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TIME magazine’s report exposes how the American left -progressive organizations, “anti-racist” activists (Black Lives Matter, for example) and Democratic groups in general- colluded with giant business and technology groups in an electoral conspiracy to defeat Trump. They were joined by support, even from conservative parties such as the Chamber of Commerce who saw, with alleged concern, that a Trump win -or a legal dispute of the results- could generate a more severe unrest than last summer’s by making the economy even worse.
There are those who have dismissed the relevance of TIME‘s information, either because it is not surprising or, failing that, because it does not represent a formal electoral crime. Yet, it is a very important confession that shows how a group of people can manipulate or suppress information, use social discontent by politicizing it, change the rules of the game, manipulate an entire democratic process, and then have the nerve to argue that they did it all to “save democracy.”
Perhaps, the most important thing is not what they did, but how they did it, because the precedent it sets is serious.
But beyond all of the above, there are several worrying facts that TIME exposes. In this piece we will analyze the 4 most worrisome facts of what was exposed by the magazine in its article “The secret history of the shadow campaign that saved the 2020 elections.”
The debt to radical leftist organizations
You don’t have to go far back to remember the wave of violence unleashed last summer. Thousands of businesses, homes, supermarkets and public property vandalized, including statues, public transportation stops and streets across the country. Looting and vandalism that was justified by the media because of its racial connotations following the deaths of George Floyd and Jacob Blake.
Were these demonstrations spontaneous? Many were, I’m sure. But, as the report points out, there were also plans to use this situation with political overtones in an election year, just as with the pandemic.
The demonstrations over police violence and systematic racism pointed to one culprit: Donald Trump. Therefore, half of the country, by November 3rd, fully expected violence. Either because of a victory by the former President, or, what actually happened, because he did not recognize his defeat.
But TIME explains that there was a whole organization and an effort to contain the most radical organizations so that they would not come out to demonstrate violently. Just as they were violent in the summer, because that was what they needed, they decided to be mostly peaceful from November 3rd on.
That is why in this conspiracy among leftist groups and big economic titans a radical group like Black Lives Matter was so important, because they had the pulse of the street and were a potential danger to the government of the day, and the economy creating social conflict.
And that is not going to change, just as Black Lives Matter supported the conspiracy against Trump, so it can disassociate itself from this coalition and start doing exactly the same as it did last summer. This could happen if, when the time comes, the Biden Administration does not deliver what it promised to these radical left organizations; and this is no secret: BLM has already warned the Administration that it must not “forget those who brought it to power.”
Business titans and several conservatives went with the highest bidder
Individuals, a priori conservative, did not hesitate to support the conspiracy. “A behind-the-scenes conspiracy was unfolding, one that minimized protests and coordinated CEOs’ resistance. Both surprises were the result of a loose alliance between left-wing activists and business titans,” reads the TIME report.
There was a joint pact between the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the AFL-CIO, the largest labor federation in the U.S., in which the “architect” of the mega-conspiracy, Mike Podhorzer, worked as an advisor to the federation’s president, an alliance that was justified by the fear that the massive and destructive protests of last summer would be repeated after the elections.
TIME makes this statement in a scenario where Trump did not recognize his defeat, but the reality is that, in such close elections, where swing states were very close, we saw battles that went in Biden’s favor thanks to the absentee vote, and the reality is that the Republican could have emerged victorious, extending the hostile climate unleashed by Black Lives Matter and Antifa.
But this is just one example according to TIME, which reported on a plan that overcame ideological differences to defeat an “autocratic president,” a conspiracy that had “crucial contributions from conservative and nonpartisan actors.”
And that’s quite troubling considering the conspiracy’s excuse: saving democracy from Trump. That is, these actors sold out their ideals for a “common goal” put forward from the American left, and they supported a candidate who went against everything conservatism preaches. They also sponsored a mega plan that included manipulation of information, changing the rules of the electoral game in different states and a totally opaque process that ended with a high distrust in American institutions on the part of the citizenry.
Fighting disinformation? That’s a dangerous precedent
“Bad actors spreading false information is nothing new. For decades, campaigns have faced everything from anonymous calls claiming the election had been rescheduled to fliers spreading nasty smears about candidates’ families,” reads TIME magazine’s story. “But Trump’s lies and conspiracy theories, the viral force of social media and the involvement of foreign meddlers made disinformation a broader and deeper threat to the 2020 vote.”
This part of TIME‘s report is in the section “The Disinformation Defense.” It explains how the progressive alliance had to convince social platforms, such as Facebook or Twitter, to fight electoral “disinformation” more harshly.
According to TIME, “In November 2019, Mark Zuckerberg invited nine civil rights leaders to dinner at his home, where they warned him of the danger of election-related falsehoods that were already spreading unchecked.”
“It took pushing, urging, conversation, brainstorming, all of that to get to a place where we ended up with more stringent rules and enforcement,” said Vanita Gupta, President and CEO of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, who attended a dinner where she also met with Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and others.Who is Gupta? A brand new deputy attorney general, appointed by President Joe Biden.
“It was a struggle, but we got to the point where they understood the problem. Was it enough? Probably not. Was it later than we wanted it to be? Yes. But it was really important, given the level of official misinformation, that they had those rules in place and were flagging things and taking them down,” Gupta commented.
In short, the suppression of network information was done under the cover of combating what the progressive alliance considered electoral “disinformation.” For example, how problematic a massive number of absentee votes could be, the trust problems that could be generated (today a large number of Americans do not believe in the process), the legal disputes; for this alliance this was electoral “disinformation.”
But there was also another type of information suppressed: Hunter Biden’s business dealings with the company Burisma. Just weeks before the elections, the conservative media New York Post was censored, accused of hacking and disseminating unconfirmed facts. That was the brief explanation of why such a media with its long tradition was censored. It’s even worse when you consider that The New York Times, weeks earlier, had published a story about Trump’s taxes, material that suggested, at the very least, unethical sourcing of content. But the one censored on Twitter was the Post, not the Times.
Then, the final Twitter ban of Donald Trump came. The massive exit to Parler and how Big Tech colluded to drive the competition out of the market. There the excuse was to combat “hate speech.”Another dangerous precedent as combating disinformation. Both show how freedom of speech and the free market are in danger or, at the very least, are mere formalities for those who today pull the strings of power.
The end justifies the means
A communications apparatus using information at will, gigantic technological platforms suppressing information including censorship of conservative voices, the violence of last summer, the alliance with the most radical American left, changing the rules of the game and sponsoring an opaque process; all these were the means to achieve an end: defeating Trump and, supposedly, saving American democracy.
Everything that was done with the mega conspiracy was perfectly justifiable to this group, because they had to save democracy. This is how the freedom of the press and expression was restricted, how an excuse was generated, indirectly, to violate the free market, how citizens were manipulated; all this has generated today a very strong distrust by citizens towards politicians, the media and institutions.
All this also violates democracy and the republic. But the end, theirs, justified the means. That is why today, in the face of so much distrust and a completely hostile climate for governing, they are trying to come clean to an American society thirsty for answers to so many questions. That is why a small part of the mega-plot is published in TIME magazine and The New York Times, now we just have to wait and see how well this sort of confession works.
Emmanuel Alejandro Rondón is a journalist at El American specializing in the areas of American politics and media analysis // Emmanuel Alejandro Rondón es periodista de El American especializado en las áreas de política americana y análisis de medios de comunicación.
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