Categories
Censorship Truth

Amazon Reverses Censorship Of Coronavirus Book After Rubio Intervention

Rod Thomson

Under questioning from U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio’s office, Amazon today reversed its decision of two days ago to censor a Florida surgeon’s just-published book on lessons learned from the COVID-19 outbreak and public officials handling of it.

“I’m very grateful to Sen. Rubio for intervening on my behalf, and impressed that he took such an aggressive position defending the ability of someone to express a political opinion. His staff was invaluable in getting to the bottom of this,” said Dr. Julio Gonzalez, author of Coronalessons

He went on: “But I really think it’s preposterous. It’s definitely a manipulation by Amazon of the types of messages that people get to hear and I don’t think an author should need an Elon Musk or high-ranking political official to deliver a political viewpoint.”

Dr. Gonzalez said he reached out to Sen. Rubio and the Senator’s legal office contacted Amazon’s legal office to determine the grounds for the censorship. The reason provided in a note from Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing subsidiary to Dr. Gonzalez explained the censorship rationale.

But Rubio’s legal people determined that Amazon’s written guidelines actually make no mention of COVID-19 or the coronavirus and so the giant online retailer had no grounds for banning his book. It did not violate their guidelines. Amazon apparently relented on that point and have since unbanned it and Coronalessons is now live on Amazon.

This reversal comes just days after Amazon censored former New York Times reporter Alex Berenson’s booklet titled Unreported Truths about COVID-19 and Lockdowns: Part 1: Introduction and Death Counts and Estimates. That piece of censorship was undone after Elon Musk’s public involvement on Twitter.

If not for the interventions of Rubio and Musk, Gonzalez’s and Berenson’s books may still be banned on Amazon. It is unknown how many other books Amazon may have banned for having either politically incorrect or non-government sanctioned views.

While Berenson’s is a short booklet, Dr. Julio Gonzalez’s book titled Coronalessons, is an exhaustively researched look at everything from virology and epidemiology to spread and treatments to crippling lockdowns and violations of Americans’ Constitutional rights. It has nearly 700 citations and a detailed timeline. It’s criticisms are deeply researched.

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Dr. Gonzalez is not new to authorship or to politics. In addition to running a successful surgical practice in Venice, Florida, he is an attorney and a former member of the Florida House of Representatives. He’s also the author of The Case for Free Market Healthcare and The Federalist Pages.

“This is the first comprehensive look at our nation’s coronavirus experience,” Dr.  Gonzalez said. “I have been furiously studying the pandemic, amassing data, and evaluating our responses and the effects these have had on our society and our system of laws. I compiled all that information, including a novel statistical analysis and over 650 citations into Coronalessons.”

It is not as though Amazon doesn’t sell books on controversial topics, or shy away from controversy. They’ve sold books on pedophilia. 

But when it comes to COVID-19, Amazon may have a vested interest as the company has financially benefited greatly from the lockdowns that many people like Dr. Gonzalez and Berenson are criticizing in their books. By the government forcing people to stay home, Amazon’s home delivery and streaming service have been profiting in overdrive. They would have an incentive to quiet voices suggesting the lockdowns are a bad idea.

But this is a dangerous track for Amazon. The Revolutionary Act is aware of members of the  U.S. House and U.S. Senate who are concerned about Amazon’s actions banning certain books. If a close look suggests that Amazon may have reached monopoly status on book sales, that could be problematic.

Amazon’s share of all new book purchases was 41 percent before the shutdowns, but 65 percent of all new online books — both print and digital. In the e-book market, they dominated with 67 percent.  

Rod Thomson is an author, former journalist, past Salem radio host, ABC TV commentator and is Founder of The Revolutionary Act. Like Rod on Facebook.


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Categories
Censorship Free Speech Leftists Social Media

Small Conservative Outlets Are Being Shadowbanned En Masse

Rod Thomson

The Revolutionary Act is a growing conservative news and commentary site, but it is still quite small compared to the big conservative players. That doesn’t mean, however, that the giant social media censors do not Hoover it up for squashing. The suppressive algorithms clearly cover the conservative spectrum and hit rightist content providers regardless of size, strangling conservative content from cradle to grave.

