Don’t dare say that Hedges and Martin were ‘deplatformed.’ The entire archives of their RT programs were erased from YouTube.

ADDED Below: The Progressive Misleadership Class (w/ Chris Hedges) (video) Bad Faith site

31 March 2022 | James Porteous | Clipper Media

In the video below, Abby Martin explains how she arrived on RT to begin with. 

To paraphrase, at the time it was not considered a ‘Russian’ media outlet in many ways.

It existed to tout Russian ideas and to turn a critical eye to some US policies, but it was done in the same way, and at least in the beginning, often with less bias than CNN when they did the same thing about other countries.

I worked at Al Jazeera English for 10 years and there was a real effort to talk about stories -good and bad- about all countries, but there were very few media US outlets that wanted to be seen as being ‘critical’ of US policy.

It was acceptable to create ‘foreign’ outlets like VOA to be critical of media in other countries, but not in the US.

But this is all a watershed moment, I’m afraid. It is shocking on so many levels, not the least of which is the realization that Google/YouTube can simply wipe a slate clean without a word of explanation or warning. 

It is not the final nail in the internet free-speech coffin, but it is getting closer to that mark. 

James Porteous | Clipper Media News


Hedges: On Being Disappeared

28 March 2022 | Chris Hedges | Sheerpost

The entire archive of On Contact, the Emmy-nominated show I hosted for six years for RT America and RT International, has been disappeared from YouTube.

Gone is the interview with Nathaniel Philbrick on his book about George Washington. Gone is the discussion with Kai Bird on his biography of J. Robert Oppenheimer. Gone is my exploration with Professor Sam Slote from Trinity College Dublin of James Joyce’s “Ulysses.” Gone is the show with Benjamin Moser on his biography of Susan Sontag.

Gone is the show with Stephen Kinzer on his book on John Foster Dulles and Allen Dulles. Gone are the interviews with the social critics Cornel West, Tariq Ali, Noam Chomsky, Gerald Horne, Wendy Brown, Paul Street, Gabriel Rockwell, Naomi Wolff and Slavoj Zizek.

Gone are the interviews with the novelists Russell Banks and Salar Abdoh. Gone is the interview with Kevin Sharp, a former federal judge, on the case of Leonard Peltier. Gone are the interviews with economists David Harvey and Richard Wolff.

Gone are the interviews with the combat veterans and West Point graduates Danny Sjursen and Eric Edstrom about our wars in the Middle East. Gone are the discussions with the journalists Glenn Greenwald and Matt Taibbi.

Gone are the voices of those who are being persecuted and marginalized, including the human rights attorney Steven Donziger and the political prisoner Mumia Abu Jamal.

None of the shows I did on mass incarceration, where I interviewed those released from our prisons, are any longer on YouTube. Gone are the shows with the cartoonists Joe Sacco and Dwayne Booth. Melted into thin air, leaving not a rack behind.

I received no inquiry or notice from YouTube. I vanished. In totalitarian systems you exist, then you don’t.

During the third quarter of 2021, a total of approximately 6.23 million videos were removed from the Google-owned video sharing platform YouTube. This includes videos that had been automatically flagged for violating the platform’s community guidelines. In comparison, only 328 thousand videos were removed via flags from non-automated flagging systems.

Statista

I suppose this was done in the name of censoring Russian propaganda, although I have a hard time seeing how a detailed discussion of “Ulysses” or the biographies of Susan Sontag and J. Robert Oppenheimer had any connection in the eyes of the most obtuse censors in Silicon Valley with Vladimir Putin.

Indeed, there is not one show that dealt with Russia.

I was on RT because, as a vocal critic of US imperialism, militarism, the corporate control of the two ruling parties, and especially because I support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel, I was blacklisted.

I was on RT for the same reason the dissident Vaclav Havel, who I knew, was on Voice of America during the communist regime in Czechoslovakia. It was that or not be heard. Havel had no more love for the policies of Washington than I have for those of Moscow. 

Are we a more informed and better society because of this wholesale censorship? Is this a world we want to inhabit where those who know everything about us and about whom we know nothing can instantly erase us?

Six years of Chris Hedges’ On Contact program erased by YouTube

WSWS

If this happens to me, it can happen to you, to any critic anywhere who challenges the dominant narrative.

And that is where we are headed as the ruling elites refuse to respond to the disenfranchisement and suffering of the working class, opting not for social and political change or the curbing of the rapacious power and obscene wealth of our oligarchic rulers, but instead imposing iron control over information, as if that will solve the mounting social unrest and vast political and social divides. 

Chris Hedges

The most vocal cheerleaders for this censorship are the liberal class. Terrified of the enraged crowds of QAnon conspiracy theorists, Christian fascists, gun-toting militias, and cult-like Trump supporters that grew out of the distortions of neoliberalism, austerity, deindustrialization, and the collapse of social programs, they plead with the digital monopolies to make it all go away.

They blame anyone but themselves. Democrats in Congress have held hearings with the CEOs of social media companies pressuring them to do more to censor content. Banish the troglodytes.

Then we will have social cohesion. Then life will go back to normal. Fake news. Harm reduction model. Information pollution. Information disorder. They have all sorts of Orwellian phrases to justify censorship.


The Progressive Misleadership Class (w/ Chris Hedges)

Pulitzer Prize winning journalist and long time truth teller Chris Hedges sits down with Briahna for an intimate conversation about the recent purging of his RT show On Contact from YouTube, what to make of online criticism AOC received for “stealing valor” from the successful Amazon unionization effort, the limits of electoralism, and why he still fights despite it all. Briahna asks Hedges to respond to Ro Khanna’s apparent surprise that esteemed public intellectuals like Hedges and Cornel West are not invited onto mainstream news outlets, and he even responds to his first ever clip from The View. The two spar over the relevance of social media to progressive movements, and have a solemn conversation about the personal risks of fighting for what you believe in.


