June 19, 2024

Who Controls What You Can Say and Read?

A Supreme Court decision this month could ensure the answer to that question is YOU.

“Without Freedom of Thought there can be no such Thing as Wisdom; and no such Thing as Public Liberty, without Freedom of Speech.” —Benjamin Franklin (1722)

This week, we heard from a longtime reader and Day of Liberty sponsor. He let our team know that 10 days ago, his email service provider started dumping his Patriot Post Mid-Day Digest into a junk mail folder, even though he always reads the editions from top to bottom and clearly had never marked it as junk mail. I responded that the Big Tech oligarchs who control his email inbox have decided he should not read The Patriot. We estimate that 15,000-20,000 other Patriot Post readers are subject to this same censorship every day.

Most of our readers have experienced some delivery issues, even though our delivery reputation (the integrity of our standards and practices) is very high. So what’s been happening?

You have likely not heard about the two most consequential cases on which the Supreme Court will rule prior to its summer recess. Those cases involve deliberate suppression of free speech by Big Tech platforms, including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter/X, and YouTube. And conservative news, policy, and opinion digests like The Patriot Post are their targets.

The future of free speech — indeed, the future of American Liberty — rests in no small part on the balance of these decisions. Anyone who thinks that assertion is too strident or dramatic does not understand the current extent of free speech suppression or its far-reaching political and social consequences. Republicans in Congress, with few exceptions, clearly do not understand the consequences, or they would have already addressed this issue.

We have written extensively about speech suppression, which the leftist arbiters of truth put into high gear in 2017 after the election of Donald Trump. Since Joe Biden slithered into office, that violation of our fundamental civil rights has accelerated exponentially and unabated.

The most comprehensive analysis I have written on this subject is titled “The Systemic ‘Redlining’ of Free Speech — Violating Foundational Civil Rights.” It provides details of the mass suppression of conservative speech by Leftmedia and social media platforms, and it documents in great detail what we know about social media suppression of our Patriot Post content.

To put that into perspective, despite the fact that we have a very high engagement rate among 750,000 Facebook users who have specifically asked to follow our content, our traffic from Facebook has dropped 98% in 26 months. Again, a 98% drop in a little over two years. Of course, some suggest that we “just get off Facebook,” but we have been building readership on that platform for over a decade — at a significant cost of time and creative energy — and are disinclined to retreat and surrender. If not for the suppression and shadow-banning, based on our growth rate five years earlier, we would be reaching four to five million Facebook users by now.

For the record, we are on all the major social media platforms, and those platforms are increasingly where most Americans get their news and express their opinions. Thus, these platforms’ corrupt systemic speech suppression has become the Left’s most effective strategy for controlling public opinion and perpetuating their political agenda.

Florida and Texas have passed laws seeking to limit censorship of free speech on social media platforms, and other states around the nation are awaiting the SCOTUS outcome, including Tennessee, where we are based, in order to chart a path forward with their own legislation to protect freedom of speech. While the Florida and Texas laws are specific to those states, if the Supreme Court upholds those laws, it will likely impact so-called “content moderation” nationwide.

As First Liberty Institute counsel Erin Smith argues: “Social media companies have often targeted conservative users, organizations, and religious messages for censorship. By labeling the messages as ‘hate’ or ‘misinformation,’ social media companies silence conservative voices and stunt the free flow of information. These platforms, under the guise of ‘standards’ or ‘policies,’ have repeatedly censored, de-platformed, and shadow-banned conservative viewpoints through selective application of ever-changing rules.”

Consequently, Smith notes: “Texas and Florida both passed laws to restore trust and confidence in social media. The laws require that, at a minimum, social media companies be transparent in their content standards. To be clear, these laws do not require companies to platform everyone. They simply require that content standards be even-handedly applied. Want to avoid the law? Simple — stop telling users that your social media platform is a neutrally administered public service and actually acknowledge that it selectively enforces its policies against disfavored viewpoints.”

In other words, when the Big Tech platforms claim they can’t de-platform actual haters like Islamist terrorists, they are lying.

There are also other more nefarious efforts to control what you can read or say beyond the social media algorithms because these censorship efforts are virtually invisible.

A case in point would be an email I received this week from a leftist outfit called NewsGuard, a bunch of slick profiteers who have frequently targeted The Patriot Post in order to encourage other media platforms to censor our content. NewsGuard claims to be “nonpartisan and unbiased” in its ratings of news organizations for trustworthiness. Moreover, it gets federal funding for its self-appointed role as the “arbiter of trustworthy news” outlets.

