COYNE: No Thanks Given To Censorship. This Year, Be Open To Debate

Thanksgiving (Credit: Shutterstock/Rawpixel.com)

Ryan Coyne Contributor
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“How to shut down your Trump-supporting family member at Thanksgiving dinner.”

“This Thanksgiving, it’s time to take on your conservative relatives.”

“A guide for dealing with your conservative relatives this holiday season.”

It’s that time of year again. The holidays are right around the corner — queue the headlines touting tips and tricks on how to silence your conservative family members during the festive period.

Now, these headlines and articles are nothing new. But in recent years, attempts at silencing conservatives have extended far beyond the dinner table. Big Tech has now taken on the role once claimed by overzealous progressive nieces and nephews at dinner tables across the nation. But for Big Tech, it seems like every day is Thanksgiving.

There is, to be sure, a lot of garbage on the internet (let’s call it what it is). But there is also a lot of information that has been labeled garbage but over time is proven to be true.  Big Tech’s attempts to remove or block “misinformation” online has morphed into an attack on free speech — particularly against conservative speech.

Perhaps the most infamous example in recent memory is the silencing of the New York Post’s Hunter Biden laptop story, which broke — and was barred by Twitter and Facebook — just before the election. The story was immediately censored, with mainstream media discrediting it and repeatedly referring to it as “Russian disinformation.” The Post — one of the most widely read papers in the country — was locked out of Twitter for 16 days.

As we are all well aware now — or at least, we all should be — it turns out the “misinformation” was true. This “mistake” by the tech gurus in Silicon Valley withheld crucial, credible information from the public — information which very well could have influenced the way people voted and, by extension, the outcome of the election.

But Big Tech isn’t satisfied with just determining what news stories we can read. It’s now influencing what movies we can watch and books we can buy. Amazon accounts for half of all new book sales in the United States. So when they remove books — or even ads for books — that espouse views different from the progressive orthodoxy on controversial subjects, those viewpoints are suppressed and debate is stifled. How are Americans supposed to think critically and determine what they believe is right when they are only presented with one side of the story?

The online giant also removed a very popular PBS documentary on Justice Clarence Thomas (in the midst of Black History Month, no less) from its streaming service. Regardless of your personal feelings towards Thomas, he is undeniably a hugely influential national figure and certainly someone whose life story is worth knowing. Could it be that the documentary was removed for not fitting into the progressive narrative?

And it’s not just high-profile authors and journalists or Supreme Court Justices who are being silenced by Big Tech’s Orwellian overreach. Just ask Ryan Moore, whose Google ads account was permanently shut down when he tried to promote a video of himself speaking out against antisemitism and hate. Ryan’s own words didn’t matter — only those printed on his red baseball cap.

As a conservative, it’s hard not to take this supposedly impartial censorship of “misinformation” personally — especially when, as many others have pointed out, the Ayatollah’s Holocaust denialism and the Chinese government’s propaganda goes uncensored.

And as we’re used to seeing by now, the mainstream media has itself spread misinformation time and time again and faced no punishment or silencing.

What started as a purported way to curb the spread of dangerous falsehoods regarding the pandemic is now slowly rooting itself into American life as we know it. Free speech is threatened, and the rise of Big Tech overreach has brought with it the rise of government overreach, from nonsensical lockdowns to forced vaccine mandates.

But it’s not all bad news. Americans have had enough. And they’ve made their feelings loud and clear by using their most valuable form of free speech — their votes.

This November’s elections showed that Americans are not willing to compromise the freedoms guaranteed by our founding fathers. The results should serve as a wake-up call to the progressives in both Silicon Valley and in Washington — you do not get to decide what Americans think, say, read, watch, or do. You haven’t succeeded in stifling freethinkers. And you don’t get to make up the truth.

Americans are also voting with their wallets. Increasingly, conservatives are looking to support corporations that protect American values — not trample on them like the folks over at Amazon and Apple. That’s exactly what my company, We The People Wine, aims to do. Americans are fighting for their liberties, and we want to support them — so we donate part of our profits to conservative causes. And we refuse to be silenced. We’ve created this new video to show our support for conservatives fighting for free speech — our last one went viral (likely to the dismay of Big Tech), and we hope this one will do the same.

So, this Thanksgiving, instead of silencing your conservative relatives, it might be time to shut up and listen — or at least participate in a little healthy debate. Maybe you can do it over a bottle of wine.

Ryan Coyne is the founder and CEO of We the People Wine.