As the American presidential election rolls around and the potential for post-Covid electoral destabilisation emerges, the powers that be have commenced a new round of measures to clamp down on dissident voices. Zoning in on the tech platforms, the clampdown has found form in the “Stop Hate for Profit” campaign, a symbiosis of left-activism and corporate muscle aiming to salt the earth for populism electorally.
Initiated by the contentious Anti-Defamation League, and mirroring itself off previous campaigns against the British Daily Mail, it aims for tech giants to have a zero-tolerance policy towards allegedly extremist or hateful pages, with Facebook a chief target. This is enacted through a corporate-led boycott against advertising on the platform until it acquiesces to demands on deplatforming.
Where extremism ends and legitimate concerns over liberal policies begins will naturally be decided by tech-overlords and shifty lobby groups. However anyone with eyes to see can tell that this is cheap corporate censorship at its worst. Trump and the emergence of populism was a geopolitical fly in the ointment for the global power structure, with present deplatforming a key component in clawing back power for oligarchs.
Considering Zuckerberg freely admitted to targeting pro-life adverts during the Repeal referendum this should put people on edge. Ireland, the home for a lot of Facebook operations, is in a rather strategically worrying position with a comfy relationship between our elites and Facebook already developing.
Not one to miss out on any fad to stamp out political non-conformism, the corporate world in Ireland, as well as our cottage industry of ‘anti-racist’ NGOs, have pursued similar objectives here. Beginning with the beer baron Diageo, a variety of corporations acting hand-in-hand with our well-oiled anti-racist industry have joined the siren calls for Facebook to take the axe to deplatforming right-wing actors, using their advertising budgets to force Zuckerberg’s hand.
The latest and perhaps most worrying of such corporate voices to lend their name and pursestrings to the effort has been the Communicorp media conglomerate.
Announced on Monday, the parent company of the radio giant Newstalk announced its intentions to pull the plug temporarily on Facebook ads for the month of July aligning formally with the campaign.
In a statement, CEO Arian Serle stated the company’s commitment to equality and inclusion against hate speech, as well how what would have otherwise been given to Facebook for the month in advertising will instead be directed to the anti-racist quango INAR (Irish Network Against Racism).
Regular readers of this publication know by now the soft power influence and maliciousness of INAR which exerts its tentacles from the GAA right through to the Oireachtas. Central to the open-borders lobby in Ireland, as well as the media’s radio silence that enables it, INAR provides regular speakers to Newstalk to discuss incidents of racism and craft public discourse.
With a funding stream from both the State and the Soros-funded Open Society organisation, INAR already registers a fairly plump balance sheet, even without Communicorp’s ad revenue.
Personnel attached to the INAR group, while a regular media feature pontificating on matters of racism, have also been rather noticeable on the antifa scene in Ireland, including associate Dr Lucy Michael embroiled in the recent IrishAntifa sting.
Also concerning is that the progenitor of this deplatforming campaign is the Anti-Defamation League (ADL). It has a somewhat chequered history as a Zionist organisation, critiqued from both the right and left for its influence globally.
Of some concern to the Irish left is the fact that the ADL lists boycotts of Israel as an inherently anti-semitic position. While the logic of anti-hate speech protocols are used largely against the right today, they could be used against pro-BDS elements of the Irish left tomorrow, especially in the wake of new annexations in the West Bank.
The ADL came to international prominence leading the charge against the Somali-born US Congresswoman Illan Omar for her insinuation about the grip the Israeli lobby has on American politics.
Perhaps Communicorp thought that the best way to combat racist conspiracy theories would be to further the cause of a Zionist-linked lobbying organisation by bankrolling a Soros-funded NGO, all while tilting the media discourse against grassroots populism.
Famously the domain of the much maligned and equally as litigious Denis O’Brien, Communicorp is also the parent corporation to other media titles such as TodayFM, Spin 1038 and 98FM, with the boycott extending throughout those stations.
No stranger to the emergent Americanised culture wars hitting our shores, the station experienced a major dogfight over the departure of long time radio presenter George Hook and Dil Wickremasinghe.
The fallout of this egress resulted in a silent, but not too silent, Cold War with the Irish Times, starting with a Fintan O’Toole article alleging sexism at the station. In return Communicorp responded by putting a blanket ban on Irish Times journalists from speaking on affiliated stations.
For a media corporation with Commicorp’s market share to take sides with a partisan campaign with the clear intention of censorship is shameful to the extreme, yet expected.
O’Brien became a brief topic for discussion during the last American presidential election over his donations to the Clinton foundation and business operations on the island of Haiti.
No amount of spin can cover the fact that a supposedly unbiased journalistic organisation has thrown in their lot with censorship measures which would receive UN condemnation if done in Beijing or Budapest.
The function of Newstalk and the Communicorp corporation in all its appendages is to buttress political power in Ireland. It has a captive audience in the form of primarily work and commuter-bound listeners and is all too happy to crack the whip hand to maintain the status quo.
This latest measure could be said to be part of this, just as much as the targeting of Irish Times journalists was before.
For those dismissive of the notion that international plutocrats like Soros and friends influence the media diet in Ireland, these facts validate otherwise. While the field of Soros-fueled conspiracy theories has run wild, it is hard to deny his organisation’s influence in a country like Ireland.
While Ireland may have the trappings of an outwardly free society, have no illusion that there is a more Soviet element beneath the smiles on the Linkedin pages of our managerial class. While tokenistic, Communicorp’s support for such a retrograde and partisan measure ought to compromise it ethically as a journalistic organisation.
As the year progresses the screws appear to be tightening on outsider voices both online and in the public square. Liberalism is fearful of what could be around the corner post-Covid, and is doing all in its power to micromanage discourse to its favour.