First They Came for Alex Jones’ Info Wars and We Did Nothing Because…

by Jon Fournier | August 9th, 2018

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First They Came for Alex Jones’ Info Wars and We Did Nothing Because…

First they came for Alex Jones and his Info Wars and so many stayed silent, includ­ing too many on the polit­i­cal right. When the same social media orga­ni­za­tions come to silence their next right wing web­site will so may remain silent, or will it be too late? Once cen­sor­ship like this begins, there is usu­ally no way to stop it. The same forces that are silenc­ing Alex Jones have been gun­ning for Drudge and Bre­it­bart for years. I fear that it will not be long before those two, and many oth­ers receive the same treat­ment. The best and only time to resist cen­sor­ship is imme­di­ately, when it begins, and to resist it as force­fully as pos­si­ble. Every­one should con­demn this shame­ful treat­ment of Alex Jones and his Info Wars, no mat­ter if you agree with what he has to say or not.

I firmly believe cen­sor­ship, of any nature, is always wrong. I firmly believe every­one has a right to say what­ever they want to say, and every­one has a right to lis­ten to what­ever they want to lis­ten to. The most com­mon jus­ti­fi­ca­tion for silenc­ing some­one is to label what they have to say as hate speech. What exactly is hate speech. you might be won­der­ing? That ques­tion is impos­si­ble to answer because the con­cept is way too sub­jec­tive. Far too often, any ideas espoused by those on the polit­i­cal right are labeled hate speech by those on the polit­i­cal left, and then those ideas are banned.

This Bre­it­bart Arti­cle describes why the silenc­ing of Info Wars happened.

Big tech’s coor­di­nated purge of InfoWars — which was hit by bans from Apple, Face­book, Spo­tify and YouTube in rapid suc­ces­sion — did not occur in a vac­uum. On this issue, Sil­i­con Val­ley bowed to CNN jour­nal­ists and Demo­c­rat politi­cians who cease­lessly lob­bied for the site to be censored.

It’s a sign of how the con­cen­tra­tion of power in Amer­ica has shifted from big gov­ern­ment to big tech that politi­cians are now lob­by­ing tech com­pa­nies rather than the other way round, but that’s exactly what hap­pened over the course of the past few months, as Democ­rats applied relent­less pres­sure on Face­book and other Sil­i­con Val­ley giants to cen­sor InfoWars.

It is unso­cia­ble that mem­bers of the Demo­c­ra­tic Party would lobby for cen­sor­ing InfoWars, or any­one else. This attack of Alex Jones’ free­dom of speech was polit­i­cally motivated.

As you can see in this arti­cle by the AP, cries of hate speech were the jus­ti­fi­ca­tion for this purge.

Major tech com­pa­nies have begun to ban right-​wing con­spir­acy the­o­rist Alex Jones from their ser­vices, reflect­ing a more aggres­sive enforce­ment of poli­cies against hate speech fol­low­ing protests on social media.

Face­book has taken down four pages belong­ing to Jones, includ­ing two fea­tur­ing his “InfoWars” show, for vio­lat­ing its hate speech and bul­ly­ing poli­cies. Over the past sev­eral days, Apple, YouTube and Spo­tify have also removed mate­r­ial pub­lished by Jones. Twit­ter, which hasn’t banned Jones, has also faced sim­i­lar calls.

Does Alex Jones or InfoWars engage in any­thing that can rea­son­ably be called hate speech? On this I am no expert. Before this story broke I had never been to InfoWars, or viewed any of his videos. This is only because I already have a dozen or so web­sites I visit daily for my news and polit­i­cal infor­ma­tion. I did not have time for another. Based on what I’ve seen in the past two days, I have not seen any evi­dence, on just InfoWars, of what could be called hate speech. Even if the site was noth­ing but “hate speech” I would still decry the silenc­ing of his sites as force­fully as possible.

Brent Bozell of News Busters has sim­i­lar opin­ions on this. Here is what he had to say in this arti­cle:

I don’t sup­port Alex Jones and what InfoWars pro­duces. He’s not a con­ser­v­a­tive. How­ever, ban­ning him and his out­let is wrong. It’s not just a slip­pery slope, it’s a dan­ger­ous cliff that these social media com­pa­nies are jump­ing off to sat­isfy CNN and other lib­eral outlets….Social media sites are sup­pos­edly neu­tral plat­forms, but they are increas­ingly becom­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties for the left and major media to cen­sor any con­tent that they don’t like.

Con­ser­v­a­tives are increas­ingly con­cerned that InfoWars is not the end point for those who want to ban speech. It’s just the begin­ning. We are rapidly approach­ing a point where cen­sor­ship of oppos­ing voices is the norm. That’s dangerous.

Ben Shapiro, who is no fan of Alex Jones, is quoted in this Daily Wire Arti­cle as saying:

Trust in social media is declin­ing nearly as fast as trust in media over­all. There’s a rea­son for that. And it’s not because social media tol­er­ates voices like Jones. It’s because they don’t tol­er­ate voices like Jones while tol­er­at­ing voices who are just as bad on the polit­i­cal Left – and they show no signs of lim­it­ing their cen­sor­ship to Alex Jones.

