The censoring of Joe Rogan is a tactic right out of old Soviet Union
Guest editorial by Rebekah Koffler
Make no mistake, the recent Joe Rogan vs. Spotify scandal is not about COVID and what constitutes proper medical protocols to fight it. It’s about the future of free speech in America.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki’s statement last Tuesday, directing Big Tech and Spotify to do “more” to eradicate alleged COVID “misinformation” on the “Joe Rogan Experience” podcast, suggests that the future of the First Amendment is bleak. A representative of a ruling party dictating to a private company what content is “accurate” and what is not, is a clear sign that the US government has embraced censorship.
Just like the Soviets, the benevolent authoritarians want to “protect” you from the bad influence of the Rogan type “rogues.” Consider that the Rogan interview deemed wrongheaded by America’s elites was not with some charlatan but with a medical doctor, a clinician, Dr. Robert Malone. Malone’s thought crime is that he doesn’t sing in unison with the “The Science” espoused by Tony Fauci, who has been stood up as the COVID Minister of Propaganda whose every word must be accepted as truth.
As someone who grew up behind the Iron Curtain, in the former USSR, I am all too familiar with the dangers of censorship, a hallmark of communist totalitarianism. There’s a reason why repressive states like Russia and its predecessor, the Soviet Union, cling to it. That is how the ruling class stays in power. Totalitarian states do not tolerate alternative viewpoints because they don’t want their subjects to engage in critical thinking, which can lead to the end of their regimes. Therefore, they control what the people say, write, and even think by punishing those whose opinions stray from an established orthodoxy.
Back in Soviet days, we even had a word that described those who thought differently — “inakomyslyashchiye.” We also had terms for opinions that are “correct” (korrektnoye) and “incorrect” (nekorrektnoye). Sound familiar? Brave individuals who dared to express “nekorrectnoye” opinions, challenging the party line were Blacklisted, fired from their jobs, thrown into mental hospitals, imprisoned, and even expelled from the country. Books by authors who prompted people to think for themselves, such as George Orwell, were banned. The Soviets framed these drastic measures as being good for the people, protecting them from the pernicious influence of those disgruntled alternative thinkers, the “enemies of the people.”
We must not say wrong things about COVID because someone could get sick or die. But there are risks to life, and risks to freedom. The suggestion that something must be accepted as truth so that bad things don’t happen is exactly the kind of leverage the communists used to deny free speech.
The attacks on Rogan, who is a mixed-martial-arts commentator, comedian, and entertainer, for the alleged “misinformation“ reminds me of how viciously the Soviet government attacked dissidents, such as the renowned author Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, whom the Soviets expelled from the country for novels that spoke truth to power. Solzhenitsyn then moved to America, where he could freely express his views, at a time when freedom of speech was a given.
Spotify now has a new policy to tag some Rogan episodes with “content advisories,” flagging free speech that doesn’t conform to the “officialdom” think. You know who else uses such “advisories”? The Russian government. The very few media outlets in Russia that do not represent the mouthpiece for the Russian state are now labeled, by law, as a “foreign agent” and such a warning, similar to the one on Spotify, is displayed on their websites.
It is not an accident that the “guardians of truth” in the White House, Hollywood, Big Tech and American press equivalents of Soviet Pravda and Izvestiya are coming after Rogan and Spotify with the zeal of Russia’s Vladimir Putin chasing down and poisoning his opponents. Joe Rogan, who has the world’s largest podcast, with an estimated 11 million listeners per episode, is a gigantic threat to the establishment.
Imagine 11 million souls engaging in independent thinking? Imagine them searching for truth, digging and debating, not only about COVID, but about other highly consequential issues that are gripping America today. They might uncover some truths, like the fact that the lab-leak theory of the Wuhan virus may have been deliberately suppressed. And then, once Americans uncover all the lies, the people may decide that they’ve had enough with all the “experts” and their “wisdom.”
Ordinary Americans may decide that they do not want someone to tell them what to think. They may take charge and elect representatives devoted to freedom who will dismantle the authoritarian bureaucratic state, before we no longer have the option.
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Rebekah Koffler is a Russian-born former US intelligence officer and author of ”Putin’s Playbook: Russia’s Secret Plan to Defeat America.” She is a strategic intelligence analyst with The Lindsey Group and the host of a new podcast, Censored But Not Silenced. Follow her on Twitter @rebekah0132.