By: Mark Glennon*

National media and big tech companies now routinely distort facts and block viewpoints they don’t like, often through outright dishonesty. And sometimes there’s no rationale apparent for censorship.

A recent target was The Center Square here in Illinois, whose news stories we often link to.

According to Center Square Publisher Chris Krug, Twitter recently blocked dozens of its stories. Center Square was first in the country, he says, to report that the state-sanctioned committee looking into the bribery scandal for which energy producer ComEd has pleaded guilty to federal corruption charges had released new documents pertinent to the investigation.

The documents were dumped by the committee near the end of the business day on Thanksgiving eve. They included not-so-cryptic references from a close confidant of Speaker of the House Michael Madigan. Center Square’s Greg Bishop quickly wrote up the story and Center Square promptly shared it on Twitter.

But a moment later, the link was blocked by Twitter, Krug says. “In the ten days that followed the story, Twitter blocked dozens of stories from The Center Square. On some days, it blocked everything. On others, Twitter selectively blocked our reporting from across the country,” according to Krug.

To top it off, Krug’s own commentary on Sunday about the incident was itself blocked by Twitter on Monday! That block now appears to have been lifted, however, for unknown reasons.

Why were the initial stories blocked? Neither we nor Center Square can think of any justification. “I simply don’t know why, and couldn’t begin to guess why,” wrote Krug.

Center Square has become an important news resource about state and local government, both in Illinois and the other states in which it publishes. Along with other newcomers like Capitol News Illinois, it helps fill the void created by shrinking newsrooms at traditional media sources. We have been interviewed by Center Square reporters often and they are pros – accurate and fair – more so than some reporters we deal with in traditional media.

There is no excuse for suppressing news sources like Center Square and this is hardly an isolated incident. Americans should be terrified by what has become of most national media which, aided by big tech, often makes no effort to hide its hostility to free speech and objectivity.

I won’t burden you with examples of that because most of you already know. Sixty percent of Americans say they don’t trust the media, and that’s according to polls taken well before the election when much of the media so brazenly tossed standards aside. As for everybody else, their minds are probably closed and they aren’t reading here.

That majority that distrusts the press means it’s not just the right-of-center who see what’s happening. There are still some genuine liberals around. Solidly liberal journalist Glenn Greenwald, for example, recently said “there is no price to pay professionally or reputationally for publishing evidence-free …propaganda as long as it benefits the Party and advances the ideology which they all embrace — casually spread disinformation without the slightest evidentiary basis.”

Illinoisans who rely on their local sources for coverage of national issues are limited almost exclusively to syndicated stories by The New York Times, Washington Post and Associated Press, who are among the worst offenders – along with NPR for radio listeners.

But don’t think the problem is limited to national issues. Take state policies to address COVID-19, for example. Maybe you’ve wondered how other states with different policies to fight the virus have fared. You won’t get an honest answer, however, from the corporate media. The Federalist recently documented how national media hides the facts on Illinois and COVID, and a recent study indicating that masks are ineffective protection for users was mostly ignored.

Big tech platforms amplify the distortions. Twitter’s censorship of political viewpoints it doesn’t like has been widely documented and became particularly aggressive as the election approached.

Then there’s Facebook, from which over 40% of America get gets its news. It recently said openly it is promoting stories from CNN, The New York Times and NPR, and limiting links to sources that aren’t that far left. It was all gleefully reported by The New York Times.

Facebook says that’s part of its effort to build “a calmer, less divisive Facebook.”

Yes, things typically are calm where speech is suppressed. Authoritarianism has that going for it. Gulags are quite peaceful.

And all the attention to the presidency has distracted attention from hundreds of down-ballot races decided by margins so thin that they could easily have gone differently if media were objective and tech platforms weren’t rigged.

In November’s election, according to Ballotpedia, 37 congressional races were decided by margins of 5% or less. Illinois alone had two House seats decided by margins of 2% or less. In Georgia’s Senate race, had David Perdue won a mere three-tenths of one percent more than he did he would have avoided a runoff and control of the U.S. Senate would have been sealed. Countless state and local races further down-ballot undoubtedly also were decided by small margins and would have turned out differently if conduct of media and tech had played straight.

What makes the Center Square incident particularly troubling is that it came after the election. Maybe, we had hoped, the assault on the marketplace of ideas was just a temporary frenzy driven by extreme emotions in the November election. Instead, the press and tech platforms now seem emboldened.

If you add in growing opposition to freedom of speech then democracy no longer functions. Only 53% of college students support freedom of speech.

Inscription in lobby of Tribune Tower

Democracy relies on the power of individuals. Their power in turn depends on a flow of facts and ideas free from distortion and censorship by those in control. Either Americans — right, left and center — stand up and reverse current trends or thousands of years of learning, hardship and war that ultimately delivered democracy will be lost.

*Mark Glennon is founder of Wirepoints.

