Countless individuals have lost their jobs or their platforms, simply for having a different opinion to the activists that have mobilized to cancel them. But according to Brian Stelter, the host of CNN’s “Reliable Sources,” we should stop referring to this phenomenon as cancel culture and instead, start calling it “harm reduction.”
Stelter made the comments during a recent edition of his show and proposed that the mainstream media and Big Tech platforms need to create a silo where there’s “accurate news and rational views.” Then in this silo, which Stelter referred to as a “healthy environment,” individuals will be allowed to debate as long as they stay within the bounds of this so-called healthy environment.
According to Stelter, anything that he brands as “disinformation” is “unhealthy” and “harmful” and needs to be reduced. And he applied this standard to dissenting opinions on the coronavirus, Stop the Steal content, QAnon, and more.
Stelter justified his push for more censorship and cancel culture by arguing: “Reducing a liar’s reach is not the same as censoring freedom of speech. Freedom of speech is different than freedom of reach and algorithmic reach is part of the problem.”
And in a blatant display of doublethink, Stelter claimed that Big Tech slashing the reach of any posts or conversations that he deems to be disinformation would make social media platforms “more social.”
Journalist Glenn Greenwald was quick to push back against Stelter and noted that Stelter’s claims about “freedom of reach” are “totally false” and have been “rejected by courts for decades.”
“Imagine if you’re an anti-Wall Street group and you want to march on Wall St & the city tells you: oh, you can march, but not on a busy street. We’ll give you a permit to march on a deserted street in Queens,” Greenwald tweeted. “You think that’s not a free speech violation? Tons of caselaw on this.”
Ultimately, Stelter’s comments are a variation of the same tactic that CNN and others in the mainstream media have been using for years to censor their competitors.
They create a censorship buzzword such as “echo chambers” or “misinformation,” they use these buzzwords to pressure Big Tech platforms into censoring their competitors, and then, as they’re pushing for more censorship, they argue that it’s not censorship because the mainstream media knows best and is protecting everyone else from “harm.”