The other day my wife texted me a New York Timesarticle entitled "How Facebook Handles Climate Disinformation," which included a subheader claiming that the social media giant's policy of exempting opinion articles from fact-checking and warning labels "amounts to a huge loophole for climate change deniers."
She commented "Woo-hoo! You've got a loophole!" I thanked her, but pointed out that I don't think of myself as a climate change denier. As Chris Horner put it in a feature here back in February, "[T]he climate changes – it always has, it always will. Of course, saying 'climate changes makes one a 'climate change denier.' Go figure." I am, in fact, a climate change affirmer!
Read the NYT article if you like, though it'd likely be a waste of your time. The author complains that this supposed loophole allows "industry statements" to be given the same weight as "peer-reviewed science," though her article reads like an industry statement itself, specifically the green energy industry, perpetually annoyed, as they always are, that their economically productive competitors should ever be given a hearing.
But the Left's mounting pressure on our tech monopolies to censor opinions they disagree with really is worrisome. One article I do recommend you read is Jacob Siegel's latest, Google Censorship Is a Danger to Public Health, in which he examines the strange story surrounding the proposed COVID-19 treatment hydroxychloroquine. Siegel purposely doesn't take a side in the debate about whether that medication is effective for this purpose. What he does do, however, is look at Google's policy of suppressing data, and interpretations of data, which run counter to what he refers to as the "expert opinion of the moment."
He quotes the CEO of YouTube (which Google owns) explaining their new policy of removing "problematic" content, including “anything that would go against World Health Organization recommendations." As Siegel points out, this is "a category which at various times during the pandemic would include wearing masks, travel bans, and asserting that the virus is highly contagious."
The fact that is especially chilling is that, on this shaky foundation, Google has gone as far as deleting a white paper which attempted to demonstrate the effectiveness of hydroxychloroquine directly from a doctor's Google Drive. Siegel asks, "Did you know that a Google doc you created can be deleted with no warning or explanation by Google?" I certainly didn't, but it is of a piece with the trend of woke capital demonetizing and de-platforming contrary voices (not to mention pressuring businesses to divest from disfavored industries, oil and gas most of all).
This is an unfortunate tendency, because critical and contrary voices have always been important for challenging consensuses for the purpose of uncovering truth. But for the nihilistic, fascist Left, the dominant variety in our day, the battle cries are "The science is settled!" and "The time for talk is over!"
Somewhere behind all that denial of freedom of speech they must know that their positions don't hold up to scrutiny.
Michael Moore, Enemy of the People
It seems that Planet of the Humans, a new film produced by Michael Moore that calls out the "environmentalist" movement for having sold its soul to capitalism, has set the cat among the chirping songbirds of Leftist groupthink. And what better place from which to hear it than Britain's The Guardian, the Izvestia to the New York Times' Pravda, and the chief European enforcer of neo-Marxist misanthropic orthodoxy.
A new Michael Moore-produced documentary that takes aim at the supposed hypocrisy of the green movement is “dangerous, misleading and destructive” and should be removed from public viewing, according to an assortment of climate scientists and environmental campaigners. The film, Planet of the Humans, was released on the eve of Earth Day last week by its producer, Michael Moore, the baseball cap-wearing documentarian known for Fahrenheit 9/11 and Bowling for Columbine. Describing itself as a “full-frontal assault on our sacred cows”, the film argues that electric cars and solar energy are unreliable and rely upon fossil fuels to function. It also attacks figures including Al Gore for bolstering corporations that push flawed technologies over real solutions to the climate crisis.
Planet of the Humans has provoked a furious reaction from scientists and campaigners, however, who have called for it be taken down. Films for Action, an online library of videos, temporarily took down the film after describing it as “full of misinformation”, though they later reinstated it, saying they did not want accusations of censorship to give the film “more power and mystique than it deserves”. A free version on YouTube has been viewed more than 3m times.
We always knew that the Left's commitment to dissent and free speech was merely a flag of convenience, under which to continue their real project of shutting down dissent and free speech completely. Going all the way back to Mario Savio at Berkeley in 1964, "free speech" to them was simply the means to the end of destroying the existing postwar societies of the U.S. and Europe and setting their own rough beast slouching toward Bethlehem to be born.
What, exactly, has their knickers in such a bunch?
A letter written by Josh Fox, who made the documentary Gasland, and signed by various scientists and activists, has urged the removal of “shockingly misleading and absurd” film for making false claims about renewable energy. Planet of the Humans “trades in debunked fossil fuel industry talking points” that question the affordability and reliability of solar and wind energy, the letter states, pointing out that these alternatives are now cheaper to run than fossil fuels such as coal.
Michael Mann, a climate scientist and signatory to Fox’s letter, said the film includes “various distortions, half-truths and lies” and that the filmmakers “have done a grave disservice to us and the planet by promoting climate change inactivist tropes and talking points.” The film’s makers did not respond to questions over whether it will be pulled down.
Pulled down? I thought progressives were against censorship in all its forms. Ah, but by now conservatives and cultural defenders have learned that banning, outlawing, and destroying artifacts that offend the Left's delicate, ever-changing sensibilities is their solution to everything.