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The NYT discovers free speech – after years of calling for censorship of Big Tech

The editorial board of the New York Times explained Friday that people should be able to voice “unpopular” positions without being canceled or “excluded from public discourse.” A free flow of information is essential for the functioning of democracy, the editors argued.

The Times statement — headlined “America Has a Free Speech Problem” — marks a startling turning point. For years, the newspaper has called on Big Tech to censor what it considers “misinformation” — like the Hunter Biden laptop story, which it suppressed ahead of the election.

Shortly after Donald Trump descended the golden elevator in Trump Tower to announce his 2015 presidential candidacy, the Times switched from All the News That’s Fit to Print to All the News That Fits an Anti-Trump Agenda.

Times media columnist Jim Rutenberg announced 2016: “If you’re a working journalist and you think Donald J. Trump is a demagogue,” you must “ditch the textbook that American journalism has used” and reject “normal standards.”

Bravo to the Gray Lady for Friday’s reversal – assuming the newspaper actually thrives on its new commitment to “competing ideas.” We will see.

But even more important is what happens next on social media. Half of Americans get it at least some of their news from Facebook, Twitter and other similar platforms rely far more than they do on the Times. The newspaper, along with the Democratic Party, has been pushing hard to delegate Silicon Valley to censor what we can see in the digital public space.

donald trump
As Trump entered the political arena, The New York Times pushed for more digital censorship.
AP Photo/Mark Lennihan
biden
President Biden is currently in the spotlight because of his son’s laptop files.
AP

One of the stories that didn’t fit either the Times’ anti-Trump narrative or Silicon Valley’s political agenda was the incriminating content on Hunter Biden’s laptop, which detailed his business dealings in Ukraine and China, and his father, who was then Presidential candidate Joe Biden.

The New York Post published this story in October 2020. But the Times smeared it as “baseless” and quoted former Democratic officials calling it Russian disinformation without any evidence.

Then, last Wednesday, the Times secretly admitted in the 24th paragraph of a message that the information on Hunter Biden’s laptop was authenticated and relevant – 17 months after voters went to the polls and were largely unaware of Hunter and his father’s multimillion-dollar covert deals with the Chinese.

This is where social media comes into play. Twitter blocked the New York Post account and Facebook used algorithms to slow the spread of the Post’s reporting.

Democrats know Silicon Valley serves them. More than three-quarters of Democrats want tech companies to delete “incorrect” information. More than half of Republicans say no, according to Pew Research.

The Times has been calling for more digital censorship since Trump’s debut. 2016 the editors complained about it “Companies like Facebook and Google” make it possible to “share fake news with millions of users almost instantly” and are too slow to block them.

Facebook
The majority of Americans get their news from social media platforms like Facebook.
SOPA Images/LightRocket via Gett
Mark Zuckerberg
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg believes the public has a right to political expression.
AP

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg “continues to allow liars and scammers to hijack his platform,” the Times complained. The paper actually claimed, “Blocking misinformation will help protect the company’s brand and credibility.” We see where that’s come from.

in the another editorial That year, the Times board of directors showed its contempt for the public, suggesting that ordinary people are doomed without “a Walter Cronkite to lead them.”

Significantly in 2018, added the board that digital censorship “can change the course of elections”.

Fast forward to 2021 after Biden defeats Trump. Times editor Greg Bensinger applauds Facebook for banning President Trump’s account on Jan. 7 and chastising Silicon Valley for “shutting down posts from other leaders spewing resentment and disinformation.”

Zuckerberg insisted that “the public has a right to the widest possible access to political speech.” Bensinger called this “a red herring”.

Judge Clarence Thomas
Judge Clarence Thomas doesn’t like that three people have a lot of control over the digital space.
Erin Schaff/The New York Times via AP

It’s not a red herring. It’s important for democracy.

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas maintains a different view; He’s appalled by the power of big tech: “One person controls Facebook,” he notes, “and only two control Google.” In other words, three people can erase anyone from the digital public space.

Whether or not the Times really does an about-face, the public should learn from the Hunter Biden laptop cover-up: Don’t trust Silicon Valley to decide what you can see.

Betsy McCaughey is a former Lieutenant Governor of New York.

https://nypost.com/2022/03/21/the-nyt-finally-discovers-free-speech-after-years-calling-for-big-tech-censorship/ The NYT discovers free speech – after years of calling for censorship of Big Tech

DUSTIN JONES

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