Over the past several days Apple, Facebook, YouTube and Spotify have removed most of Mr. Jones’s programming from their services in a sweeping effort to rein in those who traffic in online misinformation that draws hundreds of thousands of followers and results in harassment and threats to their targets. Stitcher, LinkedIn and Pinterest have also removed Infowars content.
.. YouTube’s termination of Mr. Jones’s channel cost him access to his 2.4 million subscribers and resulted in the removal of all his past videos. Those videos had amassed billions of views, in part because YouTube continued to recommend them to users who had shown interest in conservative topics.
.. Mr. Jones has been trying to compensate by promoting his website and mobile app. On Tuesday, after news of Mr. Jones’s bans spread, Infowars was Apple’s fourth most popular news app, outranking those from every mainstream news media organization. Before the ban, it ranked 33rd on average since July 12.
.. He suggested that it was his support for President Trump, not his spreading of falsehoods, that led to him being “de-platformed.”
“This is a war on free speech,” Mr. Jones said. “This is what the corporate media is doing in America because it’s afraid of new independent media and asking questions.”.. Facebook removed Mr. Jones’s pages for violating its policies by “glorifying violence” and “using dehumanizing language to describe people who are transgender, Muslims and immigrants.” YouTube terminated Mr. Jones’s channel for repeatedly violating its policies, including its prohibition on hate speech. Spotify cited its own prohibition on hate speech as the reason for removing a podcast by Mr. Jones... Indeed, Infowars’ own website says in its terms of service that the company “may review and delete any content you post on the website or elsewhere utilizing our services or system if we determine, in our sole discretion, that the content violates the rights of others, is not appropriate for the website, or otherwise violates this agreement.”.. While private companies can choose what to take down from their sites, the fact that social media platforms like Facebook have become indispensable platforms for the speech of billions means that they should resist calls to censor offensive speech.. The recent decision by Facebook and YouTube to take down Alex Jones’s content may have provided a quick solution to a challenging situation, but encouraging these companies to silence individuals in this way will backfire.”.. Mr. Jones was defiant on his program Monday, saying past efforts to screen offensive broadcasts have “only made us stronger.”
.. “But it has not allowed us to reach a lot of new people,” he continued. “That’s why you have to understand now that Infowars is the most censored program in the world — because we know the truth.”
.. Over two decades, Mr. Jones has built a profitable business selling diet supplements, survivalist gear, and air and water filtration equipment as he spread bizarre theories, including that the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, were an inside job, that the 2012 mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., was a government-backed hoax, and that various government-orchestrated plots are responsible for poisoning Americans’ water, air and food. Mr. Jones promotes himself and Infowars as near-solitary truth tellers in a news landscape dominated by left-leaning “corporatist” media — even though the popular Drudge Report website broadcast his show on Monday.
.. Now, what he calls his “de-platforming” has only increased his sense of grievance, and that of his followers — even as it shrinks his reach before the November midterm elections.
.. “I knew what the enemy was doing — I knew their battle plan, I made the conscious decision to draw their fire,” he said on his show Monday. “When you see the Alamo assaulted and myself probably destroyed, I’ve been telling you this for years,” he said, adding: “Remember Infowars. Remember free speech.”
.. So far, Mr. Trump, who praised Mr. Jones during an appearance on his radio show during the presidential campaign, has remained silent as Mr. Jones issues appeals to Trump supporters.
.. On Tuesday, Donald Trump Jr. posted on Twitter that Mr. Murphy was “A Democrat Senator openly admitting that Big Tech’s censorship campaign is really about purging all conservative media. How long before Big Tech and their Democrat friends move to censor and purge Breitbart News, Daily Caller and other conservatives voices from their platforms?”
The removal of his content comes as Mr. Jones faces multiple defamation lawsuits for claims he spread on Infowars, including by the families of nine Sandy Hook victims, who are pursuing three separate lawsuits against him.
.. encourage his followers to migrate to his Infowars website, where he has posted the content removed by other platforms. He is also asking followers to donate to him — and buy his merchandise.
.. “Don’t forget the financial support; that is the strongest thing you can do to make sure that we continue on and are strong in the fight,” he said. Referring listeners to his online store, he said, “Go there today and send them a strong message that you stand for the First Amendment, you stand for us and get air filtration, water filtration, optics, preparedness gear, high quality storable foods, supplements that are so good for you and your family.
“Feed your gladiator,” he urged.
“He’s offering them some solutions that he hopes they’ll move toward,” Pillsbury said. “One of them is, they simply purchase $100 billion worth of U.S. exports. Wilbur Ross, the secretary of commerce, went on television tonight and even hinted what that might be. It might be natural gas and oil – various kinds of products we sell them already, but they could buy a great deal more.”
