- The Washington Times
Tuesday, September 12, 2017

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Conservatives of the country, take note: Voices are being squelched. Viewpoints are being stifled. Free thinking is being vilified. The First Amendment is being choked.

And it’s all being brought about by a leftist’s favorite tool — controlling in the name of protecting.


The left’s logic goes this way: “Free speech is good, but it has limits.” Or, “We believe in free speech — of course, we believe in the freedom of speech. But some speech is harmful and hateful and hurtful.”

It’s the type of logic that gets Milo Yiannopoulos banned from taxpayer-funded university speaking podiums. It’s also the type of logic that lets thugs masquerade as righteous protesters, and set things on fire, like buildings and police cars, ‘cause their snowflake sensibilities get offended.

It’s spreading.

It’s making massive inroads in the private sector, most noticeably perhaps online, in social media.

“My website and posts have been scrubbed from Google search,” said author, speaker and activist Pamela Geller, explaining in an email how her American Freedom Defense Initiative and Atlas Shrugs sites, aimed at revealing the truths of Islam, were also recently booted from PayPal and Pinterest. Why?

As PayPal explained in an email to Geller: “We have recently reviewed your usage of PayPal’s services … [and] due to the nature of your activities, we have chosen to discontinue service to you. … We ask that you please remove all references to PayPal from your website. This includes removing PayPal as a payment option, as well as the PayPal logo and/or shopping cart.”

PayPay, following an outcry from Geller’s readers, reversed its decision.

Small victory.

Geller still faces this: “Google Adsense has banned my account. YouTube demonetized all of my videos. My Twitter account has been shadow-banned,” she wrote in her email.

A shadow-ban is when hashtags only show up in the feeds of existing followers — an occurrence that then restricts the ability of the account holder to grow and expand.

Geller’s not alone on that.

“I’m shadow-banned on Facebook and Twitter,” said Robert Spencer, an author who’s written extensively about Islam and jihad and who serves as director of the online Jihad Watch.

In an email, he said: “In mid-February, my referrals from each one dropped off by 90 percent, and have never recovered. Twitter has flagged several of my tweets as ‘hateful,’ including one in which I said, accurately, that Islam is not a religion of peace.”

Spencer’s facing his own shenanigans from Google.

“Google,” he said, “has altered its search results to give only results favorable to Islam, so while for years one searched for ‘jihad’ and got Jihad Watch as the first result, based on content and size of readership, now it doesn’t even come in on the first page.”

YouTube, meanwhile, has also removed a playlist of “Robert Spencer” videos, he said.

It’s alarming, yes? We’re talking about attacks on free thought here — but we’re also talking about attacks on livelihoods.

Geller and Spencer, in part, earn their livings on social media backs.

“The left is trying to use Charlottesville as its Reichstag Fire moment — a chance to shut down all dissent,” Spencer said. “The Southern Poverty Law Center’s spurious and politically biased ‘hate group’ list became the linchpin of this effort, and that’s when I was banned from PayPal.”

Like Geller’s, Spencer’s PayPal ban was reversed — but only after supporters raised substantial outcry.

And again: That’s just one small victory.

The onslaught against free speech is growing wider as we speak.

“Twitter Bans Activist Mommy for Tweeting Her Dislike of Teen Vogue’s Anal Sex Guide,” blasted one recent PJ Media headline, in a story about Elizabeth Johnston, “The Activist Mommy,” also known as @activistmommy1 on Twitter, who dared to criticize the digital editorial director of Teen Vogue, for allowing for the publication of a guide on anal sex.

Her tweet wasn’t even that controversial.

“Congrats Phillip!” she tweeted in mid-August, to editor Phillip Picardi. “A sodomite mag just awarded you for teaching kids sodomy. Way to recruit there @TheAdvocateMag!”

YouTube, owned by the same Alphabet company that owns Google, then cut Johnston’s ability to monetize her videos. Geller, Spencer, now Johnston — that’s starting to seem par for the course. But as PJ Media wrote on Johnston’s plight: “This one falls under ‘too stupid to believe,’ but it’s actually true. … While Johnston’s posts and views are controversial to some, none of what she has to say is new. Her views on homosexuality come from the best-selling book in the world — the Bible.”

Note to social media self: No comments critical of Islam. No remarks based on biblical teachings. Got it.

Geller suggests the left, “awash in funding,” is on rampage to kill all dissent. And if they can’t get the government to do it, well then, there’s always the private biz world — at least the private business ventures that are headed by similarly minded leftists.

