Twitter-allied platform MEDIUM silenced the free speech rights of independent journalists Michael Cernovich, Laura Loomer, and Jack Posobiec, as they immediately vowed to sue in court.
The popular writing platform run by Twitter co-founder Evan Williams arbitrarily destroyed all of the journalists’ articles, editorials, and thinkpieces.
MEDIUM attempted to defend their actions by claiming the journalists were members of the Alt-Right, a discredited and highly controversial group that espouses socialist and racial rhetoric.
In reality, none of the censored journalists are members of the Alt-Right. While Cernovich did identify with the movement in its’ infancy, when it was primarily an immigration advocacy group, he publicly broke with the group and denounced them when they first appropriated National Socialist imagery, symbolism, and language, at a small conference in Washington, DC, organized by its’ self-professed founder Richard Spencer.
The journalist and lawyer immediately condemned the group and said he no longer identified with the movement in a public statement at the time.
Cernovich has in fact been the target of a long and steady campaign of harassment by Alt-Right members, who have attacked his Persian wife and baby with vile racial language.
The decision by MEDIUM to censor the independent reporters based upon false information has raised questions about the company’s true motivations. Critics said the true motivation was retaliation for exposing the censorship scandal at the Big Four social media corporations. The action is doubly curious due to a similar action by Twitter around the exact same time to conduct a “bot purge”, which has reportedly disproportionately affected right-of-center figures.
The two operations, conducted at roughly the same time, have caused critics to wonder if Twitter is effectively implementing a political purge of its’ ideological enemies.
In a misleading article written for Outline on the MEDIUM platform, apparent ally Paris Martineau continued to propagate the false narrative of affiliation with the Alt-Right as the claim for the censorship.
Neither Jack Posobiec or Laura Loomer currently identify as Alt-Right members, and it is unknown if they ever have.
Unlike billion-dollar Silicon Valley mega-corporations, Cernovich, Posobiec, & Loomer are all private individuals unaffiliated with large companies or powerful journalistic enterprises. Many of them rely on donations from citizens who support their work. Cernovich is currently working on a documentary on accuracy in media reportage.
The reaction to the powerful corporations silencing the First Amendment rights of the powerless was swift and furious on Twitter.
Free press advocate and Wikileaks founder Julian Assange condemned the censorship:
Independent journalist, lawyer, and author Michael Cernovich announced that he was immediately suing Medium.
The major social media corporations have all seen their public image suffer recently due to censorship scandals. Google, Youtube, Facebook & Twitter have all had to absorb negative press as a result of their hamhanded, sometimes Orwellian thought control.
The education and documentary company PragerU recently filed a lawsuit against YouTube for censoring their educational videos. Many media critics have begun to openly speculate if there is an ideological agenda at the Big Four.
The stifling of free speech across America has raised an important question about corporate rights and responsibility. While companies have historically had a large leeway to control the discourse within their control, the monopolistic and all-encompassing nature of the Big Four’s control on public discourse means that in practice they effectively function as a government arm, with the power to determine what is and is not appropriate speech.
Those who are silenced are effectively rendered invisible. A new speech policy by Youtube or Twitter essentially functions as a new law passed by the US legislature. Few anticipated that corporations would abuse their power to amplify their allies’ voices and squelch their enemies. But that is what is occurring in America in 2018.
As the progressive political movement has captured and consolidated their control over the Big Four, their accompanying censorship has raised difficult questions for the American people and legislators at large.
When four corporations control such an enormous part of speech in America and subsequently abuses that responsibility to oppress their enemies, must the government step in to protect the oppressed? When the Big Four collude and act as one to violate citizens’ First Amendment rights, does the American government and its’ regulatory arms have a responsibility to intervene?
If they do not either break up the Big Four or levy enormous legal fines for suppressing freedom of speech, the First Amendment will essentially cease to exist in reality. Free speech advocates say that although it might remain in principle, as words written on an ancient piece of paper, the new reality in 2018 America will be a society ruled by the new Social Stasi.
This tension has already resulted in flashpoints, from former Google engineer and manifesto author James Damore’s lawsuit against the search behemoth, to Cernovich’s new lawsuit against Medium. The two cases spell enormous import for the future of speech, discussion, and who can dictate it in the nation.