41 Comments
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Aaron
1 month ago

There are few “Americans” left. Delete your fakebook and tricker. Stop paying the satellite and cable bill. Support the real news of your choice financially so they cannot be bought off by corporations and communists. YT and google must be replaced. big tech and big media control what everyone thinks and does. Go back and look at the lies told. My personal favorite is the one about the guy in America who made a video about Mohammad and it caused a deadly riot in Libya. Or how about a certain pilots passport found in the rubble of WTC. And of… Read more »

Fed up neighbor
1 month ago
Reply to  Aaron

That is why the rest of the world looks at us as “American the idiots” we never learn by are mistakes or what history provides for us.

Aaron
1 month ago

sad, but true

Michael Marek
1 month ago

well said Mark…

Platinum Goose
1 month ago

Liberal hack Chuck Todd teased for his weekend show how great it was that Biden was appointing very experienced people unlike Trump. What are the chances that anyone in the media would say Biden is filling the swamp. There certainly is a double standard. My wife and I don’t even watch the local news anymore.

Christo
1 month ago
Last edited 1 month ago by Christo
1 month ago

Mark,
Your article confirms that the only way to bring any meaningful change in politics is by owning media. In today’s world, it has to be a better social media platform than Twitter and Facebook.

1 month ago
Reply to  Mark Glennon

The question is how to reach hearts and minds, when media censor our communique.

Dave
1 month ago

Sadly those on the fringe got it first as teenagers growing up in tech country in the early 1980s.(that was two book burnings ago), we were thrown under the train for being teenage romeos and juliets and some were gay. No one listened, half ended up dying in prison , literally fed by the guards to the beasts in San Quentin to be raped and then die of aids. A simple edit of the facts from consenting teens to sex offender and you can do anything to them you want because they’re not human. That is the power of controlled… Read more »

Susan
1 month ago
Reply to  Dave

Read andrew vachss? Down in the zero?

Fed up neighbor
1 month ago
Reply to  Susan

Reading controlled demolition of the American empire now that you mentioned in a previous posting. The American idiots as we are known better wake up and wake up soon.

Last edited 1 month ago by Fed up neighbor
rick
1 month ago

Many countries in Europe are now holding people criminally responsible for comments made in private conversations if reported. Denmark in particular said its a crime to disagree with transgenderism even in private conversation. So this problem is growing roots totally outside the media industry as well. Speech censorship is becoming normalized to the point of criminalization. The press used to be the thing that was always there to ensure free speech, it would come down on government. No the press is a partner of the left and censorship and compliance (needless mask orders) and eventually removal of the right to… Read more »

Joey Zamboni
1 month ago
Reply to  rick

It’s even closer than that, Canada….

Mr_Common_Sense
1 month ago
Reply to  rick

1984 in 2020!

NoHope4Illinois
1 month ago

I fear America is headed into a ‘dark ages’. I don’t like to generalize, but people who do bother to watch and read the news (which is becoming less and less because many realize it’s ‘fake news’) have been fed so much propaganda that they are dumbed down and lack any kind of objectivity and critical thinking on major issues facing our country. Where we ‘made to be ruled’?

Last edited 1 month ago by NoHope4Illinois
Riverbender
1 month ago

Couple your post with the learning aged children not being in school and you can see the future of our country…and it isn’t pleasant.

MikeH
1 month ago

Friendly reminder that both Duckworth and Durbin have made their support of big tech censorship abundantly clear.

Dale
1 month ago

I agree 100%. Center Square and Wirepoints are great for objective information. There have been stories and opinions I didn’t agree with, but that’s OK. Let’s get all sides of an issue! My wife and I don’t even watch any news anymore. Why bother!

James
1 month ago
Reply to  Dale

“Let’s get all sides of an issue! My wife and I don’t even watch any news anymore. Why bother!“ Those seem to be contradictory sentences. If you really want the first sentence to be true, you have to be willing to take in opinions you don’t like. What you seem to want is “news” that may not be NEWS to you at all but at least confirms your biases. You’re not at all alone with that preference: its essentially the human condition. We tend to agree with people who agree with us, after all, and all too quickly dismiss the… Read more »

heyjude
1 month ago
Reply to  James

James, in theory I agree with you. It seems to me that the problem here is that Americans used to have a fundamental agreement on the principles that guide our society. The differences were on the means to best achieve goals, not on principles. That is no longer true. We have come to a point where about half of our population believes socialism is something we should strive for, free speech should be abolished, nobody should ever be offended, and there should be no adverse consequences for any kind of behavior. I am willing to listen to ideas, but I… Read more »

James
1 month ago
Reply to  heyjude

I agree with most of what you’ve said here; our society has evolved (for better or worse) and likely surely will continue doing so. Even so, listening and reading are the most commons ways of learning. You can pick and choose what you’d care to have as part of your political values system, of course. But, if you don’t go beyond your comfort zone its doubtful your opinion has a change to evolve with time. Yes, listening or reading contrary points of view can be aggravating and/or tedious, but its essential if one is to grow–basically be wililng to consider… Read more »

heyjude
1 month ago
Reply to  James

Yes, I agree that viewpoints should evolve with time and learning. I am always amazed that some people still hold the same views that they held as college students 30-40 years ago.
In today’s media, it is impossible for me not to hear and read ideas that are contrary to my own. They are literally everywhere! I guess that is the ultimate point of this article. There are too many people who want only those ideas to be available.

