I Prayed have prayed
Lord, we pray for our divided Nation. Division is not from you, we pray against this spirit and pray for unity in America.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki last week made a startling revelation from the White House press podium: that the major social media platforms take direction from the government in deciding what content to suppress, amplify, or remove.

On Thursday, Psaki casually made note of the fact that the White House was working in coordination with Facebook, flagging specific “problematic” posts for COVID-19 “misinformation.” She was joined by Vivek Murthy, the U.S. surgeon general, whose office released a 22-page guidance urging platforms to “impose clear consequences for accounts that repeatedly violate platform policies.” Facebook later confirmed it is involved in “private exchanges” with the Biden administration on how to manage COVID-19 information on the platform.

What could have potentially been defended as a well-meaning effort to work with major speech outlets to combat certain inaccuracies about the efficacy of vaccines, however, quickly progressed beyond that. By Friday, the White House was pressuring companies to work together to ban users across multiple platforms. Efforts to ban “misinformation” about the COVID-19 vaccine, meanwhile, had evolved into banning “the latest narratives dangerous to public health.”

The problem with all of this, of course, is that the definition of misinformation is constantly changing to meet the needs of the powerful—whether that is the political needs of the party in charge, or the political or financial self-interest of the platforms.

 

Narrative Control Is The Real Power

Psaki’s revelation, as startling as it was, is clarifying. It remains a contested point in the debate over Big Tech whether these companies constitute “private enterprise” or if they’ve reached the level of indispensable services. But the Biden administration’s flippant acknowledgement that control of what is said on Facebook is central to their policy goals points toward the true status of these companies as essential corridors of speech.

It was for the same reason that Michelle Obama, when she decided that Donald Trump should be banned from social media, didn’t go to Congress to make her case, nor write an op-ed arguing for that position in a national newspaper—she issued a statement to Silicon Valley. Likewise, when congressional Democrats want to silence the influence of right-leaning speech, they threaten the social media companies with regulatory action to urge them to do more.

When a handful of companies take over the public square and dictate who can speak and what they can say—and, by extension, what people can hear—it fundamentally changes the nature of free speech as America has always understood it. But when the government exerts itself upon that power, dictating to compliant companies who can speak, and what can be seen, heard, and said, that, as Glenn Greenwald pointed out recently, is the taproot of fascism.

That we have reached the point where the White House is proudly admitting to an effort to control who can speak and what can be said on the world’s biggest speech platforms should not be surprising to anyone who has been paying attention over the last year. The COVID-19 outbreak has provided something of a case study of all the ways in which government can outsource the censorship of speech it would otherwise be obligated to protect.

Chokepoints of Public Discourse

In America, social media platforms have taken over the once-democratized public square. Posts on Facebook, information sorting on Google (and by extension, YouTube), apps filtered through Apple and Google, journalists sourcing stories and angles on Twitter, and documentaries and books sold and viewed through Amazon, largely shape the parameters of how Americans take in news, organize community gatherings, access the market, search for information, form opinions, and petition and hear from their government.

At the same time, the federal government has come to understand that co-opting these companies, which effectively control the national narrative, is where real power of modern governance resides. But this is hardly a new discovery.

Centuries ago, the philosopher John Stuart Mill, the chronicler of early America Alexis de Tocqueville, and dystopian novelist George Orwell all foresaw the imminent danger that arose from concentrated control of speech, thought, and opinion, whether through the government, housed in corporations, or enforced by a tyranny of a majority. Modern dictatorships have borne out their thesis. Control of capital, agencies, resources, and weapons is secondary to total control of a national narrative. The latter dictates where the former will go.

Concentrated Economic Power Requires a Response

The power of narrative control, and its attendant ends of power over speech, thought, and access to the marketplace centralized in the Big Tech platforms, will always be irresistible to government, regardless of who is in charge. This is why the concentrated power of these platforms must be so urgently addressed.

Accepting the reality of these companies as the brokers of expression in a free society requires a public policy response. No more is “transparency of terms of service” or advocating for “user rights” a sufficient solution, not when the power of these companies has evolved into a de facto arm of the state.

The power that these companies have is explicitly structural. The control that Google and Facebook, in particular, exert over speech is downstream of their market power. It is only worth the government’s time to successfully co-opt a speech platform if that platform represents a central avenue of expression. If the scale of that market power is broken—that is, if Google filters information for 30 percent of America, instead of its current market share of 90 percent—the co-option of full narrative control is impossible, either by Google or the government.

This is why the right must get serious about a type of antitrust enforcement that can successfully manage this kind of concentrated economic control over speech, information, and market access. Lax enforcement of our antitrust laws has played a direct role in the cartel presently controlling our market for information.

In the Senate, there is now general consensus ranging from progressive Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minnesota, to libertarian-leaning Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, that the status quo is insufficient, and statutory changes to enforcement must be made. Although the proposed solutions run across a spectrum, Congress must begin actively working toward that end.

But antitrust alone is not enough. How these companies operate must also be considered. While our discourse tends to treat these companies as speech platforms, which they are, they are also much more than that: Facebook and Google are massive digital advertising agencies and considered critical campaign infrastructure for political candidates.

Amazon is the biggest book retailer in the country, Apple and Google control the country’s app market, Facebook and Amazon are the primary access point for millions of small businesses, and newsrooms and other businesses throughout the country conform themselves to terms set by Google and Facebook for good results in search rankings and access to the valuable consumer data that now runs much of the digital economy. . . .

Our Self Government Must Act

In April, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas issued a concurrence that seemed to anticipate rising policy challenges presented by the union of corporate and state control over speech. “We will soon have no choice but to address how our legal doctrines apply to highly concentrated, privately owned information infrastructure such as digital platforms,” he wrote.

