Op-Ed

The Battle of 2020: Big Tech Goliath vs. Citizen David

Combined Shape

“I am continuing to monitor the censorship of AMERICAN CITIZENS on social media platforms. This is the United States of America — and we have what’s known as freedom of speech. We are monitoring and watching, closely!”
— President Donald Trump in a May 3 tweet.

The online world where conservative Americans can exist and pursue livelihoods keeps shrinking. Voices are banned from social media. Commercial behemoths like Bank of America and Paypal refuse internet financial access. Videos disappear.

Observers surely know why this is happening. Having lost the 2016 presidential election, leftists in various walks are exploiting authority in order to eliminate political and cultural adversaries and win in 2020. Their impelling desire seems to be a fantasized land with neither borders nor unique personality, where only a solitary disposition is granted oxygen.

We are not free if we are prohibited from speaking, entering into transactions, or just plain living our lives by our own lights.

At risk of being disappeared by Big Tech barons and their philosophical henchmen are the country our forefathers carved and all who would uphold national character.

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Last week, it was reported Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and other social media giants had increased their speech-squelching. Alex Jones, Paul Joseph Watson, Laura Loomer and Milo Yiannopoulos were thrown off online platforms, their audiences denied opportunities to join them.

“In an authoritarian society controlled by a handful of Silicon Valley giants, all dissent must be purged.”
– Infowars’ Paul Joseph Watson in a statement following his Facebook banning.

In a May 3 story, The Washington Times said Watson “scoffed” at the suggestion he was “dangerous.” He asked which better fits that characterization: “My opinions? Or giving a handful of giant partisan corporations the power to decide who has free speech? You decide.”

Diamond and Silk were also de-platformed by Facebook. Twitter removed James Woods. Further reporting says rank-and-file Facebook users deemed to share taboo news and opinion posts too frequently will themselves suffer digital banishment.

“A journalism institute released a ‘blacklist’ of media outlets they deemed as ‘unreliable’ that was created by an employee of the left-wing Southern Poverty Law Center [Barrett Golding] and overwhelmingly contains conservative new media outlets.

“Golding appears to have followed the SPLC ‘list’ model in its creation of unreliable news sites, as many of the mainstream conservative sites on the list are thrown in with actual sites that push conspiracy theories.”
– The Washington Free Beacon in a May 2 article.

(After coming under intense criticism, Poynter retracted the SPLC-generated list of some 500 news sites, conceding poor methodology.)

In coordinated censorial activity by like-minded organizations both of and distinct from news media, we see collusion against the public interest.

“The purposeful and calculated silencing of conservatives by @Facebook and the rest of the big Monopoly Men should terrify everyone. It appears they’re taking their censorship campaign to the next level. Ask yourself: How long before they come to purge you? We must fight back.”
– Donald Trump Jr. in a tweet of last week.

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Social media and commercial bans significantly diminish the viability of alternative media outlets, related businesses and popular associations and conversation.

The fortunes of the pro-Constitution populist movement and Trump 2020 are very much at stake. No grassroots movement could likely grow and give voters a meaningful alternative without being able to connect people immediately, across great distances.

“This will become an imp and bigger story going into #2020.”
– Fox’s Maria Bartiromo in a May 3 tweet.

Some argue no one has a right to be on a privately owned social media site — that so long as a person can declaim on a downtown street corner or crank out his own newspaper he has unmolested free speech.

But monopolistic social media has become the town square. And unelected private business chieftains stomping on citizens’ throats has a historic precedent:

Traditionally, the American town square was a place where every man could express his ideas however he pleased. But the 1970s brought privately-owned shopping malls, contained and regulated town square environments where citizens’ speech could be approved for dissemination or denied that by corporate interests with their own values and not beholden to constitutional guarantees.

Defenders of the contemporary Big Tech political ideas clampdown argue that — as private entities, like shopping malls — social media companies can set their own standards. While the First Amendment prevents the government from censoring citizen expression, they point out, it does not prohibit private actions within businesses.

But the internet’s singular capacity for information access and conversation linking millions across great distances affects our electoral process and civil government, setting it distinctly apart from Brady Bunch-era strip malls of exclusively local influence.

Social media companies are classed as platforms, not publishers. Publishers can exercise discretion over what content they carry. No one’s constitutional right to free speech has been violated when, say, Newsweek declines their recollections of childhood summers spent on grandpa’s farm.

But different rules should be applied to monopolistic social media sites. They can’t be allowed to call themselves neutral platforms and enjoy concomitant benefits while wielding red pencils per ideological fancy.

Big Tech is betting that its tactical bankrolling of unprincipled congressmen can triumph over American independence — that barons’ billions can render citizens’ constitutional free speech rights inconsequential.

Voters must counter such pressures by petitioning office holders and booting out those indifferent to us. Patriotic citizen-Davids can topple Goliath. Remember that a grassroots movement elected Ronald Reagan twice before Mark Zuckerberg ever crammed for midterms.

The president’s tweet that he is “monitoring” Big Tech censorship of conservatives and his advocacy of our free speech is heartening. But action is needed.

Because monopolies were made to be broken — up.

The views expressed in this opinion article are those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by the owners of this website. If you are interested in contributing an Op-Ed to The Western Journal, you can learn about our submission guidelines and process here.

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