Back in February, I wrote about how I had been deeply affected by a Consortium News vlog (and I’m not a devoted CN follower, btw) wherein Matt Taibbi, Chris Hedges, Elizabeth Vos, John Kiriakou, and Aaron Mate discussed, among other things, russiagate and the twitter files all as part of the Censorship Industrial Complex.
As a music lover I’ve been a Rolling Stone magazine fan for about as long as I can remember and as such, a huge fan of Matt Taibbi who started writing for RS in 2004 covering politics. In this world you have to pick a few journalists you trust and Matt is one of mine (as is Chris Hedges). Mr. Taibbi has his own opinions, as he clearly demonstrated when he wrote the RS obit for Andrew Breitbart:
“After conservative commentator Andrew Breitbart died in March 2012, Taibbi wrote an obituary in Rolling Stone, entitled “Andrew Breitbart: Death of a Douche”. Many conservatives were angered by the obituary, in which Taibbi wrote: “Good! Fuck him. I couldn’t be happier that he’s dead.” He wrote that the obituary was “at least half an homage“, which gave respect to aspects of Breitbart’s style and also alluded to Breitbart’s own derisive obituary of Ted Kennedy.” source
But he is also a true investigative journalist, too, and can go into a situation and see where the facts lead him. This is what he did with regard to the twitter files.
After watching the CN vlog I joined Substack and I subscribed to Taibbi’s Racket News and began keeping up with his content. That brought my awareness to Mehdi Hasan’s interview with Taibbi which I thought was pretty brutal and unfair to Taibbi even if he did open himself up to criticism a bit (by not speaking at all ill of Musk and the Modi bit.). Mehdi went for the jugular on a couple of mistakes that Matt made and Matt owned them. Seemed like Mehdi was nitpicking trivia and ignoring the big picture. The point? MSNBC has an agenda. Just like FOX. Our major news sources not only have an agenda, their motivation isn’t to be unbiased, it is to be profitable. Trending is king. Trending is power and market share.
Around the same time Taibbi was called in front of Gym Jordan’s committee on the weaponization of the federal government particularly the assault on free speech. Although I do not respect or like Jordan, I was appalled by the behavior of Democrats Plaskey, Wasserman Schultz, and Garcia. This guy nails it and probably could have gone much further because those weren’t the only haters.
Taibbi was not alone in front of the committee that day, he was there with Shellenberger, a person I’d never heard of before watching the hearing.
Michael Shellenberger is a politician and writer, a Democrat and liberal, an economist and environmentalist. Like Taibbi he’s been beating the drum about free speech and censorship. (And I like his ideas around separating economic growth from environmentalism, too!)
Before I share more info about Taibbi & Shellenberger I want to make a few points.
Censorship has been around forever and isn’t going to stop. Critical thinkers need journalists who push the envelope, who question and hold people and organizations accountable. They should be embraced.
Free Speech is one of the social constructs in the USA that makes this and the other countries that have it, special. I can write here how much I loathe a politician and or policy and not fear arrest. This is a treasure we should protect at all costs.
You may not agree, or like, Shellenberger or Taibbi, but they give us options. They point out the cracks and pits in systems that warrant further discussion and investigation. We need them.
Okay, more about Taibbi & Shellenberger now. Following are two videos that give great insight into who these two men are and what they believe in. Great information for deciding whether or not they’re people who could be trusted sources of information. For you – they may not be, and that’s okay, but perhaps hear them out first.
I’ll start with this speech Taibbi gave about two months ago to the Buckley Institute about the Censorship Industrial Complex.
Second, is this one is from today by Michael Shellenberger posted in Substack as he discusses “Escape The Woke Matrix, a pathological religion destroying our civilization.”
Shellenberger’s speech is what’s prompted this post today because, as a die hard environmentalist I was rather surprised by some of the information he provided… it made me want to research it, dig deeper, learn more. And that, my friends, should be what it’s all about. Not just believing him but listening as he gives food for critical thought so I can delve deeper and make up my own mind. And oh by the way, that’s not a permanently condition but a temporary one, just for now, until I learn more from other information feeders. We need to stay flexible.
It isn’t just the government, news media, and corporations that censor information, we also very willingly censor ourselves as we curl into our comfort positions of confirmation bias. I have been greatly saddened by what happens these days in this country where people aren’t allowed to speak. For example, UC Berkeley shutting down a Milo Yiannopoulos event back in 2017. Berkeley! I don’t care for the man but those who do should be allowed to hear him speak, the event certainly did not warrant violence! We are in a terrifying situation where there are too many people demanding tolerance by being completely intolerant. Diversity includes things we may not like, folks. How can we all live together without true tolerance? I guess we could have dictatorial leadership that forces us all to get along, huh?
I suppose, for me, this goes back to the Vietnam War which began before I was born but by the time it ended I, as a child, had certain beliefs formed by my personal experiences within my family about that military action which were completely disproven by the confessions of Robert Strange McNamara decades later.
I have learned to not take anything at face value, to question everything (in a peaceful, academic way) and work at thinking for myself. Yes, work, because it’s very easy to simply go with the flow. But today, humans are achieving new levels of normal when it comes to censorship and that’s something that should be of huge concern to all of us.