To truly amass power, a would-be autocrat or totalitarian regime will typically suppress any criticism or dissent that might emanate from those who may wish to challenge such authority.
How is the sinister goal of silencing vast numbers of individuals or organizations reached? By controlling and/or eliminating the free flow of news and information within a society.
Examining Newsmax’s removal from DirecTV’s platform is critical in understanding what has happened to the Fourth Estate, what stage in the totalitarian process we are presently in, and what are the means by which we can make our way back to freedom.
In a 2020 Atlantic article, which was written by Harvard law professor Jack Goldsmith and University of Arizona law professor Andrew Keane Woods, and recently referenced by legal scholar and law professor Jonathan Turley, the article’s authors stated that “in the great debate of the past two decades about freedom versus control of the network, China was largely right and the United States was largely wrong.”
Characterizing “significant monitoring and speech control” as “inevitable,” the authors also determined that “governments must play a large role in these practices to ensure that the internet is compatible with society norms and values.”
This translates into the First Amendment’s complete abolishment.
It is imperative therefore to focus on the recent action by DirecTV (AT&T’s satellite TV provider) in removing Newsmax (the fourth largest cable news channel) from its network, and doing so on the heels of the similar earlier removal of One America News from its lineup.
Twitter owner Elon Musk opened the eyes of so many with the release of the “Twitter Files.” These are internal messages that demonstrate the company, under previous ownership, interacted with government and law enforcement officials to block or restrict prominent right-of-center accounts.
To the rescue have come some heroic office holders that are currently working, via policy and law, to rescue free expression from the jaws of suppression.
The attorneys general of Missouri and Louisiana have filed a lawsuit in Federal District Court in Louisiana against the White House and dozens of government officials, alleging that they have been coercing media to censor political criticisms, which is in direct violation of the First Amendment of the Constitution.
The outcome of the case is part of the valiant effort to restore the First Amendment to its proper place, and to also expose the “disinformation” ruse.
The attorneys general are responding to recent revelations that indicate news media companies, digital platforms and social media companies have worked in tandem with government officials to discriminate against the free expressions of their political opponents.
Andrew Bailey, Missouri’s new attorney general, was blunt in his language regarding administration officials.
“When, in the public forum, there is speech they disagree with and does not align with their political narratives they then collude with and coerce Big Tech’s social media to take that speech down.”
Via the discovery process attendant to the lawsuit, the depositions of administration officials and the production of documents have yielded evidence, which points to explicit and repeated censorship.
The legislatures of Florida and Texas have stepped into the free speech fray by passing new laws that help prevent digital platforms from removing content that is based on viewpoints involving politics, policies and the like.
The new Republican majority in the House has formed a select subcommittee to investigate what chairman Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, described as routine government violations of the First Amendment’s protections.
Legislators have subpoenaed top tech executives of some of the tech industry’s biggest companies. They are conducting a probe into whether there was collusion between Silicon Valley and Washington, D.C. to suppress free speech.
Letters demand documents and communications, including any White House communications related to the regulation of content between the companies and administration officials.
Said documents and communications are being sought from Google CEO Sundar Pichai, Amazon CEO Andy Jassy, Apple CEO Tim Cook, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella.
Perhaps legislators will consider adding the names of the executives who run DirecTV and AT&T to the list.
“Congress has an important role in protecting and advancing fundamental free speech principles, including by examining how private actors coordinate with the government to suppress First Amendment-protected speech,” Rep. Jordan’s office indicated in a statement.
So the free speech battle lines have been drawn. The fight to restore free speech in the digital media realm brings up a simple question.
How much ideological discrimination of speech should a free people tolerate?
Here’s the simple answer.