<<When liberals’ favorite media outlets, from CNN and NBC to The New York Times and The Atlantic, spend four years disseminating one fabricated Russia story after the next — from the Kremlin hacking into Vermont's heating system and Putin's sexual blackmail over Trump to bounties on the heads of U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan, the Biden email archive being "Russian disinformation,” and a magical mystery weapon that injures American brains with cricket noises — none of that is "disinformation” that requires banishment. Nor are false claims that COVID's origin has proven to be zoonotic rather than a lab leak, the vastly overstated claim that vaccines prevent transmission of COVID, or that Julian Assange stole classified documents and caused people to die. Corporate outlets beloved by liberals are free to spout serious falsehoods without being deemed guilty of disinformation, and, because of that, do so routinely.>> [ibid]
Private or Public?
One might make the argument that pervasive and now routine partisan censorship by corporations in Silicon Valley and major media is not 'censorship', in the sense that it does not implicate the First Amendment. The First Amendment, as conservatives (myself included) have often pointed out over the years, only limits government conduct, not free association (or by extension disassociation) of purely private actors. This is true, and I continue to stand by that in principle. It is another example of Hannah Arendt's principle (cf. her "Origins of Totalitarianism" books) that it is inherently dangerous to mix the Private, Social, and Public spheres, by moving, for instance, conflict which is permissible (even if unsightly or hurtful) in the Social Sphere under government control. Such boundary-confusion inevitably promotes Totalitarianism. But the private/public distinction is not currently useful for precisely this reason of boundary confusion.
Among these sources, including the GG article, you will find that the Biden Administration was among those pressuring Spotify to deplatform Joe Rogan. [2021-02-01: see this Townhall piece for press briefing video where White House continues pressuring Spotify for more censorship.]
This is not even-- not remotely-- a new phenomenon. We know, for instance, that former, prospective, and current government officials now routinely participate in distribution of misinformation and suppression of dissent in ostensibly private media. Just off the top of my head, we have Senator Elizabeth Warren acting officially in an attempt to coerce Amazon to censor a book on the virus in search results and Anthony Fauci's collaboration (the quid pro quo of which is still undisclosed) with Zuckerburg to supress discussion of potential covid origins. The Left (whatever you wish to call the elitist authoritarian progressive portion of politics epitomized by current DNC leadership which is not universally shared by 'liberals', especially when using 'liberal' in the classic sense) is not only using this kind of coordinated quasi-governmental control over debate frequently: as GG argues, it has now become the principle tool.
Those of you who know me long enough may recall that I, along with GG and others from among both liberty-minded Republicans and Democratic, 3rd Party and Independent (3P/I) allies, have been discussing the worrying potential of quasi-governmental prior restraint since before it became the principle tool of the Left. It was, in fact, a rather handy tool in the Bush/Cheney Administration. I was not silent on that issue when Republicans were involved. It ought be kept in mind, however, that the former Cheney contingent of authoritarian Republican elitists many of us fought against in the day became strident Never-Trumpers who threw their lot in with Biden and the DNC. Liz Cheney, the daughter, has become Pelosi's go-to tool and the father has been quite literally embraced by the Democratic power players along with open acceptance of his authoritarian censorship ideals by Democratic leadership, Big Media, and the America Civil Liberties Union. Recognition that this unholy alliance is deeply disturbing should not pivot on one's opinion of Trump, pro or con. In this time, the FBI and CIA have gone from being professed enemies of Democracy to its saviors. The far-left defund-the-police "Squad" directly enabled the extra-territorial expansion of the Capitol Police. There is a well-trafficked revolving door between former surveillance-state operatives and Big (primarily Democrat-aligned) Media. So, although government surveillance and suppression of speech coordinated with "industry partners" has been both a Republican and Democrat issue, it is almost exclusively a leftist disease at the moment.
First they came for...
Of course, among the stated reasons I opposed Bush/Cheney policies at the time and endured backlash to partner with Democratic and 3P/I activists to do it was for precisely this reason: what goes around comes around. This is no less true of liberal constituencies today who enable Cancel Culture. In fact, it is not difficult to think of left-leaning figures who have already been cannibalized-- or, it wouldn't be difficult to think of them if they had not already been cancelled. Totalitarianism, once it begins to churn, rattles and clanks in a parody of life. It chooses victims of its own volition, not according to the will of those who switched it on. It continues running even after those hapless fools are well-digested.
The Niemoller Principle eventually grinds the compliant with the contrary; the bones of cowards will lie with the courageous.
The prudent start reaching for the plug before the plug reaches for you.