Twilight of the Free Press, Thanks to the Left - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
Twilight of the Free Press, Thanks to the Left
Tucker Carlson on “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” discussing claims of NSA surveillance, June 29, 2021 (YouTube screenshot)

When Jen “Circleback Girl” Psaki announced, to the astonishment of half the country, that the White House was going to flag social media posts for deletion based on whether or not those posts fit the official COVID narrative, on its face the statement was objectionable enough.

One can conjure countless scenarios of Sarah Sanders or Kayleigh McEnany doing the same thing, and the country erupting in outrage. They never did, and still their critics on the left called the Trump administration “authoritarian.”

But we know now that virtually everything the Left — and those of its votaries who now control the tech space, corporate news and entertainment media, the arts and academia, and even a large swath of corporate America — does is projection. Call Team Trump authoritarians, and all you’re really doing is signaling your own intentions.

Sometimes it works in reverse. You can see that if you compare the free-wheeling destruction of Portland, Seattle, Minneapolis, and other places by mobs of woke idiots stoked up by committed Marxist revolutionaries over a man who probably died of a fentanyl overdose while in police custody to what happened on Jan. 6 at the U.S. Capitol, and note the reaction of the Democrat establishment.

But the fascistic impulse is very strong with these people, and Psaki, who’ll need a better nickname than Circleback Girl, Peppermint Patty or Raggedy Ann to more completely capture her shilling for the regime that employs her, simply said the quiet part out loud.

The regime will brook no dissent from its official line.

Psakigate took on a bizarre tone after her presumed boss Joe Biden attempted to talk his way around it, first accusing Facebook of “killing people” by allowing “false” statements on COVID and then incompetently shuffling back to the position that only a few people on Facebook were spreading “misinformation.”

“Misinformation.” You hear that word an awful lot these days, and the more you hear it the more the smell it carries with it makes you want to choke.

Why? Because “misinformation” is a word that has been established as a standard by the Left’s allies in Big Tech under which censorship can be slammed down on the public.

You see it all the time on Facebook and Twitter. What you don’t see is a whole lot of credibility backing the claims of “misinformation” that accompany the censorship.

So when Tucker Carlson went on the air and said he had information that the Biden NSA was reading his emails and other electronic communications, he was immediately accused of — and it was even phrased this way in certain circles — spreading “misinformation.”

But he wasn’t, of course. Carlson told the truth about what was happening to him, and the proof of that shortly came out when his communications were leaked to a news outlet friendly to the Biden administration that printed a story about his attempts to interview Vladimir Putin — as NBC News, a legacy corporate outlet enthusiastically cheering for Biden, was able to do.

They’re not finished with Carlson. Yesterday Jeffrey Lord had an outstanding piece here in The American Spectator discussing a Washington Post attack on Carlson as the voice of “White grievance.” Which is absurd, of course, because Carlson’s position on race has been clear and consistent — he isn’t interested in racism regardless of whom it’s directed against, and also because Carlson’s discussion of the Left’s use of mass immigration to replace and dilute America’s native electorate is not based in race but rather citizenship.

But if you can’t cancel someone by calling their statements “misinformation,” then “racism” is always the old standby. You can always trot out smear merchants like the Southern Poverty Law Center to make the charge if worst comes to worst.

As Carlson is the leading conservative voice in mass media now, it’s certain he would be in the crosshairs. But just to prove the effort to snuff out dissenting voices on the right isn’t a fluke, we now have an honest-to-God state-run media outlet doing the same thing to Ben Shapiro, who is another successful voice on the conservative side.

And that’s amazing stuff, because Shapiro’s material is usually fairly carefully calibrated to stay within what was for a long time thought to be the lines of “responsible” discourse. There’s a recent interview Shapiro did with Neil deGrasse Tyson, for example, that you can find on YouTube, and in it you can’t help but be amazed (dismayed) by the leniency he gives Tyson for spouting inanities machine-gun style about transgenderism.

