THE WAY I SEE IT by Don Polson Red Bluff Daily News 12/20/2022
2022: Abominations, attacks, lessons
On my 72nd birthday, I note that it will be a decade or two before I can compare my tenure as a columnist to our very senior bard, Robert Minch, whose longevity inspires respect for an elderly writer. It’s a happy one.
A look at 2022’s notable events and milestones must begin with the revelations and bombshells still unfolding from Elon Musk’s takeover and deep reformation of a technological, social media behemoth, Twitter.
Not unlike the way the New York Times, Washington Post and Associated Press are the unquestioned sources for news, information and narratives for the journalistic universe, Twitter was/is the short form source for 140 (now 280) character thoughts, facts and insights from a relatively small percentage of those “in the know.”
You might not see the NYT and WaPo as your news/opinion sources, but they are for those above local broadcast or print news organizations. The AP is bylined for most articles on national events in this paper; you might be surprised at the lack of neutrality found therein. I barely get past the first paragraphs before saying, “That’s just not accurate; your narrative is one-sided; your terms, pejorative.”
Likewise, Twitter, prior to Musk’s acquisition, had evolved into a self-selective organ for sharing increasingly left-of-center information, accomplished by the deselection of increasing numbers of conservatives posting tweets. When noticed and called out on its slanted efforts, the rationalizations flowed: Opinions and facts disfavored by the progressives running Twitter were labelled “disinformation,” or “dangerous…threatening to others,” or “fact checked” as “lacking context.”
As I write, the U.N. and EU have criticized Mr. Musk for suspending some “journalists” off Twitter (since reinstated). Cue predictable outrage: How dare he do that to people in the “news business.” Well, they engaged “doxxing,” routinely used against those on the right, hoping-but-denying any wish that harm should follow exposure of personal information—Mr. Musk’s exact, timely jet locations. Pre-Musk Twitter could suspend and cancel conservatives at will, but suspending irresponsible, violence-enabling journalists? The horror.
Such abominable tactics have been used to threaten, even harm, those demonized by progressive, “woke,” socialist/fascist/antifa, racially-inspired hate-mongers. They targeted opponents of health mandates (whose justifications have proven erroneous), Critical Race and gender indoctrination, and generally all Republicans.
When CA’s Prop 8 passed with a solid majority to define “marriage” as one man and one woman, contributors were exposed though illegal searches, which had the predictable result: Vociferous, violent pro-gay marriage fanatics harassed, persecuted, and sought job firings and business closures. The left and violence are symbiotic.
What are the networks, non-Fox cable, and NYT/WaPo ignoring? To know that answers why. Also answered: Why the most powerful government, and man, in the world issue thinly-veiled threats at Elon Musk; and why the leftist assault includes pressure on businesses to withdraw advertising, to kill Twitter.
You may be among those who feel the underhanded tactics revealed by journalists Taibbi, Weiss and Shellenberger—given full access by Musk to internal Twitter files—to be justified by the supposed existential crisis posed by right-leaning, Trump-supporting Americans. You may find it entirely acceptable to implement the destruction of your ideological opponents, rather than debate their ideas and policies in the open.
“Twitter files show something new. We now have clear evidence that agencies like the FBI and the DHS are in the business of mass-analyzing social media activity — your tweets and mine, down to the smallest users with the least engagement — and are, themselves, mass-marking posts to be labeled, ‘bounced,’ deleted or ‘visibility filtered’ by firms like Twitter.
“The technical and personnel infrastructure for this effort is growing. As noted in the thread, the FBI’s social media-focused task force now has at least 80 agents, and is in constant contact with Twitter for all sorts of reasons. The FBI is not doing this as part of any effort to build criminal cases. They’ve taken on this new authority unilaterally, as part of an apparently massive new effort to control and influence public opinion.
“These agencies claim variously to be concerned about election integrity, foreign interference, medical misinformation, and monitoring domestic extremism, among other things. As crises wax and wane, the building out of the censorship infrastructure to ever-bigger and broader dimensions has been constant, suggesting that creating and deploying the tool to manipulate opinion was always the real end.” (Matt Taibbi, SubStack)
In closing this week’s thoughts, readers may consider: I can’t recount past athletic prowess, local high school attendance, advanced degrees in any technical or medical field, a finger on the pulse of local goings-on, or bona fide journalism. Readers are, however, welcome to my analysis, research, the daily perusal of dozens of articles, essays and reporting from those who are experts, brilliant in their fields of learning and insight.
Putting aside partisan blinders, non-right-leaning readers will find challenges to their “conventional wisdom” here; be willing to consider that cable, network, and social media are partisan news and thought sources with thinly-veiled agendas. True wisdom can be ascertained by logic, intelligence applied in pursuit of the truth of any given issue, or even simply comparing the narratives and facts presented here with what is found elsewhere.
Know that my intellectual integrity does not allow me to present half-truths, vapid assertions or flawed reasoning. I hope readers find this column a valuable local resource on major issues going forward.