InfoWars being eradicated from multiple platforms within hours of each other was a draconian and possibly monopolistic measure against a site considered to be on the right but was really its own conspiratorial wing of the political spectrum.

Candace Owens “accidentally” being suspended for tweeting exactly what the bigot Sarah Jeong tweeted — but changing the races to make a point — really, really made her point with the help of Twitter. And that point is: the hate speech identified by the formula written by Twitter coders represents the extreme leftist position. That can be built into any identifying algorithm because a computer program does not know definitions until they are given by those coding the program. So blaming the computer software really doesn’t cut it; the algorithm reflects the algorithm writers.

The most common method we see at this stage in the evolution of the left’s flexing its speech-bleaching muscle is shadowbanning on Twitter and demonetizing on Youtube. There are the well-known targets, including PragerU, Steven Crowder, Mark Dice and others. But the targets are really all over the conservosphere, and all sizes are being shadowbanned.

A few of the smaller but growing sites that have been hit and damaged by social media censors include: Liberty Nation, Patriot Retort, Sparta Report, Canada Free Press and Whatfinger News. I’m sure there are many, many more. What’s interesting is that it seems that most of these sites continue to grow in views and readers, despite the efforts of the social media censors. The demand for alternative views that reflect traditional American philosophies remains strong. (If you know of a conservative site that has been shadowbanned or otherwise censored on social media, please send us that information.)

I have a personal Twitter account (@Rod_Thomson) because it was clear when we started The Revolutionary Act less than two years ago, that Twitter was already tipping the scales against conservatives. Spending time and resources building a Twitter feed for TRA did not make sense. My own small but growing account had about 4,000 followers. It grew to more than 8,000 with solid engagement depending on the tweet. Suddenly — like overnight suddenly — engagement plummeted a few months ago.

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The material was the same but tweets that would average maybe 8 retweets and 15 likes and a few comments suddenly got 0 and 0. No engagement at all. I’m getting a little engagement now, but followers have actually decreased and the engagement is maybe one-tenth what they were. There’s no reasonable conclusion other than that Twitter’s anti-conservative algorithm shadowbanned even my small Twitter account. No one or almost no one is seeing tweets.

The same thing happened on the TRA Youtube channel. It is very small, but each video garnered 400 to 800 views. And that was growing as we just started the channel when we launched the web site. But suddenly, again, views on videos dropped to 50 to 100. We saw precisely the same dynamic as on Twitter. When I tried to boost a video to see the reaction, the boost was rejected for violating community standards. So, it was just as suspected.

Youtube could not demonetize us because we were not big enough to be making any money on the channel. But of course we can still be shadowbanned, which will block the The Revolutionary Act from ever being able to monetize. And in truth, we have put on hold any efforts with Youtube as they have been the most aggressive recently in cutting the legs out from under conservatives.

So far, we have not seen any such tampering with our Facebook page as engagement remains strong and followers continue to grow. The difference between our Facebook engagement and our Twitter and Youtube engagement is fairly astonishing. But it feels like only a matter of time before the left’s hammer of censorship falls on Facebook, too.

But the Revolutionary Act will not stop putting forth truth. We will follow on the founding words of George Orwell: “Telling the truth in a time of universal deceit is the revolutionary act.”

Rod Thomson is an author, TV talking head and former journalist, and is Founder of The Revolutionary Act. Rod is co-host of Right Talk America With Julio and Rod on the Salem Radio Network.


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Categories
Censorship Progressives Truth Youtube

Another Youtube Purge Now Terminating Non-Leftist Political Channels

Rod Thomson

Another major Youtube algorithm change is resulting in mass account terminations, video flagging and further demonetization of popular political Youtube channels. And yes, you guessed it, they are almost all on the political right.

This purge is rolling out now just one year after the ‘adpocolypse” censorial wave hit where Youtube began mass demonetization of primarily conservative political sites — from alt right sites to Louder With Crowder, who uses edgy political humor from the traditional right, all the way to mainstream conservative sites such as PragerU.

