Eli Lilly, the maker of Cymbalta.

The quiz was in fact direct-to-consumer advertising masquerading as a valid health screen, and this is perhaps the most hazardous kind of drug advertising there is.

Then, in 2017, Google partnered with the National Alliance on Mental Illness, launching a depression self-assessment quiz which, like WebMD before it, funneled querents toward antidepressant drugs.9,10 There simply is no doubt that Google is a proponent for and promoter of pharmaceuticals.

Likewise, WebMD — which pockets millions to promote drugs — is far from an independent source of health information. A quick search of WebMD articles on antidepressants and depression, for example, reveals a clear pattern: They contain ads for antidepressant drugs furnished by Google ad services and doubleclick — both of which are owned by Google….

Google — The Antithesis to a Free Internet

Use the internal Mercola.com search engine when searching for articles on my site.

Boycott Google by avoiding any and all Google products:

Stop using Google search engines. Alternatives include DuckDuckGo15 and Startpage16

Uninstall Google Chrome and use Brave or Opera browser instead, available for all computers and mobile devices.17 From a security perspective, Opera is far superior to Chrome and offers a free VPN service (virtual private network) to further preserve your privacy

If you have a Gmail account, try a non-Google email service such as ProtonMail,18 an encrypted email service based in Switzerland

Stop using Google docs. Digital Trends has published an article suggesting a number of alternatives19

If you’re a high school student, do not convert the Google accounts you created as a student into personal accounts

Sign the “Don’t be evil” petition created by Citizens Against Monopoly

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Joe Biden Campaign Demands Media Censor Rudy Giuliani

Posted by M. C. on September 30, 2019

We write to demand that in service to the fact, you no longer book Rudy Giuliani…

That ugly odor you smell is desperation.

https://www.breitbart.com/the-media/2019/09/29/joe-biden-campaign-demands-media-censor-rudy-giuliani/

by Joel B. Pollak

The presidential campaign of former Vice President Joe Biden sent a letter to every major television network, demanding that they keep former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani off the air.

The letter was reported by New York Times media reporter Michael Grynbaum:

The letter states, in part (original emphasis):

We are writing today with grave concern that you continue to book Rudy Giuliani on your air to spread false, debunked conspiracy theories on behalf of Donald Trump. While you often fat check his statements in real time during your discussions, that is no longer enough. By giving him your air time, you are allowing him to introduce increasingly unhinged, unfounded and desperate lies into the national conversation.

We write to demand that in service to the fact, you no longer book Rudy Giuliani, a surrogate for Donald Trump who has demonstrated that he will knowingly and willingly lie in order to advance his own narrative.

(The Biden campaign itself has been known to lie: the former vice president continues to repeat the Charlottesville “very fine people” hoax after being confronted about it at the Iowa State Fair by Breitbart News, for example.)

The statement goes on to claim that Giuliani’s claims about potential corruption by Hunter Biden in Ukraine are “completely baseless.”

Giuliani serves as a personal lawyer for President Donald Trump, and has been involved in investigating Hunter Biden’s overseas business interests, which he developed while his father was in office…

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60 Years of Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 | Interesting ...

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Google Just Scrubbed Natural Health Websites From Its Search Results – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on June 28, 2019

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2019/06/no_author/google-just-scrubbed-natural-health-websites-from-its-search-results-whistleblower-explains-how-and-why/

By Sayer Ji
GreenMedInfo

Earlier this month, in one devastating algorithmic stroke, Google removed many of the top natural health and health freedom websites from their organic search results — some losing as much as 99% of their traffic. In fact, the term “organic” should no longer be used to describe Google’s referral traffic, as a jaw-dropping undercover investigation by Project Veritas reveals: Google surreptitiously manipulates its search results and auto-suggestions to conform to a very specific set of sociopolitical and economic agendas intended to manipulate elections and promote private interests.

We live in amazing times, albeit intense, filled with incredible darkness and light.

But thanks to the power of the internet, we have a level of freedom of information never enjoyed before by any previous generation on Earth — and that information is the very life’s blood of democratic ideals, and the necessary ingredient for informed consent and health freedom, our primary advocacies.

But what happens when the gate-keepers of the content that flows through this incredible invention, like Facebook and Pinterest, censor and shadow ban certain of its users or content, or their ability to send you messages via email service provider platforms like Mailchimp, as we’ve recently experienced on GreenMedInfo.com? Where do we go for information then?

Why not skip the social media filtering and email platform censorship and go back to using Google, you might ask. Aren’t they the very archetype and modern-day oracle of fairness, having become synonymous with looking for and finding objective answers.

After all, wouldn’t you expect that if you typed in turmeric research, GreenMedInfo.com would come up on the first page, given we have the world’s largest, open access resource on the topic which curates over 2,700 peer-reviewed studies relevant to over 800 diseases, on the topic? Whereas a few years ago, our search traffic was growing, today it’s as if we don’t exist on the internet any longer (unless you specifically search for us by name).

Instead, today, you find first page google results on turmeric like: “Turmeric May Not Be a Miracle Spice After All” from Time.com, or “Turmeric: Uses, Side Effects, Interactions, Dosage, and Warning” from WebMD.com, which overlook much of the research we have gathered, and make turmeric sound like it’s just another drug that you have to be very careful to take.

Apparently, this is entirely by design! On June 3rd, in fact, Google rolled out its latest core algorithm change, which obliterated the organic search results for the majority of the top sites in the natural health and health freedom advocating sector of the internet. Sites like DrAxe.comKellybroganmd.com (stats depicted in the image below), and Naturalnews.com saw most of their traffic removed overnight…

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After 5 Years, Now Google Ready to Comply with China's ...

