SLAPP Suits And The Enemies Of Writing And Ideas

from the a-dangerous-chill dept

Writer George Packer recently won the Christopher Hitchens Prize, which has been given out yearly since Hitchen's death. The prize is awarded "to an author or journalist whose work reflects a commitment to free expression and inquiry,‭ ‬a range and depth of intellect,‭ ‬and a willingness to pursue the truth without regard to personal or professional consequence." That's quite a noble effort. This year's award went to the excellent writer George Packer, who gave a speech that is being passed around among many people I know, on the topic of The Enemies of Writing. It is a worthwhile and thoughtful piece, and I think it does get at a growing concern today about how certain areas of exploration are considered too taboo to even suggest that the orthodoxy is not correct. His concerns, mainly, are that writing on a taboo subject or not taking an orthodox position on certain topics will get you mauled in the court of public opinion.

A friend of mine once heard from a New York publisher that his manuscript was unacceptable because it went against a “consensus” on the subject of race. The idea that publishers exist exactly to shatter a consensus, to provoke new thoughts, to make readers uncomfortable and even unhappy—this idea seemed to have gone dormant at the many houses where my friend’s manuscript was running into trouble. Fortunately, one editor remembered why he had gotten into publishing and summoned the courage to sign the book, which found its way to many readers. But the prevailing winds are blowing cold in the opposite direction. Incidents like this, minor but chilling, happen regularly in institutions whose core purpose is to say things well and truly. If an editorial assistant points out that a line in a draft article will probably detonate an explosion on social media, what is her supervisor going to do—risk the blowup, or kill the sentence? Probably the latter. The notion of keeping the sentence because of the risk, to defy the risk, to push the boundaries of free expression just a few millimeters further out—that notion now seems quaint. So the mob has the final edit.

To be honest, while we've all heard such stories, I often wonder if they are overblown -- on two separate dimensions. The first, is that I'm not fully convinced that such things are actually happening more often than usual. It's just that once you are looking for them, you will start to see them more often. It is the nature of the freedom of expression within the court of public opinion that sometimes lots of people might disagree with your speech. If the fear is one that gatekeepers (such as those described above) will prevent the publication of such speech, well, that's fairly easily solved by the modern internet -- the same thing that enables the so-called "mob" that Packer worries about. You can publish yourself and face on the angry mob through your words. It is free speech all over.

The second concern, frankly, is that Packer gives short shrift to the idea that the reasons why some people might strenuously push back against heterodox views is that those views might just be bullshit. They might be poorly thought out, poorly argued, poorly sourced, or poorly supported -- or some combination of all of those things. It does seem slightly odd that in a speech/essay on free speech to worry about others using their free speech to criticize the speech of someone you support.

But in there lies some of the fundamental tensions that many have with free speech. It's great when it's pushing out ideas that you support -- or even when it's challenging commonly held beliefs. But, many have a tough time supporting it when it's used to gang up on someone.

Still, I actually got something very different out of Packer's piece. For years now I've been trying to come up with the words to express the emotional impact and chilling effects of being sued in a bogus defamation SLAPP suit. It's one thing to say that it's chilling, but that hardly gets at the emotional baggage that is involved. And Packer's speech, while not even touching on the issue of SLAPP suits, actually does show some of the inner turmoil that any sort of chilling effect might cause:

At a moment when democracy is under siege around the world, these scenes from our literary life sound pretty trivial. But if writers are afraid of the sound of their own voice, then honest, clear, original work is not going to flourish, and without it, the politicians and tech moguls and TV demagogues have less to worry about. It doesn’t matter if you hold impeccable views, or which side of the political divide you’re on: Fear breeds self-censorship, and self-censorship is more insidious than the state-imposed kind, because it’s a surer way of killing the impulse to think, which requires an unfettered mind. A writer can still write while hiding from the thought police. But a writer who carries the thought police around in his head, who always feels compelled to ask: Can I say this? Do I have a right? Is my terminology correct? Will my allies get angry? Will it help my enemies? Could it get me ratioed on Twitter?—that writer’s words will soon become lifeless. A writer who’s afraid to tell people what they don’t want to hear has chosen the wrong trade.

I think all of that is accurate, but more so in the context of a SLAPP suit -- in which state censorship (in the form of the judicial system) creates self-censorship that, to me, seems much worse than even "will my allies get angry?" or "will I get ratioed?" Frankly, if I'm worried about allies or ratios then my internal response is "gee, I better make this argument much, much clearer" rather than self-censorship.