But Shapiro has carved out an audience of impressive size without the sanction or sponsorship of corporate media, and he’s building his own budding enterprise, which might soon begin to pressure the big-dog media outfits’ bottom lines. Little surprise, then, that taxpayer-funded NPR took to trashing him as a spreader of “misinformation” over the weekend:

In 2021, Ben Shapiro rules Facebook.

The conservative podcast host and author’s personal Facebook page has more followers than The Washington Post, and he drives an engagement machine unparalleled by anything else on the world’s biggest social networking site.

An NPR analysis of social media data found that over the past year, stories published by the site Shapiro founded, The Daily Wire, received more likes, shares and comments on Facebook than any other news publisher by a wide margin.

Even legacy news organizations that have broken major stories or produced groundbreaking investigative work don’t come anywhere close.

Wait, there’s more:

Daily Wire articles with headlines such as “BOOK REVIEW: Proof That Wokeness Is Projection By Nervous, Racist White Women Who Can’t Talk To Minorities Without Elaborate Codes” regularly garner tens of thousands of shares for the site, and Shapiro is turning that Facebook reach into a rapidly expanding, cost-efficient media empire — one that experts worry may be furthering polarization in the United States. (My emphasis.)

And then, after castigating the Daily Wire and other outlets like the Blaze and the Western Journal for their “right-wing bias” and intent to generate outrage in their reporting, there is this:

While other media publications have seen their engagement numbers on Facebook fall off this year, The Daily Wire has stayed fairly constant, according to NPR’s analysis.

“I’m depressed by it, but I’m not that surprised,” [director of the Social Networks and Political Psychology Lab at the College of William & Mary in Virginia Jaime] Settle said. “This has everything to do with the psychology of news consumers and the broader issues with polarization in American culture.” …

The articles The Daily Wire publishes don’t normally include falsehoods (with some exceptions), and the site said it is committed to “truthful, accurate and ethical reporting.”

But as Settle explains, by only covering specific stories that bolster the conservative agenda (such as negative reports about socialist countries and polarizing ones about race and sexuality issues) and only including certain facts, readers still come away from The Daily Wire’s content with the impression that Republican politicians can do little wrong and cancel culture is among the nation’s greatest threats. (My emphasis.)

As though NPR and other legacy outlets don’t engage in highly selective reporting of their own. How many of them picked up on the Hunter Biden laptop story last year other than to report the charge that it was “Russian propaganda”? How many picked up on Tony Bobulinski? How many have vetted the history of Kamala Harris’s relationship with Willie Brown? How many are reporting on the extraordinary efforts being made by the Justice Department to keep Jan. 6 demonstrators behind bars without bail?

We all know what’s going on here. What we don’t know is when the other shoe drops and what that will look like.

But grasping for a monopoly on the truth is the hallmark of dictatorial regimes since Lenin, if not before. It’s a tactic of every tyrant of the information age, and it’s abundantly clear the current Left has studied their history well (while neglecting our own, of course). They give us no reason to believe they’ll stop at stamping out “misinformation” from the likes of Carlson and Shapiro.

Or that they’ll stop at all, without being stopped.

The elections of 2022, and 2024, can’t get here fast enough. Though if the Left thinks they can get away with it, there’s no reason to believe they won’t deny us even the chance to vote them out then.

Too much? Why would you think so? They already projected that one when they claimed Trump would do it last year.

Scott McKay
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Scott McKay is a contributing editor at The American Spectator  and publisher of the Hayride, which offers news and commentary on Louisiana and national politics, and, a national political news aggregation and opinion site. Additionally, he's the author of the new book The Revivalist Manifesto: How Patriots Can Win The Next American Era, available at He’s also a writer of fiction — check out his three Tales of Ardenia novels Animus, Perdition and Retribution at Amazon. Scott's other project is The Speakeasy, a free-speech social and news app with benefits - check it out here.
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