The demonetization and flagging of dozens of popular conservative sites has been continuing apace throughout the year since the adpocolypse. (Two Youtube terms to know: “Demonetizing” simply means the video that shows no ads, and therefor makes no money for the creator. “Flagged” means the videos are posted, but they are not shown anywhere unless you actually go directly to the channel’s site, meaning the number of views plummets.)

The latest round of Youtube’s ongoing purge is on top of that, and going to the level of terminating accounts. Youtube has begun completely eliminating and banning entire accounts, particularly of alt right content creators. But they’ve also included some less alt right channels such as InfoWars contributors, Mike Cernovich and others who got strikes or were terminated.

The alt right is seriously problematic in many ways for actual conservatives, but they are no worse than the inordinate amount of rot found on Youtube from the anarchists, communists and other extreme leftists who rarely get demonetized or flagged. For instance, one search finds plenty of channels supporting Louis Farrakhan, who is an unapologetic anti-Semite and “white devil” hater. He’s wildly worse than anything found on InfoWars, but there he is, all over Youtube. It’s not hard to predict that this purge of accounts will not stop with the alt right. It will move further into mainstream conservative channels.

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What’s worth remembering is that whether it is the alt right or conservative channels, they are opinionating on the same issues as the Youtube-supported Young Turks and CNN. They are just on different sides of the issues. Yet Youtube “moderators” only ever find offense with one side. That is straightforward censorship, and it is only going to continue.

Youtube claimed some of the removed videos were done by mistake based on their rapidly increasing force of “moderators.” Moderators — which I’m sure George Orwell would term something like Right Think Enforcers — are the non-algorithmic part of Youtube’s censorial arm that flags videos. Among their moderators is the wildly leftist Southern Poverty Law Center, an anti-Christian organization that was used by a leftist to attempt a mass shooting at the Family Research Council headquarters in Washington in 2012. So again, expect this purge and level of censorship to continue and increase.

Consider PragerU has charged that Youtube uses its moderator system as a “political gag” — which is self-evidently true. But it becomes undeniable when you look at this very mild, mainstream conservative channel that provides data-driven commentary from an impressive array of leaders.

“Watch any one of our videos and you’ll immediately realize that Google/YouTube censorship is entirely ideologically driven. For the record, our videos are presented by some of the finest minds in the Western world, including four Pulitzer Prize winners, former prime ministers, and professors from the most prestigious universities in America,” stated PragerU founder Dennis Prager. Topics flagged or demonetized have included: “Why America Must Lead,” “The Ten Commandments: Do Not Murder,” “Why Did America Fight the Korean War,” and “The World’s Most Persecuted Minority: Christians.”

You see the problem. But Youtube is only getting started, as the most recent purge wave that goes beyond demonetizing and flagging prove.

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The people running Youtube have the strong tendency toward authoritarianist views, intolerance of those who disagree, discriminatory actions and censorship of traditional American Judeo-Christian views. In other words, modern American Progressives. This is why the company fired James Damore for voicing a different opinion. They’re Progressives. This is why they are being sued by Arne Wilberg, a nine-year veteran of the company who claims that Youtube is purging white candidates because they are only seeking to hire minorities — which is a violation of discrimination laws and for which he was fire. But again, they are modern Progressives.

There are a couple of options for conservatives here. Google-owned Youtube is a private company and so government has no role in its content. (Discriminatory hiring is a different issue.) However, the exception to the rule is a monopoly, such as a utility, where government does have a role in protecting consumers from gouging. Labeling Youtube a monopoly could technically work, but then we’d have the government overseeing speech content on the dominant video platform in the country. That is sort of a frying pan to fire issue.

The other option is creation of an alternative video platform. This may be better than government oversight of Youtube. But it would mean the furthering of the red-blue divide in the country.

The best option would be for Youtube leadership to see their error and back off their censorship. But, in case I had not mentioned it, they are Progressives. Snowballs in South Florida are more likely.

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Rod Thomson is an author, TV talking head and former journalist, and is Founder of The Revolutionary Act. Rod is co-host of Right Talk America With Julio and Rod on the Salem Radio Network.

Today’s news moves at a faster pace than ever, and a lot of sources are not trustworthy. Whatfinger.com  is my go-to source for keeping up with all the latest events in real time from good sources.