The hit against independent broadcaster Alex Jones’ Infowars operation orchestrated by Google, Apple, Facebook, Stitcher, and Spotify is rattling quite a few cages on the dissident Right. The whole episode is giving me a mild case of the Mandela Effect, since I thought Jones had been banned since last year.
That goes to show how much attention I paid to Infowars, but that’s not the point. I’m all ears now, and so are many people who never gave Jones the time of day before. That’s one point among several brought to the fore by big tech’s coordinated purge of a citizen journalist. Big tech’s ability to purge citizen journalists is another point.
Jones’ deplatforming is a big deal, and not just because his show reached millions of people. His politics are rather mild when you peel back the conspiracy fodder. The combination of civic nationalism and free market economics I’ve heard him promote is pretty standard BoomerCon fare.If you want to explain Infowars’ ban to your parents, ask them to imagine if the big three broadcast networks had teamed up to get Rush Limbaugh kicked off the air in August of ’92. The cultural and political implications are similar but with the stakes turned up to eleven.
As with most turns of the culture war, reactions to Jones’ unpersoning often say more about the commenter than they say about the event. Fake News hucksters from CNN programming directors to J-school grads at Slate getting paid in exposure are tasting blood in the water and circling the wreckage. Alt-Right types are busy saying “I told you so.” The Alt-Lite has declared big tech’s purge of Jones an attack on free speech.
The free speech rhetoric in particular is mostly abstract sloganeering. Google, Apple, and Facebook didn’t set out to destroy free speech. Not directly. Besides, you can’t destroy what doesn’t exist in the first place. Big tech had a concrete purpose in mind when it brought the hammer down on Infowars. Precisely what their purpose was remains the subject of speculation, but some intriguing theories are floating around.
First, and in keeping with the anti-speech angle, is the observation that silencing Alex Jones sends a clear message to those big tech considers potential threats. The citizen journalists, freelance gadflies, and dissident pranksters that haunt YouTube and Facebook are now on notice. If they can take down Infowars, they can take down anybody.
Ratcheting up the political intrigue, some are accusing the tech giants of trying to rig the upcoming midterms. Alternative media is widely credited for delivering the 2016 election to Trump, so this theory holds some water.
Deeper down the rabbit hole, we find folks who are convinced the Left are taking out some kind of ex post facto revenge against Jones for the 2016 election. This theory has merit when you consider that the Left is a death cult totally invested in immanentizing the eschaton. Big tech and the Fake News promised the Left that Obama was their messiah and a shiny utopia was just over the horizon. Hillary was supposed to have cemented the strides made during the Obama years. Her loss had a similar effect on the American Left as getting nuked and hearing the emperor renounce his divinity had on the Japanese, minus the high IQs and strong sense of national confidence. Trump appeared on Infowars during the campaign, so what we’re seeing might be the Left’s equivalent of burning a witch at the stake.
I don’t discount that the first three explanations probably influenced big tech’s decision to take out Jones. I happened upon another possible factor the other day. The news cycle moves fast, so people are already forgetting about Trump’s tweet calling Twitter out for shadowbanning conservatives. In a video from July 26, the same day Trump sent his tweet, Jones claimed that he and his staff prepared a comprehensive report on social media censorship against conservatives. The report was allegedly given to Congressman Matt Gaetz, who Jones accused of misrepresented its findings. However, he also claimed the report made its way to the President himself.
Google and Facebook have already gotten themselves in hot water over their shady business practices. The President promising an investigation into another social media giant is the last thing they need.
Consider the fact that Twitter is playing the role of the dog that didn’t bark. Twitter and Amazon are the only two big tech players that haven’t banned Jones. Occam’s Razor explains Amazon’s avoidance of the whole mess. They’re still primarily interested in turning a profit, so banning Jones’ books wouldn’t benefit them. As for Twitter, the matter of why the ban-happiest social network on earth, which employs a cadre of purple-haired cat ladies to select conservatives for random suspensions, didn’t jump on the bandwagon is a curious question, indeed.
Could Twitter’s conspicuous absence from the Infowars dogpile be tacit confirmation that Jones’ report is at least partly responsible for Trump turning up the heat on Twitter? Even Jack Dorsey has to realize that banning Jones under those circumstances would throw his company from the frying pan and into the fire. What if Jack decided to get even by proxy and called in some favors with the other tech outfits?
However we got here, where we’re currently at is a place where rootless megacorps run by autistic sociopaths can band together on a whim to ruin law-abiding private citizens. The ball is now in Trump’s court, and that means antitrust and RICO charges.
It had better, because the Left’s endgame is making all news the sole domain of the legacy media once again. If big tech have their way, we’ll all be getting our news exclusively from network anchors and a handful of newspapers propped up by said tech oligarchs and Mexican billionaires. In short, big tech wants to turn us all into Boomers when it comes to the news, but in the Millennials’ case, without the condos and 401(k)s.
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