Special to WorldTribune, April 6, 2022
When it comes to the credentialed officials of the ruling establishment and their mass communications organs, it is always wrong to assume that important issues of the day will be handled in anything approaching a fair-minded, well-meaning or even logical manner.
Consider for example coverage of the elections in Hungary, where staunch nationalist Viktor Orban just overwhelmingly secured a fourth term as prime minister.
Big-box media outlets are wringing their hands over the alleged “unfairness” of the voting process in Hungary, and even shamelessly ascribing ruling government media control as a chief example of the tilted political playing ground.
British financial weekly The Economist breathlessly exclaimed:
But a much more important issue is extreme media bias. Mr. Orban uses Hungary’s state media as a propaganda megaphone, and most of its private outlets are now controlled by oligarchs friendly to Fidesz. The opposition received vastly less airtime during the campaign, and reports on its activities were overwhelmingly negative. It could only get its message out via internet media, which many voters do not look at.
Sound like any country you know?
Oh, how horrible it must be to live in a nation where regime-friendly oligarchs control the media. Imagine a horrific hellscape where a powerful multi-billionaire funds major news sites that write fawning articles about him and his social engineering programs and grants hard cash to major television networks whose news wings lavish him with positive portrayals.
Bill Gates is doing just that in the “democratic” West every day.
British newspaper The Guardian is one of the leading establishment media platforms to take the dirty Gates money. It counts The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation as a “Philanthrophic Partner.”
On April 2, in the lead-up to the next day’s elections, The Guardian bashed Hungarian media:
Welcome to the media in Hungary, where NGOs are blacklisted, critical stories are binned and senior editors instruct journalists to disregard the facts before their eyes…
And while there is no ban on reporting the opposition, “the coverage is profoundly lopsided in the sense that the coverage given to pro-government parties and politicians is disproportionately wider in range and scope,” one person said. “I would go as far as saying that the distribution is nine to one in the government’s favor.”
Speaking of “profoundly lopsided,” British socialist newspaper The Morning Star perfectly captured The Guardian’s role as “state media” “propaganda megaphone,” as The Economist put it of conditions in Hungary. Writing on the paper’s glee over Joe Biden’s fraud-riddled Nov. 2020 election “victory,” The Morning Star wrote:
“Joe Biden has won… renewing hope for the US and the world,” the paper confirmed. “After four years of turmoil, misinformation, manipulation and division, the result of this historic presidential election offers fresh promise for democracy and progress.”
To celebrate his victory the Guardian produced a “Free 16-page Joe Biden souvenir supplement” for readers, filled with propaganda photographs of the 78-year old looking popular and presidential.
“He will have to reassert America’s role as the global problem-solver,” a Guardian editorial asserted. “Under [Donald] Trump the ‘indispensable nation’ disappeared when it was needed the most.”
If all this bowing of the knee to authority sounds familiar that’s because it is.
“They did it. They really did it,” the Guardian’s leader column swooned when Barack Obama was elected to the White House in November 2008. “So often crudely caricatured by others, the American people yesterday stood in the eye of history and made an emphatic choice for change for themselves and the world… Today is for celebration, for happiness and for reflected human glory. Savor those words: President Barack Obama, America’s hope and, in no small way, ours too.”
Besides his grating nationalism, what particularly angers ruling establishment backers of “democracy” is that Orban is on to their power game. He understands how it works, and he knows how to build similar institutions of control himself. In an insightful piece at the website Unherd, Aris Roussinos writes:
Where conservatives in Britain and America can win elections but find their governance impeded by a liberal powerbase in the media, NGOs and the judiciary (termed by conservative Hungarian intellectuals as an anti-democratic “juristocracy”), in Orbán’s Hungary the liberal intelligentsia’s political powerbase has been dismantled and replaced with a confident new conservative elite. A wealth of glossy conservative magazines, universities, think tanks and NGOs are the lavishly-funded product of Orbán’s Gramscian conservativism.
Rather than the vulgar 20th-century authoritarianism with which his more excitable critics charge him, Orbán’s dominance of Hungary’s politics is a subtler, more postmodern exercise. A product of George Soros’s attempt to nurture an elite governing class in Central Europe, the disaffected liberal reformer has adopted and inverted the same methods that produce liberal hegemony towards distinctly post-liberal ends. No wonder so many Western conservatives, who cannot translate electoral success to meaningful political power, find Orbán’s Hungary an object of both envy and inspiration.
