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Gagged by the media giants, conservatives must fight via the Net

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SMALL c conservatives often think that the mainstream media is against them, and they’re right. The political bias of the BBC has been described ad infinitum here on The Conservative Woman and documented in detail on News-watch. 

Even Jenni Murray, doyenne of Woman’s Hour, has had enough of the BBC – furious, inter alia, at being reprimanded for her on-air refutation of transgenderism. Sky News, Channel Four and ITV are all equally ‘progressive’ and politically biased in their news and commentary.   

By contrast, the US has Fox, the only conservative-leaning TV station; but the rest – NBC, ABC, CBS and CNN – are all vehemently anti-Trump, however much some make a pretence at neutrality. 

Social media is little better in its inherent anti-conservative bias and censorship. TCW recently reported the censorship by YouTube of Dr Scott Atlas for daring to challenge the conventional thinking on the Covid-19 pandemic.

Twitter and Facebook are the same.  When a group of US doctors made a public call for hydroxychloroquine to be used as a therapy for coronavirus, Facebook closed down anyone posting their video and Twitter banned Donald Trump Junior for 12 hours after he posted it on his account. Yesterday they went into action against President Trump again, Facebook removing a tweet saying it violated its rules on ‘Covid misinformation’ while Twitter added a public-interest notice saying the tweet ‘broke its rules on COVID-19 misinformation’.

Shadow banning of pro-Trump tweeters and right-of-centre supporters is widely accepted as routinely happening.

In addition to blocking content from potential viewers without informing the creator, censorship also often takes more subtle and indirect forms, such as demonetisation (preventing those with the wrong opinions making a living from their content), as described by Dave Rubin and Jordan Peterson here. 

Yet despite these best efforts, it’s proved virtually impossible to prevent dissenting views from being heard and available, as subsequently demonstrated by Peterson’s and Rubin’s active resistance. 

Where they led the way, others have followed. TCW posted a link to the Scott Atlas interview here, but you can also see it on BitChute, a video streaming service specifically created in 2017 to avoid YouTube’s censorship. And it’s still available on more mainstream platforms such as Apple, Tunein and Facebook.

You may find it a little more difficult to find the US Frontline Doctors’ press conference about hydroxychloroquine given several months ago, but not much (here to save you the bother, though the comments have been disabled).

There is no doubt that the internet has been a boon for anyone wishing to challenge Establishment views. The barriers to entry are low. The only things needed are a decent broadband connection and a smartphone. A few hundred pounds gets you a good microphone, camera and a bit of lighting.

While the tech giants try to muzzle those out of line of received wisdom, the reality is that articles and videos can be circulated with a speed with which Soviet dissidents could only have dreamed of spreading their samizdat

And there’s a plethora of conservative, Right-wing or free market voices out there. As well as TCW’s socially conservative platform, my web favourites (from both sides of the pond) include Archbishop CranmerBreitbartAnn CoulterCapxComment CentralQuiletteTheodore DalrympleMelanie PhillipsMatt RidleyMark SteynSpiked and Heterodox Academy, with a bit of satire from The Babylon Bee.

If I want to listen rather than read, then one can choose from thinkspot (Jordan Peterson’s free speech alternative to the mainstream), The Daily WireTriggernometryGad SaadJonathan PageauMayhar TousiMatt ChristensenPatrick CoffinThe New Culture Forum or Mark Steyn, again without trying hard to find anything.

TCW readers will have their own favourites. One doesn’t have to agree with everything to find it more informative and intellectually stimulating than anything the traditional media can offer. 

The relatively small size of these outlets may make it look like a David and Goliath contest, though that fight didn’t end well for the big chap.

The world of online has had plenty of major falls in its short history; if you remember Friends Reunited, Bebo or Myspace, you’re already showing your age. And the mainstream media know that, despite their apparently large audiences, they’re struggling to win the online battle with the Right.

In April, the New York Times had to admit that conservative commentator Ben Shapiro got 56million total interactions on his Facebook page in the previous 30 days, more than the main pages of ABC News, NBC News, The New York Times, The Washington Post and NPR combined. Good news for conservatives on television is Fox News’s record audiences in 2020 for cable news, and also Tucker Carlson attracting a record audience.

Britain remains a poor relation on both fronts. Alex Belfield, though popular on YouTube, hardly competes with a Ben Shapiro in sophistication or reach. 

And, with no broadcast equivalent here to Fox News, the jury is out as to whether Andrew Neil’s new 24-hour news channel GB News will provide the type of Right-wing critique and opinion that is missing from TV here.

Admittedly, few viewing experiences have brought conservatives more pleasure in recent years than Cathy ‘so you’re saying that …’ But Newman making a fool of herself when she interviewed Jordan Peterson was by accident, not design.

Channel 4 chiefs put the half-hour programme on YouTube because they thought it went well for La Newman, illustrative of how out of touch they were with reality.

Largely unnoticed were the viewing figures; the interview racked up around three million views in seven days (which would have made it the second most viewed Channel 4 programme that week) and two and a half years later it has over 22million views, the second most viewed video on Channel 4’s YouTube channel (first place goes to a weather presenter pronouncing the longest Welsh placename).

Channel 4 News is rather coy about releasing its nightly viewing figures, but admitted to only 7.4million a month in 2018, which is less than 400,000 a day.

The BBC isn’t faring much better. The news that it lost 237,000 licence payers in the year to March 2020 comes after losses in recent years reversing a decade long increase in TV licence numbers to 2016.

Notably, these figures come prior to an inevitable backlash over its risible effort to make The Last Night of the Proms woke and its excuses for Black Lives Matter’s violence (‘27 police officers injured during largely peaceful anti-racism protests in London’ was the last straw for me). 

The outrageous decision to make over-75s pay for their TV licence is essential for the BBC to combat its declining revenue whilst maintaining Loony Left initiatives such as £100million on more diversity and eye-watering salaries for many of its indifferent presenters.

It will only get worse for the BBC. A recent poll found 28 per cent of the public don’t watch BBC TV at all, 52 per cent think it’s too politically correct and 65 per cent support abolishing the TV licence. We can only hope that BBC ‘stars’ won’t be enjoying their exorbitant salaries forever.

The mainstream media are already exercising their power in the upcoming US Presidential election to hinder pro-Trump voices. So too are the corporates, attempting to stifle his supporters on social media.

They’ve already started; Facebook has restricted access to Tucker Carlson’s official page due to ‘repeated sharing of false news’.  No examples have been provided to support this assertion, as though facts aren’t needed for Left-wing censorship.

It’s not clear that such exercises in manipulation will work; it didn’t stop the Brexit vote or Trump being elected in 2016. Though the force of censorship has strengthened in the intervening years, time is running out for the mainstream media.

Their revenues and audiences are declining. That’s why they’ll be trying harder than ever to control the message and why, in turn, conservatives will need to keep their antennae tuned, and keep up the fight, using all media available, to transmit their views.

Editor’s request: We invite readers to recommend their alternative news sources, especially from readers who have turned their backs on the BBC and the ‘paywalled’ newspapers such as the Times and the Telegraph.  Which sources do you depend on for your daily news? 

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Vlod Barchuk
Vlod Barchuk is a former accountant, former Tory councillor and current chairman of Ealing Central and Acton Conservative Party Association.

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