In his statement, which suggested that social media platforms be regulated as common carriers, Thomas mused over previous times in which new technologies began to transform the manner in which a free society operated, from the railroad to the telegraph. At each juncture, he noted, it was our self-government that acted to assert the terms, rather than waiting for private companies to decide for us the means of our democratic engagement.

The country again finds itself at such an occasion. Corporate power is merging with state power at massive scale, in ways that ripple beyond speech and into the ability of individuals to access the levers of capitalism, and to openly question or dissent from government narratives without serious consequence. These are the bedrocks on which a pluralistic, diverse, and free society is built. In their absence, there is only a soft descent into tyranny.

Does this new information surprise you? Let us know your thoughts and prayers for America in the comments below! 

(Excerpt from The Federalist. Article written by Rachel Bovard. Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

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Pauline
July 21, 2021

One of the biggest reasons that politicians are “caving in” or refusing to take a stand against this administration is that they’re afraid of being “cancelled,” or taken off Facebook, Twitter, Google, etc! When Michelle Obama calls Silicon Valley to get President Trump banned from social media, (and she’s successful!!) you know Big Tech has way too much influence! This kind of power is very dangerous for any country! Believers, we have to stand, in the gap, and pray, pray, pray. This is not too hard for our God! He is a way maker and a very present help in time of trouble (and, we ARE in trouble). He is able, to do exceeding, abundantly, above all we can think or ask for!

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    Tc durrett
    July 25, 2021

    We must all speak out while we can! Lord, give us us the faith of Jonatha to climb up the hill and take on the democratic Philistines in your power. Restore our Nation. C Durrett

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Danny N.C.
July 21, 2021

Dear Heavenly Father, though I believe things may get much worse, I nevertheless pray for Your truth and justice to prevail in our land. Lord, I pray that by Your hand the false narratives of the enemy will be exposed and shattered. I pray that by Your hand the great and evil deeds that have been committed against You and those in this nation who follow You will be undone. Lord, I pray that the deceived among us come to see the truth and repent, and the truly wicked who know full-well what they do be brought to holy and righteous justice. Lord, I believe we are truly entering the end times, but I also know that this nation may yet play a role for good in the unfolding events, and I fervently hope and pray that is your plan. Nevertheless, as events unfold, Your will shall be done. May all of us who would stand on Your side of the line in this struggle follow the path that You would have us take, and perform whatever duties You have set for us to the very best of our abilities. Guide us in these dark times. In Jesus precious name I pray, O’ Lord, Amen.

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Susan CC
July 20, 2021

“Narrative Control is the Real Power.”

ACCOUNT is the most accurate synonym for NARRATIVE. About this Jesus said, “The good man brings good things out of his good store of treasure, and the evil man brings evil things out of his evil store of treasure. But I tell you that men will give an ACCOUNT on the Day of Judgment for every careless word they have spoken.” Mt. 12:36-37

The treasure of this administration is really no treasure at all but a millstone. In Jesus’ warning about causing a child of God to sin, He said, “If anyone causes …those who believe in me to stumble, it would be better for them if a large millstone were hung around their neck and they were thrown into the sea” Mk.9:42

This administration may believe they are controlling the “narrative of the day” but as Christians we know the truth. They are causing many to stumble because of lies. All things are from HIM and through HIM and to HIM, so I say, “to God be the Glory over our media and all who feed on and spout false NARRATIVES.” Be not afraid. Pray in authority, praise in authority and thank the Lord God Almighty for His NARRATIVE. HE who became flesh and saved us from eternal damnation is a one WORD NARRATIVE. Jesus Christ is The Narrative. Amen

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Skye Alison
July 20, 2021

Heavenly Father, as your created one, I declare YOU are the KING of the earth. All other ‘kings’ are like me – you created them with eyes to see and ears to hear. As our founding documents acknowledge we are created – all of us — “with certain unalienable rights.” Father, it makes me smile every time I read how you addressed your prophet Ezekiel – “Human”. Lord, I praise your marvellous name. There is none like you. How fearfully and wonderfully we are made… “a little lower than the angels and crowned us with glory and honor.” Ps 8 Now Lord, let us refuse to bow before other kings; let us declare you alone are worthy of our allegiance; and let us straighten our spines and strengthen our backbones to serve the living and true God. Amen

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Lynn
July 20, 2021

Get involved with conservative, Christian, Grass Root groups in your local community. It is no longer “out there” in a far away state. ACT For America is an excellent resource with tools about how to organize locally. Attend your local school board and county commission meetings and speak up for righteousness! Like the Black Robe Regiment in the Revolutionary War, Pastors preached on Sunday, removed their robes and joined their community to fight for their nation! Pray and Push Back!!

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    Pauline
    July 22, 2021

    Amen, you are right! I don’t know if David Barton has an active Black Robe Regiment or not going on today, but we desperately need one!! Sad to say, the pastor at the church I’ve gone to for some time, retired, and the new one has no clue about what’s going on!

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Karen E. Kendrick
July 20, 2021

Lord dismantle their evil agenda!
We stand for Your Righteousness!
You Alone are In Charge even when they “think” they are & You Will have Your Perfect Way!!!

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Elizabeth Schneider
July 20, 2021

No this does NOT surprise me one bit!! I saw this coming full force in the Obama administration!!

Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely!!

We as Godly people need to pray against these evil corrupt entities in Jesus name AMEN!!!

49
    July 20, 2021

    Praying for unity misses the point. The Left wants us to agree with them–or to say we do, which would be lying. Praying that Real Truth will be available to the public and especially the servants of God, is more to the point. Jesus is Truth!

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