from the bite-the-hand-that-feeds-you dept
When last we checked in with right-wing propaganda network One America News (OAN), it was suffering some kind of embolism for being kicked off of DirecTV. Despite a lot of attention, not that many people actually watch the channel, so DirecTV finally kicked it aside. This was distorted by OAN and numerous key Republicans into a claim that the conspiracy theory floating outlet was being “unfairly censored.”
This week, OAN turned its sights toward attacking Verizon, one of the last major cable companies willing to platform the “news” channel. Why? Apparently because Verizon simply hosted a fairly innocuous guide to misinformation on its website. The website doesn’t even mention OAN, but was enough to apparently send the “news” channel into a bit of a tizzy:
In recent days, OAN has begun attacking the telecom company Verizon for “targeting OAN and other right-wing news organizations … right before the midterms.” The issue, drawn from a Breitbart article that inspired this wave of programming, appears to be largely a “Guide to Misinformation” on Verizon’s corporate website, which does not mention OAN.
The story, which I won’t link to, basically tries to pretend that big telecom (a key GOP ally for going on a generation now) is part of a leftist cabal to censor conservative speech:
Instead of fighting back against this intimidation, many of the telecom giants played along with the Democrats’ false narrative. Verizon’s corporate website now includes “A Guide to Misinformation” which gives instructions on how its users can complain to tech companies to demand censorship. Since the Democrats’ letter, DirecTV has dropped One America News and some smaller cable distributors have dropped Newsmax.
In the GOP’s modern, manufactured delusion, nobody has any real accountability. For example, OAN isn’t under fire for bullshit articles claiming that COVID was created in a North Carolina lab, it’s being unfairly censored by a telecom industry cabal. Racist assholes on the Internet aren’t actually racist assholes, they’re just the unfair victims of a vast conspiracy by the wokes (read: anybody I don’t agree with).
In short, OAN’s attacking one of of the last large cable companies willing to platform its conspiratorial gibberish, because another website in the propaganda ecosystem also made up some conspiratorial gibberish. Verizon’s learning a valuable lesson about laying down with fleas, and should Verizon ditch the channel, its audience reach would drop from sad to downright pathetic.
This is, of course, all just monumentally stupid. Just a big, giant, ouroboros of manufactured victimization porn for an increasingly befuddled, propagandized authoritarian base.
But stupid can still be dangerous. U.S. authoritarians want to frame absolutely any effort to combat hate speech and political propaganda as “censorship” to prevent anybody from truly addressing hate speech and political propaganda (a cornerstone of modern GOP power). It’s a message they push everywhere, constantly, with brutal repetition. And, if you hadn’t noticed, it’s been working pretty well.