American leftists are joining European elitists in calling for the squelching of Internet freedom. But while globalists overseas camouflage their attempted censorship efforts in the name of “copyright restrictions” and so on, U.S. ideologues are openly encouraging suppression on the grounds of… meanness.
People throughout the world who value free speech were horrified in 2018 when the European Union introduced plans to limit personal expression on the Internet. The most controversial concept is a planned directive known as Article 13 that would use ultra-strict interpretations of copyright protection to effectively eliminate the use of memes on the Internet. Memes are quite simply visual content that can be easily shared and typically use humor to bring home a message. They can be silly, political or anything you want them to be, really.
Negotiations on the directive have been ongoing, and it seems to be advancing to eventual implementation. The European establishment is striving to codify onerous compliance regulations to tamp down on unwanted political satire. As they do so, leftists in the U.S. are discarding the pretense and straight-out claiming that mockery should be proscribed if it hurts their feelings. We are basically seeing a two-pronged assault on free speech online.
BuzzFeed News has attracted flak for publishing an article decrying a meme in which female Democrat members of Congress who dressed in white for President Trump’s State of the Union address have their heads covered in Ku Klux Klan hoods. The meme is a reference to the popular debating point within some conservative circles that Democrats are the traditional party of racism.
In other words, the meme is clearly satirical and meant to promote a particular political message. For BuzzFeed, however, the altered photo is a violation of Twitter’s terms against “symbols historically associated with hate groups.” Horrified by conservatives daring to spoof what appears to be a protected class of public figures, the article painfully observes that “[w]omen candidates and lawmakers are frequent targets for online vitriol.”
How hurtful. How damaging. How corrosive. Why isn’t such imagery banned from the Internet? Since we’re asking, may we point out that BuzzFeed has tweeted its own celebration of this exact form of political imagery? Oh, but the target was different then, of course.
— BuzzFeed News (@BuzzFeedNews) September 30, 2016
The very same outlet commended Mexican magazine Letras Libres for depicting Donald Trump as Adolf Hitler on one of its covers. Yes, in a September 2016 article published at the height of a vitriolic, mudslinging presidential race, BuzzFeed dropped the H-bomb on Trump.
Given BuzzFeed’s concern over “hate imagery,” its article about the cover photo doesn’t contain a hint of criticism over this violation of what it decrees is acceptable Internet discourse. “Others are praising the use of design to make a point,” reads one sentence, referencing tweets in support of the photo. “Overall, the cover’s graphic designer is getting a lot of props,” reads another, followed by more tweets admiring the image.
This clear double standard is the Achilles Heel of leftists on free speech and so many other issues.
Hurt feelings (Tears of a Writer)
The same hypocrisy shines forth in the lamentation of laid-off leftist journalists and their still-employed-for-the-moment colleagues over being told to “learn to code” by a flood of Twitter users all inspired by a terrible thought crime: They don’t like the media. Buzzfeed and other left-wing outlets like HuffPost have recently fired divisions of writers while downsizing, and the more notorious of these reporters have been confronted by online trolls suggesting that they explore job opportunities in the computer programming industry.
In case anybody doesn’t understand the “learn to code” remark, this tweet aptly covers it:
"Learn to code" is what media types have been glibly telling jobless manufacturing workers for years — jobless media types are now being trolled with the same glib advice, in order to highlight how unfair and condescending it is. Just in case anybody fails to grasp the meme 🙂
— Michael Tracey (@mtracey) February 5, 2019
Offense has been taken by the unemployed journalists, but most worrisome is that the immediate reaction is to get these commenters banned:
"Learn to code" was tweeted at me by a sketchy account. I reported it as abusive behavior as part of targeted harassment. Twitter suspended the account within 20 minutes.
Journalists if they tweet "learn to code" at you don't stay silent, take a moment to report it. https://t.co/RXgqqV2ptw
— Ben Popken (@bpopken) February 1, 2019
In an article at the radical Think Progress website, Jessica Goldstein dismisses any and all use of the mocking phrase because she and her fellow journalists see it as “targeted harassment.”
“’Learn to code’ is a linguistic dog whistle,” Goldstein asserts, before arguing that lefty journalists should not be assaulted with the line because, you see, they, in fact, were extremely sympathetic when coal miners lost their jobs. The tweeters have got it all wrong! That is your opinion, Ms. Goldstein, and others disagree with you. The point is open for debate, by all means. But to call for a ban on anyone using that phrase because you received some threatening tweets shows remarkably poor logic totally unbecoming of someone who claims membership in an information-sharing profession. It’s akin to banning all Internet usage of the phrase “Trump is an idiot” because someone somewhere on the Internet also said, “Trump is an idiot, somebody should hurt him.”
The back-and-forth of social media vitriol is a dull topic to give serious consideration; the question of higher importance is the right of all internet users to free political expression. But it is increasingly obvious that the groups leading the campaign to restrict online political thought are globalist statists and strident leftists. One may draw the conclusion that there is an uncanny unity of purpose here: Two supposedly disparate groups are feverishly working on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean to eliminate the voices of those who do not see the world as they do.