.. “They knew this was coming,” he concluded. “The prime minister gave a press conference saying that China wants to open up further, wants to welcome more foreign investment, is totally for free trade, would never steal anybody’s intellectual property. He went through in this press conference almost point-for-point what President Trump was going to say today, and said China would not dream of doing these things.”
.. Pillsbury cautioned that many Americans retain an “out of date” image of China as poor, technologically backwards, and reluctant to provoke economic warfare with wealthier nations while so many of its people struggle with poverty.
“I wrote my book against that idea,”
.. The products targeted by the new tariffs and the rationale for including them will send a strong message to China. “It’s going to be examples, as this report explained today, the examples are based on a kind of reciprocity that if China has stolen intellectual property, stolen trade secrets and then made money off of it, that is the kind of product that will have the tariff placed on it.
.. Pillsbury predicted that the Chinese will now understand Trump means business, and will make concessions to hold off further sanctions.
“I happen to think they need us more than we need them,” he said. “I don’t measure just trade. I measure all the things we’ve essentially — I hate to use this phrase — given away to China over the last 30 or more years. They still need our investment, our technology, our goodwill, our buying their products, the scientific programs we share with them – there’s an extremely long list of the benefits China gets from the United States, counting everything.”
“We get very little benefit from them along those lines,” he continued. “We don’t get a wide, comprehensive set of benefits from China. We get some benefits. That’s where this debate is really happening.”
.. “My own forecast is there’s not going to be a big trade war. The Chinese are quite afraid of being demonized in the United States and around Asia. Despite the ambassador here in Washington making this unfortunate remark, I think what’s actually going to happen is we’re going to have some successful negotiations for the first time,” he said.
.. They’re not going to roll over and just suddenly buy $100 billion worth of products in the month of April, but I think we will see a number of steps by the Chinese that will justify what President Trump did today in this historic decision,” he anticipated.
.. what Vice President Mike Pence described yesterday as “the end of the era of economic surrender,”
.. even the American freedom of navigation patrols in the South China Sea, which the Chinese frequently complain about, do not represent an aggressive challenge because the American ships follow “innocent passage” protocols, keeping their weapons radars off and avoiding military maneuvers as they cruise through the area.
“We have not challenged China in the South China Sea yet. That’s the important thing to understand. Some people think we should. It’s very difficult to come up with specific measures, especially if you are looking at economics and trade issues as being more important. We can’t fight China on all fronts,” he said.
.. one of the Trump administration’s top goals is to place “restrictions on Chinese investment in the United States.”
.. two days ago, with the Trump tariffs looming, Beijing for the first time signaled a willingness to open new sectors to foreign investment.
Days after a woman accused U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore of sexual impropriety, two Moore supporters approached her attorney with an unusual request.
They asked lawyer Eddie Sexton to drop the woman as a client and say publicly that he did not believe her. The damaging statement would be given to Breitbart News, then run by former White House strategist Stephen K. Bannon.
In exchange, Sexton said in recent interviews, the men offered to pay him $10,000 and promised to introduce him to Bannon and others in the nation’s capital. Parts of Sexton’s account are supported by recorded phone conversations, text messages and people in whom he confided at the time.
.. “What they’re saying, all they want to do is cloud something,” Gary Lantrip, who attended at least one private fundraising event for Moore, said during a phone call recorded by Sexton. “They said if they cloud, like, two of them, then that’s all they need.”
Former Breitbart News Executive Chairman and White House Chief Strategist Stephen K. Bannon is warning of a “new axis” of powers that will confront “the Christian West.”
BANNON: What we’re seeing today is China, Persia, and Turkey—three ancient civilizations—coming together to form a new axis. It’s confronting the Christian West and also a big part of Islam that is tied to the West. You’re starting to see this form every day like in the 1930s. You’re starting to see it crystallize more and more. [Emphasis added]
.. GQ: Are you going to make a push to advance this idea of a “new axis”? How do you plan to do that?
In modern Russia, the administration is comfortable using lies to muddle their people. If you push out several completely contradictory stories, the truth becomes buried, or at least discredited along with the other clearly untrue stories. If you make an effort to shed doubt on the news outlets, NGOs, and individuals who use facts to show when a statement is demonstrably untrue then it becomes harder for people to settle on one single statement as being true, in amongst a series of statements that are not. People are naturally inclined to trust authority, so when the government makes an official statement it carries weight against an individual or single news outlet.
