To control the channels of communication is to control communication itself. Canada and its globalist progressive Prime Minister Justin Trudeau fully understand this age-old truism. It was only a matter of time before it would be applied to the enormously popular field of podcasting. A wide-ranging new set of regulations released last month seeks to diminish the audience-generating capacity of creative artists, and ultimately, stop podcast providers from even offering a platform.
Tasha Kheiriddin at Canadian newspaper The National Post reported Sept. 29:
“On Friday, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) issued new ‘registration regulations,’ as part of its expanded mandate under the Online Streaming Act. The new rules oblige all streaming, social media and online subscription television and radio stations that live-stream over the internet, as well as services that offer both free and paid podcasts, to register with the CRTC by Nov. 28, unless they earn less than $10 million a year in broadcasting revenues in Canada.”
What does this mean in actual practice? The creators of podcasts themselves will not have to register with the Canadian federal government, but the owners of the means they rely on to effectively get their original content out to the general public will.
From there, it’s a short skip and a hop to regulating these duly registered owners over the “dangerous content” they air.
Justin Trudeau Is Always Listening
The legion of critics expressing outrage over the proposal were quick to grasp this fundamental point.
“So Big Brother will now be listening to your podcast – and who knows what else,” Kheiriddin observed. “More regulations will no doubt follow. As internet guru and University of Ottawa professor Michael Geist aptly puts it, ‘registration is the first step toward regulation.’ And it’s the little guys and gals who will suffer most.”
Elon Musk, owner of X, the social media goliath formerly known as Twitter, expressed his disgust. “Trudeau is trying to crush free speech in Canada. Shameful,” he wrote in a widely-circulated Oct. 1 post. Musk was replying to a post by investigative journalist Glenn Greenwald, who summed up the measure by saying Canada is “armed with one of the world’s most repressive online censorship schemes.”
Some in the media, however, suggest this is all part of a long-planned out agenda. Andrew Lawton, managing editor at the Canadian conservative news site True North, explained one aspect of how the new censorship operation will work.
“So right now if you go onto Apple Podcasts … you’ll see a whole laundry list of recommendations,” Lawton said in a video clip posted onto X. “Well, now government’s coming in and saying, ‘you have to serve up a certain amount of recommended content that we like’ … The reality of this is the government is going to be picking and choosing winners.”
“Make no mistake, by regulating the platforms on which this show relies to get to its audience, the government is regulating this show,” Lawton emphasized.
As every small conservative news outlet that attempted to provide information contradicting the ruling establishment narrative on the coronavirus pandemic or 2020 election integrity knows, having platforms deny an audience access to content is a potent way to squelch content.
They Want Their Pre-Internet Communications Monopoly Back
Podcasting is a special irritant to the ruling establishment precisely because of its inherent nature: using audio conversation to transmit a political message. The Associated Press in January 2021 displayed this dominant narrative animus with a revealing article titled “Extremists exploit a loophole in social moderation: Podcasts.”
The article lays bare the truth of Lawton’s assertions about platform regulation. “Apple, Spotify and Google curate lists of top podcasts and recommend them to users. Apple and Spotify are the dominant players in the US, with other players far behind,” the article noted. AP described the dangerous content these platforms were shockingly recommending to users:
“Podcasts made available by the two Big Tech companies let you tune into the world of the QAnon conspiracy theory, wallow in President Donald Trump’s false claims of a stolen election and bask in other extremism. Accounts that have been banned on social media for election misinformation, threatening or bullying, and breaking other rules also still live on as podcasts available on the tech giants’ platforms.”
The thoroughly discredited yet still routinely cited Southern Poverty Law Center sees modern conservative podcasts as a new manifestation of unacceptable political verbiage that must be obliterated from the public square. From a Sept. 2021 article on “the far-right podcast eco-system”:
“Some scholars have drawn comparisons between [1930s radio priest Father Charles] Coughlin’s dramatic, bombastic, fear-mongering style and the on-air personalities of later right-wing talk radio celebrities such as Rush Limbaugh. Like Coughlin, Limbaugh inculcated his listeners with an ultra-conservative worldview through his use of specialized language (‘dittoheads,’ ‘feminazis,’ ‘Gorbasm’) and even a redefinition of common ideas such as ‘racism’ or ‘diversity’ to better reflect right-wing grievances.”
“Inspired by the success of conservative talk radio and hot talk formats, far-right, anti-government extremists, racists and antisemites were eager to try their hand at radio,” the SPLC continued. “However, the advertising and funding requirements of traditional radio stations largely blocked them from the commercial airwaves. Instead, these groups turned to alternative media for novel ways of communicating their message.”
The takeaway: podcasting and the modern media climate created by the rise of the internet as a whole must be as heavily regulated as 1990s national radio networks. What the SPLC won’t admit is that the definition of the word “extremist” has been so greatly expanded since 1991 that it now includes those who simply disagree with a credentialed progressive worldview.
“Now, rules that previously applied to TV and radio services like Bell Media will apply to streaming services like Spotify,” The National Post’s Kheiriddin writes. “It is reasonable to assume that they will take pains to avoid running afoul of them, and dump content that could get them in trouble. Which means less money for creators …”
The internet enormously expanded access to information for regular people, far beyond the homogenous content served up by corporate-owned networks and large cable TV stations. And that is what the ruling establishment in Canada apparently cannot stand. It still fervently believes it can steer you to Anderson Cooper and Kristen Welker simply by limiting all other options. But the genie is out of the bottle. Heavy-handed attempts to regulate the free flow of information only make the citizens of a once-free West thirst for it all the more.