But the idea of being dragged into a years-long, emotionally draining, physically exhausting, and money wasting lawsuit to defend speech is much, much tougher than anything described above. And, as we've seen more and more SLAPP suits being filed, I'd argue that those (and even just the threat of them) can be much more damaging, and a much greater "enemy" to writing, than any concern about the "mob" getting angry on Twitter.

Filed Under: anti-slapp, enemies of writing, fear, free speech, george packer, slapp, writing


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  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    icon
    Zof (profile), 14 Feb 2020 @ 12:52pm

    "It's about me!!! ALL ABOUT ME!!!!"

    "Now, I know exactly what the writer was talking about, because he straight calls out twitter and the media and Google, but I'm just going to pretend it's about SLAPP!"

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 14 Feb 2020 @ 1:09pm

      Mike’s article offers no pretense that the speech is about SLAPP suits. But Mike does say that SLAPP suits, far more than so-called cancel culture, are a bigger enemy to writing, ideas, and free speech than that so-called culture. What can you possibly say that proves him wrong, and how can you say it without the invective we so often attribute to the regular troll brigade (of which you have become a part as of late)?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Mike Masnick (profile), 14 Feb 2020 @ 1:40pm

      Re: "It's about me!!! ALL ABOUT ME!!!!"

      but I'm just going to pretend it's about SLAPP!"

      I did not pretend it was about SLAPP. I made it clear only why I felt the feelings applied to SLAPP suits as well.

      On a related note, what's your problem?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
        identicon
        Dear Mike Clueless, 16 Feb 2020 @ 11:30am

        Re: Re: "It's about me!!! ALL ABOUT ME!!!!"

        I tried to give you this story, years before it happened. Imagine the outcome, circa 2016, had you opened your eyes (closed, like a partisan shard or lackadaisical winter turtle )

        https://lawandcrime.com/high-profile/wh-lawyer-complained-to-barr-about-the-mueller-report-the-day -after-it-went-public/

        The problem with (good) speech lawyers like (you) is that you think defensively, not proactively.

        But it is its own conspiracy theory promulgating abyss, because you are a PARTISAN lawyer, not objective at all, and trapped by the partisanship you yourself created.

        The story I link to played out in many ways, some of which you wrote about. But the problem is/was/will be is that you play the role of partisan douchebag, everytime, as if you can imagine no other script than the binary left-right tensions.

        Much less, protect whistle blowers (Marcy Wheeler, aka the FBIs snitch/Bitch, is instructive on this point) or even be able to recognize good ledes, from anon sources.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 15 Feb 2020 @ 12:22am

      Re: "It's about me!!! ALL ABOUT ME!!!!"

      “It's about me!!! ALL ABOUT ME!!”

      Hey look you finally said something true bro.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 15 Feb 2020 @ 6:15am

        Re: Re: "It's about me!!! ALL ABOUT ME!!!!"

        Narcissistic tendencies are prevalent within the population, however, those humans who mature into adults tend to suppress their childish behaviors while others not so much. It is of interest that many of these immature so called adults somehow find themselves in positions of authority. Now just imagine your older sibling being put in charge of the cookie jar, what will you have to do in order to get a cookie?

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
          identicon
          Internet PsyOps Diagnosis, 16 Feb 2020 @ 12:02pm

          Re: Re: Re: "It's about me!!! ALL ABOUT ME!!!!&quot

          Sure, yeah, you are right.

          Never mindinvasive, persuasive, and manipulative PsyOps, as pre-emptive diagnostic, ok?

          So. whatever YOU say, Dr. Mengele, must be true.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    icon
    Zof (profile), 14 Feb 2020 @ 12:55pm

    We've secretly replaced their Taster's Choice with SLAPP

    "Will they notice? Let's find out!"

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Feb 2020 @ 1:31pm

    Politically incorrect can be profitable, though

    For example,

    The War of Northern Aggression in Western North Carolina
    by Derrick Shipman (2003-03-04) (Paperback)

    $1,012.90

    • $3.99 shipping

    New

    smiley_books

    And this book has only 86 pages.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Toom1275 (profile), 14 Feb 2020 @ 7:31pm

      Re: Politically incorrect can be profitable, though

      Projection. Classic.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Toom1275 (profile), 14 Feb 2020 @ 9:08pm

        Re: Re: Politically incorrect can be profitable, though

        dafuq techdirt? This isn't where I put that comment.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
          identicon
          ROGueS, 16 Feb 2020 @ 6:18am

          No, you're wrong.

          What next, Toom1275, some bizarre conspiracy theory about Techdirts even more bizarre moderation shenanigans, weighted flagging system, in-house troll brigade, and IP blocking based in nationality?

