Build your own, they said
If you don't like censorship across social media, then go "build your own" platform, the traditional conservative attitude goes. After all, we can't have the government dictate what content is acceptable. It is foolish to get the government involved because the government can also use that power against you later. Unfortunately, the government is already moderating content, and even Biden is speaking about it openly.
The "build your own" attitude downplays the extremism radiating from the left. This is what makes it so disappointing when prominent conservatives, independents, or libertarians like John Stossel (whom I like) still cling to the "build your own" attitude as if they're ignorant of the radical nature of today's Democrat party. The John Stossel "build your own" attitude assumes that the left values free-market competition as much as he does. For what reason does the "build your own" personality think the left will sit back and allow conservatives to build anything? The left is insatiable. No amount of censorship will ever be enough.
Large Big Tech companies colluded to take down Parler. Web hosts have banned conservative websites like Bare Naked Islam and Illegal Alien Crime Report. Payment providers like PayPal have banned countless conservatives, from Gavin McInnes to Ian Miles Cheong. Banks have banned Mike Lindell and Dinesh D'Souza. And like locusts seeking their next meal, the left has moved onto its next avenue of censorship – telecommunications providers.
Back in October, CNN's Brian Stelter complained about the conservative network One America News (OAN), suggesting that cable providers should not carry OAN on because it "is not just a conservative channel. It's a conspiracy channel, and there's a big difference."
For Stelter, this is nothing new. In January, Stelter openly advocated for telecommunications companies to ban Fox News from their television sets, saying, "Reducing a liar's reach is not the same as censoring freedom of speech." That same month, Stelter had former Facebook chief security officer Alex Stamos come on his show and urge cable providers to drop networks like OAN and Newsmax by saying, "These companies have freedom of speech, but I'm not sure we need Verizon, AT&T, Comcast, and such to be bringing them into tens of millions of homes." These extreme censorship views are so mainstream on the left that even Joe Biden's FCC commissioner nominee agrees that Fox News should be regulated by Democrats.
Now leftists have gotten their wish. Earlier this week, DirecTV announced it would not renew its contract with OAN. I don't know what the financials look like for OAN, but I'm not naïve enough to think this has anything to do with money. DirecTV is owned by AT&T — which also owns Brian Stelter's CNN.
They told conservatives to build alternative platforms, networks, or media, but the attacks have not subsided. Are we supposed to build our own telecommunications conglomerates? Even if we raised enough money to do that (which would be an enormous amount of money), local Democrat politicians would prevent the construction of the cables or other infrastructure.
Then what do we do, Mr. Stossel?
By tolerating censorship across social media platforms, some conservatives put their faith in the free market to correct the situation. Except the free market isn't as free as it used to be. Today's market consists of large corporations who finance Black Lives Matter and institute regular Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) training for employees. The left has the mainstream media and social media platforms in its back pocket. Still, the old free-market conservative fails to recognize that large corporations have also become a leftist weapon.
I hope that the "build your own" conservatives and independents will soon stare at reality and recognize that they're behaving like a pacifist in a time of war. You will not be spared, so you might as well start fighting back. I was once a "build your own" conservative myself. But if we're going to combat the extremism on the left, it will require traditional conservatives to be a lot more aggressive.
Telecommunications companies like AT&T were supposed to be neutral and open to everyone, but the left has thrown out the old rules. The "build your own" thinker should throw them out as well.