The New Iron Curtain of Censorship Descends on America

In March 1946, as Europe lay broken from World War II, Winston Churchill signaled the beginning of the 43-year-long Cold War between Western civilization and the Soviet Union by declaring that an "Iron Curtain has descended across the continent" as the Soviets stiffened their harsh control of Eastern Europe.

In that same speech, Churchill noted: "In the United States where Communism is in its infancy, the Communist parties or fifth columns constitute a growing challenge."  Today, we are threatened with our own iron curtain, the product of the descendants and dupes of that fifth column.  A curtain of censorship steadily is descending on America.

Curiously, the Constitution doesn't specifically protect us.  Here's the wording of the First Amendment:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Yep, that's it.  That's the whole thing.  Meanwhile, private companies, individuals, George Soros-sponsored groups, and newspapers are free to silence anyone they don't like and can get away with.

Over the years, however, volumes of federal and Supreme Court cases have expressed support for the basic principle of free speech.  U.S. Supreme Court justice Benjamin N. Cardozo wrote in Palko v. Connecticut, "Freedom of expression is the matrix, the indispensable condition, of nearly every other form of freedom."

That obviously is of no concern to today's liberals, progressives, and free speech enemies, as we are plagued with rapidly growing and aggressive censorship.  The blocking, distorting, and deleting of conservative viewpoints on social media, in the so-called mainstream media, and in our education system have gone from subtle to blatant to in your face.  They don't even attempt to hide it anymore.  One Facebook engineer has been quoted as saying, "We have a problem with political diversity."

If we are to remain free, we must defend ourselves from the destruction of what Americans regard as our most basic freedom by giant electronic social media companies who control significant portions of the channels of communications among Americans.

A recent study shows that Facebook has eliminated 93% of traffic to top conservative websites.  The Gateway Pundit reports that just two top conservative publishers lost 1.5 billion page views since the 2016 election.   This doesn't include hundreds of other internet publishers.  This is important because not only does this hurt these publishers financially, but it means that millions of Americans who would have had a chance to read the material were blocked from seeing it.

Twitter recently was caught shadowbanning four conservative congressmen.  When outed, Twitter claimed that it had penalized the congressmen not because of anything they said, but because the "wrong" accounts were engaging with their tweets.  The Republicans were guilty of being followed by the "wrong people."  The tweets were restored, but according to the Daily Caller, "the company is still burying accounts it deems 'bad-faith actors,' while remaining opaque about who does or doesn't fit that classification – and which accounts follow or retweet you are still part of the criteria."  This explains what's going on with Twitter on what is certainly a wide-scale basis.

Even Instagram has been caught in the censorship nightmare.  Front Page Magazine reported: "Project War Path, a clothing company owned by Navy SEALs and Army Special Forces combat veterans, Charlie Nash of Breitbart News reported Monday, 'has been permanently suspended from Facebook's Instagram platform for "hate speech" after criticizing NFL players who kneel during the national anthem.'"  Instagram has blocked others, including Tommy Robinson, author Lauren Southern, and the comedy group Toughen Up America.

The concept of "their platform, their rules" needs to be aggressively breached.  Facebook, Google, YouTube, and Twitter are huge and essentially have no competition.  They represent the Standard Oil of the internet age.  Standard Oil was broken up because it was a monopoly and was harming the free market.  These giant media companies have become enormous de facto utilities.  I personally hate the idea of regulation, but in this case, it's clear that the American public must have some sort of bipartisan oversight capability and protection from these social media monopolies.  Congress must provide that.  The only time it can be accomplished is when there are Republican majorities in both houses.

Political censorship has also crept into businesses intimidated by the left.  MasterCard denied service to David Horowitz's Freedom Center as a "hate group" (subsequently reversed after an outcry on conservative media).  Robert Spencer was forced off the funding platform Patreon by MasterCard.  Hannity, Laura Ingraham, and others have faced efforts to chase off their advertisers.  Commentator Alex Jones and his Infowars have been banned from YouTube.  Facebook blocked Pamela Geller's feed and articles, suspended her posting privileges, and deleted a number of her pages.

