US authorities seem to be doubling down on their policy of enlisting the help of Big Tech and traditional media in suppressing what they see as medical misinformation being spread by users of social networks and accounts run by these privately-owned corporate giants.
US Surgeon General Vivek Murthy told CNN that media outlets and journalists should play an instrumental role in stopping people from speaking about their choices regarding COVID – although he acknowledged that they still have the right to those choices.
Although conservatives are those disproportionately affected by censorship around this topic, Murthy tried to “sell” the idea of turning journalists and media outlets into tools that The White House can use to impose its policies as something that “doesn’t have to be a partisan issue.”
Those with experience of living in undemocratic and autocratic regimes are likely to find this definition of what media and journalists are supposed to do uncomfortably familiar; however, to CNN’s audience Murthy presented this as “journalists doing the right thing” while suppression of unwanted content and conversations labeled as misinformation would be “getting accurate information out to the public.”
Murthy also didn’t miss a chance to repeat the mantra of the need to favor “credible sources,” but without going to the trouble of what exact criteria defines one source as more credible than another.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki recently provided some insight into how the administration intends on making sure this extremely divisive along party lines issue might stop being that – namely, by convincing “the other side” that they are wrong, by reaching out to them via media outlets they tend to trust.
But the administration doesn’t seem to consider itself a source “trustworthy” enough to be heard and taken as authoritative by large swathes of the country’s population. “They are not waiting for the president, the vice president, me, other people from the administration to tell them what to do,” she admitted.