Meanwhile, they peddle their own fantasy that Russia was responsible for the election of Donald Trump. It is a stunning inability to be remotely self-reflective or self-critical, and it is ominous as we move deeper and deeper into a state of political and social dysfunction. 

What were my sins? I did not, like my former employer, The New York Times, sell you the lie of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, peddle conspiracy theories about Donald Trump being a Russian asset, put out a 10-part podcast called the Caliphate that was a hoax, or tell you that the information on Hunter Biden’s laptop was “disinformation.” I did not prophesize that Joe Biden was the next FDR or that Hillary Clinton was going to win the election. 

prevent (a person holding views regarded as unacceptable or offensive) from contributing to a forum or debate, especially by blocking them on a particular website.

deplatformed

This censorship is about supporting what, as I.F Stone reminded us, governments always do – lie. Challenge the official lie, as I often did, and you will soon become a nonperson on digital media.

Julian Assange and Edward Snowden exposed the truth about the criminal inner workings of power. Look where they are now. This censorship is one step removed from Joseph Stalin’s airbrushing of nonpersons such as Leon Trotsky out of official photographs.

It is a destruction of our collective memory. It removes those moments in the media when we attempted to examine our reality in ways the ruling class did not appreciate. The goal is to foster historical amnesia. If we don’t know what happened in the past, we cannot make sense of the present. 

“The moment we no longer have a free press, anything can happen,” Hannah Arendt warned. “What makes it possible for a totalitarian or any other dictatorship to rule is that people are not informed; how can you have an opinion if you are not informed? If everybody always lies to you, the consequence is not that you believe the lies, but rather that nobody believes anything any longer. This is because lies, by their very nature, have to be changed, and a lying government has constantly to rewrite its own history. On the receiving end you get not only one lie—a lie which you could go on for the rest of your days—but you get a great number of lies, depending on how the political wind blows. And a people that no longer can believe anything cannot make up its mind. It is deprived not only of its capacity to act but also of its capacity to think and to judge. And with such a people you can then do what you please.” 

I am not alone. YouTube regularly removes or demonetizes channels, which happened to Progressive Soapbox, without warning, usually by arguing that the content contained videos that violated YouTube’s community guidelines.

Status Coup, which filmed the January 6 storming of the Capitol, was suspended from YouTube for “advancing the false claims of election fraud.”

My video content, by the way, primarily consisted of book covers, quotes from passages of books and author photos, but it got disappeared anyway. 

The deplatforming of voices like mine, already blocked by commercial media and marginalized with algorithms, is coupled with the pernicious campaign to funnel people back into the arms of the “establishment” media such as CNN, The New York Times, and The Washington Post.

In the US, as Dorothy Parker once said about Katharine Hepburn’s emotional range as an actress, any policy discussion ranges from A to B. Step outside those lines and you are an outcast. 

The Ukraine war, which I denounced as a “criminal war of aggression” when it began, is a sterling example.

Any effort to put it into historical context, to suggest that the betrayal of agreements by the West with Moscow, which I covered as a reporter in Eastern Europe during the collapse of the Soviet Union, along with the expansion of NATO might have baited Russia into the conflict, is dismissed. Nuance. Complexity. Ambiguity. Historical context. Self-criticism. All are banished. 

My show, dedicated primarily to authors and their books, should have been, if we had a functioning system of public broadcasting, on PBS or NPR.

But public broadcasting is as captive to corporations and the wealthy as the commercial media, indeed PBS and NPR run commercials in the guise of sponsorship acknowledgements.

The last show on public broadcasting that examined power was Moyers & Company. Once Bill Moyers went off the air in 2015, no one took his place. 

A few decades ago, you could hear independent voices on public broadcasting, including Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, Howard Zinn, Ralph Nader, Angela Davis, James Baldwin, and Noam Chomsky.

No more. A few decades ago, there were a variety of alternative weeklies and magazines. A few decades ago, we still had a press that, however flawed, had not rendered whole segments of the population, especially the poor and social critics, invisible.

It is perhaps telling that our greatest investigative journalist, Sy Hersh, who exposed the massacre of 500 unarmed Vietnamese civilians by US soldiers at My Lai and the torture at Abu Ghraib, has trouble publishing in the United States. I would direct you to the interview I did with Sy about the decayed state of the American media, but it no longer exists on YouTube.


Abby Martin / Chris Hedges
Abby Martin / Chris Hedges

Abby Martin – Breaking the Set

Abby Martin – Breaking the set

Abby Martin on the Left Media PURGE

This week, Briahna Joy Gray speaks to journalist & activist Abby Martin about the spate of left media censorship that’s occurred over the past few weeks.

RT America, Russia’s 24/7 English-language news channel, has been shuttered — presumably because the cost of sanctions on Russia made it difficult to sustain, while RT has been banned entirely in Europe.

Over 600 episodes of the show Abby hosted for 3 years at RT have been wiped from the internet, along with shows by other RT hosts like Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Chris Hedges & Lee Camp.

Even The Hill was barred from YouTube last week, suggesting even corporate-backed news outlets aren’t safe. Abby breaks down what happened, how left media can survive under capitalism, accusations of bias against Russia TV, her advocacy for Palestine rights, and what American media is getting wrong about Ukraine.