We previously talked on the internet about the relentless drumbeat of censorship from Democratic leaders, including President-elect Joe Biden. These calls are increasing as free speech advocates see the Biden administration as an opportunity to take action against opposing views. A vocal advocate of censorship and language control was CNN media analyst Oliver Darcy, who was just reiterating his call for opposing views to be de-platformed. Like many free speech advocates, Darcy simply calls those with opposing views “disinformation” and demands that they be labeled as such or banned from social media. In a recent newsletter, Darcy called for any tweet from Trump to be flagged as disinformation while asking, “Why stop there?” I agree. Once you’ve crossed the Rubicon of Speech Regulation, there is little reason or inclination to stop. Just look at Europe.
“Almost every tweet from the president at this point is flagged as misinformation. What got me thinking Why doesn’t Twitter just make the move to mark its entire account as a known source for election disinfo? And why stop there? Why not flag accounts that repeatedly make claims that the platform needs to review? “
There was a time of the touchstone of American journalism when such calls for censorship were rejected, including on CNN.
What is daunting about Darcy’s writings is that they reflect the views of many who are now in Congress and the Democratic Party. In fact, they mirror many in the Biden campaign. Once a party that fought for free speech, it has become a party that calls for internet censorship and laws against hate speech. President-elect Joe Biden has called for language controls and recently appointed an agency’s interim media director who is one of the most prominent anti-free speech figures in the United States. It’s a trend that now seems to be gaining support in the media celebrating French President Emmanuel Macron’s speech to Congress calling on the United States to follow Europe’s model of hate speech.
Darcy calls for more active and comprehensive regulation of language to protect users from thoughts or beliefs that he deems wrong or dangerous: “Think of it as a version of NewsGuard for Twitter.”
“NewsGuard” has a nice Orwellian sound that can be added to other codes for censorship, like Senator Richard Blumenthal who recently called for a “robust content change” on the Internet. Who can contradict a NewsGuard who Darcy describes as a charitable St. Bernard watching over our news and social posts? Of course, what Darcy sees as “disinformation” or what Blumenthal sees as “robust content change” remains dangerously vague.
Let me prefer the free speech without the helpful guards and content change. Instead, I have the novel idea that people can draw their own conclusions about such disinformation, just like Darcy.