By Caitlin Johnstone
In an article last month titled “Facebook announces that fake accounts are now coming not just from Russia”, fauxgressive establishment apologia firm ThinkProgress falsely reported that I have been writing for an outlet that is alleged to be part of an Iranian propaganda campaign. I repeatedly brought this false claim to the attention of Casey Michel, the article’s author, telling him that ten seconds of research or any attempt to contact me would have shown him that the articles published by the outlet in question were just reblogs of earlier publications from my platform, but Michel ignored the many notifications he received from myself and my Twitter followers and went on merrily interacting with other posters. As of this writing, the article remains uncorrected.
In the article, Michel documented Facebook’s heroic efforts to shut down alleged Iranian propaganda outlets, ominously warning his readers that “Russia is by no means the only foreign adversary exploiting social media’s inherent openness.” In other articles for ThinkProgress, Michel is repeatedly seen wagging his finger at Facebook and Twitter for not doing more to censor “Russian propaganda”, and in a July article titled “Facebook says both sides share fake news, defends Infowars’ presence on its platform — Mark Zuckerberg has an interesting way of prioritizing ‘high quality news’” another ThinkProgress author criticized Facebook for not censoring Alex Jones. Jones was censored by Facebook the following month.
So I think it’s understandable that those of us who have been warning of the dangers of internet censorship find it a bit funny to see ThinkProgress now complaining that it has been censored by Facebook.
ThinkProgress reports that its traffic from Facebook has been slashed by eighty percent due to a “fact check” by the Weekly Standard which, through a series of moronic mental contortions, found ThinkProgress guilty of reporting fake news about Brett Kavanaugh of all things. In a twist of irony which would be delicious if it weren’t so disgusting, the Weekly Standard is one of Facebook’s authorized “fact checkers”, and happens to be the brainchild of none other than bloodthirsty psychopath and rehabilitated #Resistance hero Bill Kristol.
ThinkProgress is part of a very large and diverse branch of progressive punditry whose ultimate job is to help centrist empire loyalists feel like leftist revolutionaries, and since 2016 one of the many appalling consequences of this bizarre environment has been the embracing of Iraq-raping neoconservatives like Kristol and Max Boot by Democratic Party loyalists. In a bid to stay relevant despite having been consistently wrong about literally everything in foreign policy for the last two decades, these murderous ghouls have repackaged themselves as a woke, cuddly alternative to the Trumpian faction of the Republican Party, and have been rewarded for their efforts with regular platforms on MSNBC and the Washington Post.
So with ThinkProgress getting censored by Facebook, you really couldn’t ask for a more clear-cut case of reaping what you sow. Nevertheless, it is wrong for anyone to be deprived of political speech, even if much of their political speech consists of attempts to silence the political speech of others. And if there is anything more gross than political speech being regulated by Silicon Valley plutocrats and a NATO psyop factory, it’s political speech being regulated by Silicon Valley plutocrats, a NATO psyop factory, and Bill Kristol. ThinkProgress should not have its audience restricted.
All the “let me help you cheer for the establishment while pretending to oppose it” pundits who celebrated Alex Jones’ coordinated de-platforming last month are falling all over themselves to spin this new development in a way that allows them to feel as though they aren’t being proven wrong day after day after day, but of course they are. Facilitating the censorship of anyone’s speech is facilitating the censorship of your own speech in the long run, and we’re not even having to wait long to see it this time around. In a corporatist system of government, corporate censorship is state censorship; the massive new media corporations being implored to regulate which political speech gets an audience and which doesn’t have extensive ties to secretive government agenciesand a vested interest in maintaining the status quo.
I do not expect ThinkProgress to remain on Facebook’s restricted list for long; the real targets of internet censorship are not partisan outlets which prop up establishment politics and help legitimize America’s two-headed one party system. But that isn’t the point. The point is that Silicon Valley plutocrats, the NATO propaganda firm Atlantic Council, and the Weekly Standard should not be determining who gets an audience in the new media environment and who doesn’t. Nothing that has anything to do with Bill Kristol should ever have any power over anyone. If our choices are between letting people think for themselves and letting the guy who’s always wrong about everything determine what shows up in people’s news feed, the choice is obviously the one which doesn’t involve placing faith in the man who helped deceive America into butchering a million Iraqis.