Here’s the latest bulletin from the Ministry of Information, courtesy of the Emerson Collective, a lefty venture funded by Steve Jobs’ widow, who also controls The Atlantic.
Somehow this led to this incoherent gibberish from Hillary Clinton overlaid with endless special pleading commentary from The Atlantic’s Adrienne LaFrance.
There was the time, last spring, when a slowed-down video of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi caught fire online. The distorted speed, which made Pelosi appear as though she was slurring her words, seemed designed to make her appear cognitively impaired. “Google took it off YouTube … so I contacted Facebook,” Clinton said. “I said, Why are you guys keeping this up? This is blatantly false. Your competitors have taken it down. And their response was, We think our users can make up their own minds.”
Listening to Clinton, I was struck by how remarkably similar her account was to something Zuckerberg had once told me. Facts, Zuckerberg had suggested, are best derived from foraging many opinions, ideally from the billions of humans who use his publishing platform, so that each individual might cherry-pick what to believe. (Cherry-pick is my word, not his.) If journalism’s mantra is “Seek truth and report it,” Facebook’s might be “Seek opinions and react to them.
1. There are a billion “Drunk Trump” videos and other drunk politicians videos. Nobody takes them seriously.
2. The Emerson Collective, LaFrance and LaHillary are taking the fundamental basis of a liberal society which is a free exchange and dissemination of ideas, even stupid and bad ones, while pretending that they’re agitating for an open society.
3. If Zuckerberg is, as they insist, evil. Why do they want him deciding what can appear on Facebook?
And here we get to the real rotten meat of it.
I wrote at the time that Zuckerberg’s interpretation was unsatisfying for one thing, and Trumpian for another. When I asked Clinton today whether she too sees a Trumpian quality in Zuckerberg’s reasoning, she nodded. “It’s Trumpian,” she said. “It’s authoritarian.”
Free speech is now both authoritarian and Trumpian? The idea that people should be able to make up their own minds instead of being told what to think is authoritarian?
It’s the opposite of authoritarian.
The only way to insist otherwise is to take the Ministry of Information approach, to argue that slavery is freedom, freedom is slavery, and that free speech is authoritarian and that authoritarianism is freedom.
There’s good reason to believe, Clinton said, that Facebook is “not just going to reelect Trump, but intend[s] to reelect Trump.”
That’s the opposite of Facebook’s politics, but truth is the first casualty of Clintonism.
The endgame remains pressuring all social media, especially Facebook, to suppress conservative views.