Deplatforming the News Would Set America on a Dangerous Course | Opinion

Last week, Nicholas Kristof declared in the pages of The New York Times that Fox News was guilty of "sowing sedition" and "inciting insurrection" and should therefore be held on trial along with former president Donald Trump. He urged his readers to take action not only to urge advertisers to drop Fox but to encourage major cable companies to deplatform the network altogether. This came days after Kristof added his name to the chorus of left-wing pundits and activists calling for a new "war on terror" not only against the so-called "insurrectionists" who attacked the U.S. Capitol on January 6, but on the 74 million Americans who voted for Trump in 2020.

It would be bad enough if Kristof were alone in this extreme viewpoint. But unfortunately, a number of pundits are now embracing it. The Washington Post's Max Boot has called for major cable companies to deplatform conservative news networks like One America News, Newsmax and even Fox. MSNBC's Anand Giridharadas went even further, suggesting that Fox should be banned entirely: "Brain mashing as a business model shouldn't be legal."

According to these prominent voices, "right-wing" media outlets radicalized Americans with dangerous "lies" because they suggested there might have been something unfair about the 2020 election—an argument which was accidentally validated earlier this month by Time Magazine, hardly a right-wing outlet. According to Time, big business, big tech and dozens of progressive organizations were "working together behind the scenes to influence perceptions, change rules and laws, steer media coverage and control the flow of information." Apparently Kristof, Boot and Giridharadas aren't Time subscribers.

It would be easy to laugh at the complete lack of self-awareness. How else can one describe CNN anchor Brian Stelter's explosion at Washington Examiner correspondent Susan Ferrechio? Ferrechio had called Stelter out for ignoring evidence of Hunter Biden's misdeeds while promoting debunked Trump-Russia allegations. "Don't you dare act like newsrooms didn't have ethics in 2017 and 2018," Stelter fired back with righteous indignation.

donald trump, twitter, getty
Former U.S. President Donald Trump speaks to reporters on the South Lawn of the White House before boarding Marine One on January 12, 2021 in Washington, DC. Twitter's CFO has said the president will not be allowed back on the platform. Drew Angerer/Getty Images

But we were all there. We remember anti-Trump pundits inventing entire spy novel plots live on air and getting away with it. We remember the industry-wide hysteria over each and every allegation against the former president, many of which were later proven to be false. But left-wing gatekeepers never deemed these lies "misinformation." According to a 2019 survey which measured voter knowledge of key public policy issues, voters were so misled by elite institutions that they got basic facts wrong more than half of the time.

Here's the thing: the people who advanced false and misleading stories aren't dumb. It's no accident that they're taking it easy on our current president. Instead of holding Democratic leaders accountable, they wage an information war against right-leaning Americans. They think that the best way to win in the marketplace of ideas is to corner the market—using any means necessary. While the Right makes appeals to fairness and free speech, the Left seeks to remove its opponents from the public square entirely.

Of course, biased news media aren't solely responsible for this attack on our democracy. The Left often outsources deplatforming to private corporations. It happens all the time. Last week, Disney fired outspoken conservative Gina Carano for using a Nazi Germany analogy to warn that hatred for one's neighbor can lead to political violence. Meanwhile, Disney maintained its relationship with Carano's costar, Pedro Pascal, who has compared America to... Nazi Germany.

The endgame is simple: deny public figures with right-leaning views the ability to make money, keep a job and express mainstream opinions online.

Conservatives must recognize what they're up against. Instead of the state cracking down on political dissidents, it's powerful institutions and corporations enforcing the party line. Left-wing pundits who now call to deplatform right-leaning media outlets aren't saying anything new. They're just saying the quiet part out loud: silencing dissent is how they maintain their power. Today they're taking down LifeSiteNews. Tomorrow it'll be Fox News. If we do nothing to stop them, the America we once knew will be gone forever.

Jon Schweppe is the director of policy and government affairs at American Principles Project. Follow him on Twitter @JonSchweppe.

The views expressed in this article are the writer's own.