This approach was perfected under Communism, especially Stalinism. At various points, whilst millions were starving, industry and the economy were collapsing, even up to the denial and then underplaying of the Chernobyl disaster, the government would state that reality was one way, when it was really the complete opposite. Audacious lies are harder to deal with than small ones.
.. Currently, when the Russian government denies something that is demonstrably true, or makes a statement that can be proven not to be true, there can be a number of reasons why they do this.
1. Telling a lie because you believe it
Putin is notoriously cut off from the world. He does not use the Internet, and receives very short briefings from a close circle of people around him. Those people are unlikely to want to upset him, or contradict him. Being surrounded by people who depend on your favour to remain in position, or even remain alive, means you increasingly get less and less real information. It becomes an extreme version of the echo chambers we’re all becoming trapped in by Social Media algorithms.
.. under Stalin the KGB was brilliant at collecting intelligence, but useless at analysing it. When people reported intelligence that was counter to the world view of Stalin, they generally ended up dead. So increasingly the intelligence was edited, or mis-interpreted to support the existing set of beliefs of the leader.
So it is possible, and some pundits suggest this, that Putin actually believes the world view the Russian government expresses through its propaganda, much as Stalin’s Russia really believed the country was riddled with foreign spies, and was at constant threat of invasion — assumptions that history have shown us were completely wrong.
With Trump we have to consider some assumptions. He has been rich and powerful for a long time. Therefore, he is likely to have been surrounded by yes-men who only enforce his world view and opinions rather than challenging them. He does not brush shoulders with reality on a daily basis, living the life of a billionaire. He also does not read, and watches a very narrow spectrum of media. Now he is President he is even more cut off from the world, and instead of taking advantage of a state machinery that could leave him amongst the best informed people in the world, he has eschewed Intelligence briefings, and other input from independent sources.
.. It would be fair to say that Trump is not highly educated, well read, or particularly well informed. This applies to most of his Cabinet, which is noticeably unqualified and poorly educated.
.. On top of this many of them are religious fundamentalists, which clouds their interpretation of facts with an ideology that is not open to challenges. The same applied to Stalinist Russia, when the Communist ideology came before facts and could over-rule them.
2. Telling a lie aimed only at your core constituency
Another way to interpret Trump’s lies are to conclude that he knows they are not true, and he knows we know they are not true, but that they are not aimed at us.
When the Russian government claims, for example, that it is clear a Ukrainian fighter jet shot down the MH17 passenger plane over Ukraine, it’s possible they know that we know this is not true. But the lie was told to foreign media like the BBC so that it can be played back to their own people in Russia and used to undermine reports of evidence that it was a Russian army missile that brought the plane down. They don’t care that we know it isn’t true, because the message is not for us. It is for their own people, and for those confused enough to have their belief in the official investigation findings undermined by a bare faced lie.
In effect, the messages are broadcast to everyone, but only one specific audience matters.
.. So with Trump, when he says the New York Times is failing, he may not care that we all know that is a blatant lie — factually not true. He could just be speaking to his core voters, whom he knows will not see any counter argument and may believe him. It is important to him that they don’t trust any media that will criticise him.
.. The same applies to his claim that Obama tapped his phones. He may know that most people will realise this is nonsense. But that core of people who only get news from Breitbart, and believe the conspiracies, will also believe this one about Obama. That in turn helps him undermine any findings in the future from investigations into his links with Russia.
If he can undermine the media that will broadcast this, and sew seeds of a conspiracy against him, he can blur any negative news about his links with Russia.
.. If this means his Tweeting is just aimed at securing that base of core voters, his Twitter feed seems slightly less insane.
.. he is able to take advantage of the echo chamber of the Trump constituency.
.. They are not trying to convince anyone new to get behind their narrative, they are just securing the narrative amongst those who already follow them.
3. Telling lies to undermine Truth
Kasaparov summed it up well in this Tweet:
“The point of modern propaganda isn’t only to misinform or push an agenda. It is to exhaust your critical thinking, to annihilate truth.”
Once truth is an undermined currency, as the Soviet Union proved, people give up caring altogether. People knew things were not true, but knowing that made no difference, and saying so was dangerous, so they stopped engaging with truth or facts.
The liberal media and Democrat politicians are talking about reaching the point where Trump’s core voters, the white working class, realise he has conned them. It is assumed that once they lose their healthcare, do not gain jobs, and see the Swamp ever more swamp-like, they will rebel and vote against him.
