In remarks recorded for an Australian media award, Rupert Murdoch, executive chairman of News Corp., came down hard on what he called “woke orthodoxy” and criticized social media companies for abetting it.
The 89-year old media mogul made his remarks as social media platforms routinely ban speech they claim to be “disinformation.” This included a blockbuster story in Murdoch’s New York Post that Twitter and Facebook banned, a story exposing emails from Hunter Biden that implicated then-candidate Joe Biden in some of Hunter’s questionable business dealings.
Murdoch worried where this “woke orthodoxy” is headed.
“For those of us in the media, there’s a real challenge to confront: a wave of censorship that seeks to silence conversation, to stifle debate, to ultimately stop individuals and societies from realizing their potential,” Murdoch, the executive chairman of News Corp., said in recorded remarks while receiving an award from the Australia Day Foundation, according to The New York Times.
“This rigidly enforced conformity, aided and abetted by so-called social media, is a straitjacket on sensibility,” Murdoch added. “Too many people have fought too hard in too many places for freedom of speech to be suppressed by this awful woke orthodoxy.”
The cancel culture has claimed too many victims whose only crime was prominently disagreeing with “woke orthodoxy.” Even minor transgressions can whip up a social media frenzy that costs people their jobs, their friends, their place in the community.
This movement keeps people in line through fear — even the implied threat of getting “canceled” is enough to silence many people. Most autocratic movements rely on fear and terror to maintain their power and influence. The cancel culture is no different.
But it’s not good enough to intimidate people. The organs of dissent must be destroyed.
Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times writes, “I’d like to see pressure on advertisers to withdraw from Fox News so long as it functions as an extremist madrasa, and cable providers should be asked why they distribute channels that peddle lies.”
Max Boot of the Washington Post contends that “large cable companies such as Comcast and Charter Spectrum, which carry Fox News and provide much of its revenue in the form of user fees, need to step in and kick Fox News off. And if smaller competitors such as One America News and Newsmax continue to incite viewers, they, too, should be booted off.”
And Anand Giridharadas of MSNBC goes even further, asking, “Should Fox News be allowed to exist? Brain-mashing as a business model shouldn’t be legal.”
Daydreaming about conformity of thought is the pastime of dictators and fascists. Thankfully, there are laws in the United States that keep those dreams from being realized.
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The folly of this is illustrated by Oliver Darcy, CNN’s “media reporter,” declaring “it is time TV carriers face questions for lending their platforms to dishonest companies that profit off of disinformation and conspiracy theories.” He fumed that AT&T, Verizon, Comcast, Charter, and Dish did not respond to his questions. In other words, a CNN employee is angry that the parent company of his employer isn’t taking action to shut down one of his competitors.
The Federal Trade Commission Act empowers the FCC to “prevent unfair methods of competition and unfair or deceptive acts or practices in or affecting commerce,” and cable providers refusing to carry networks that are rivals of their subsidiaries would certainly qualify.
But it’s still troubling that anyone with half a brain would entertain those thoughts. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to know the value of freedom of thought, freedom of expression. By definition, that means that people are going to hold and express views you find distasteful. If people are stupid enough to believe that there is a cabal of satan worshipping, flesh-eating pedophiles who are really running the government of the United States, the way to counter that crap is by expressing your views that they are looney-tunes. That’s the way freedom of speech has worked in the United States for a couple of hundred years.
Why change now?