A second recent example of the ruling establishment’s struggle for institutional power is the systematic politically partisan censorship going on at social media behemoth Twitter.
Tesla multi-billionaire Elon Musk on April 4 became Twitter’s largest outside shareholder, and that has ruling establishment forces deeply worried that the throttling of unacceptable points of view may be threatened.
Jameel Jaffer is a former deputy legal director at the American Civil Liberties Union who now serves as head of Columbia University’s Knight First Amendment Institute and executive editor of the progressive online forum Just Security, which is funded by globalist billionaire George Soros.
But Jaffer is not about preserving the First Amendment. He seeks to repurpose it to fit his needs.
On April 5, Jaffer tweeted his defense of the Blue Bird’s right to censor opinions it doesn’t like over a video clip of new Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal relishing this ability in 2020:
Tucker Carlson is a racist who doesn't understand the First Amendment. The First Amendment protects Twitter's right to make editorial decisions. And nothing @paraga says here is fairly attributable to the fact that he's from India. https://t.co/Pc02CyNNwa
— Jameel Jaffer (@JameelJaffer) April 5, 2022
He also posted a link to a recent speech he gave at the Harvard Law Review’s annual banquet on his concerns about the effectiveness of the First Amendment in assuring the control apparatus Agrawal has in mind.
Thanks to @HarvLRev for inviting me to speak at the Law Review's annual banquet on Saturday. I talked about the marketplace of ideas, the war on terror, the threat of authoritarianism, and whether the First Amendment is doing the work we need it to do. https://t.co/jRR8zHI2Kd
— Jameel Jaffer (@JameelJaffer) April 5, 2022
From his speech:
What I’d like to talk about this evening is whether the First Amendment served us well over these last two decades, and whether we should feel confident it will serve us well in this new age, the age of social media, surveillance, and ascendant authoritarianism.
Jaffer is opening the door for the manipulation of what once were considered bedrock Constitutional rights:
In everyday conversation, we tend to talk about the First Amendment as if it were something fixed, something we’ve inherited. First Amendment advocates often say they’re “defending” the First Amendment, or “protecting” the First Amendment — phrases that suggest, again, that the First Amendment is something stable — something that’s already been won and that now needs only to be preserved. But if we want the First Amendment to serve democratic interests rather than private ones — if we want it be a check on power, rather than a tool of it — then First Amendment doctrine has to be attentive to new forms of power, and new ways in which power is being exercised. It needs to be attentive to evolving technology, new business models, and changing social practices.
Here’s how this elasticity plays out in real life:
It's coherent–and in my view absolutely appropriate–to believe both that (i) the social media companies were right to suspend Trump's accounts last week; and (ii) the companies' immense power over public discourse is a problem for democracy. https://t.co/EjOYlQxxwV
— Jameel Jaffer (@JameelJaffer) January 12, 2021
And here is a helpful chart provided by a credentialed blue-checkmark sympathizer that shows just what Jaffer is advocating:
You can want platforms to take their civic responsibility seriously
demand better governance to ensure they act with greater transparency, proportionality, and consistency pic.twitter.com/20Imveq9Xq
— Adrian Shahbaz (@adrianshahbaz) January 10, 2021
Hypocritical? No. A blatant attempt at extending ruling class power? Absolutely.
The Washington Post bluntly wrote in an alleged straight news article on April 5:
Some inside Twitter worry Musk may push Twitter in a libertarian direction, away from blocking or restricting accounts that cause social harm, according to people familiar with internal conversations who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe sensitive matters….
Some Twitter employees and experts fear Musk’s involvement could also push the company further into chaos after years of investor activism and the sudden departure of former chief executive Jack Dorsey. The company is already at a critical juncture ahead of the 2022 midterm elections that will determine control of Congress, when it will have to police related misinformation that could help sway votes.
They’re telling us what they want to do.
In the zero-sum game of societal control in the West today, principles are nothing more than costumes for our would-be ruling elites. They are to be discarded the moment they prove no longer useful in achieving the overarching aim: securing power.