.. But if Trump can ensure they do not believe facts shared by the media, and do believe lies propagated by him and his supporters, then they may never realise they were conned, and may not that see things are not as good as promised. Or they will believe it is outside forces, not Trump. Blaming Obama for everything is laying the ground for that
.. In Russia, the government blames America, the EU, NATO, Russian liberals, or any other outside force for the demise of their economy, the loss of civil liberties, and indeed anything bad. Putin and the Administration are never to blame.
.. Trump will say that unemployment is up, even when data shows it is down. He will claim any success as his, and will blame China, Obama, the Democrats, or others for any failures. If that does not work, he will just rubbish any news that undermines him.
.. a natural skill of his, or whether it is a clever strategy of his advisors
.. the people around him are already skilled in manipulation of the truth. Paul Manafort advised former Ukrainian leader Viktor Yanukovych
.. Manafort will have become very well versed in Russian style manipulation of Truth through this work and will have taught Trump these lessons when he was his advisor. Then
Bannon ran Breitbart, which makes a business of manipulating the truth, and outright lying.
.. If within a few years a large swathe of the country either believes the Trump messaging, or does not trust the mainstream media, or thinks the Democrats are evil and corrupt, or just does not know what is true or not anymore, then Trump stands a chance of a second term regardless of how his first term goes.
.. To survive: read Russian novels like Master and Margherita
.. When you hear Trump lie, pause to ask yourself which type of lie it might be.
Levin criticized what he called “police state” tactics by the Obama administration, and speculated that the agencies might have been involved in a “silent coup” to undermine the incoming Trump administration, which was loathed by official Washington... The Obama administration did, in fact, conduct surveillance of former Trump adviser Carter Page, starting in October 2016 — “just before the victory” — and continuing into the new administration.
- Worse still, in the summer of 2016, Obama’s DOJ had already opened a counter-intelligence investigation into the Trump campaign. The fact that nothing from that months-old partisan investigation was used to obtain the Page wiretap is revealing.
- According to the Nunes memo, an “essential” part of the FISA wiretap application was the Steele dossier, which again is a partisan political document created for the Clinton campaign.
- So essential was this partisan dossier, Andrew McCabe, the disgraced former-Deputy Director of the FBI, admitted in December that “no surveillance warrant would have been sought” without the dossier.
- Not only did the FBI knowingly use a document from a partisan campaign to obtain a FISA warrant to spy on the competing campaign, the FBI knew the dossier was mostly “salacious and unverified.” We know this because disgraced former-FBI Director James Comey told us so in June of 2017.
- According to the Nunes memo, “Steele told [former FBI official Bruce] Ohr, he ‘was desperate that Donald Trump not get elected and was passionate about him not being president.’”
- Ohr, who was part of the FBI’s anti-Trump Russian investigation, was not only friendly with Steele, Ohr’s own wife worked with Steele at Fusion GPS doing opposition research (the dossier) against Trump for the Clinton campaign.
- Despite a) knowing the dossier was opposition research paid for by the Clinton campaign b) knowing the dossier was “salacious and unverified” c) knowing Steele was desperate to destroy Trump d) the breathtaking conflict of interest in having an investigator’s own wife working on the dossier, the FBI still went to the FISA court to obtain permission to spy on Hillary Clinton’s opponent.
- In order to obtain a warrant to spy on the Trump campaign, all of the conflicts of interest above were withheld from the FISA court — an indefensible (and possibly illegal) lie of omission.
- Even worse, in order to legitimize a warrant request based on a piece of partisan opposition research they knew was “salacious and unverified,” the FBI and DOJ used a media report to bolster the findings in the phony dossier. The FBI and DOJ told the court that the media report was independent verification of the dossier. But this was not true, and, according to the Nunes memo, the FBI and DOJ knew this was not true. The truth is that the phony dossier was the source of this media report.
- Also hidden from the FISA court was the fact that the FBI obtained Steele as a source but had to fire him in October of 2016 when, in a bid to use his phony dossier to derail the Trump campaign, he leaked his information to the far-left Mother Jones.
The FBI did not tell Congress about Mr. Steele’s connection to the Clinton campaig
.. The memo says the bureau’s intermediary was Justice Department official Bruce Ohr, whose wife, incredibly, worked for Fusion.
- All of this dishonesty occurred under Comey, the man our media now hold up as a living saint, a man so desperate to destroy Trump, he not only oversaw those committing the above abuses, he leaked classified information to the news media in order to see a Special Prosecutor appointed against Trump, which his pal, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, immediately did.
- Much of the “salacious and unverified” material in the dossier came from the Russians. In other words, those disgusting dossier lies about Trump’s personal behavior came from Russian operatives. So there is no question that it was the Clinton campaign, Democrats, Steele, the FBI, and DOJ who colluded with the Russians to rig a presidential election.