Several Democrats took issue this week with the very censorship they have been calling for online. As the Washington Post first reported, and Mashable and The Verge expanded upon, the Democratic Party complained that Hulu is refusing to take party political ads from them on the subjects of climate change, abortion, guns and January 6.
Given that these are the big campaign issues for the Democrats this cycle, the outrage is palpable. But then, we did say this is what would happen. More than once. Once there is moderation of things on the basis of politics or opinion or even a distinction between truth and dis- or mis- information, there are going to be complaints like this.
As we’ve also pointed out in those previous pieces it’s the Democrats’ side of the aisle that has been so insistent that only the truth – the truth as defined by their side of the aisle, of course – that may be said in public. There is outrage – as Teen Vogue demonstrates – when differing opinions on something like the trans issue are even discussed in major newspapers. The claim there is that the truth is known and no one should be allowed to say different.
Now, it is perhaps possible that what the Ds wanted to say in those ads is nothing but the absolute and total truth and nothing but. We’d also think that given that they’re political ads then that might not be quite the whole story to them. But then that would be to be cynical and that’s not our point here at all.
As and when there is censorship – even if it’s self-censorship by the media outlets – then free speech is lost. As the Democrats are just finding out as they cannot place ads during an election cycle in certain outlets. Our answer would be and is that even if we all do have to suffer political ads then the joys of free speech are worth that.
Yes, we do enjoy the piquancy of it being Democratic political ads that are being pulled as a result of the Democratic – or at least progressive – insistence that bad things must not be said. We don’t enjoy the situation at all because the one thing we’re absolutely certain of is that those complaining aren’t going to learn the lesson.
If things are forbidden from being said in the public square then sometimes it’s going to be the things you believe in which cannot be said. This is why we don’t – or at least shouldn’t – have tests of mal-, mis- or dis- information over what can be said. Quite apart from anything else, how can anyone advertise politics if only the agreed upon by all of society things may be claimed?