 

 

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BEWARE: New Plan to Censor Health Websites

Posted by M. C. on December 5, 2018

https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2018/12/04/newsguard.aspx

Written by Dr. Joseph Mercola

STORY AT-A-GLANCE

  • NewsGuard will rate online news brands based on nine criteria of credibility and transparency, ostensibly to help readers judge what is true in order to avoid fake news. It is currently focusing on U.S.-based media brands, but plans to expand online site reviews globally
  • NewsGuard received much of its startup funds from Publicis Groupe, a global communications group whose history of clients includes the drug and tobacco industries
  • NewsGuard, clearly influenced by Wall Street and indebted to big industries through its funding, is being positioned to eliminate competition, which will allow Big Industry to reign as the leading shaper of public opinion and government health policies
  • Americans’ trust in the media is at an all-time low. According to a 2017 Survey on Trust, Media and Democracy by the Knight Foundation, 43 percent of Americans have a negative view of news media
  • Sixty-six percent believe “most news media do not do a good job of separating fact from opinion”

Americans’ trust in the media is at an all-time low. According to a 2017 Survey on Trust, Media and Democracy1 by the Knight Foundation, 43 percent of Americans have a negative view of news media compared to 33 percent reporting a positive view, while 66 percent believe “most news media do not do a good job of separating fact from opinion.”

Seventy-three percent believe the proliferation of “fake news” on the internet is a major problem, and only half feel confident that readers can get to the facts by sorting through bias.

However, individual perception about what is true and what actually constitutes fake news varies. As reported by Medium,2 “A majority of Americans believe people knowingly portraying false information as if it were true ‘always’ constitutes fake news.”

NewsGuard — The New Strategy Used to Deceive You

All of this brings me to the topic at hand, and the strategy the media is using to restrict your access to the truth from websites like mine, namely the latest self-appointed arbiter of trustworthiness in online media, NewsGuard.3 According to the group’s website:4

“NewsGuard uses journalism to fight false news, misinformation and disinformation. Our trained analysts, who are experienced journalists, research online news brands to help readers and viewers know which ones are trying to do legitimate journalism — and which are not.

Our Green-Red ratings signal if a website is trying to get it right or instead has a hidden agenda or knowingly publishes falsehoods or propaganda.”

Currently, the NewsGuard “SWAT team” is only focusing on U.S.-based media brands, but is planning on expanding “to serve the billions of people globally who get news online.”

In other words, NewsGuard is setting itself up as the self-appointed global arbiter of what information is “trustworthy” …

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Facebook censored me. Criticize your government, you might get blocked

Posted by M. C. on August 19, 2018

So when did showing the home of more than 70 people engulfed in flames after a FBI assault become beyond the pale? Facebook presumably blocked everyone who sought to share that image from the most vivid law enforcement debacle of the 1990s.

This was not the first time Facebook erased an iconic image that the U.S. government would be happy to see vanish.

https://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2017/10/27/facebook-censored-cross-your-countrys-government-and-they-might-censor-you-too-james-bovard-column/795271001/

James Bovard, Opinion columnist

Responding to Russian-funded political advertisements, Facebook chairman Mark Zuckerberg declared last month that “we will do our part to defend against nation states attempting to spread misinformation.” But Facebook is effectively sowing disinformation by kowtowing to foreign regimes and censoring atrocities such as ethnic cleansing in Myanmar. In the name of repressing fake news and hate speech, Facebook is probably suppressing far more information than Americans realize.

Facebook blocked a post of mine last month for the first time since I joined it nine years ago. I was seeking to repost a blog article I had written on Janet Reno, the controversial former attorney general who died last year. I initially thought that Facebook was having technical glitches (no novelty). But I checked the page and saw the official verdict: “Could not scrape URL because it has been blocked.” Read the rest of this entry »

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UNDERCOVER VIDEO: Twitter Engineers To “Ban a Way of Talking” Through “Shadow Banning,” Algorithms to Censor Opposing Political Opinions

Posted by M. C. on January 11, 2018

It seems to me if you are on Twitter, Facebook, Google et al, you are an enabler, part of the problem.

https://www.projectveritas.com/2018/01/11/undercover-video-twitter-engineers-to-ban-a-way-of-talking-through-shadow-banning-algorithms-to-censor-opposing-political-opinions/

Steven Pierre, Twitter engineer explains “shadow banning,” says “it’s going to ban a way of talking”
Former Twitter software engineer Abhinav Vadrevu on shadow banning: “they just think that no one is engaging with their content, when in reality, no one is seeing it”
Former Twitter Content Review Agent Mo Norai explains banning process: “if it was a pro-Trump thing and I’m anti-Trump… I banned his whole account… it’s at your discretion”
When asked if banning process was an unwritten rule, Norai adds “Very. A lot of unwritten rules… It was never written it was more said”
Olinda Hassan, Policy Manager for Twitter Trust and Safety explains, “we’re trying to ‘down rank’… shitty people to not show up,” “we’re working [that] on right now”
“Shadow banning” to be used to stealthily target political views- former Twitter engineer says, “that’s a thing”
Censorship of certain political viewpoints to be automated via “machine learning” according to Twitter software engineer
Parnay Singh, Twitter Direct Messaging Engineer, on machine learning algorithms, “you have like five thousand keywords to describe a redneck…” “the majority of it are for Republicans”

Read the rest of this entry »

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