There is nothing in the Constitution to protect us from a fifth column that has taken over much of the mainstream media.  The case against "fake news" is well documented and far too broad to detail here.  American media are largely dominated by left-wing actors who distort, lie, shade, and omit.  The historical trust of the previous century between the media and ordinary Americans has been shattered.  A recent poll by Axios showed that 92% of Republicans believe that the media reports "fake news," and 72% of all Americans agree that "traditional major news sources report news they know to be fake, false or purposely misleading" at least some of the time.  Americans can clearly see what is going on.

Ninety percent of network media coverage has been negative toward President Trump.  This is beyond shocking.  It is a major challenge to the well-being of American culture that depends for its success on Americans having free and equal access to opinion and information.  It is incumbent on the owners of these media enterprises to cure this harmful cultural disease.  This should not be fixed by government.  But it can be fixed by the American public that can protest and refuse to support these outlets financially.

There is nothing in the Constitution that can protect us from the death of free speech and left-wing activism in our education system.  In classrooms, faculty meetings, and university auditoriums, the same people who once were the dissenters have now become the enforcers.  It turns out that the counter-cultural liberal forces of "free speech" in the 1960s were really just interested in power and control over others.  They have shamelessly used any tool from Jefferson to Alinsky to get them.  They have intimidated university administrators to ban conservative speakers and in some cases have created violence when speakers showed up, forcing the cancelation of the event.  Our students at almost all levels are being routinely brainwashed with left-wing ideology while the real story of American greatness is censored.

The grassroots Tea Party revolution during the damaging Obama years set the stage for President Trump's election.  But the Trump presidency, while highly successful so far in implementing his conservative agenda, is far from enough all by itself to save our country.  The president says censorship by the social media giants "will be addressed."  Regardless, it's also going to take another concerted effort by concerned Americans to offset the damage that has been done and to shred the cloak of censorship being draped over us.

Frank Hawkins is a former U.S. Army intelligence officer, Associated Press foreign correspondent, international businessman, senior newspaper company executive, founder and owner of several marketing companies, and published novelist.  He currently lives in retirement in North Carolina.

In March 1946, as Europe lay broken from World War II, Winston Churchill signaled the beginning of the 43-year-long Cold War between Western civilization and the Soviet Union by declaring that an "Iron Curtain has descended across the continent" as the Soviets stiffened their harsh control of Eastern Europe.

In that same speech, Churchill noted: "In the United States where Communism is in its infancy, the Communist parties or fifth columns constitute a growing challenge."  Today, we are threatened with our own iron curtain, the product of the descendants and dupes of that fifth column.  A curtain of censorship steadily is descending on America.

Curiously, the Constitution doesn't specifically protect us.  Here's the wording of the First Amendment:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Yep, that's it.  That's the whole thing.  Meanwhile, private companies, individuals, George Soros-sponsored groups, and newspapers are free to silence anyone they don't like and can get away with.

Over the years, however, volumes of federal and Supreme Court cases have expressed support for the basic principle of free speech.  U.S. Supreme Court justice Benjamin N. Cardozo wrote in Palko v. Connecticut, "Freedom of expression is the matrix, the indispensable condition, of nearly every other form of freedom."

That obviously is of no concern to today's liberals, progressives, and free speech enemies, as we are plagued with rapidly growing and aggressive censorship.  The blocking, distorting, and deleting of conservative viewpoints on social media, in the so-called mainstream media, and in our education system have gone from subtle to blatant to in your face.  They don't even attempt to hide it anymore.  One Facebook engineer has been quoted as saying, "We have a problem with political diversity."

If we are to remain free, we must defend ourselves from the destruction of what Americans regard as our most basic freedom by giant electronic social media companies who control significant portions of the channels of communications among Americans.

A recent study shows that Facebook has eliminated 93% of traffic to top conservative websites.  The Gateway Pundit reports that just two top conservative publishers lost 1.5 billion page views since the 2016 election.   This doesn't include hundreds of other internet publishers.  This is important because not only does this hurt these publishers financially, but it means that millions of Americans who would have had a chance to read the material were blocked from seeing it.

