Control is a form of Bullying

A commentary on censorship

The Guardian this week had a news article titled: Facebook and Twitter restrict controversial New York Post story on Joe Biden. The article says Twitter blocked tweets that contained links or photos to the New York (NY) Post’s report on alleged emails that show that Hunter Biden offered to introduce then Vice President Joe Biden, and now Democrat presidential candidate, to an executive of a Ukrainian gas company. Joe Biden’s son has faced accusations of corrupt behaviour from both Democrats and Republicans. Users attempting to share the story were shown a notice saying: “We can’t complete this request because this link has been identified by Twitter or our partners as being potentially harmful.”  My question is: Harmful to who?

Facebook also took steps to limit the spread of New York Post—a newspaper that is part of the mainstream media—article placing restrictions on posts linking to the article, saying: “This is part of our standard process to reduce the spread of misinformation.”  The article goes on to say that Republican senator Ted Cruz wrote Twitter saying: “Twitter’s censorship of this story is quite hypocritical, given its willingness to allow users to share less-well-sourced reporting critical of other candidates.”

Are social media companies censuring? I (#blogger #blog #somseason #YA #authors) personally have had Facebook posts that I shared declared “misinformation,” and YouTube videos which I saved to watch later to discover them removed from YouTube.

According to the NY Post’s article; Ted Cruz slams ‘unbelievable’ Twitter censorship of another Hunter Biden story, Twitter locked down some accounts of people who shared the report, forcing them to delete the story from their feeds. White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany refused to delete her tweet and remains locked out of her personal account, which has 1 million followers. The article also reports that Twitter blocked Ted Cruz from sharing the article. President Trump has had many tweets blocked by Twitter, and the company has even temporarily blocked the Donald Trump`s re-election campaign Twitter account (see US Election 2020).

A September 29th study uncovering global perspectives on online censorship using citizens in the United States of America, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, Russia, Norway and Sweden, showed large segments of people in each country do not trust the integrity of information they find online, and many suspect censorship is at play. The study reveals 37% of Canadians and 54% of Americans feel that they’ve experienced internet censorship. The Toronto Sun has an article: BIG TECH CENSORS: Social media continues to gag conservative voices, stating YouTube nixed thousands of videos under the pretense it was removing hate speech.

Are we being controlled? If we aren’t being controlled, then why are so many users unable to speak their truth without being censored? New Zealand-born writer, Juliet Marillier, says,  There is no truth on this island of yours. Rather, there are as many truths as there are stars in the sky; and every one of them different.” American photographer, John Szarkowski, says, “Because we see reality in different ways, we must understand that we are looking at different truths rather than the truth and that, therefore, all photographs lie in one way or another.” We all like to think we hold “the truth.”

We need to ask questions, such as: Have we been controlled and manipulated with the use of fear tactics to keep us silent and out of our truths? Let’s face it, if we are being controlled and manipulated, then we are being bullied. Bullies (#bullying #antibullying) intimidate and torment others to control them. Start asking questions. First ask yourselves: Who is doing the censoring? Why are social media CEOs censoring? Who is telling them to censor? Secondly, ask yourselves who and what are they censoring? Are they censoring people who are speaking truths that are not the truths of those doing the censoring? Are they censoring truths that they don’t want us to hear? I have to wonder why the social media giants are attempting to prevent a New York Post article about the possible illegal dealings regarding the Biden family from being read? I guarantee that if a similar article about Trump came out, it would not be censored. We’ve seen lots of examples of that. The third question to ask yourself is: What are those doing the censoring afraid of? After all, censorship is the voice of fear. What are they hiding? Who are they not censoring? Could it be they are not censoring individuals that have the same agenda as them? Are they allowing the truths to be spread that are their truths? I am merely asking the questions while remaining neutral as best I can. Do some research to find the answers to the above questions if you feel called to.

I was under the illusion that everyone had freedom of expression or freedom of speech in the ‘free wold.” The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms protects our rights and freedoms, including freedom of expression and the right to equality. It is part of the Canadian Constitution. The First Amendment of US Constitution guarantees freedom of expression by prohibiting Congress from restricting the press or the rights of individuals to speak freely.  

So, ask yourselves are we manipulated and controlled? Have we always been? An article titled: Fear-Based Manipulation: How Politicians, Marketers and the Media Create Panic to Control the Masses, explains how this could be done. Another article: How the Media Controls Your Reality explains how media could control our lives. I encourage you to read them.

American singer and songwriter, Jim Morrison, once said, “Whoever controls the media, controls the mind.” Soviet politician, Nikita Khrushchev, said, “The press is our chief ideological weapon.” Malcolm X, an African American Muslim minister, says, “The media’s the most powerful entity on earth. They have the power to make the innocent guilty and to make the guilty innocent, and that’s power. Because they control the minds of the masses.”  British television writer, novelist and non-fiction writer, Dresden James, once said, “When a well-packaged web of lies has been sold gradually to the masses over generations, the truth will seem utterly preposterous and its speaker a raving lunatic.” Could that be true?

