In a whirlwind week of unprecedented tech censorship, the world witnessed President Donald J. Trump silenced in the waning days of his presidency.
The pretext for the digital coup was a chaotic breach of the Capitol building during a massive MAGA protest in Washington, DC, on 6 January. The President had called for the protest himself on the date Congress was set to tally state elector slates.
Dozens of House members and a smaller group of Senators had committed to debating questions of voting fraud during the Constitutional process.
The protest was quickly labeled an “insurrection,” though order was restored so quickly that Congress was able to reconvene in the evening to vote and certify Joe Biden as the winner of the 2020 Presidential election. Democrats and their allies in the media, Silicon Valley con artists, and the entire corporate world moved swiftly to control the narrative of events.
In nearly one fell swoop, President Trump was permanently barred from his accounts on Twitter, Facebook, and other platforms owned by the big-tech corporations, including Instagram.
When Trump tried to communicate via the official White House account, it, too, had been suspended.
Software company Salesforce cut off the Trump campaign from their service. Payment processor Stripe also cut all ties and denied its services, and Shopify closed its web sales platform from the campaign’s use. This was the same company that shut down payment processing in 2018 for GAB, a free speech platform offering an alternative to Twitter. Even banks such as Deutsche Bank, as we have noted, announced they would no longer do business with Trump enterprises.
The coordination between pols and corporate and media entities was an “informal” whirlwind of purging and pontificating. But the lines between the actors were evident.
On 11 January, journalist Glenn Greenwald said,
“Having elected officials with power over tech companies direct those companies to censor those with different ideologies is despotic: a merger of state and corporate/monopolistic power. But the 9/11 framework is in play: if you dissent from any of this, you’re pro-Terrorist.”
Indeed, the entire Republican base was quickly framed as a “domestic terrorist” group.
Never mind that Democratic leaders including Kamala Harris and the media had cheered on months-long BLM and Antifa “mostly peaceful protests” in 2020, which saw businesses and government buildings burned to the ground, cops beaten, and dozens murdered and maimed. The riots caused billions in damage.
But, now, Democrats defended the police and the use of the National Guard. They moved to vilify not only those who had entered the halls of Congress but Republicans including Senators Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley, who had backed efforts to debate voting fraud.
Calls were made to add them to “no-fly” lists, and corporate powers moved against them and others including Ron Paul.
Media attention and the Sunday talk shows instantly pivoted from coverage of the “dire” COVID fear and hysteria of hospital capacity shortages and rising case numbers to “Impeachment, Act II” and possible use of the 25th Amendment to remove Trump.
When President Trump, via surrogates, indicated he was considering moving to Parler, a free speech rival to Twitter with a relatively tiny base of users, the technocracy swiftly moved against that platform. Amazon AWS storage and web services powering the platform were yanked, and Parler went dark.
The power moves of the Technocracy were alarming enough to provoke concern from world leaders, many of whom could hardly be characterized as staunch Trump allies. German Chancellor Angel Merkel said the digital censorship was troubling. The French government had a stronger reaction, with Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire calling out the censorship as “the digital oligarchy.”
U.K. Health Secretary Matt Hancock weighed in, saying it was time to consider tighter regulations of the social platforms, given their increasing penchant for making editorial decisions.
Thierry Breton, the EU’s commissioner for the internal market, weighed in, observing,
“The fact that a CEO can pull the plug on POTUS’s loudspeaker without any checks and balances is perplexing. It is not only confirmation of the power of these platforms, but it also displays deep weaknesses in the way our society is organized in the digital space.”
Indeed, the crackdown on the American president was egregious. Even the ACLU was stirred to issue a lukewarm condemnation:
“It should concern everyone when companies like Facebook and Twitter wield the unchecked power to remove people from platforms that have become indispensable for the speech of billions.”
By 12 January, another censorship milestone was reached when the President traveled to the Alamo in Texas to highlight his accomplishments with building a (partial) wall along stretches of the southern border.
Though over 800,000 watched on YouTube via the Trump-friendly RSBN network, none of the major over-the-air networks covered the speech. Cable news networks including CNN, MSNBC, and even FOX also blacked it out.
Instead, they counter-programmed with an FBI and DC-district federal prosecutor news conference that aired at the same time, outlining an expansive plan to go after hundreds and possibly thousands of Capitol protesters that had violated the law.
TRENDPOST: Again, love or hate Trump, “Censorship” is the new American “Normal.” We have detailed it extensively in this Trends Journal.
Following the President’s remarks, YouTube suspended Trump’s account, barring uploads and comments, effectively silencing any video of the President’s border speech on the world’s most frequented video platform. The death knell of the Trump presidency was sounded, not by tweet and bombast, but by the eerie absence of it.