Note: This article was submitted to several conservative and progressive media outlets last week. They refused to publish it. Read it to understand why.
Don’t Blame Social Media for Fake News
Social media censorship is a cure worse than the disease.
I am new to social media. Most of my professional career centered on not talking about my occupation. On entering social media’s “sea of discussion” I have been, at times, amused, and often amazed at the outlandish statements and ignorance of the opinions and theories being passed as “news.” A phenomenon of the recent election results has been the call for social media to censor the content of their readers and contributors as “fake news” was responsible for the outcome. Even the President has jumped on the bandwagon of this “left-wing” conspiracy theory (which Ms. Clinton repeatedly labeled a “right-wing” conspiracy), demanding social media companies censor its content. I am reminded of the famous Pogo quote: “We have met the enemy, and he is us.”
Propaganda is only effective when tightly controlled by the ruling system’s elites who ensure all information is disseminated through its filtered channels. Witness today China or North Korea. The Bolsheviks first act on assuming power was to jail journalists, and Joseph Goebbels, who wrote the book on using media to disseminate propaganda, was so successful, many Germans believed his “newscasts” of ultimate victory until the Russians were 800 meters from Hitler’s Berlin bunker.
To be effective, propaganda must be the citizens only information source, and their education and social systems must be controlled by the ruling system. Only when citizens don’t know history or understand the issues does the published “lie” work every time.
Americans were endowed with a Constitution mandating a separation of church and state, with rights of freedom of speech and press. But these rights and freedoms depend on an educated vigilant citizenry, demanding a government, and more importantly, journalists who hold integrity to the facts above their own political and corporate agendas. How’s that been working out for the last sixty years? A quick review:
- With the recent death of Castro, the press has been pushing the two theories of his career: brutal dictator or revolutionary hero against imperialist forces. The truth: In 1958, fearing mafia control of Cuban dictator Batista, the US supported guerilla bandits with money and arms, and when they won, were given the mafia’s extensive entertainment assets. But their leader, Fidel Castro wanted more and began nationalizing US corporate assets. The result? The US embargoed Cuba, driving Castro to the Soviets. The rest is history. Never happen again, our government and press assured us yet who was it that funded, trained, and supported Osama bin Laden’s faction in Afghanistan against the Soviet incursion in the 1970-80s?
- In 1964, President Johnson’s Administration went to Congress claiming US warships were attacked in the Gulf of Tonkin, a claim the Navy disavowed. But truth was ignored, as Congress overwhelming voted to give Johnson war powers and initiated the tragedy of Vietnam. That could never happen again the press and the Congress cried. But in 2003, Congress and the press gave full support to the Iraq invasion (again without a constitutionally mandated declaration of war) based upon a lie of “weapons of mass destruction.” The result for both conflicts was the same, only now several of Mr. Bush’s leading architects of our disastrous Middle East policy are commentators for corporate media, and teach at major liberal universities.
- Who remembers the Federal Reserve Chairman supporting Congress dismantling Glass-Steagall regulations (which had protected the US financial system since the ’30s), exclaiming how banks could regulate themselves? We witnessed how well self-regulation worked in 2008, and how we the taxpayers who bore the brunt of the financial meltdown, needed to bail the banks out because they were “too big to fail.” Corporate media went right along. Could that be because over 90% of the top media outlets, networks, and news sources are owned by just six corporations? But of course such musings are considered “conspiracy theories.”
The government and corporate media are now demanding social media censor its content. This demand is coinciding with the San Francisco public school system approving courses teaching that President-elect Trump is an evil Hitler clone and a Washington State legislator introducing a law that redefines protest as “terrorism.” Who will provide the censorship within the Internet’s social media infrastructure and how? From a government-corporate censorship system, we are now to rely on the personal feeling of a Silicon Valley programmer to decide what is valid and what is to be censored? Revelations earlier this year already provided us the answer to that question.
What is to be done? Demand your social media of choice refuse to censor content on the internet. If they do, boycott them–just turn off your computers. Rest assured they’ll reverse policy immediately or new providers will rapidly arise to fill the void. And in relation to the fake news and ridiculous comments flooding social media? If you believe them, then more fool you. Something comes across your screen that makes you question? The answer is simple —learn the history of the issue. As I stated in Resurrection: An American Journey, it’s your choice:
“I warned you at the start that the gods of my ancestors are merciless and that such questioning and searching is not for the faint of heart. Yet despite dire warnings you continued – I see you, and tell you this – Your courage is the force that moves the world…. My merciless truth to you – Dare yourself. Question! Demand!” (Resurrection: An American Journey © 2016 by WH Wisecarver. All rights reserved)
Of course I also said not to trust me, but rather, only trust yourself, and warned you: “Today only in fantasy, may one speak truth.”
Once you understand the issues, the solutions become obvious.