"AOC doesn’t seem to be upset that Zuckerberg has so much authority, but rather that he’s not using it to her liking."

This. She scares the crap out of me. Her ideological through-line seems to be something akin to "Only speech I like is acceptable; the rest is violence." There's always the option of not using Facebook.

Thank God the Constitution ain't easy to amend, at least under the current system. Good luck to Wu on his "edit to debug" 1A [/sarc]

Expand full comment

I find it breathtaking our rulers'––and their handmaidens like Wu's––appetite for irony & hypocrisy. How they can label criticism of their policies of perpetual war, massive wealth transfer from the lower orders, and dismantling of civil liberties as 'fake news' and foreign propaganda? The New York Times, along with its supporting cast of NPR, CNN, MSNBC, etc. is the biggest purveyor of establishment lies the world has ever seen. This Martin Gurri fellow seems to be on top of this curious phenomenon: "Western élites are experiencing a collapse of authority deriving from a failure to distinguish between legitimate criticism and illegitimate rebellion."

The labeling of nominal establishment opposition like Trump, Sanders & Gabbard as 'Russian Assets,' harks back to the Moscow Show Trials. Stalin removed his opposition, old guard Bolsheviks with the erroneous slander that they were all British agents bent on tearing down the socialist utopian state. Millions of hapless bureaucrats were caught up in the hysteria and sent to the GULAG, and often, a miserable death. I know Matt struggles to avoid alarmism & hyperbole, but I wish he would address this phenomenon.

What I find most baffling is how so many otherwise intelligent people––including the vast majority of my friends & family––can still take the official narrative seriously. The established order is so shabby and crumbling before our eyes, but so few people on either side of the Atlantic are willing to acknowledge the peril.

Expand full comment

I can't (after an admittedly cursory search) find any comment by Wu in response to the collusion between Amazon, Google and Apple to shut down fast-growing Twitter competitor Parler overnight, certainly the most blatant and egregious abuse of monopoly power we have seen in the last 20 years. I consider one's attitude towards that event a sort of litmus test for one's real anti-trust convictions.

Expand full comment

The idea that the Democrat Party would break up big tech, the very entity to which they owe all their power, is the most hilarious thing I think I have ever heard. It is more likely, really inevitable at this point, that they will use big tech to destroy our civil liberties.

Will Democrat Party voters accept these authoritarian restrictions on our civil rights that they voted for? All because emotionally and psychologically weak people never learned the concept of “stick and stones”.

Expand full comment

These people literally have no sense of irony. After all, "returning . . .to the . . . environment that prevailed in the 1950s" is almost exactly what is meant by the slogan, "Make America Great Again."

Expand full comment

Thanks Matt.

Two issues which resonate include with this article:

1. Complicity of corporate academia (Columbia Law School) whereby the grand new idea is really an old authoritarian notion (Wu or Marcuse) dressed up and sold as an improvement to a problem with capitalism itself, with little thought of how it might be bastardized against the public later on down the road

2. How the elite use their salespeople. Adrian Zenz, Tim Wu, Tim Geithner, Austin Goolsbee, Larry Summers, Alan Greenspan, Ben Bernanke, Robert Rubin and Goldman Sachs alumni. They need a male hero to laud, prop up with a back story and double down on systematically in the TINA (there is no alternative) mould.

Personally, I prefer Tony Benn here:

"I have five questions that I ask people who have power, and I recommend them to the House. If I see someone who is powerful, be it a traffic warden, Rupert Murdoch, the head of a trade union or a Member of Parliament, I ask myself these five questions: "What power have you got? Where did you get it? In whose interests do you exercise it? To whom are you accountable? How can we get rid of you?" That last question is crucial."

Appreciate the eye-opening, perpetual sisyphusian bait and switch being uncovered here. Appreciate it Matt!

Expand full comment

When are we going to have a round of hearings entitled: “Disinformation Nation: MAINSTREAM Media’s Role in Promoting Extremism and Misinformation”?

Expand full comment

What’s “progressive” about going backwards?

Expand full comment

The Chinese Communists designed and adopted a perfect formula. One party Marxist state that runs a capitalist economy of the truly ruthless and magnificently profitable variety. Big Tech monopolies allow for tracking, evaluation, and control of all individuals and minute shaping of communications. The American left is in awe.

The Chinese rulers have no doubt that they are pursuing what is best for China and its people when silencing antagonistic voices and disinformation. So does the American left seeing themself fighting racism, white supremacy and disinformation.

My hope is that the "genetic make up" and diversity of of the American culture is not a fertile ground for the progressive dream of enlightened autocracy. But they are sure trying. Mao famously said that political power comes through the barrel of the gun. Of course he did not have the internet to consider.

Expand full comment

The Democrats and progressive left are behaving as if they assume the Republicans will never be in power again.

But they will. It's just a matter of time. Even as soon as 2024 we could find all branches of the government controlled by the Republicans and I'd rank that as a pretty good odds.

Whatever powers the Democrats give to themselves, the Republicans can equally abuse - and they will because the precedence was established by the Democrats and their current scorched earth approach towards governing despite a government that is about as close to 50/50 as any modern American government. And who will defend the Democrats at that point? How would the Democrats justify their complaints without being hypocrites?

