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YouTube gets it right on free speech, while CNN is on the verge of caving to disgruntled talent
By Gary Abernathy
No longer censoring election lies? YouTube gets it right.
It didn’t get as much attention or comment as it deserved, but YouTube’s announcement last week, as reported by CNN, that it will “no longer remove content featuring false claims that the 2020 US presidential election was stolen” is a positive step, and one that other social media platforms should emulate.
Why is it positive to allow “false claims” about the 2020 election to be posted? “Shouldn’t we prevent the spread of such lies?” you might ask. No, we shouldn’t — and by “we,” I actually mean “self-appointed truth police.”
Even when statements or, especially, opinions are demonstrably false or misleading, the freedom of thought and speech that allows their dissemination is much more important than a Big Tech truth police force “protecting” the population from lies.
Our world has always included the spread of lies, propaganda, alternate viewpoints and opinions that differ from accepted facts or wisdom. Whether regarding the 2020 election, the covid pandemic or the JFK assassination, not everyone agrees on the facts regarding the events of this world. Yes, there’s such a thing as truth vs. lies. But in a free country, like it or not, people have — and should always have — the right and freedom to express thoughts and opinions that seem completely divorced from the evidence and facts that seem plain and obvious to the majority of people.
Yes, we all know that YouTube and all the other social media platforms are private entities not bound by the First Amendment. Unlike the government, these companies can repress free speech to their heart’s content. But doing so results in them appearing to take sides politically, or to disenfranchise a segment of society because they disagree with their philosophy.
People have always — always — lived with falsehoods circulating through society side-by-side with truth. No one needs to protect the masses from lies, and believing that such actions are necessary represents a condescending attitude by a privileged elite toward the “lesser” general population. And it’s instructive to remember that on many things — including covid and the suppressed Hunter Biden story — sometimes things that are initially deemed wrong, or even lies, turn out to be absolutely true.
Let everyone see, consider, sort out and fact check issues and opinions for themselves. YouTube never should have censored such things in the first place, but kudos for reversing course. And here’s hoping all the others follow suit.
CNN staffers upset over no longer being MSNBC Light
Widespread reports of a revolt at CNN over new boss Chris Licht’s efforts to make the channel less identified as a liberal network and more down-the-middle news is head-shaking. CNN employees will apparently not be happy until their channel goes back to what it was, which was basically MSNBC Light.
Licht reportedly had a conference call with staff — which of course was immediately leaked — in which he apologized and promised to earn their trust. Seriously? He apologized?
What happened to the days when the boss was, well, the boss, and laid down the rules, and people followed the rules or they went elsewhere? Those days are gone, and today, the inmates too often run the asylum.
CNN staffers are still rattled over the Donald Trump town hall, but they’re also melting over the dismissal of several buddies and the channel’s new direction of trying to appeal not just to Democrats, but Republicans too. The horror!
In the end, the staffers will win, of course, and Licht will be gone, and CNN will return to being the second-most popular liberal network behind MSNBC, and pretend that it all has something to do with journalism, and everyone will be happy again.
Biden, McCarthy both win in debt ceiling deal
Both President Biden and Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy can take victory laps over last week’s debt ceiling deal. Biden can point to truly bipartisan votes in both the House and Senate — unlike votes that are called “bipartisan” when in fact there are only a couple of defectors from one party or the other — while McCarthy not only delivered a “majority of the majority” in regard to GOP votes, but in fact he delivered a supermajority.
Republicans who claim that McCarthy made a bad deal and should have demanded more because he was dealing from a position of strength seem not to understand politics at all. The GOP barely holds a majority in the House, the Democrats control the White House and Senate, and if there had been no deal, who would have been blamed? The Republicans, as always, and — as always — they would eventually have had to cave and make a deal, but not before being blamed again for days or weeks of missed payments on various obligations.
McCarthy did very well in knowing just how far to push, and Biden did well by not insisting on a “clean” debt ceiling vote and being willing to negotiate. This is how Washington is supposed to work.
I joined Amna Nawaz and Jonathan Capehart on Friday on “PBS NewsHour” to discuss the debt ceiling deal, as well as the growing GOP presidential field. Check it out above.
WaPo’s conservatives discuss the growing GOP field
I enjoyed participating in a Washington Post conversation last week among eight of its right-leaning columnists about the growing Republican presidential field. Along with yours truly, participants included Henry Olsen, Megan McArdle, Jim Geraghty, Jason Willick, Hugh Hewitt, Ramesh Ponnuru and Marc Thiessen.
While most of us seemed to agree that the MAGA lane of the party is the only realistic road, opinions varied slightly over whether anyone can overcome Donald Trump to end up with the nomination. You can check it out here.
I swear, our language gets worse all the time
Last month in the Post, I took on the topic of our society’s increasing use of foul language. I noted that I feel bad whenever I use swear words, but apologizing for it seems more and more unnecessary in our increasingly profane world. I remarked that while we know that many of our presidents have been quite profane in private conversation, our last two presidents have both publicly used swear words more than anyone before them.
I take a lighthearted approach to swearing in some respects, but I also point out that our overall acceptance of profanity is not a good sign for our society in general. I wrote:
The moral aspect of excessive cursing is perhaps concerning primarily to the more religious, but the lack of discipline it reveals is a universal blight. If we can’t muster the nominal restraint required to regulate our speech, there’s not much hope for bringing order to the rest of our lives. We should all strive to recapture the vanishing art of taming our tongues — and presidents should be especially conscious of the example they set.
You can read it here.
We don’t always behave as angrily as is often portrayed
A few days ago in the Post, I addressed the issue of abortion and pointed out that unlike the heated confrontations that the media typically relays, most Americans are respectful to their neighbors when it comes to abortion and other political differences.
I pointed to the example of the current effort in Ohio to get signatures for a ballot issue to codify abortion rights in the state constitution. Signature gatherers have been working in my neighborhood. I’ve spoken with several of them, and they agree that people have been generally polite and respectful, regardless of their position on abortion.
As a pro-life advocate, I know how I will be voting come November. But I also know that my beliefs on the issue are losing ground, and there’s a chance Ohio will follow the lead of states that have voted with the pro-choice side on similar measures. …
So I’ll respect the process and the outcome of November’s vote on the constitutional amendment — and then I’ll continue voting for pro-life candidates. That’s how it should work — peacefully, respectfully and democratically, as I’ve witnessed the petition drive unfolding in my town working. We all need to understand that while we might sometimes be adversaries, we don’t have to be enemies.
You can read it here.
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