Sometimes the silencing of dissenting viewpoints is achieved through overt censorship – as we saw when Facebook suppressed arguments that entertained the Wuhan lab leak hypothesis, or when Twitter censored pretty much any assertion that could be construed as even slightly disfavourable to Covid vaccines. But more often than not, it is achieved by refusing to give any airtime to arguments from “the other side.” In many ways, this is more sinister than overt censorship, because it is subtle and may easily go completely unnoticed.
I have had personal experience of this “from the inside,” so to speak. I used to write ocassionally for a prominent national newspaper in Ireland, as well as a regional newspaper in Spain. Soon after I began to seriously question Covid measures or the science behind lockdowns, my contributions at both newspapers ceased to be published, quite abruptly. There was simply no editorial interest in questioning the fundamentals of the national response to the virus.
The average newspaper reader or TV viewer knows nothing of this filtering process. They just pick up the newspaper or switch on the TV and assume that there are “serious” people and experts who will be given a platform to express themselves. They will naturally assume that if no credible voice defends this or that position, it must be because the position is weak or indefensible. It will not occur to the average reader or viewer that the reason there are no “credible voices” on the other side is because they have been filtered out in advance…
… media “debate” on contentious issues is often bland and uninspiring, due to its near total exclusion of reasonable voices from the other side. Officially sanctioned positions are echoed uncritically by talking heads on TV and radio, and the “other side” is dismissed as a bunch of crazies or “extremists” in op eds and on chat shows, even though moderate dissenting voices are refused airtime or never invited to participate in the debate in the first place.
This is bad for citizenship and bad for democracy, because citizens are exposed to one set of pat answers on the issues of the day, and not taught to process complexity and nuance. Citizens, who should be learning to think for themselves, are instead encouraged to passively imbibe a set of one-sided slogans, slogans that most journalists do not even think to interrogate or put to the test, like “I’m personally against X, but would never impose my opinion on someone else,” or “I am spiritual but have no time for organised religion,” or “Populists are a looming danger to democracy,” or “We must do everything possible to combat misinformation and hate speech,” or “The unvaccinated are granny-killers.”
Here are ten topics that most mainstream media cover from a broadly leftist-progressive perspective, with almost no consideration of dissenting arguments, no matter how evidence-based and no matter how qualified or credentialed their author happens to be. In other words, ten topics that most mainstream media cannot or will not discuss openly and rationally…David Thunder