The inherent danger here is that when you start chipping away at core American principles of liberty (for all practical purposes there are really three key relevant ones: freedom of speech, freedom of press and the belief everyone should be treated as free individuals equally in the eye of the law), you do seriously risk undermining the whole concept of America itself. Any excuses used in chipping away at any of these core principles can equally be used by other people to further chip away at them, in different directions and for different reasons. Abraham Lincoln warned about this when he said the existence of slavery was a threat to freedom itself because no principle could be used to justify enslaving black people that couldn't be used to justify enslaving white people. Likewise, there is no principle that can be used to justifying censoring the news/press to promote a correct progressive outlook that can't be used to justify censoring the news/press to promote a correct socially conservative outlook.

Expand full comment

Tech media platforms WILL adopt norms and policies traditionally associated with twentieth-century journalism. As I have said here in the comments before, they depend existentially on the good favor of the federal government. To name only three

- They are allowed to operate against the law as monopolies.

- They receive the huge effective subsidy of liability immunity (Section 230).

- They are not required to operate as the common carriers that they actually are.

Hence they will do what they need to do to support the status quo, i.e. they will adopt the same propaganda model that has governed legacy media all along.

Expand full comment

There is a reason why the American the rest of the judicial systems in the Anglosphere are adversary systems, and that is because the truth/facts are more likely to be discovered if the issues are confronted from two different perspectives. This is also the reason why we should support the First Amendment. No-one has a monopoly on the truth.

Expand full comment

This is truly fascinating to me and the most intelligent view I have heard recently was from David Sacks with Dave Rubin.


Where he asserts that Big Tech is now the fifth estate and thus needs to be mandated to allow free speech. HIs example is, imagine when the railroads were first around and had they told Lincoln he couldnt travel on them because they didnt agree with what he said?

Big tech whether they are broken up or not should not be controlling what is said on their mediums, period.

Expand full comment

"If there be time to expose through discussion the falsehood and fallacies, to avert the evil by the processes of education, the remedy to be applied is more speech, not enforced silence."

Justice Louis Brandeis, Whitney v. California, 1927

The answer to bad speech is more speech. Period. Full stop. For Wu to say that he's a Brandeis devotee and then proceed to twist himself in knots to justify censoring speech is just more typical woke BS. Shame on him.

Expand full comment

Thank you -- HiTech monopolies will not likely to be broken up any time soon. The accounting for 5+-years of lying is coming soon (although most of us agree that it is very good that Trump defeated himself).

By far the highest interest of Biden government and its oligarch cabal is that Russia-gate immense hoax – the scam of the century -- will NOT / will NEVER be exposed. There has been collusion between media, Democrat party, Hi-Tech companies and the deep state for now more than five years.

The entire anti-Russian fairytale is a deliberate fabrication -- the worst scam in US history is neoliberals’ Russia-gate hoax. They lost to a TV host and instead of reflection, they latched onto a moronic conspiracy theory -- this includes the completely (proven) false accusations that Russia gave WikiLeaks Hillary's emails (hence the total silence on Assange torture). Assange must be silenced -- all the plotters/players agree...

There has been collusion between media, Democrat party, Hi-Tech companies and the deep state for now five years. The Russia-gate hoax and Ukraine-impeachment “entertainment” was concocted by Obama/Hillary/Biden/Pelosi, Schumer, Schiff, Maxine Waters, Jamie Raskin, etc. and their intelligence, HiTech and DNC executives on behalf of their Wall Street and military industry donors. That lying team is now back in power – note that Kamala Harris (and her sister) and Neera Tanden are Hillary's protégés; Pete Buttigieg was promptly rewarded for his role of election theft in Iowa, etc.

Remember, Clapper, Brennan & Hayden trio were among former 50 intelligence officials stating that Hunter-laptop is classical “Russian disinformation”.

- They were also key promoters of the by now five-year Russia-gate hoax.

- They were also key intelligence executives in Obama/Biden/Hillary government – the government which hunted Snowden (forcing Bolivian plane with Bolivia’s president to land to search it) and armed Al Qaeda (including “white helmets” hoax) and staged all chemical attacks in Syria to remove its government.

When asked about Hunter's corruption laptops - Pelosi brazenly stated "All roads lead to Putin"; commenting on Capitol invasion Schumer said - "worse than Pearl Harbor and 9/11"... Lying Russia-gate team is fully back in power working at full speed -- massive censorship is mandatory for them preserving power..

Expand full comment

Does Wu know that It wasn't that long ago --and certainly in the 1950--s that Catholics took the "Pledge of the Legion of Decency" (immoral movies) each year on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception (December 8). He's a hop skip & jump from this.

"I condemn all indecent and immoral motion pictures, and those which glorify crime or criminals. I promise to do all that I can to strengthen public opinion against the production of indecent and immoral films, and to unite with all who protest against them. I acknowledge my obligation to form a right conscience about pictures that are dangerous to my moral life. I pledge myself to remain away from them. I promise, further, to stay away altogether from places of amusement which show them as a matter of policy."

Expand full comment