Preparing in a World of Censorship and False Media Narratives
September 01, 2022 0 Comments
By: Elizabeth Anderson
Information is the most overlooked—and arguably most important—part of being properly prepared.
But where do you get your information when the news is being censored and false narratives drive the media?
Before we go any further, we want to clearly state that while things are worse now, this is nothing new.
Our government has been censoring and providing false media narratives since—well, this country’s birth.
With the addition of the Internet and social media, we are seeing more information suppression and narrative control than ever before.
The problem is that we need to stay aware to prepare. But how do you stay aware and prepare when the information you need is kept from you?
Government Censorship and False Media Narratives
While the phrase “fake news” is a relatively new term, government censorship and false media narratives are nothing new.
From the earliest times of strife in America, the leaders of our country have halted our freedom of speech when it could have potentially hurt them.
Here are just a few examples throughout American history where information was censored from citizens:
- The Sedition Act of 1798 – The law criminalized the “writing, printing, uttering or publishing [of] any false, scandalous and malicious writing or writings about the government of the United States.”
- The Civil War – President Lincoln took control of the telegraph lines, suspended habeas corpus, and issued an order that prohibited newspapers from printing war news without approval. Newspapers that criticized Lincoln were shut down, and individuals who delivered anti-war speeches were arrested.
- The Espionage Act of 1917 – During WWI, this law criminalized any attempt to harm the war effort. It also gave the postmaster general the power to ban any mail “advocating or urging treason, insurrection, or forcible resistance to any law of the United States.”
- The Sedition Act of 1918 – This was an amendment to the Espionage Act, which prohibited “uttering, printing, writing, or publishing any disloyal, profane, scurrilous, or abusive language intended to cause contempt, scorn … as regards the form of government of the United States or Constitution, or the flag or the uniform of the Army or Navy.”
- Pearl Harbor – After the Pearl Harbor attack, President Roosevelt gave the FBI emergency authority to censor all news and communications.
- Vietnam War – There were multiple accounts of assaults and interference with free speech protests.
- The Pentagon Papers – The Nixon Administration obtained a court order barring The New York Times and the Washington Post from publishing the Pentagon Papers in 1971. The case went to the Supreme Court, where it was found the government could not prohibit these news sources from publishing these documents.
- Section 215 of the U.S.A. Patriot Act – After 9/11, this law gave government officials the ability to read business records, library records, healthcare records, logs of internet service providers, and other documents and papers.
- Today – Social media is monitored and targeted, and information is collected by the Department of Homeland Security, the FBI, and the State Department.
Censorship and false media narratives are only getting worse, and the problem is reaching a boiling point.
Today it’s especially concerning, considering the way big tech, media outlets, and the government want complete power to control what we see, hear…and even think in our everyday lives. It’s all gone well beyond the scope of “wartime powers.”
Big Tech Doing the Government’s Dirty Work?
With the invention of the Internet, governments across the world had to find a way to restrict or control the flow of information their citizens had access to.
The Columbia Journalism Review explains, “Censorship will rise and fall as technological innovation and the hunger for freedom clash with governments bent on controlling their citizens, starting with what they read, watch, and hear. […] Governments went from spectators in the digital revolution to sophisticated early adopters of advanced technologies that allowed them to monitor journalists, and direct the flow of information.”
The problem is that according to Pew Research, “About half (48%) of Americans got news on social media at least sometimes or often in 2021.”
That means that 48% of Americans are getting news that has likely already been censored by government entities.
For instance, our former Press Secretary Psaki told reporters in a 2021 press conference, “We are in regular touch with the social media platforms and those engagements typically happen through members of our senior staff and also members of our COVID-19 team – given as Dr. Murthy conveyed, this is a big issue, of misinformation, specifically on the pandemic.”
They were not only aware of what news was spreading on social media, but they also did their best to push certain narratives on it.
That’s just one example.
Let’s look at some other examples from various social media platforms.
Pew Research found that “Nearly a third of Americans regularly get news on Facebook.” Not surprising, since it is by far the most popular social media site where Americans get their news.
This is growing especially dangerous when you consider how that news is distributed.
Just last week, Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, told the most listened-to podcast host in the world, Joe Rogan, the reason why so few Americans heard anything about the scandal with Hunter Biden’s laptop prior to the 2020 Presidential election:
“The FBI, I think basically came to us — some folks on our team and was like, ‘Hey, um, just so you know, like, you should be on high alert. There was the — we thought that there was a lot of Russian propaganda in the 2016 election. We have it on notice that basically there’s about to be some kind of dump of — that’s similar to that. So just be vigilant.’ […] We just kind of thought, Hey look, if the FBI, which, you know, I still view as a legitimate institution in this country, it’s a very professional law enforcement. […] They come to us and tell us that we need to be on guard about something. Then I wanna take that seriously.”
