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Any person who is not under the toxic effect of leftism or unapologetically ignorant, knows that mass media is subservient to the Democratic Party and a functional political auxiliary of the left. When an experienced jurist from America’s most salient court, after the Supreme Court, says so, this is a definite warning call to defenders of freedom.
Federal Judge Laurence Hirsch Silberman from the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit recently noted that “The increased power of the press is so dangerous today because we are very close to one-party control of these institutions”, as quoted by many outlets, including Politico.
The seminal role that a free press plays in a democracy, as a pivotal component of civil society, is an undisputable fact. When the media abandons its basic ethical underpinnings and prioritizes political proselytizing, democracy is in danger. This point was also addressed by Silberman, “One-party control of the press and media is a threat to a viable democracy.”
While such expressions have been rare from jurists in American historical context, it is becoming, both, all too common and necessary as the left has capitalized on the ideological preference of mass media in its march for authoritarian control and its tactical pact with Big Tech.
Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito expressed in November of last year, similar concerns for American democracy in a speech before the Federalist Society. In this case, it focused on the encroaching pattern that aims to stifle free speech. Last February, another Supreme Court Justice, Clarence Thomas, raised objections and voiced his worries about the highest court refusing to hear the Pennsylvania case which clearly elevated issues of unconstitutional activity by non-authorized institutions over the elaboration of electoral laws. Thomas’ defense of the exclusive role of state legislatures in drafting election rules was forcefully made in a scorching dissent.
From different angles, salient American jurists have been increasingly expressing a restlessness in public forums over the crisis prevalent in America’s democratic model. This plight is wholly a result of the left’s asymmetric struggle to deconstruct the American Republic.
Silberman urgently recommended the revisitation of the landmark SCOTUS case of 1964, New York Times v. Sullivan, which raised the burden for successfully winning libel and defamation lawsuits against media outlets by having to prove the intent of “malice”. The Reagan appointee in the nation’s second most important court for over 35 years (Silberman), believes that the partisan role the press now plays, disqualifies them from enjoying such broad First Amendment protection. The New York Times v. Sullivan case is for media, what Section 230 is for Big Tech.
In his dissent in Christiana Tah, et al v. Global Witness Publishing, In, et al which was recently decided, Silberman upturned consciousness by directly touching on the grave threats that are posed by the practical monopolistic media, as categorized by a shared worldview. By addressing the problem head on with affirmations like, “Two of the three most influential papers (at least historically), The New York Times and The Washington Post, are virtually Democratic Party broadsheets.” The difficult reality that conservative platforms face, given the control that Big Tech exercises over market distribution, was also addressed.
Silberman added, “…although upstart (mainly online) conservative networks have emerged in recent years, their visibility has been decidedly curtailed by Social Media, either by direct bans or content-based censorship.” This point is fundamental. The argument that conservatives and other antisocialists should simply start their own channels of free expression must contend with the fact that Big Tech is still, unfortunately, the gatekeeper to visibility. They own the distribution mechanism.
It is comforting to see key jurists joining the good fight for freedom. The left’s ideological consolidation of mass media and Big Tech must be confronted. It should not be forgotten that one of the key characteristics of a totalitarian regime is its monopolistic control of the means of communication.
Julio M Shiling, political scientist, writer, director of Patria de Martí and The Cuban American Voice, lecturer and media commentator. A native of Cuba, he currently lives in the United States. Twitter: @JulioMShiling // Julio es politólogo, escritor, director de Patria de Martí y The Cuban American Voice. Conferenciante y comentarista en los medios. Natural de Cuba, vive actualmente en EE UU.