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The Liberal Attack on Our Right to Listen
Townhall.com ^ | August 10, 2018 | Ken Blackwell

Posted on 08/10/2018 9:13:10 AM PDT by Kaslin

American liberals have always professed to believe in tolerance, diversity, and freedom of speech. However, today’s reality is very different. As the Left gained control of the commanding heights of culture and increasingly business across the nation, the new liberal philosophy became freedom for me but not for thee.

Consider the saga of Alex Jones, the radio talk show host who manages the website Infowars.com. He is controversial, to say the least, having pushed various conspiracy theories. But then, some left-wing activists attack anyone to the right of Hillary Clinton as a racist and fascist.

Apple, Facebook, Spotify, and YouTube all banned Jones, sharply restricting his ability to reach readers and listeners. Only Twitter did not delete him; CEO Jack Dorsey explained that Jones had not violated the company’s terms of service.

But now Dorsey has come under fire from outraged liberals because he did not complete what Jones called a “purge.” For instance, former Reddit CEO Ellen Pao predicted that Twitter “will get overrun and collapse” for “allowing this hate and harassment.” She didn’t say whether she intended to do the overrunning.

If the government did what the tech monopolies did, Jones could appeal to the First Amendment. Government cannot shut down opinions it doesn’t like.

But the Founders never imagined a world in which private companies would gain de facto monopolies over the means of communication. Today if Silicon Valley doesn’t like your message, it can stop you from reaching a wide audience, or any audience for that matter.

With the First Amendment we talk about government violating a person’s right to speak or write. But does anyone have a “right” to force a private company to broadcast his or her views?

Ironically, liberals once might have argued so. Just a few years ago they demanded that government redress the supposed monopoly power of television and radio stations with the so-called “Fairness Doctrine,” which put Washington in the middle of programming decisions. However, that was then. Now the Left doesn’t believe in fairness when it comes to anyone else.

Instead of focusing on Jones, we should consider those who want to hear him. The tech giants are not just shutting him up. They are interfering with the right of Americans to listen to him. What is the value of free speech if others don’t hear it?

Sure, one could argue that his views don’t belong in the public square. That, as David Folkenflik of (taxpayer-funded) NPR declared, “The ideas that Jones shares are particularly noxious.”

That might be true. But it doesn’t matter.

There obviously is neither intellectual nor press freedom if government officials can prohibit people from espousing “particularly noxious” ideas. But it wouldn’t be much better if a tax-subsidized journalist could impose the same judgment.

However, increasingly it is liberal techno-geeks along or establishment corporate managers who make this decision.

Yet it isn’t clear why Jones was banned - and banned now. What you get is what you have always gotten with him. Give him credit for consistency: he hasn’t changed his message.

Did an Apple executive suddenly notice Jones and decide to drop his podcasts? That seemed to set off a rush for the exits at other companies. Apparently, no one wanted to be left behind.

All of them acted without detailing why. Although there has been much talk about “fake news,” noted Facebook, “none of the violations that spurred today’s removals were related to this.” Then what was it?

Alex Jones is an easy target since even many conservatives don’t want to defend his views. I don’t want to.

However, the basic issue isn’t about him. It’s about the rest of us, and our right to listen. “Who will stand against tyranny and who will stand for free speech,” Jones asked in a tweet?

Good question.

Liberals once insisted on allowing everyone to have their say. And on containing monopoly corporate power.

Do they really believe it is okay for large tech monopolies to silence someone for his views? If so, what is to stop Facebook, YouTube, and the others from doing the same to mainstream conservatives?

YouTube already has taken down videos from Michelle Malkin and Pamela Geller. Google and YouTube restricted access to Dennis Prager’s videos as part of “Prager University.” Twitter deleted the account of Peter Van Buren, a contributor to The American Conservative. Jones is just one more in a lengthening line of commentators on the Right targeted by increasingly authoritarian tech moguls.

There is much to criticize in contemporary political discourse. However, the only proper response, in America, at least, is to improve the dialogue, not shut it down. Liberals, of all people, should understand that.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial
KEYWORDS: alexjones; freespeech; liberalism

1 posted on 08/10/2018 9:13:10 AM PDT by Kaslin
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To: Kaslin
American liberals have always professed to believe in tolerance, diversity, and freedom of speech.

That was back when they were on the outside looking in.

It was a big fat lie, and a few writers — Ayn Rand among them — said so at the time.

2 posted on 08/10/2018 9:17:50 AM PDT by Steely Tom ([Seth Rich] == [the Democrat's John Dean])
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To: Steely Tom

Freedom of SPEECH: The right to create SOUND as you express your ideas, opinions, and/or feelings
Freedom of the PRESS: The right to create marks on paper to express ideaS, opinions, and/or EVENTS as you see them.
Freedom of CHOICE: The right to LISTEN or IGNORE the SOUND issued from (Whoever) or turn off the TV or Radio.
Freedom of CHOICE: The rightto ignore the marks on the paper that you oppose, don’t believe or don’t care to be aware of.
FREEDOM OF (*****) IS A two-way STRET.


3 posted on 08/10/2018 9:24:55 AM PDT by CaptainAmiigaf ( N.Y. Times--We print the news as it fits our views)
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To: Kaslin
Two words— Clayton and Sherman. They are still on the books. Enforce them. Teddy Roosevelt became a hero by vigorously doing so.
4 posted on 08/10/2018 9:29:03 AM PDT by Vigilanteman (ObaMao: Fake America, Fake Messiah, Fake Black man. How many fakes can you fit into one Zer0?)
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To: Kaslin

I am fed up with Evil Democrats and lying Liberals. But almost as bad is how uninformed,gullible and or ignorant Americans that vote Democrat are. Of this I have no doubt.


