Opinion

Lying about ‘misinformation’ to justify tyranny

Americans must spot and fight the authoritarianism of the left before it destroys our ability to see anything other than that which the left wants us to see.

A view of Facebook's website. Credit: Shutterstock.
A view of Facebook's website. Credit: Shutterstock.
Ben Shapiro
Ben Shapiro

Last week, President Joe Biden was asked whether he had any message for social media amid a dramatic rise in the number of diagnosed COVID-19 cases thanks to the delta variant. Biden immediately responded that companies like Facebook were responsible for murder: “They’re killing people—I mean, they’re really, look, the only pandemic we have is among the unvaccinated. And they’re killing people.” Meanwhile, Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy said Facebook had not stopped misinformation thoroughly enough on its platform, calling misinformation a “serious threat to public health.”

None of this is accurate. Facebook is, first of all, a platform; it is not a publication with the same responsibilities of editorial oversight as a publisher. To treat Facebook as such would be to transform its purpose.

Furthermore, on a purely factual level, it is simply untrue that Facebook users are disproportionately likely to avoid vaccination—in fact, according to Facebook’s statistics, vaccine acceptance in the United States among their users now stands between 80 percent and 85 percent.

So, what’s driving the Biden administration’s finger-pointing? Its agenda is to utilize the massive market dominance of social-media platforms to squeeze alternative media sources out of existence.
Before the rise of social media, most Americans who used the Internet for news bookmarked pages and visited them individually. As social media grew, Americans used social media for news. This centralized the mechanism for information dissemination. Now, the Left sees an opportunity: If all the news is accessed in one place, by restricting access in that place, the news monopoly once held by legacy media can be re-established. All that will be required is labeling everyone they don’t like “misinformation.”

Kara Swisher of The New York Times, who has spent the past several years attempting to pressure Facebook into exactly such censorship, says as much openly. According to Swisher, Biden wasn’t wrong to say Facebook was killing people. Actually, writes Swisher, the problem is that Biden restricted his analysis to the coronavirus: “Attempting to stop falsehoods by claiming to offer good information is like using a single sandbag to hold back an impossibly fetid ocean. It’s like that when it comes to a range of once-anodyne, now divisive issues, from election integrity to critical race theory to whatever.”

“Whatever.” Literally any topic on which Swisher disagrees is now dangerous misinformation. NPR went so far as to pressure Facebook to suppress traffic to my website, Daily Wire, on precisely this basis. NPR admitted that we don’t print falsehoods, that we don’t spread conspiracy theories and that we are honest and open about our conservative perspective. So, why should we be suppressed? Because, according to NPR, we cover “specific stories that bolster the conservative agenda.” And, quoting an expert, NPR reports, “If you’ve stripped enough context away, any piece of truth can become a piece of misinformation.”

There it is: Even truth can be misinformation. And misinformation kills. The authoritarianism of the left is in full swing. Americans must spot it and fight it before it destroys our ability to see anything other than that which the left wants us to see.

Ben Shapiro is the host of The Ben Shapiro Show and editor-in-chief of DailyWire.com. He is the author of “The New York Times” bestsellers “How to Destroy America in Three Easy Steps,” “The Right Side of History” and “Bullies.”

This article first appeared in Israel Hayom.

The opinions and facts presented in this article are those of the author, and neither JNS nor its partners assume any responsibility for them.
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