As of today, Facebook newsroom has a post stating that it is dedicated to providing accurate information to the public about the coronavirus epidemic — Keeping People Safe and Informed About the Coronavirus – About Facebook. In order to do so, Facebook declares, it will be “stopping misinformation and harmful content,” among other virtuous actions.
It appears, however, that Facebook is censoring willy nilly, without any regard to content. Apparently, simply the word “coronavirus” is enough to invoke the censor’s red pencil.
She was, not so long ago, a model Chinese citizen; loyal to her government and its ideology.
At university in Beijing, she was training to become an English-language broadcaster, politely presenting state-approved news to the world.
Today, firebrand journalist Xu challenges just about every Western stereotype
of a typical Chinese student. She’s outspoken, edgy, disarmingly frank and loud, and her disillusionment with the Communist Party has been so complete that at the age of only 25 there may be no way back for Xu.
The legendary Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg believes that without whistleblowers like Chelsea Manning and publishers like Julian Assange “we would not have a democracy”, and in their defense, he says: “It is now up to us to make sure that the First Amendment is preserved.” The great Roger Waters clearly points out that: “The ruling class,… the corporate world, the rich people, the people who run everything, the people who tell [U.K. Prime Minister] Boris Johnson and Donald Trump what to do” are responsible for the imprisonment of Julian Assange.
The Chinese regime’s secretive early handling of the coronavirus outbreak has troubling similarities to its missteps in containing African swine fever, but with the far higher stakes of a human infection. After the coronavirus was found in December 2019 in Wuhan, the capital of Hubei Province, local and national officials were slow to sound the alarm and take actions disease experts say are needed to contain deadly outbreaks. Beijing continues to gag negative news and online postings about the disease, along with criticism of the regime’s response.
Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) has called out Google-owned YouTube after it blacklisted a clip of him speaking on the Senate floor, an act of censorship he calls “chilling and disturbing.” Google censored Paul because he read out the name of the alleged “whistleblower,” Eric Ciaramella.
A journalist, a publisher, has been labeled by the U.S. Government as an “Enemy of America.” Now that’s dangerous language with scary historical precedent in America and abroad. Recall that the term has been used against “unfriendly” press elements by others: the military junta in Myanmar; Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez; Russia’s Boris Yeltsin and Vladimir Putin, President Richard “The press is your enemy” Nixon; and, you know, Cambodia’s Pol Pot, and Soviet Premier Josef Stalin, for starters. In our own history, press suppression, especially in times of war, is as American as apple pie. During World War I, the (still on the books) 1917 Espionage Act was used to wage all-out combat against any and all critical media sources. Sometimes persecution bordered on the Orwellian absurd. For example, in September 1918, even The Nation was banned from the mail for four days by the US Postal Service simply for criticizing the pro-war labor leader Samuel Gompers.
Last month Trump issued a tweet that identified the so-called “whistleblower” of the Ukraine phone call that led to his impeachment. That’s not as big a deal as it sounds because everyone in Washington knew who the whistleblower was (you can look his name up on the web), and he wasn’t even a real whistleblower because he didn’t meet statutory requirements.
Still, Twitter blocked Trump’s tweet. Twitter blamed a temporary system “outage,” but that claim was highly suspicious. Later, Trump’s tweet was restored, but the original account that Trump linked to had been deleted. No one ever said that politics was fair.
But Twitter’s blatant interference in the election could have adverse consequences for the company in Trump’s second term.
First, I’ll discuss the fallacy of “tu quoque.” The phrase “tu quoque” is from Latin and it means “and you too” or “you also.” A textbook example of this is “It ok that Republicans gerrymander states, Democrats do it too” or, for a more recent example, “Joshua Harris, who wrote books on love is getting divorced. Therefore, it is acceptable to get divorced.” As you can see, this argument does not hold up because what one man does, does not determine the morality of everyone…
This brings me to my next fallacy, the “ad hominem.” This is frequently thrown around by people on both the right and the left. In an “ad hominem” fallacy, one person attacks the character of another person rather than the argument.