          That sounds like a conspiracy theory right there.

          Shut up, your post went exactly where YOU put it.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 16 Feb 2020 @ 6:50am

            Re: No, you're wrong.

            What does this have to do with SLAPP suits?

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
              identicon
              AC Chatbot, 16 Feb 2020 @ 8:55am

              Re: Re: No, you're wrong.

              On redirect, I'd like to direct your line of questioning at an AC shitposter, AC shitposter.

              What does YOUR comment have to do with SLAPPs? Any of your comments?

              Yeah, I thought so. But unlike you, I addressed that already.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              AC Liberation NOW!, 17 Feb 2020 @ 4:00am

              Re: Re: No, you're wrong.

              Its hard to tell, AC, you flagged the post. Nothing to hide, nothing to fear, ay?

              Thanks for hiding. It reveals what you are.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Toom1275 (profile), 14 Feb 2020 @ 9:09pm

      Re: Politically incorrect can be profitable, though

      Why the superfluous word at the start of your title?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Feb 2020 @ 1:57pm

    all the sites are wimpy censoring ones. they all have ani speech sacred cows. the ones loudest in defense of it are a total failure, totally biased, totally whataboutism-framing by omissions and subsequent elisions, prohibitions. can't say that, antisemitism, racist, bigoted, Russia would want it, the forbidden Christianity, anti vax, alternative facts, not northern.

    simply, shut up unless it's what Rachel maddow already said.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Feb 2020 @ 2:33pm

    democrat operatives used a hit and run jane doe suit against trump. but none of the left, who sup the dirty dinner of deceit's benefit, speaks out againat the outrage.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 14 Feb 2020 @ 2:44pm

      Re:

      Care to tie this back into the topic, which is "SLAPP suits, or the threat of such suits, is one of the strongest threats to freedom of expression writers face today?"

      Are you implying that some political group is either failing to file SLAPP suits, or that some political group is doing so? I can't tell from what you wrote.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 14 Feb 2020 @ 2:57pm

        Re: Re:

        All I got from his post was "huuuuuuuur, I are braindead and sheep. Derp!". It may be better to ask it not to post again rather than try to clarify.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
          identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 15 Feb 2020 @ 5:38pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          appeal to ridicule. fallacy. the finest of democrat lawyers trained you?

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 16 Feb 2020 @ 12:51am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            You’re a tad more unhinged that usual hamiltron. Jhon Smith spur your for libowitz or what?

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
              identicon
              AC Liberation NOW!, 16 Feb 2020 @ 9:57am

              Rein Hamiltrons defense

              I see that you people keep referencing an inside joke about some person who finds Alexander Hamilton to be an important block in the foundation of American democracy.

              Could you please provide a link to this hamiltron(or Jhonboi, etc), or a reference as to why he/she/it. Hamilton is reprehensible to Techdirts insiders?

              I honestly do not know why this is s running joke here.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 16 Feb 2020 @ 1:53pm

                Re: If you don’t want to be a hamiltron stop acting like one

                Hamiltron stop playing stupid. No one said jhonboi, or Alexander Hamilton for that matter. I know you have severe brain damage but this is beneath even you bro.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 14 Feb 2020 @ 3:00pm

        Re: Re:

        Ivan is not feeling well this morning.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
        identicon
        ROGueS, 16 Feb 2020 @ 7:34am

        They dont call them sharks for nothing

        I cant see the OPs post, but Let me try it for him/her, AC.

        I feel for Masnick on that whole being victimized by apex predators with law degrees thingy, because it is what the lower tier of our society faces EVERY DAY in high policing scenarios.

        These cases-any cases- that are unfounded and designed to accost and literally disable the target, rather than prove facts; and can literally drain you emotionally, physically, intellectually and otherwise.

        But its a sort of vain comparison to say that Twitter/Facebook mobbing somehow has less of an emotional effect for many reasons, too long to go into.

        So just one: the resources of a guy who has a platform, and who uses other platforms are infinitely larger than the resources of a person who gets Twitter mobbed and then referred to police, community police agents/agencies/ or private contractors.

        For THAT person, Twitter is frequently their ONLY resource, and ONLY outlet to connect with the outside world.

        And, while many commenters here at TD continue to pretend that Twitter attacks are by groups of hypothetical community members, in fact, entire military/ intel/church/state sponsored troll farms, and NGOs, and big-dollar operators are operating there, targeting individuals, AS INDIVIDUALS.

        And that form of mobbing comes OFFLINE( Ferguson activists,Twitter Firehose abuse, etc.) and attacks the individual at a level where there is no court room, no formal process, and no resources with which to fight back, or resist.