Twitter recently was caught shadowbanning four conservative congressmen.  When outed, Twitter claimed that it had penalized the congressmen not because of anything they said, but because the "wrong" accounts were engaging with their tweets.  The Republicans were guilty of being followed by the "wrong people."  The tweets were restored, but according to the Daily Caller, "the company is still burying accounts it deems 'bad-faith actors,' while remaining opaque about who does or doesn't fit that classification – and which accounts follow or retweet you are still part of the criteria."  This explains what's going on with Twitter on what is certainly a wide-scale basis.

Even Instagram has been caught in the censorship nightmare.  Front Page Magazine reported: "Project War Path, a clothing company owned by Navy SEALs and Army Special Forces combat veterans, Charlie Nash of Breitbart News reported Monday, 'has been permanently suspended from Facebook's Instagram platform for "hate speech" after criticizing NFL players who kneel during the national anthem.'"  Instagram has blocked others, including Tommy Robinson, author Lauren Southern, and the comedy group Toughen Up America.

The concept of "their platform, their rules" needs to be aggressively breached.  Facebook, Google, YouTube, and Twitter are huge and essentially have no competition.  They represent the Standard Oil of the internet age.  Standard Oil was broken up because it was a monopoly and was harming the free market.  These giant media companies have become enormous de facto utilities.  I personally hate the idea of regulation, but in this case, it's clear that the American public must have some sort of bipartisan oversight capability and protection from these social media monopolies.  Congress must provide that.  The only time it can be accomplished is when there are Republican majorities in both houses.

Political censorship has also crept into businesses intimidated by the left.  MasterCard denied service to David Horowitz's Freedom Center as a "hate group" (subsequently reversed after an outcry on conservative media).  Robert Spencer was forced off the funding platform Patreon by MasterCard.  Hannity, Laura Ingraham, and others have faced efforts to chase off their advertisers.  Commentator Alex Jones and his Infowars have been banned from YouTube.  Facebook blocked Pamela Geller's feed and articles, suspended her posting privileges, and deleted a number of her pages.

There is nothing in the Constitution to protect us from a fifth column that has taken over much of the mainstream media.  The case against "fake news" is well documented and far too broad to detail here.  American media are largely dominated by left-wing actors who distort, lie, shade, and omit.  The historical trust of the previous century between the media and ordinary Americans has been shattered.  A recent poll by Axios showed that 92% of Republicans believe that the media reports "fake news," and 72% of all Americans agree that "traditional major news sources report news they know to be fake, false or purposely misleading" at least some of the time.  Americans can clearly see what is going on.

Ninety percent of network media coverage has been negative toward President Trump.  This is beyond shocking.  It is a major challenge to the well-being of American culture that depends for its success on Americans having free and equal access to opinion and information.  It is incumbent on the owners of these media enterprises to cure this harmful cultural disease.  This should not be fixed by government.  But it can be fixed by the American public that can protest and refuse to support these outlets financially.

There is nothing in the Constitution that can protect us from the death of free speech and left-wing activism in our education system.  In classrooms, faculty meetings, and university auditoriums, the same people who once were the dissenters have now become the enforcers.  It turns out that the counter-cultural liberal forces of "free speech" in the 1960s were really just interested in power and control over others.  They have shamelessly used any tool from Jefferson to Alinsky to get them.  They have intimidated university administrators to ban conservative speakers and in some cases have created violence when speakers showed up, forcing the cancelation of the event.  Our students at almost all levels are being routinely brainwashed with left-wing ideology while the real story of American greatness is censored.

The grassroots Tea Party revolution during the damaging Obama years set the stage for President Trump's election.  But the Trump presidency, while highly successful so far in implementing his conservative agenda, is far from enough all by itself to save our country.  The president says censorship by the social media giants "will be addressed."  Regardless, it's also going to take another concerted effort by concerned Americans to offset the damage that has been done and to shred the cloak of censorship being draped over us.

Frank Hawkins is a former U.S. Army intelligence officer, Associated Press foreign correspondent, international businessman, senior newspaper company executive, founder and owner of several marketing companies, and published novelist.  He currently lives in retirement in North Carolina.