Some Democ­rats are reported to be work­ing on a plan that would very heav­ily reg­u­late the inter­net. The main objec­tive of that would be to com­pletely stran­gle all forms of com­mu­ni­ca­tion from the polit­i­cal right. Here are the details. Cen­sor­ship of con­ser­v­a­tives by social media is a major prob­lem but gov­ern­ment inter­ven­tion is not the solu­tion. Gov­ern­ment inter­ven­tion will only make this prob­lem far worse, just like gov­ern­ment inter­ven­tion always does. Gov­ern­ment inter­ven­tion is not called for in this case. These com­pa­nies are pri­vate com­pa­nies. They have every right to run their com­pa­nies any way they want to, includ­ing cen­sor­ing oth­ers. I have every tight to speak out against this cen­sor­ship, and all cen­sor­ship, as loudly as I wish to, and I’m implor­ing oth­ers to do so as well.

First they came for Alex Jones and his Info Wars and so many stayed silent, including too many on the political right.  When the same social media organizations come to silence their next right wing website will so may remain silent, or will it be too late?  Once censorship like this begins, there is usually no way to stop it.  The same forces that are silencing Alex Jones have been gunning for Drudge and Breitbart for years.  I fear that it will not be long before those two, and many others receive the same treatment.  The best and only time to resist censorship is immediately, when it begins, and to resist it as forcefully as possible.  Everyone should condemn this shameful treatment of Alex Jones and his Info Wars, no matter if you agree with what he has to say or not.

I firmly believe censorship, of any nature, is always wrong.  I firmly believe everyone has a right to say whatever they want to say, and everyone has a right to listen to whatever they want to listen to.  The most common justification for silencing someone is to label what they have to say as hate speech.  What exactly is hate speech. you might be wondering?  That question is impossible to answer because the concept is way too subjective.  Far too often, any ideas espoused by those on the political right are labeled hate speech by those on the political left, and then those ideas are banned.

This Breitbart Article describes why the silencing of Info Wars happened.

Big tech’s coordinated purge of InfoWars — which was hit by bans from Apple, Facebook, Spotify and YouTube in rapid succession — did not occur in a vacuum. On this issue, Silicon Valley bowed to CNN journalists and Democrat politicians who ceaselessly lobbied for the site to be censored.

It’s a sign of how the concentration of power in America has shifted from big government to big tech that politicians are now lobbying tech companies rather than the other way round, but that’s exactly what happened over the course of the past few months, as Democrats applied relentless pressure on Facebook and other Silicon Valley giants to censor InfoWars.

It is unsociable that members of the Democratic Party would lobby for censoring InfoWars, or anyone else.  This attack of Alex Jones’ freedom of speech was politically motivated.

As you can see in this article by the AP, cries of hate speech were the justification for this purge.

Major tech companies have begun to ban right-wing conspiracy theorist Alex Jones from their services, reflecting a more aggressive enforcement of policies against hate speech following protests on social media.

Facebook has taken down four pages belonging to Jones, including two featuring his “InfoWars” show, for violating its hate speech and bullying policies. Over the past several days, Apple, YouTube and Spotify have also removed material published by Jones. Twitter, which hasn’t banned Jones, has also faced similar calls.

Does Alex Jones or InfoWars engage in anything that can reasonably be called hate speech?  On this I am no expert.  Before this story broke I had never been to InfoWars, or viewed any of his videos.  This is only because I already have a dozen or so websites I visit daily for my news and political information.  I did not have time for another.  Based on what I’ve seen in the past two days, I have not seen any evidence, on just InfoWars, of what could be called hate speech.  Even if the site was nothing but “hate speech” I would still decry the silencing of his sites as forcefully as possible.

Brent Bozell of News Busters has similar opinions on this.  Here is what he had to say in this article:

I don’t support Alex Jones and what InfoWars produces. He’s not a conservative. However, banning him and his outlet is wrong. It’s not just a slippery slope, it’s a dangerous cliff that these social media companies are jumping off to satisfy CNN and other liberal outlets….Social media sites are supposedly neutral platforms, but they are increasingly becoming opportunities for the left and major media to censor any content that they don’t like.

Conservatives are increasingly concerned that InfoWars is not the end point for those who want to ban speech. It’s just the beginning. We are rapidly approaching a point where censorship of opposing voices is the norm. That’s dangerous.

Ben Shapiro, who is no fan of Alex Jones, is quoted in this Daily Wire Article as saying:

Trust in social media is declining nearly as fast as trust in media overall. There’s a reason for that. And it’s not because social media tolerates voices like Jones. It’s because they don’t tolerate voices like Jones while tolerating voices who are just as bad on the political Left – and they show no signs of limiting their censorship to Alex Jones.

Some Democrats are reported to be working on a plan that would very heavily regulate the internet.  The main objective of that would be to completely strangle all forms of communication from the political right.  Here are the details.  Censorship of conservatives by social media is a major problem but government intervention is not the solution.  Government intervention will only make this problem far worse, just like government intervention always does.  Government intervention is not called for in this case.  These companies are private companies.  They have every right to run their companies any way they want to, including censoring others.  I have every tight to speak out against this censorship, and all censorship, as loudly as I wish to, and I’m imploring others to do so as well.

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