By Charles Hugh Smith
Source: Of Two Minds
The profit-maximizing Big Tech / Big Media Totalitarian regime hasn’t just strangled free speech and civil liberties; it’s also strangled democracy.
The U.S. has entered an extremely dangerous time, and the danger has nothing to do with the Covid virus. Indeed, the danger long preceded the pandemic, which has served to highlight how far down the road to ruin we have come.
The danger we are ill-prepared to deal with is the consolidation of the private-sector media and its unification of content into one Approved Narrative which is for sale to the highest bidders. This is the perfection of for-profit Totalitarianism in which dissent is crushed, dissenters punished and billions of dollars are reaped in managing the data and content flow of the one Approved Narrative.
So don’t post content containing the words (censored), (censored) or (censored), or you’ll be banned, shadow-banned, demonetized, demonized and marginalized. Your voice will be erased from public access via the Big Media platforms and you will effectively be disappeared but without any visible mess or evidence–or recourse in the courts.
That’s the competitive advantage of for-profit Totalitarianism–no legal recourse against the suppression of free speech and dissent. And if you’re shadow-banned as I was, you won’t even know just how severely your free speech has been suppressed because the Big Tech platforms are black boxes: no one outside the profit-maximizing corporation knows what its algorithms and filters actually do or exactly what happens to the disappeared / shadow-banned.
Shadow-banning is an invisible toxin to free speech: if you’re shadow-banned, you won’t even know that the audience for your posts, tweets, etc. has plummeted to near-zero and others can no longer retweet your content. You only see your post is online as usual, because this is the whole point of shadow-banning: you assume your speech is still free even as its been strangled to death by Big Tech black box platforms.
Since Andy Grove’s dictum only the paranoid survive is my Prime Directive, I’ve paid a bit more to have access to server traffic data. So I can pinpoint precisely when I was shadow-banned: my overall traffic fell off a cliff and the number of readers visiting from links on Big Tech platforms fell from thousands to near-zero.
The new consolidated Big Media Totalitarians play an interesting game of circular sources: in the traditional, now-obsolete / suppressed form of journalism, a reporter would be required to identify a minimum of three different sources for the story, and make at least a desultory effort to present two sides of the issue.
That model is out the window in the USSA’s Big Media Totalitarian regime. Now reporters only have to use a completely bogus, fabricated source in another Big Media story. Just being in another Big Media platform / publication is now “proof” that the source is legitimate.
In other words, investigative journalism is nothing but a Potemkin Village of circular sources conjured out of thin air by Big Media. Here’s an example from my own experience of being shadow-banned.
1. A completely bogus organization pops up out of nowhere and doesn’t bother identifying its owners, managers or sources.
2. This complete travesty of a mockery of a sham fabrication then issues a list of websites which it claims, with zero evidence, are stooges / outlets of Russian propaganda.
3. With zero investigation of this slanderous, evidence-free “source,” the venerable Washington Post (owned by Jeff Bezos) publishes an evidence-free hit piece glorifying this fabrication on Page One.
4. The other Big Media giants then amplify the bogus slander because it came from a “legitimate source,” the Washington Post.
Do you understand how circular sourcing works now? Once a flagrantly bogus bit of propaganda is embraced by one Big Media giant as part of the Approved Narrative, then every other Big Media / Big Tech corporation promotes the fabrication as “real news” even as it is obviously the acme of “fake news”, a complete fabrication.
The fake “source” was called PropOrNot, and the list included dozens of well-respected independent websites, all slandered with a completely fake accusation for one reason: each site had published some content that cast a skeptical eye on the crowning of Hillary Clinton in 2016 and the crushing of Bernie Sanders’ campaign by Big Media’s Approved Narrative.
As long as you post videos of kittens and kids dancing, you’re OK because your content (owned and controlled by the platform you posted it on–read the terms of Service) is free to the platforms and they use your content to “engage” users which generates billions in profits.
But if you question the Approved Narrative, you put a big day-glo target on your back. Now if you’re a multi-millionaire, you know, a top 0.1% per-center, you can afford to keep posting dissenting views even after you’ve been demonetized and your income falls to near-zero.
The rest of us aren’t quite so privileged. This is another of the toxic elements in Big Media / Big Tech’s consolidated control of what was once known as free speech: They don’t have to ban your content outright, which might cause a few ripples of tame protest; all they have to do is starve you into submission by strangling your source of income.
Thanks to watertight terms of service, even a multi-millionaire is legally powerless against the USSA’s Big Media Totalitarian regime. By posting content, you already gave away all your rights. So you can go solo and post content on some obscure corner of the web that no one knows exist, but that’s the functional equivalent of being banned and demonetized.
So go right ahead and enter a sound-proof box and scream your head off; nobody can hear you. Welcome to the totally privately owned, legally untouchable Big Tech / Big Media Totalitarian regime that will let you know what’s in the Approved Narrative because that’s all you’re allowed to see.
Gordon Long and I cover these topics and many more in our latest video Buying the Narrative (35:41) Since I’d like the video to actually be viewed more than 11 times, I avoided using the terms (censored), (censored) or (censored), and that’s the final fatal poison delivered by our profit-maximizing Big Tech / Big Media Totalitarian regime: self censorship. You know what you can’t say, so don’t say it. Stick with the kitten videos and you’ll be just fine.
You’ll be just fine but you no longer live in a functioning democracy. The profit-maximizing Big Tech / Big Media Totalitarian regime hasn’t just strangled free speech and civil liberties; it’s also strangled democracy.
It’s all fun and games until the pendulum of Totalitarian Consolidation and its Approved Narrative reaches an extreme (like, say, right now) and the pendulum swings back to an equal extreme at the other end of the spectrum. Keep in mind that hubris and money are no match for history: the more powerful you claim to be, the greater your fall. The way of the Tao is reversal.
Welcome to the U.S.S.A.’s Banquet of Consequences (December 8, 2020)