Bill Moore: Local Decision; National Pattern

13 Aug

Is free speech being suppressed by the very institutions that benefit from the First Amendment?  Locally?  For what purpose?

bill moore photo

Bill Moore is a businessman, author, and conservative columnist.  Originally from Ashland, KY. Bill spent the summers of his formative years playing in the hills and coal mines of rural Eastern Kentucky.  He believes in smaller government, the free market and is a fiscal conservative. Free State Patriot welcomes Bill as a regular contributor in the fight to support our nation’s founding principles and expose the progressive movement.

“You can have everything you want in life… If you will just help enough other people get what they want.”

~ Zig Ziglar / Bill Moore


 

Alex Jones, Candice Owens, Elizabeth Heng, Diamond and Silk, Herman Cain and our own Mark Caserta. What do these people have in common? De-platforming, temporary bans and shadow banning. Each has been actively limited by a publisher(platform) for their opinions. Conversely Maxine Waters, Nancy Pelosi, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Antifa each post encouragement to harass conservatives or actively encourage fighting and disobeying law enforcement, yet their accounts remain active and often trend higher than conservative posts on the exact same subject matter.

Let’s examine for a moment the bans each person listed above has endured. Alex Jones, far right shock jock, was de-platformed from SIX major sites in just over 24 hours. (Apple iTunes, Spotify, Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest and LinkedIn) Candice Owens, African-American conservative, was banned on Twitter for 12 hours when she copied and posted Tweets from a radical left journalist replacing the word “white’ with “black” and “Jew” but otherwise leaving the Tweets intact. Elizabeth Heng, Vietnamese-American conservative running for election, had an ad banned on Facebook that described her family dealing with Communist Vietnam. Both Diamond and Silk and Herman Cain, African-American conservative broadcasters, have been shadow banned on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

Of course, readers of this blog know Mark Caserta and what the Herald Dispatch did to him.

The most common reason for bans and de-platforming are listed as violations the term and conditions (vague community standards) of said web platform. Just like the movie “Animal House” these content creators were on “double secret probation” while Facebook, Apple Et al gathered enough information to decide whether silencing them would negatively impact the bottom line. Once they felt the bottom line was safe good bye conservative leaning voices.

Shadow bans are more insidious. The person can login and post as normal. However, the platform limits the reach of the post, giving it lower ranking in searches and not allowing subscriber notifications to notify. For example, Diamond and Silk post a video and expect a certain number of views based proportionally on the number of subscribers. When shadow banned they reach fewer people than expected and thus make less revenue from advertisers, get fewer clicks for merchandise sales and cannot grow their channel or follower base.

Even bans that get lifted like in the case of Candice Owens hurt because the optimum widow for the message has passed and is now “old news” as the fickle public has moved on to a new crisis of the moment.

Mark’s situation could be considered different as it involves a physical publication with limited print real estate. However, the situation can be used to demonstrate how social media is really a publisher as opposed to a neutral platform. The Herald Dispatch terminated its working relationship with a “token” conservative over what was termed as the “newspaper’s best interest”, similarly themed articles and a lack of local subject matter. As distasteful as the decision is they have the right to act as they see fit. Just like we as consumers have the right to terminate subscriptions to the Herald Dispatch and stop patronizing its very few advertisers.

We also have the right to contact said advertisers and voice our displeasure over them supporting a business that actively silences conservative speech.

The main stream media (newspaper, radio and TV), more accurately defined as “legacy” media pushes a general narrative that leans left of center. How far left is dependent on the outlet ownership and sponsors. Even the right leaning Fox News slants stories, limits facts and editorializes “news”. Do not misunderstand Fox News adds balance to the vast liberal ramblings that pass as “news” in modern journalism, but they are also complicit in adding opinion to facts and calling it news. “News” reporting in and of itself should be like the old TV court drama oath: “Promise to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.”

Remember when news shows ended with an anchors opinion and even warned viewers saying, “what follows is an editorial opinion”? In today’s era of 24-hour news every opinion, every headline must be sensationalized to keep viewers tuned in. Sponsors demand a return on their advertising dollars. Clicks, views and eyes are the measurements that matter for a news channel not clear presentation of facts. Remember legacy media outlets are businesses and businesses must make a profit to continue.

You see, the social media giants hide behind “we are a platform and don’t exercise editorial control over posts” thus “we can’t be sued when an individual defames or slanders someone”. They can’t be held responsible when someone like Maxine Waters encourages harassment or threatens the President. If the bans are given across the board, regardless of ideology, the websites would be correct. However, a strong case can be made showing the social media platforms do, in fact, only target conservative opinions.  Any ambulance chasing lawyer can connect the dots and tear down the platform vs publisher veil of protection. If the website publishers are not held accountable we will soon see “community standards” banning Joel Osteen or your local church because someone finds the doctrine offensive.

I find it ironic that Mark Caserta was silenced locally for writing on national subjects when nationally the debate is raging on silencing all conservatives. What impacts the nation impacts West Virginia and West Virginia can influence the nation.

Silencing Mark right before a mid-term election, as well as silencing other conservative voices smacks of collusion and election tampering. You don’t have to change votes or have ghost ballots to “fix” an election, just keep spreading fake news and silence the opposition.

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