If we really do have freedom of expression, which our constitutions say we do, then we must respect and tolerate everyone’s truth. As German-born physicist, Albert Einstein, once said, “We must not only learn to tolerate our differences. We must welcome them as the richness and diversity which can lead to true intelligence.” We must remain neutral, no matter how difficult that may be, and stop labelling things as right or wrong. Really, there is no such thing as right and wrong. As Ufuoma Apoki, founder of Petra Ministries, says, “Right or Wrong, most times, merely depends on perspective. It takes humility (not necessarily logic) to let go of our egos to see through the other person’s eyes. But I guess even I, myself, can’t let go to see why you’d object.” In other words, right and wrong are relative.

Some people might claim there are absolute truths, meaning a truth that is true at all times and in all places; a truth that is always true no matter what the circumstances. Perhaps there is, but that would require more study.  

If we are ever going to live in peace and harmony, then all truths need to be respected and tolerated, and the use of censorship to control others needs to stop. Let’s face it, we live in a diverse world; a world with an infinite number of truths, and that is okay. I don’t have to accept your truth, nor do you have to accept my truth, but we do need to understand and accept that your truth may be different from my truth. When you attempt to impose your truth onto someone else, then you are acting as a bully.

Author: Sommer season all year

I am a retired school teacher. I taught high school for 35 years.

9 thoughts on “Control is a form of Bullying”

  1. I don’t think I have to emphasize to you how stongly I believe the it is media bias, not just social media, that is causing such a great political divide not only in the US but in Canada as well. These biases are from both the right and the left and at there worst are extremely destructive because they are about thought control. As we have often heard, the truth generally lies somewhere in between or in the middle. We all have personal biases though and want to believe the things that confirm those biases. Just my thought. I like your article.

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    1. I agree, Dennis, that it is media bias, from both left and right, and it is about thought control. As for “the truth,” everyone has their own and I agree that we believe the things that confirm our biases (our truth). Censorship is about controlling what people know, an attempt to remove our freedom to think for ourselves, so it should never be done.

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      1. I do have some concern about the idea that we all have our own truth. The truth of the universe is governed buy natural law and I may feel that I have an upper hand into what all the entails but I believe that I would only be decieving myself into reinforcing my biases. I may be able to grow into knowing what is truth but I can not ever, on this side of heaven, believe that I have found it.

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      2. I believe the question you are asking is: Are there absolute truths? That is what natural law is. I think more study of that topic would need to be done to answer that question. I always believed (my truth) that there were absolute truths, but can I prove it? No. It is what I was taught.

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  2. I think the context of the content being censored is important here. Scientific journals censor poor articles all the time. Good journalists and editors censor poorly researched articles. The New York Post article your are referring to is highly suspected of being released with malicious intent. Even the guy who wrote the article has refused to put his name on it. This is why it whas treated differently, and not because it was some Mainstream Media attempt to cover-up a story. It’s because the story is weak, unvetted, and from a highly non-credible source right before a massive election seemed timed specifically to damage Joe Biden.

    https://www.cbc.ca/news/world/fbi-investigation-russia-hunter-biden-email-1.5766293

    https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2020/10/new-york-post-staff-nothing-to-do-with-hunter-biden-story

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    1. My commentary is not about who is right and who is wrong. Your comments reflect one of many truths (perspectives) out there. The point of my article is point out that all truths need to be respected and tolerated, and therefore, censorship should never occur for any reason. My truth (perspective) doesn’t have to be the same as your truth. Just because the Mainstream Media says the story is weak and non-credible, doesn’t make it “the truth.”

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      1. Conspiracy theories are radical conjecture and do not have the same merit as ideas grounded in journalistic or scientific research. Your proposition that all ideas, including conspiracy, should be held to the same standard is damaging. Groups such as Qanon, Breitbart, and Fox News are advocating extreme ideas and then announcing further conspiracy when the general public raises an eyebrow in skepticism. These organizations appear to do this in order to create uncertainty and disorder because from that authoritarianism, hypocrisy, and ideologues can exist. Conspiracy enables the bully. This is a common thread in history, with the Nazis using the Reichstag fire to put forward the conspiracy that the communist party was plotting against Germany, echoing terribly to how Trump entices his crowds to chant “lock him up!” (Biden) at his rallies.

        I am not disagreeing with you that censorship is bad in general. I am disagreeing with you that on the platform of journalism all stories are equal. They aren’t, just like when in school not all essays get the same grade. Some are better researched. Some are written with more critical thinking and defense. It is not a conspiracy that the general public, and therefore the ‘mainstream media’ doesn’t want to report on radical stories from ‘unvetted, highly non-credible source[s]’, and suggesting so is harmful to the actual pursuit of transparency and progress.

        https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2020/10/smears-against-biden-dont-need-make-any-sense/616824/

        I appreciate your dialogue on this and look forward to your response.

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      2. I understand and respect that this is your truth (understanding, perspective), but it is not my truth. I am merely advocating that all truths (including conspiracy theories) be respected, but not necessarily accepted. That is up to each individual. Censorship, no matter the motive, is removing people’s freedom to think for themselves. As for conspiracy theories, a “Conspiracy Theory” is a term coined by the CIA (Central Intelligence Agency) in order to prevent disbelief of official government stories. I ask that you respect my truth and allow me to decide for myself what my truth is.

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