There is a new virus in town; one that the experts of Silicon Valley believe they have the power to stop in its tracks. It is not the latest iteration of a novel coronavirus but rather support for the elected president of the United States … and they are following the lockdown playbook to stop its deadly spread. The social media kingpins have found the block button and appear to be revelling in its usage and the power such censorship brings.
Whether it is corralling the masses into a one-size-fits-all view of COVID-19, or running cover for a slew of Biden-damaging emails, the controllers of digital propaganda have planted their flag and appear determined to make a final stand.
No Post from New York
Since Wednesday Oct. 14, the Twitter channel of the New York Post has been in lockdown. After releasing a series of stories that purport to show presidential candidate Joe Biden was engaged in cash-for-access with his son Hunter. The basis of the story is a trove of emails that the Post alleges are from Hunter Biden’s laptop and, if proved to be genuine, could cause serious damage to the former VP’s campaign.
Until the Post removes the six links to this story from its channel, Twitter has said that it will not reactivate the account.
The wider media world is presenting a united front against the story by offering insinuation and distraction. To date, neither Joe Biden nor Hunter Biden have expressly denied that the emails are genuine. Joe Biden’s campaign and former colleagues have said they recall no such meeting with Burisma Holdings executives and Hunter’s attorney George Mesires seized the opportunity to take a shot at the messenger rather than the message. He said, “We have no idea where this came from, and certainly cannot credit anything that Rudy Giuliani provided to the NY Post, but what I do know for certain is that this purported meeting never happened.”
Not quite as clear cut as saying the emails are fake.
Not content with being the arbiter of the political news cycle, Twitter also took umbrage with comments from the White House’s top coronavirus adviser Scott Atlas for his views on what is effective and what isn’t. Atlas tweeted:
“Masks work? NO. L.A, Miami, Hawaii, Alabama, France, Philippines, United Kingdom, Spain and Israel. WHO: ‘Widespread use not supported’ + many harms; Heneghan/Oxf CEBM: despite decades consider…”
The offending post was swiftly removed despite providing a direct quote from the World Health Organization. However, this is not the first time that Atlas has had social media issues. In September, a video of the policy adviser questioning the idea of a social distancing mandate was struck down from YouTube for violating its “community standards.”
At the time, Atlas said:
“It’s a disaster. We’ve already seen the near obstruction of journalism. When you start censoring science you are removing fact, removing the basic way that we decide what is truth in what is not. This has been done I think historically in various countries and you know, we are sort of teetering on the edge of what is done in third world countries — the countries we used to be proudly distinguished from.”
A War of Attrition
It is becoming abundantly clear that social media has it in for President Trump and his allies. The staff and management of these tech giants are not shy in their criticism of the president and his supporters.
Is this perhaps a long game to rid their pristine platforms of the “deplorables” who support the Trump agenda? By limiting stories of interest to many Americans, perhaps the social media kingpins can send the undesirables scurrying off to other platforms, and finally, have the safe space echo chamber they have always desired. Free speech supporters need not apply.
Read more from Mark Angelides.