Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center has spent the past several months pushing a completely made-up metric it calls "secondhand censorship," which is nothing more than an absurdly high number manufactured for the sole purpose of advancing right-wing narratives about "censorship" of conservatives online. It pushed that bogus narrative again in an anonymously written Jan. 25 post:
Big Tech is playing games with speech. Its primary concern is with neutralizing conservative influence online. It does this by preventing users from hearing or seeing a message that the left disagrees with.
“Big Tech kept information from users on social media over 275 million times last year by blocking influential conservative voices. All users are left with is leftist-approved propaganda,” said Media Research Center President Brent Bozell. “This is secondhand censorship.”
Even new Twitter owner Elon Musk stated that witter’s new policy provides “freedom of speech,” but not “freedom of reach,” a that has been espoused by leftists for several years. The secondhand censorship numbers document that loss of reach — the real harm that results from Big Tech censorship.
“Unfortunately, Musk’s comments about Twitter policy being ‘freedom of speech, but not freedom of reach’ only underscores the true goal of totalitarian censors on the left,” noted MRC Free Speech America & MRC Business Director Michael Morris. “Censors seek to prevent social media users that might otherwise be influenced from seeing a message that leftists disagree with. That is secondhand censorship, and conservatives can’t sit idly by and allow it to happen.”
Using our exclusive CensorTrack.org database, MRC Free Speech America documented 517 cases of Big Tech censorship in 2022. That censorship translated to no fewer than 275,396,336 times that platforms harmed social media users by keeping information from them through secondhand censorship.
The MRC then went on to hide inconvenient facts about the so-called victims of that "secondhand censorship." For example:
Big Tech’s suppressive information practices have worked in tandem with harmful public policy measures that contributed to real-world harm.
“Current lockdown policies are producing devastating effects on short and long-term public health,” reads The Great Barrington Declaration. The document, which has over 936,000 signatories including public health experts and medical practitioners, calls out the negative health impacts of COVID-19 lockdown measures. “The results (to name a few) include lower childhood vaccination rates, worsening cardiovascular disease outcomes, fewer cancer screenings and deteriorating mental health – leading to greater excess mortality in years to come, with the working class and younger members of society carrying the heaviest burden. Keeping students out of school is a grave injustice.”
Facebook censored the declaration in February 2021. A Twitter Files release also confirmed that Twitter censored individuals associated with the declaration. But Facebook and Twitter were not alone. Other platforms such as Reddit and Google also censored the declaration.
But the anonymous MRC writer censored the fact that the Great Barrington Declaration also called for dangerous herd immunity at a time when thousands of people were dying of COVID daily and no vaccines wereyet available.
The MRC also bizarrely complained that election falsehoods were blocked:
Facebook, in particular, was very busy censoring election-related content in the month of May, well in advance of the November 2022 midterm elections.
The platform targeted an election-related post by Daily Wire Editor Emeritus Ben Shapiro in November, with the help of its fact-checking partner PolitiFact, as documented in a May 10 CensorTrack.org entry. The “fact-checker” flagged a Daily Wire article that cited political commentator Dinesh D’Souza’s documentary “2000 Mules.” Facebook applied a notice to the post that claimed it was “partly false.” The notice also stated that “the same information was checked in another post by independent fact-checkers.” The notice referred to a PolitiFact article about the documentary that claimed it used a “faulty premise.” The movie documentary examined voter fraud in the 2020 election by using cell phones’ geolocation data.
The secondhand censorship effect of the fact-check harmed Shapiro’s 8.5 million Facebook followers because they weren’t allowed to see information linking potential voter fraud to the 2020 election.
The anonymous MRC writer didn't explain why Shapiro should have been allowed to spread lies from a discredited film. To the contrary, Shapiro should be glad that actual fact-checkers did what he wouldn't and stopped him for spreading those lies. Meanwhile, the MRC went on to privilege more lies:
Another substantial censorship act came when both Meta platforms — Facebook and Instagram — de-platformed or unpublished the pages of the liberal Robert F. Kennedy-led group Children’s Health Defense in August at the same time, and without warning.
A screenshot shared by Children’s Health Defense indicated that both Facebook and Instagram accused the group of sharing “false information about COVID-19,” as noted in MRC Free Speech America’s CensorTrack.org database. Children’s Health Defense said that, “more than half a million followers have been denied access to truthful information.” Facebook, meanwhile, claimed the group violated its “Community Standards on misinformation that could cause phyical harm."
Children’s Health Defense had 327,480 Instagram followers and 174,266 Facebook followers at the respective times of censorship. The collective secondhand censorship effect of this suppression amounted to 501,746 times that Big Tech harmed users by hiding COVID-19 perspectives from users.
The MRC writer censored the fact that Children's Health Defense is a bunch of anti-vaxxer conspiracy theorists with a record of spreading misinformation, and nobody considers Robert F. Kennedy Jr. a real "liberal," as the writer wants us to believe. And, no, the writers makes no argument that lies should be allowed to spread unchecked on social media. Instead, the MRC pompously concluded:
Without being able to read opinions from both sides of an issue, we do not enjoy a free society.
The fundamental, God-given right to free speech must be protected.
Our freedom is at stake.
So spreading lies and misinformaiton is a "fundamental, God-given right" now? Since when? Meanwhile, the MRC clearly believes that there is no freedom of speech for those who call out lies and misinformation spread by right-wingers.