The fact-checker industrial complex

Flat White

Paul Collits

Getty Images

Paul Collits

6 March 2023

5:30 AM

I tuned in the other day to an excellent webinar titled Prayer and Pushback organised by the redoubtable Pat Mesiti. It was a forum for Covid dissenters, Woke critiques, and climate deplorables. A similar event of Pat’s a year ago earned scrutiny from some publications with the descriptor, ‘a beauty parade of anti-vaxxers’. There were a few star performers speaking this time, but latest webinar deliberately avoided the usual social media platforms so that it wouldn’t be trolled and forced to use that favoured tactic of Covid and other dissidents, the blotting out of trigger words (like vaccine) that bring the algorithmic censors into play.

Funny old world, now.

One of these star speakers, the equally redoubtable (and very busy) Craig Kelly, was talking, ironically, about freedom of speech. He argued with passion that freedom of speech is at the pinnacle of all the freedoms and it is currently under threat. John Anderson, another warrior for the light, has suggested that freedom of conscience precedes and so out-ranks freedom of speech. Perhaps he is right. Yet…

Covid has proven that the 18C problem pursued so vigorously by the Liberals in 2015 was merely a sideshow. Important, but not game-changing. Yes, allowing the perpetually offended to get people sacked and their lives destroyed is a travesty, but its capacity to damage the broad citizenry was, and is, very limited.

With Covid and the cleverly-grasped opportunity for the ruling elites to bury us all in the rapidly hardening concrete of censorship, reclaiming freedom of speech has become far more urgent. As Craig Kelly suggested, Covid rulers lied, dissidents were shut down, and people died.

Suicides from lockdowns? Cancelled cancer treatments? Patients denied effective Covid treatments? The vaccine injured? Doctors silenced upon threat of deregistration? Kelly and his fellow freedom-fighters were cancelled by the Covid class. Pilloried. Sidelined. Yet he was speaking the truth.

Yes, free speech matters.

What the recent Twitter Files (released with Elon Musk’s permission) taught us is that prophetic scholars of the administrative state – like John Marini in Unmasking the Administrative State (2019) – were not speculating idly. Marini’s book tells:

‘…the critical missed story of the last century of political history: The ascendance of the theory behind and resultant growth of an administrative state that has supplanted limited constitutional government with the tyranny of unbounded anticonstitutional bureaucracy.’

Covid has proven the theory.

Ed Dowd has shone a light onthe close ties between Big Tech and US State agencies in the era of pandemia. But there is more. As Dowd has pointed out, the American government’s whole Covid response (and especially the vaccine play) was run by the US security state, to Donald Trump’s eternal shame. Trump still seems to think that Operation Warp Speed was a good idea. Since then, there has been ongoing ‘deep collaboration’ between the State and Big Tech.

The threats to our freedom, then, are now stark and clear. The unlamented Jacinda Adern, now the former Prime Minister of New Zealand, said that the State’s version of events is the only ‘truth’. This has been one of the core strategies of the censoring class who boldly assert that government has, and should have, thepower to define what is the truth.

‘We will continue to be your single source of truth … unless you hear it from us, it is not the truth.’ – Jacinda Ardern

A second strategy is cultural shaping, undertaken to nudge the population towards compliance, non-interest, and ultimately, silence. Make people stupid, or at least, uninformed. Create a climate of fear and then the people will be supine. They will not care remotely that their rights, including freedom of speech, have been taken away. Clever. Some have called it all a psyop.

A third strategy lies in the words used by the elites to describe opinions deemed to be beyond the pale. Cleverly, terms such as ‘misinformation’ and ‘disinformation’ place those so deemed at a disadvantage, as one victim explains.

The appropriation of words is a favourite trick of the censor class. Think ‘love’, ‘rainbow’, and ‘pride’. ‘Fact’ is an absolute beauty. Just google anyone who has questioned the Covid narrative, or the Ukraine narrative, or the Woke narrative, or the climate emergency narrative. You won’t find what these brave souls actually say. Instead, you will find whatthe ubiquitous fact checker class has to say (of which, more below). It is mighty helpful to have Big Tech on side.

A fourth strategy is to silence opposition, especially on the internet, where it really counts.

A fifth is to ridicule dissidents whensilencing hasn’tworked. This has been a favourite for useful idiot politicians and their collaborators in the legacy media. When you control the narrative, it is easy to identify enemies of the State. But, just as effective, the silencing of debate has been the Covid State equivalent of playing the Joker in five hundred. When people are starved of good information, they are far more easily manipulated and controlled. Safe and effective? Stay safe? It was a master class in Goebbels-level propaganda.