        Masnick himself says that the damage is substantial, and that "all of that is accurate, but more so in the context of a SLAPP suit," and thus privileges his own narrative as a representative of community, over the dissenter, and individual. And that, seems purely a class based argument about status, and powerthat I see a lot of progressive centrists making.

        And you, AC either deliberately mis-state that, or you in fact disingenuously say:

        the topic, which is "SLAPP suits, or the threat of such suits, is one of the strongest threats to freedom of expression writers face today?"

        Even Masnick has stated that the article above is NOT about that, and forum sycophant/savant Stephen T. Stone has concurred.

        So, because the flagged post is hidden, no one knows exactly WTF you are arguing here, other than that it comes off as a sort of echo chamber or Mockingbird sort of thing, and a deliberate mis-characterization of an argument.

        As such, its an establishment position, that blatantly denies the reality of the marginalized, and the second tier of our societies.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 15 Feb 2020 @ 12:24am

      Re:

      Capitalisation is your friend. Elsewise your writing looks the the rantings of a brain damaged moron writhing with shit on an outhouse wall.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 14 Feb 2020 @ 4:04pm

    Paper-cut vs Stab wound near an artery

    Social blowback may be a big problem but SLAPP suits take that and crank it up to 11 in that they force people to face potentially ruinous legal and financial penalties and still have the potential to face social consequences as well.

    Your social circle shunning you or harassing you for saying/writing the 'wrong' thing is bad, however facing the potential that you might not be able to afford to eat due to a lawsuit of threat of one is, I'd imagine, just a tad bit more severe for most.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 15 Feb 2020 @ 5:32pm

      Re: Paper-cut vs Stab wound near an artery

      democrats did yhat dirty deed woth their fake jane doe suit which vanished roght before the cpurt date and noy one journalist even met the woman once. she did noy exist. party of vipers, party of a scam, democrats can't even toss coins fairly!!!

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 16 Feb 2020 @ 12:53am

        Re: Re: Paper-cut vs Stab wound near an artery

        “democrats did yhat dirty deed woth their fake jane doe suit which vanished roght before the cpurt date and noy one journalist even met the woman once.”

        I don’t usually make fun other others spellings. So I won’t. I’ll just let it spaek far itsilf.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        ROGueS, 16 Feb 2020 @ 7:50am

        Re: Re: Paper-cut vs Stab wound near an artery

        Did you get home safe last night? I read this, right as you were crashing into that truck.

        Er...party of van.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    icon
    Alyssa (profile), 15 Feb 2020 @ 4:13am

    SLAPP

    Millions of activists and public officials struggle for the public good for decades without being sued for their work. That’s because the power brokers they are ticking off can handle them with the usual routine tactics https://www.myprepaidcenter.one/

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    ECA (profile), 15 Feb 2020 @ 11:52am

    My opinion

    Tends to be my opinion.
    Time changes things including meanings of what was said and done.
    If we dont test and challenge and Update the reasons for things from the past, it just gets silly.
    Its the beginning of the bible and How/why groups gathered together. It dont matter if its the Jewish or the Muslim. It was changed abit when we created Christians.
    The old rules of Needing 10 kids on a farm(be fruitful and multiply) were from the age of trying to get past age 2, then age 5, and on to 40..If you ever got to 40, you were an old man. If you were a female and not married and had kids by age ?? you were an old maid.
    Then we get those that put words in the Bible, that had no meanings because they were controls over the people. This is bad, thats bad, you dont do this or that.. Are/were never int he bible. The 10 commandments are the base and sole of reason, "Be nice to each other" is a consolidation of its meaning.
    There have been many wars, battles, murders, concepts, changes to how we read it. And for some strange reason, few can agree.
    I love to get Religious people to THINK, about what is in the bible and what has been done For defense of their beliefs.
    I love the Idiots that stand up and declare "Christians" are/did/want this.. And I ask them Which christians? You have 40+ different sects of them. They Thru Christians to the lions, then the Christians thru the Romans to the lions.

    this is 1 of the most controversial and fought over things in our lives.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 15 Feb 2020 @ 5:42pm

      Re: My opinion

      protestant christianity has already been defeated. protestants aren't replacing themselves, too few kids. that whole philosophy is already discredited. who can contest radical women-oppressing-islam? women, with liberty, always opt for cultural and subspecies annihilation.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        ECA (profile), 16 Feb 2020 @ 2:54am

        Re: Re: My opinion

        Which leaves ??? as many as before.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
          identicon
          ECA Cut Off Your Dick NOW!, 16 Feb 2020 @ 10:08am

          Re: Re: Re: My opinion

          Well, back to how Jewish control of narrative competes with christian control of narrative....

          Let me try to remember (my post got flagged by some Techdirt Insider, right wing MiT based rabbi/s at MiT)

          Um...

          In the beginning the lord gave us incest.

          Then:

          The Jerusalem Talmud, the Babylon Talmud (some goat fucking and baby raping in between all of that) Then:

          The PentaToke, became the "Torah" became the Bibble, alongside that oral tradition turned propaganda hit piece, the christian Bibblio, as fanatics competed for dialectic space. in Rome, etc.

          Then: That goat fucking Allah guy Mohammed a couple hundred years later, and his hordes, chased us out of the civilized world for fucking little boys and girls, while teaching said children about the mystical Kabballah.

          Then, christians, some foreskin chopping, and then, ultimately, allegiance to the Anti Defamation League, for some reason.

          Or, Crime Drama, 101..

          Hold on a minute...I erred in my placement of Jewish, BEFORE the word CRIME.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    AC Liberation NOW!, 15 Feb 2020 @ 1:05pm

    Are you serious? How does anything you said relate to writers being persecuted by the Pharise....er, by mobs of social media cancel culture twits?

    It dont matter if its the Jewish or the Muslim. It was changed abit when we created Christians

    There were no Muslims in the time of the Jews (3500 years) or The Jesus (0.1 A.D., lol). Muslims came about in A.D.632

    Then:

    Then we get those that put words in the Bible.... Are/were never int he bible

    Um...who are those that put words in the bible?

    And: Mishnah>Gemara/Halakha>Jerusalem Talmud>Babylonian Talmud>Torah>Old Testament> New Testament

    Which are you referring to as a Bible?

    And: The 10 commandments are the base and sole of reason

    WTF is all that about? Those books, if you read any of them, have very little to do with reason, and even in their best parts, only embody a type of self-referencing, semi-rational discourse, based in racial supremacy.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Nemo, 16 Feb 2020 @ 12:02am

    I would merely argue that once something goes viral - the mustering of the mob, so to speak - the probability of there being a SLAPP suit goes up proportionately with the size of the mob. Intensity of feelings also plays a role.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 17 Feb 2020 @ 12:04am

      Re:

      I believe Devin Nunes's Cow and various corrupt police departments show that the main driving variable is how much of an asshole the litigant is the only factor. The crowd is irrelevant, they are perfectly willing to Streisand themselves.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 16 Feb 2020 @ 8:44am

    Something goes viral ... does this mean like Oh shit, everyone knows about it now.

    You think the general population is a "mob"? Why is it your inclination to cast disparity upon the masses by calling them a mob?

    Why is the probability of a SLAPP suit proportional to the size of some nebulous crowd with intense feelings that you do not like?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 16 Feb 2020 @ 10:38am

      Why is the probability of a SLAPP suit proportional to the size of some nebulous crowd

      The size of the crowd can determine how fast a supposedly defamatory comment can spread to other people. Someone with a handful of followers on Twitter saying something (allegedly) defamatory that won’t spread beyond those few followers, if at all? Not likely to inspire lawsuits. Someone with hundreds of thousands of followers saying something that will likely spread to a much larger audience beyond those followers and thus enter into the public consciousness? Yeah, that’s gonna inspire a lawsuit if the subject of that comment thinks said comment defames them.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 16 Feb 2020 @ 2:50pm

        Re:

        "Someone with hundreds of thousands of followers saying something that will likely spread to a much larger audience beyond those followers and thus enter into the public consciousness? "

        donald - lol

        Agreed, I now see what was being said.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 Feb 2020 @ 2:34am

    So, the article is about self censorship. I think the US has a more insidious problem called out by Chomsky and others in "Manufacturing Consent".

    The manifestation can be seen in that many informed commentators in the US cannot find outlets in the US main stream media but can on RT. Examples: Chris Hedges (On Contract), Brian Becker and John Kiriaku (Loud and Clear), Lee Camp (Redacted Tonight) and previously Abby Martin (Empire Files). And, a collection of Democrat congress people have asked the FCC to "investigate" Loud and Clear. Similarly, you have political party aligned "fact checker" outfits slandering works by Max Blumenthal (The Gray Zone).

    What you have is information warfare. I think its always been this way (see Manufacturing Consent) but now it is much more obvious because the Internet has allowed so much more diversity of view and the its harder to control the narrative.

    So, my point is that whilst self censorship is an issue (and an important one) the greater issue is narrative control/narrative controllers.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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