Former Facebook executive Alex Stamos in an interview with CNN’s Brian Stelter brazenly called for conservative news alternatives OANN and Newsmax to be deplatformed on Sunday. The media and Facebook are no longer hiding behind terms such as “right-wing zealots,” now they simply label them “conservatives.” The segment called for the managing of what information Americans are allowed to see and hear in order to adjust their thinking and opinions.
Stamos stated, “We have to turn down the capability of these conservative influencers to reach these huge audiences.” He pointed out that some of the outlets have audiences bigger than CNN.
“There are people on YouTube for example that have a larger audience than daytime CNN,” he added as CNN’s Brian Stelter nodded in agreement.
Stamos compared Republicans in Congress to ISIS supporters and he proposes that in some ways that they be handled as such.
“We’re going to have to figure out the OANN and Newsmax problem – you know, that these companies have freedom of speech, but I’m not sure we need Verizon, AT&T, Comcast and such to be bringing them into tens of millions of homes,” Stamos declared, suggesting that the conservative news outlets be banned by cable TV carriers. “This is allowing people to seek out information if they really want to, but not pushing it into their faces, I think, is where we’re going to have to go here.”
Stamos was the chief security officer at Facebook until August 2018. He advised that freedom of the press is being abused by “bad actors” that have an economic interest in becoming “more and more radical.” Stamos said that Fox News fell in popularity because it introduced “realism” into its reporting and that OANN and Newsmax outflanked Fox “on the right” allowing viewers to “put themselves into a sealed ecosystem.”
“That becomes a huge challenge of figuring out, how do you bring those people back into the mainstream of fact-based reporting and try to get us all back into the same consensual reality?” Stamos said.
Stamos is calling for collaboration between social media companies and law enforcement in the manner that helped stop ISIS recruitment on their platforms after he joined Facebook in 2015. But Stamos, who is currently director of the Stanford Internet Observatory, added that “ISIS did not have a domestic constituency in the United States Congress.”
“There’s over half of the Republicans in Congress who voted to overturn the election, and there will be continued political pressure on the companies to not take it seriously,” Stamos argued.
That’s when he called for removing “violent extremists,” then to “turn down the capability” of conservative influencers to reach large audiences. “There are people on YouTube, for example, that have a larger audience than daytime CNN, and they are extremely radical and pushing extremely radical views,” Stamos said. “So it’s up to the Facebooks and YouTubes, in particular, to think about whether or not they want to be effective cable networks for disinformation.”
“Just a reminder that neither Verizon, ATT nor Comcast have answered any questions about why they beam channels like OANN and Newsmax into millions of homes,” CNN media reporter Oliver Darcy stated. “Do they have any second thoughts about distributing these channels, given their election-denialism content? They won’t say.”
Fox contributor Lisa Boothe questioned Darcy on the measures he is calling for via Twitter: “Oliver, this is just wrong to try to get them shut down. What kind of totalitarian society are you cheering on? CNN recently had to settle a big lawsuit for getting the facts wrong. Is this really a fair game to play?”
Author Tim Carney asked whether CNN’s pressuring of cable carriers to drop competitors might be considered a violation of antitrust law. Former California congressional candidate Beatrice Cardenas asked Darcy, “Who are you to demand censorship of freedoms of the press, psycho?”
CNN exerting pressure on carriers to drop a competitor or two: Is this an anti-trust violation?
— Tim Carney (@TPCarney) January 17, 2021
Owen Paun, director of North Macedonia’s International Republican Institute, posited that Stamos and CNN “want to return to a simpler time when the establishment was the gatekeeper of ‘truth.'” Pennsylvania engineer Pete Finnegan said the simpler time might be a fictional more dystopian one, as in George Orwell’s ‘1984.’
They used 1984 like a cookbook.
— Pete Finnegan (@Pete_Finnegan) January 17, 2021
The discussion on CNN perhaps heralds a renewed call for the Fairness Doctrine to be reimposed. It calls for so-called ‘equality’ in news distribution. In 1985, the FCC released a report stating that the doctrine hurt the public interest and violated the free speech rights of broadcasters guaranteed by the First Amendment. Democrats have been trying to resurrect it ever since.
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