5 posted on 08/10/2018 9:39:32 AM PDT by Herman Ball (2)
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To: Kaslin

DisQus and Fakebook have also attacked your right to READ:
It is worth noting that Fakebook CENSORS any mention of a website, www.CodeIsFreeSpeech.com that provides FREE downloads of 3D-printable firearm blueprints. And, since Facebook logins are so prevalent for posting commentary across the Internet, they are very effectively suppressing this “Forbidden knowledge” almost EVERYWHERE. Please go to the website, download some or all 10 of the free blueprints, and then, repost it to your friends and across the Internet, to the extent you can. Strike a BLOW against Fakebook and judicial CENSORSHIP! Support TWO amendments at once, the First and the Second!


6 posted on 08/10/2018 9:44:25 AM PDT by 2harddrive (Go to www.CodeIsFreeSpeech.com for 10 FREE 3D-printer gun blueprints!)
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To: Kaslin

It’s impossible to have a rational conversation with a Liberal/Progressive. It’s a waste of time.

Because they are unable to see the big picture, I used to concentrate on how their personal well being was adversely affected by liberal policies. But they can’t grasp that, either.


7 posted on 08/10/2018 9:50:29 AM PDT by laplata (Liberals/Progressives have diseased minds.)
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To: All
......the Founding Fathers never imagined private companies would gain de facto monopolies over the means
of communication. If Silicon Valley doesn’t like your message, it can refuse you service......and shut you up.

Time to turn social media into a "public utility."

The electric company cannot refuse you service based on your politics.

The same should apply to social media.

8 posted on 08/10/2018 10:19:16 AM PDT by Liz ( Our side has 8 trillion bullets; the other side doesn't know which bathroom to use.)
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To: Vigilanteman

I hope it happens very soon. The Tech Guys are intent on silencing Republican candidates before November and will if they are not broken up or at least if proceedings are not instituted against them in a couple of weeks. Antitrust is not an instant fix. It takes lots of time in court because whatever can be done by EO will be stopped by a judge somewhere and everything else requires courts.


9 posted on 08/10/2018 10:59:21 AM PDT by arthurus (jon**jkh)
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To: Kaslin
I think the question of "why" is particularly interesting in this case. Like the author stated, Alex Jones has always been Alex Jones. Infowars is talking about the same stuff they've been talking about for 20+ years.

Personally, I've long thought that he was an intelligence asset of the government who was useful to the government for discrediting some of the less insane conspiracy theories out there. After all, if a particular item was being peddled by those whackjobs, it is hardly something you need to take a second look at, right?

So again, the question is, why now? What is in the hopper and/or pipeline that they want to suppress so completely? I certainly do not know, but I'd like to.

10 posted on 08/10/2018 11:00:26 AM PDT by zeugma (Power without accountability is fertilizer for tyranny.)
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To: Liz

No. We do NOT want government regulation of ongoing operations. Breakup of monopolies is the route. If the monopolies then all move offshore as Apple is dong then we sanction the host countries hard.


11 posted on 08/10/2018 11:01:42 AM PDT by arthurus (jon**jkh)
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To: Liz

Just like the baker? Why can FB refuse service to customers but that cake baker has to serve all comers regardless of the level of perversion required.


12 posted on 08/10/2018 11:02:50 AM PDT by arthurus (jon**jkh-)
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To: zeugma

.
>> “Infowars is talking about the same stuff they’ve been talking about for 20+ years.” <<

You obviously have paid zero attention to InfoWars for 20 years.

Info wars is always the source of real news; stuff that has not broken yet anywhere else, including WND and Drudge.

Their sources are all in the thick of what is happening; literally part of what is happening.
.


13 posted on 08/10/2018 11:06:53 AM PDT by editor-surveyor (Freepers: Not as smart as I'd hoped they'd be)
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To: arthurus
Breakup of social media monopolies is the route to take. If the monopolies move offshore....
as Apple is doing..... then we sanction the host countries hard.

I like it.

14 posted on 08/10/2018 11:39:12 AM PDT by Liz ( Our side has 8 trillion bullets; the other side doesn't know which bathroom to use.)
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To: Kaslin
Alex Jones/InfoWars is not my cup of tea, but damn! Banning him was uncalled for.

Jesus Christ: You can't impeach Him and He ain't gonna resign.



15 posted on 08/10/2018 11:41:45 AM PDT by rdb3 (rdb2 ~ Nov. 9, 1934 - Jun. 2, 2018)
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To: Steely Tom

Ayn Rand


16 posted on 08/10/2018 11:44:49 AM PDT by Uversabound (Might does not make right, but it does enforce the commonly recognized rights of each succeeding gen)
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To: Kaslin

“For instance, former Reddit CEO Ellen Pao predicted that Twitter “will get overrun and collapse” for “allowing this hate and harassment.” She didn’t say whether she intended to do the overrunning. “

How many liberal web sites and pages has Alex Jones shut down?
Does he now express in hateful hyperbole how dangerous the Daily Kos, The Young Turks, or any other Progressive/left website is to the “Constitution and Democracy?”

Who’s the Fascist now, I ask? Hate is as hate does, even when the haters are frauds and liars, like the leftists we hear from without recourse, relent, or respite. We can turn them off, but that is not the same thing, is it? Perhaps they deserve censorship, no?


17 posted on 08/12/2018 4:32:30 PM PDT by Richard Axtell (So, this is the Third World! What happened to the first two?)
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