But NewsGuard is a cadre of leftist hacks, propagandists for the Democrat Party agenda, and we have a long record of emails with their amateur “news raters” to prove it. For example, The Patriot Post has received poor ratings because of our “homophobic or transphobic” assertions about gender confusion. In other words, we refuse to comply with NewsGuard’s political agenda.

In addition to their biased “news rating” service, an email from their founder, Steven Brill, blared: “67% of advertisers unknowingly place ads on misinformation websites.” He went on to explain, “A study of nine million ads from 42,000 advertisers reveals that 46-80% of brands in top industries are inadvertently advertising on misinformation websites … and that C-suite executives seem unaware of the problem.”

So, Brill just outlined their next speech suppression strategy — getting advertisers to defund organizations advocating policies that don’t comport with the Demo/NewsGuard agenda by labeling them “misinformation sites.” Fact is, NewsGuard is the purveyor of misinformation by way of their ratings, what the old Soviet communists would proudly call propagators of the state’s “dezinformatsiya.”

I responded to Brill: “Noticeably absent from your email are two things: 1. Who determines what constitutes ‘misinformation’? 2. Where is the list of ‘misinformation sites’?” You will be shocked to learn that I received no response.

In fact, you can’t get any information from NewsGuard unless you pay for it — not even their ratings on your own organization in order to contest those ratings. Very slick indeed. So much for their claim that “apolitical and transparent criteria have been applied by its analysts to rate news sources accounting for 95% of online engagement.” In other words, they are used by behemoth media platforms as arbiters of “misinformation.”

If The New York Times and CNN were subjected to the same standards NewsGuard unduly imposes on conservative news sites, they would be banned from social media posts and never get another advertising dollar.

One of hundreds of indisputable examples of such “misinformation” double-standards would be the blatant lie repeated for months after Biden took office by The New York Times, CNN, et al., claiming a Capitol Police Officer was murdered by January 6th protestors. This was clearly a lie as our fact-checks on the Leftmedia’s “fact checkers” made clear, but they got a pass. Another would be the recent re-emergence of one of Joe Biden’s plethora of lies, this one in a campaign ad using Marine gravestones as a prop, erroneously claiming Trump called them “suckers and losers” — which was then endlessly repeated by Biden’s adoring media parrots.

For the record, the reason we have never taken advertising revenue is so advertisers don’t have an undue influence on our content. As it turns out, the decision to be “Certified Ad-Free,” however unorthodox it was 28 years ago, was even more critical to avoid speech suppression.

Fortunately, House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer (R-KY) announced a probe into NewsGuard. “This appears to be a very biased, very unfair service that’s getting federal funds … another backdoor attempt at censoring conservative media outlets,” said Comer. “Somehow,” he noted, “networks like MSNBC and CNN [get] tremendous grades” while conservative alternatives get “very poor grades.” The criteria are problematic for another key reason, Comer argued: “They turn around and they offer their grades to advertisers [to] discourage advertisers from advertising on conservative networks,” and may be in violation of the law in the process.

Beyond the known speech suppressors, what of those who master the use of AI for to target, silence and manipulate speech. Yes, AI is only as smart as the garbage it takes in and spits out, but that is smarter than the vast majority of media consumers who are not discerning about what they hear or read. Garbage In – Garbage Out, but it can most assuredly be used to suppress free speech.

Coming full circle, a SCOTUS decision upholding the Florida and Texas laws against speech suppression will no doubt influence this investigation as well, though we are concerned the High Court will probably not uphold the rights of those states to protect the fundamental civil rights of their citizens. If that is the case, The Patriot Post will not have standing under Tennessee law to sue Facebook, a suit we have been prepping for two years while awaiting legislation that depends on SCOTUS affirming the rights of states to protect free speech.

Again, the most dangerous threat to the future of American Liberty is the war against the First Amendment. Thus far, the Demo cadres behind the systemic suppression of free speech — and their social and mass media surrogates — are succeeding with little resistance because their suppression measures are invisible to most Americans.

Fellow Patriots, The Patriot Post is donor-supported to keep advertisers and special interest groups out of our editorial decisions. Please support that mission to ensure our timeless message of Liberty reaches an ever-wider audience. Please make your gift to the 2024 Independence Day Campaign today. Thank you for helping us keep the fires of Liberty burning bright in the hearts and minds of millions of Patriots nationwide.

Semper Vigilans Fortis Paratus et Fidelis
Pro Deo et Libertate — 1776

Follow Mark Alexander on X/Twitter.

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