So, when The New York Post originally published information on Hunter Biden’s laptop, Facebook deemed it misinformation at the time, even though, according to Zuckerberg, “I mean the fact-checkers looked into it, no one was able to say it was false, right. So basically it had this period where it was getting less distribution.”
If this feels a little like campaign meddling by the FBI, well…YOU be the judge.
What’s interesting about this is that the story of Zuckerberg on Rogan’s podcast appears to have been suppressed—not just on Facebook, but in the media in general.
According to Breitbart, “Following the swift spread of Zuckerberg’s interview, Facebook representatives reached out proactively to Breitbart News to downplay the news about the FBI’s warnings about ‘Russian propaganda,’ pointing to an earlier interview by the Facebook founder in which he referred to FBI warnings of ‘hack and leak’ operations ahead of the Hunter Biden story.”
And on Facebook, at the same time the story grew legs, the top Facebook news story was about Zuckerberg’s wife, Priscilla Chan, published in Business Insider.
Twitter is a regular news source for 13% of Americans, according to Pew Research.
Like Facebook, it has dealt with plenty of its own censorship complaints—most popularly, shadowbanning prominent Republicans in 2018.
And it seems like every other day someone else is thrown into Twitter jail for saying something “questionable,” posting a news story, or retweeting a story that Twitter deems inappropriate.
That statement is NOT an opinion. It’s taken straight from an undercover recording by Project Veritas earlier this year.
In the video, Lead Client Partner Alex Martinez openly discusses the company’s ideology and criticizes Tesla CEO’s views on free speech on the platform.
Martinez tells the undercover reporter, “The rest of us who have been here believe in something that’s good for the planet and not just to give people free speech. […] People don’t know how to make a rational decision if you don’t put out—correct things that are supposed to be out in the public, right?”
Oh boy! So Twitter gets to decide what news you should see and not see.
They aren’t stopping either.
Just this month, Twitter announced major plans to combat “misinformation” on its platform ahead of the 2022 election by blocking certain types of content.
Lastly, Pew Research claims, “About one-in-five Americans (22%) say they regularly get their news on YouTube.”
YouTube proved notorious for censoring content creators whose views on the pandemic didn’t match the current administration’s views.
They removed countless videos with what they deemed “misinformation” about the vaccine.
The Media Pushing False Narratives
As much as we’d like to pin it all on social media, we can’t.
The truth is that the media also has an agenda, and they are pushing it every day.
Is it any wonder that Americans’ confidence in the media is at an all-time low?
According to Gallup, “Multiple Gallup measures of Americans’ views of the news media show a growing distrust. Last fall, Gallup found near-record-low trust in the media to report the news fully, accurately and fairly, and few Americans rated newspaper and television reporters as highly ethical in Gallup’s annual honesty and ethics of professions poll in December.”
That’s not surprising, given how much focus was placed on false narratives like the Russia Hoax (officials found no collusion with Russia) and Border Patrol agents being falsely accused of whipping migrants.
Plus, there have been multiple stories that have come to light well after they should have (such as Hunter Biden’s laptop), due to the media squashing relevant information in order to sway politics.
But Wait! There’s More…Thanks to the WEF!
The World Economic Forum (WEF) recently started pushing for AI censorship of online speech.
In other words, what you write online can automatically be censored upon posting—by a robot.
This is a developing story, but we felt it was worth mentioning here to show you that governments and elite organizations aren’t stopping anytime soon.
How to Make Sure You Have Accurate Info
If it isn’t already clear, the powers that be aren’t trying to hide suppression of news and free speech anymore. It’s out in the open, and it’s done for “our own good.”
Here are a few tips to stay informed and prepared—and to sift through the news:
- Read fully – Don’t just read the headline. Those are made to get your attention and are often misleading. It’s called “click-bait” for a reason!
- Consider where the news is coming from – News sites have political leanings. Be aware of the hidden political agenda of your news source. Likewise, be aware of the people sharing the information. Are they people you trust?
- Get your news from multiple sites – Don’t just rely on one news source. Gather info from multiple sources, and then do your own research and decide for yourself what is true or not.
- Check the original source – Whenever possible, go to the original source. For example, if an article quotes a government official or law, search for the original quote or the law. Often, things are taken out of context and spun to fit a certain narrative.
- Assess the evidence – Use your brain and consider the evidence. Do things add up? What’s missing?
- Support journalists you trust – Once you find a journalist or speaker you trust, follow this person as a main news source.
- Use different search engines – Don’t rely on Google for searching. Google seeks to provide search results for individual users based on algorithms. That means what appears in your search results will be different from your neighbor’s, and therefore, not as reliable. Use search engines like Brave Browser and DuckDuckGo instead.
- Join alternative social media sites – Avoid social media sites that are actively working with the government.
For more information on this topic, read Big Tech Has a Censorship Problem. Here’s What You Need to Know.
Stay aware, friends.
Preparedness Advisor, My Patriot Supply