“They mean to cut off everything from those who are working in defense of the free and the brave,” she said. “The left elites control the cultural apparatus in this country — media, movies, entertainment, academia, etc. There was one place that was free and unfettered — the Internet. Consequently, they blame social media and Internet sites for Trump’s victory and the continuing opposition to jihad and sharia. So, they mean to shut us down. Totalitarianism cloaked in ‘hate speech’ restrictions, and ‘tolerance.’ “

It’s not just social media — it’s not just the Internet. Another source that greatly influenced the rise of Trump and the fall of the elitist political class?

Talk radio, in general — Michael Savage, in particular.

Savage, one of talk radio’s most talented personalities — the guy who can make listeners sit as on edge while he talks politics as when he describes his pastrami sandwich — was just booted from the sizable Washington, D.C., region’s WMAL.

How come?

Well, it certainly wasn’t ratings.

“As far as radio stations go,” Savage said, in answer to emailed questions, “my show just came out at number one again on WABC New York, by 35 percent, number one, of any other show on the station. I beat everyone on WABC and some of them are pretty good talkers. The fact of the matter is, my show has been number one on that station for two straight years or more.”

In other words: Savage should have a pretty easy time of getting into other markets, right? You’d think.

But no.

“You think that would be a golden pathway to all the other stations in America,” Savage said. “Hmm, gee, they dropped me from WMAL even though my ratings at the time were higher than that of the morning show.”

Some Savage listeners saw leftist censorship at play, particularly because of the way the talk show giant was dropped. As one Twitter user wrote, way back in December of 2016: “@ASavageNation I was listening to you on WMAL and around 3:30, The Chris Plante Show came on. WHAT HAPPENED??”

What happened was WMAL booted Savage and gave the air time instead to Larry O’Connor. WMAL Program Director and Vice President Bill Hess said of the move: “[Larry’s] smart, entertaining and an engaging storyteller.”

So is Savage — really, so much more so is Savage. O’Connor may be competent. But Savage is a star. In radio lingo, he’s called a “must listen” presence. He’s also controversial, in a free-thinking way that ignores political talking points, disregards commonly held beliefs and shreds untruths — making him, of course, the natural enemy of both the left and the establishment on the right.

But here’s another clue to Savage’s disappearance in D.C., one that dovetails nicely with the Trump factor to which Geller referred: Savage was a major player in Trump’s rise to the White House.

Trump was a frequent guest on Savage’s show; Trump, according to a news account in WND, told Savage at a Mar-a-Lago meeting in February: “I wouldn’t be president without this man.”

Now compare that to Hess’ background.

Hess hails from Air America — the same Air America that sprung into being in 2004 as the “liberal answer to right-wing talk radio, to counter its message and emulate its political impact and financial success,” as Vanity Fair put it in a 2009 story.

Unfortunately, “the network was beset by a raft of off-air problems” that ranged from a charity-loan scandal and contract disputes to high management turnover and a 2006 bankruptcy, Vanity Fair continued.

To suggest Hess may have come to WMAL with a regard for Savage that was lukewarm at best might be one of radio world’s biggest understatements.

Truth is, Air America was the landing place for progressives; Hess, as a captain, could not possibly have survived and thrived as a closet conservative. 

Savage is largely mum on the matter.

But he does acknowledge the “advertising boycotts” that face all radio hosts — and calls them another form of censorship. And he raises an interesting point that conservatives themselves don’t like to face.

“Now I’m talking about censorship from the conservative side, by the way, which exists to a greater extent than anyone may imagine,” he said. “We like to think that it’s all left-wing individuals who censor, but no, you would be wrong in believing that. The right wing consists of small cabals, all connected. … Have I been on Fox News? No. Five best sellers [books] in a row — Fox News, no. Obscure unknown talk show hosts, yes. Why is that?”

Good point.

And it’s one that leads back to the basic question: Are conservatives being stifled in today’s modern media?

In a word: Yes.

At least, some are. The ones who aren’t staying within the politically correct boundaries. And this is dark news for all Americans, even the ones who don’t know it yet.

“The freedom of speech is under strenuous attack,” Geller said. “This is not just about me. If I am silenced, a dangerous precedent will be set that people can be denied access to the means of communications if their views aren’t acceptable to the elites. This would mean the end of a free society in the U.S. Every American should care about this. There is nowhere to flee, nowhere else to go.”

That’s in, in a nutshell: When the First Amendment foundations crumble, where will Americans go? Cuba?

Europe?

“I haven’t given up, and I don’t intend to give up,” Savage said.

This is the only solution patriots have at hand: Fight.

First comes Geller and Spencer. Then, the Mommy Activist, and Savage. Next? Patriots, beware. We shouldn’t wait for the answer on that. It will mean it’s too late.


Copyright © 2017 The Washington Times, LLC.