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New Report Exposes State Censorship and Ad Boycott Campaign Through Anti-Defamation League

AP Photo/Jeff Chiu

The constant refrain by leftist apologists of corporate censorship goes like this: “[insert social media platform] is a private company. It can do whatever it wants.” It’s a very childish and un-nuanced take, but they make up for the lack of substance by repeating it ad nauseam.

Never mind the historical nominal opposition to censorship by the left; that went out the window a long time ago. Trump’s brutal defeat of the anointed Queen Hillary and the Russiagate hoax destroyed whatever respect for civil liberties the left once had.

Forget the spirit of free expression enshrined in America’s founding documents that should apply across the board, not just strictly to government censors. The Founding Fathers clearly meant to preserve the right to share ideas, no matter how distasteful to the power structure; their inability to foresee the advent of the internet or other new technologies does not undermine their intent.

And put aside the fact that Twitter/X, Facebook, Google, et al., together represent the de facto public square where issues of public import are litigated and therefore deserve to be subject to the same restrictions on censorship that would apply on any street corner.

Related: RFK Jr. Files Free Speech Lawsuit Against Google

Leave all of those arguments to the side for the moment. The leftist claim that the government is not censoring social media is not true, and accordingly so is the entire theory of the case.

According to reporting from Michael Shellenberger (of Twitter Files fame, which also demonstrated direct government censorship on social media) and Alex Gutenta, the government is orchestrating the current censorship demands and ad boycott campaign against Twitter/X.

Via Public Substack (emphasis added):

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL), the Center for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH), and the Institute for Strategic Dialogue (ISD) are nongovernmental organizations, their leaders say. When they demand more censorship of online hate speech, as they are currently doing of X, formerly Twitter, those NGOs are doing it as free citizens and not, say, as government agents.

But the fact of the matter is that the US and other Western governments fund ISD, the UK government indirectly funds CCDH, and, for at least 40 years, ADL spied on its enemies and shared intelligence with the US, Israel and other governments.  The reason all of this matters is that ADL’s advertiser boycott against X may be an effort by governments to regain the ability to censor users on X that they had under Twitter before Musk’s takeover last November.

ADL is waging a very similar campaign against X/Twitter that it successfully waged against Facebook in 2020. In just three days, 800 companies, including $129 billion consumer products giant Unilever, withdrew tens of millions of dollars in ad revenue from Facebook until it agreed to ADL’s censorship demands. “The Facebook caved to far-left pressure groups and now allows them to silently dictate policy in exchange for ad money,” said Musk yesterday. “That is the relationship they’ve had with X/Twitter for many years. Presumably, they have that with all Western search or social media orgs.

What suppression of speech the federal government could never openly achieve because of what remains of Constitutional law in the United States, it can do in the shadows through organizations such as the ADL.

What a tangled web we weave. As I have previously argued in the context of Google’s collusion with the state, the ADL functionally is the government and the government is the ADL. Despite whatever sophistic claims lawyers make to the contrary, there is no extricating one from the other.

Elon Musk is currently threatening to sue the ADL for defamation related to the advertiser boycott — and he certainly should — but he should also go after the federal government for colluding with the ADL.

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