Nearly 70 years ago, George Orwell published 1984, and themes of his novel are still being seen today, primarily censorship. There is a real bias in the media, often with a left leaning tilt. ABC, CBS, CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC are considered some of the top mainstream news stations on television. Only one is conservative. Other than Fox News, every other mainstream network has a liberal outlook, some more than others.
This phenomenon has extended past television and into the digital world. On the world wide web, everyone has an equal playing field. Therefore the only way to control narratives is though dominance and acts of censorship. The main victim has been conservative and libertarian media.
However, they have been targeted indirectly, through the masquerade of “fake news.”
Alex Jones, Drudge Report, Milo Yiannopoulos, and Breitbart have all fallen victim to the fake news label. The topic of “fake news” was brought up by the mainstream media and social media sites when discussing the victory of President Trump.
A published viral chart of “fake news” and media bias has made its rounds across the internet. Unfortunately, the chart suggests that CNN, The Washington Post and The New York Times are some of the best and most unbiased news sources. While, subsequently, conservatarian outlets such as Breitbart, The Daily Caller, The Blaze, and InfoWars were pushed to the very bottom as “utter garbage clickbait.”
Apple has taken action in the form of censoring Joe Rogan and Alex Jones themselves. According to Rob Dew at InfoWars, Apple censors material that is either too controversial or opposes their beliefs. Recently, Alex Jones was a guest on Joe Rogan’s famous podcast. It ended up being Rogan’s most watched podcast within days of its upload. Until Rogan contacted Apple to complain, it was not able to be downloaded on iTunes.
CNN took it upon themselves to insinuate that looking into WikiLeaks was illegal. Chris Cuomo of CNN stated that “it’s illegal to possess these stolen documents. It’s different for the media. So everything you learn about this, you’re learning from us.” Yet, mainstream media rarely spent their election coverage on the leaks.
A study from NewsBusters shows compared news coverage of Clinton’s email leaks to accusations of sexual misconduct from President Trump. On the day both broke, “news shows on ABC, CBS and NBC dedicated 4 hours and 13 minutes to discussing the recent allegations of sexual misconduct surrounding Donald Trump’s campaign.” However, “WikiLeaks emails from top Hillary staff gotten a comparatively puny 36 minutes of coverage during this same time period.” This equates to 7x more coverage of unsubstantiated claims about Donald Trump than of true information leaked to the public.
In reaction to these events, actor James Woods has voluntarily quit Twitter since it “is now in the #censorship business,” and stated that he “will no longer use its service for my constitutional right to free speech.”
On the other hand, YouTube has taken a more subtle approach, by instituting their new “notifications” system. In the past, users would get notifications from every creator they subscribe to. Now, YouTube has casually made their users ask to get notifications. Many people have been not getting notifications from their top posters, while YouTube has pushed “featured videos” for people to watch. This gives YouTube more power to delegate what people see and watch.
The internet was suppose to be the land of free speech, even if controversial, but the tides are seeming to turn in a different direction: Towards censorship.