James
1 month ago
Reply to  heyjude

Your 2nd paragraph handily explains your first. At least you’re open to the possibility of changing with time in that you’re not opposed to its possibility in your life. Many others are not so disposed and close off uncomfortable stimuli which challenges their belief systems. That resuls in a lifetime of cemented sameness psychologically. Its likely comforting to most such people or they’d not do so.

Joey Zamboni
1 month ago
Reply to  James

Confirmation bias…

We all suffer from it (if your really honest with yourself)…

Would you describe MSM-big tech (CNN, FB etc.) as *honey* as well…?

I certainly do…

NB-Chicago
1 month ago

Mark–how much is wp dependent on fb & Twitter for links to sight. I quit going on fb and social media a million years ago

NB-Chicago
1 month ago
Reply to  Mark Glennon

Even if fb or Twitter don’t block an articale or news story they and every other app on your phone or computer are tracking your preferances and directing you similar stories to sell advertising, (clickbait’s the life blood). Your a slave to the algorithms..so, yeah, outright deleting news is insidious, but a whole nother level would be for those in charge of the algorithms to start redirecting users preferences for political advantage. Creepy

Aaron
1 month ago

Delete your fakebook and tricker

Fed up neighbor
1 month ago

Also yahoo shut off its comments section in April or may of this year, another censorship platform.

Ex Illini
1 month ago

Yahoo did that in a direct attempt to influence the election. They are a liberal organization and couldn’t cope with any version of the truth other than their own. It was clear what they were doing and why. Boycott Yahoo entirely.

Susan
1 month ago

There are “new Twitter “, “new Facebook “, “new YouTube ” etcetera platforms developing on blockchain.
Not only are these “impossible ” to censor at input phase (being decentralized autonomous organizations by design), they are unscrubbable.
All it takes to defeat censorship is to achieve a critical mass of non-participation in censored platforms.
(Blockchain social media platforms tend to pass-through ad revenue almost entirely to content producers and ad viewers. How will old-economy censored platforms compete with that incentive model?)

Goodgulf Greyteeth
1 month ago

Challenge is, what do we “do” to the social-media platforms such that they change their behavior? The “Washington” solution currently being considered is nothing more than revoking a law that prohibits someone from suing the platform in civil court for slander (NOT “bias”). Big whoop. As Mark notes in his article, the NY Times, Washington Post, AP and NPR are already subject to those liabilities. Doesn’t seem to have changed their behavior much. Finding a regulatory/legislative way to diminish Twitter’s, FB’s, et al, monopolistic control of the social-media market such that they are able to stifle competition may be another… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by Goodgulf Greyteeth
Philip Sheridan
1 month ago

The beauty of capitalism is we vote every single day with our wallet and our time. I believe it will take a campaign pushing a mass opt-out of twitter to change their behavior. 70 million people voted for DJT. I don’t assume that all 70 million have twitter but let’s say 15 million do. If 15 million people sign a petition and delete their account it will at a minimum put them on notice and given they are a publicly traded company, wall street would not like that as investors. Which brings me to my next point, I believe putting… Read more »

Goodgulf Greyteeth
1 month ago

You bet. Lot’s a different ways to start a fire as we ride down the Shenandoah Valley, eh Phil?

Thee Jabroni
1 month ago

Its time for congress to get off their lazy asses and do something about this!-oh yea,i forgot,we have people in congress like dicky durbin,and slimy,i mean tammy duckworth!

Joan
1 month ago

I can’t believe that everybody isn’t yelling and screaming about how often this happens now. What happened to America?!!! The MSM has gone completely mad and those tech companies are turning us into something like China. ThIs is EVIL. Is this a country of sheep now?

Ex Illini
1 month ago
Reply to  Joan

We’ll know in a few weeks. If the Republicans hold the Senate it will indicate people are aware of what the liberal MSM is doing. It is key that every red state vote completely red going forward. It will turn the House back over and prevent the likes of AOC and Omar from destroying this country.

Philip Sheridan
1 month ago

It is about time people start sounding the alarm on this kind of behavior. As society we normalized censorship during this presidential cycle. But it is more than that, it is more than censoring President Trump – they censored of the office of the US President, the precedent of which will continue long after 45 is gone. If they can censor a sitting President in dialogue to his citizens they can literally censor anyone. Imaging censoring Winston Churchill while he addressed his people during WWII. Wake up!