A sixth strategy, again aimed at silencing opposition, is regulator pressure. Mark Steyn’s departure from GB News as a result of a contractual change that would see him liable for Ofcom complaints is a case study. Make the dissident (or at least his employer) fear the consequences of speech. You don’t even have to do anything. This preemptive strike induces what Steyn calls ‘self-censorship’.

A seventh strategy is to starve dissidents of the normal channels they have to readers. Disappear them from internet search engines so no one knows what they are saying. No need to argue back. No need for ridicule. This is the online equivalent of denying venues to speakers or publishing houses to writers, or threatening venues and publishers who don’t themselves deny the platform.

Finally, we come to the eighth strategy, the ‘fact checkers’. A recent addition to the cancel culture repertoire. The fact-checking class is clearly a global growth industry. Their numbers are growing faster than jet refuellers and prostitutes in Davos. Between them, Google and Facebook employ an unimaginable number of ‘verifiers’. It has been a truly astonishing development.

And they have captured the commanding heights of the aforementioned search engine optimisation. The new apex of absolute power. This has been a brilliant manoeuvre. The takeover of the world by the fact-checker class has occurred in the blink of an eye. We do it because we can! It is a neat reversal of the old fact-value philosophical dilemma. The enlightenment philosopher David Hume suggested we could not derive a value from a fact. But these folks have pulled off a philosophical trick of equally epic proportions. You can derive a fact from a value! Brilliant, really. But all based on a lie.

The Brownstone Institute has published an article titled Censors use AI to target podcasts that explores the very latest development in this deep collaboration. It quotes a Brookings Institution report on podcasts:

‘…conservative podcasters were 11 times more likely than liberal podcasters to share claims fact-checked as false or unsubstantiated.’

Which of course gives the game away. They are not checking facts. They are ‘checking’a particular kind of broadcaster. It is a virtuous circle, as well. We fact-check those we wish to discredit. We then ‘find’ that these same people are the most fact-checked (horror). This, then, gives us permission to condemn them. A great business model. This is the perfect convergence between technology and tyranny. Hence the new war on podcasts (like that of Pat Mesiti), the latest front in the war to track down the dissidents and silence them. The PGGWC (progressive, green, globalist, Woke, Covid-mad) class never sleeps.

There is another advantage. The beauty of the term ‘fact checker’ is that it is supposed to endow the user with ownership of ‘truth’. A position that is not remotely deserved. And not available to the deplorables. This is very clever. This is ironic for progressivist post-modernists who profess not to believe in ‘truth’. Shouldn’t the victims of the fact checkers’ forensic attention – all, curiously, purveyors of values alien to those of the fact checker class – be accorded the courtesy of having ‘their truth’? Apparently not.

The fightback against censorship will not be easy. One of the characteristics of the cancelling class, and greatly to its advantage, is the interconnectedness between government, legacy media, academia, and Big Tech, their shared ideology, and the ability of each to use the resources of the others to stifle debate and maintain an agreed narrative. It is a cancelling cartel, in effect. An integrated, honed operation. There is an impenetrable wall of censorship. This may well mean that dissidents, those who ever dare to challenge the power structures and vested interests of the day, are herded into a ghetto, an echo chamber where we simply talk to each, and no one else. That is a hell of a way to preserve a ruling narrative.

We shouldn’t understate the importance of this takeover by what David Souto Alcalde and Thomas Harrington term the ‘digital brownshirts’:

‘We are under siege. A nihilistic fanaticism is running free among us thanks to the emergence of a journalistic “ethos” that establishes an almost complete equivalence between the “truth” and those utterances that support the strategic goals of the great economic and digital powers of our time.’

But this isn’t just about two sides having a go at one another in some sort of culture war. Alcalde and Harrington again:

‘The authoritarianism of the fact-checkers not only cripples science but effectively annuls the very idea of the public sphere by naturalising the idea that the robust, and at times, conflictual exchange of ideas is in some way perverse.’

What this amounts to is far more than simply chasing a few renegades from the public square. It is getting rid of the public square itself. Nothing should alarm us more.

Dwight Eisenhower was right about the military industrial complex. Craig Kelly is right now. Freedom of speech is now the front of battle that matters. The people who run the show now have all absorbed Orwell. They have seen that silencing the perceived racist and homophobic offenders with 18C protection is a model with far wider application, one which isnow further empowered, with the lethal, silencing capabilitiesof online censorship. They can come for the refusenik who pushes back against the State and GloboCap. In other words, for you and me.

Got something to add? Join the discussion and comment below.

Published by Nelle

I am interested in writing short stories for my pleasure and my family's but although I have published four family books I will not go down that path again but still want what I write out there so I will see how this goes

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: