First and foremost, police states police speech. They replace a free press with their own or friendly organs. They police discourse about the propaganda they and their organs churn out, transforming public debate into more propaganda.
Never before in history has a police state had access to more powerful tools than social media to set and police public debate. I refer, of course, to the American police state, a kind of fusion police state, which finally seized power after the overthrow of Donald Trump at the point of his re-election 2020. Without pliant and controlled media and social media, the overthrow of the legitimate president could not have been staged as it was, the fraud of it all faked as a legitimate election by news and social media. Ours was a propaganda coup more than anything else. After successfully declaring Biden legitimate, it was all fakery, all the time, from the "Pearl Harbor" January 6 "insurrection" to the "safe and effective" bioweapon which government and media put over on an already propaganda-brutallized population as a "vaccine." First, they killed the country; next, they killed the People, so much destruction and desolation dependent first and foremost on message-control, backed, we have come to learn, by the fist of so-called Justice.
But that's their story and they're sticking to it. The official story even has it that America still functions as a representative democracy in accord with the Constitution and the Bill of Rights -- thanks to its First- Amendment-protected free press! This official story, however, is the very basis of our subjugation. And this official story is the life work of the news media, and woe to dissenters, even unwitting dissenters such as Matt Taibbi, who never expected to experience any of what has befallen him.
I did not pay too much attention to Matt Taibbi and his Twitter Files when they began to roll out. I already was aware of the conspiracy between the government and Twitter to capture and destroy public debate, and I was and remain distrustful of Elon "Neuralink" "Starlink" "Tesla" Musk, and also leery of the selective manner of release of theTwitter files. (Not that I would ever go back, but, for the record, I'm still suspended from Twitter.)
Now, Taibbi's Twitter Files story has a coda which is even more shocking and significant than the files themselves: his own government harassment via IRS and FBI plus public hectoring and threats from House Democrats, up to and including a letter from the ranking member on the Weaponization subcommittee threatening the journalist with prosecution for lying to Congress, which carries a five year prison-term. The dictators are still frantic to expunge all truth and truth-telling.
Please watch Taibbi tell his story on The Chris Hedges Report. It's an important piece of the history of our tragic loss of freedom of speech.
In the course of his interview, Taibbi mentions that he interned at the Village Voice with free speech warrior Nat Henthoff. (Notably, the Washington Times, where I worked, carried Henthoff's column.) It shows.
Some excerpts from Matt Taibbi on the fallen state of the press.
There’s been this massive public relations campaign that’s told a whole generation of young people that "counter-speech," and allowing certain kinds of people to talk, doesn’t work, and de-platforming does – and people believe it. And this is the rationale behind this new movement. And they see Donald Trump as the evidence that more stringent measures are needed, and it’s provided the cover for this incredible revolution and technological censorship that we found in the Twitter files.
Taibbi also had pointed remarks about the media's alarming new role as government minder -- first, in his own case in which MSNBC's Mehdi Hasan was "actively trying to get Members of Congress interested in prosecuting me for lying to Congress" -- incredible! -- and also in the case of Jack Teixeira, the so-called Pentagon leaker. Taibbi relates how
the Washington Post, the New York Times and Bellingham tracked down this person and essentially delivered him up to the authories, and now they're doing stories based on the stuff that he was leaking. Can you ever remember, Chris, journalists working to turn in, essentially, sources? It's a total violation of what journalism is. We're not part of the government investigatory apparatus but they seem themselves that way.
(I am reminded of the general failure to defend Wikileaks, Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning, even as news sites produced story after story based on Wikileaks documents.)
Question something like, Is it fear of Trump?
I would hope so because at least that would be a reason … It’s an even baser phenomenon, it’s groupthink, it’s careerism, and it’s a new kind of political movement that’s developing. I think, there’s a new sensation within the media busness for sure that I had not been clued into for a long time. But it’s this belief ... we can’t just put stuff out there and hope that the public makes the right decisions. We have to act and make sure that they do the right thing with the information, which means that we have to have lockstep-discipline about what we say. We have to filter out things out that we think the public can’t handle, and we have to exaggerate things that we think they need to know. And this is a new vision for how information is disseminated ...
But to me it reminds me of something that you would have seen in the Soviet Union in the late 20s or early 30s or in other countries that have authoritarian traditions … They’re saying we are the only source of information, we have legitimacy because we’re credentialed, and that gives us authority that other people lack, and we want you to discount any information you get from any other source …This is a belief system that’s become pervasive.