27 September 2021

Here's How To Beat Liberal Censorship of Ideas

Mr Lawler looks at 'Banned Book Week', the banning of conservative and Christian books, and the censorship of the news in general.

From Catholic Culture

By Phil Lawler

In today’s Wall Street Journal, my friend Tom Spence, president of Regnery Publishing (which brought out my book Lost Shepherd), lets loose on Banned Books Week. He explains that “this gimmicky promotion caters primarily to those who believe that schoolchildren should have access to anything bound between two covers without the interference of those busybodies we call parents.”

Unfortunately, Spence observes, there are books being banned today—although “the sponsors of Banned Books Week have nothing to say about it.” Books that offend against “woke” attitudes and politically-correct standards are disappearing from bookstores and from the Amazon menu. Authors are “cancelled.” Lecturers are “disinvited.”

Such censorship hurts the authors, of course. But it also hurts the rest of us, their potential readers, because we never have a chance to learn what they have to say. We don’t even know what we don’t know.

The censorship is not confined to written works alone, however. The social-media giants, Facebook and Twitter, are even more blatant in stifling the views that their employees find offensive. How often have you seen a “fact-check” pasted onto a controversial post—and, if you took the time to investigate, discovered that the “fact-check” was far more misleading than the post it sought to correct.

An urban television news team recently issued an appeal on Facebook, asking for stories about unvaccinated people who had been felled by Covid. That Facebook page was promptly flooded with thousands of replies. But the vast majority of those replies were not giving the reporters what they wanted; instead they were telling stories about friends and relatives who had been harmed by the Covid injections, or had contracted Covid even after being fully vaccinated. Clearly this response was not what the TV news editors expected. Still, isn’t it a story nonetheless?

News editors—like publishers and librarians and bookstore owners and social-media barons—have enormous power to sway public opinion. They exercise that power not only by putting their own slant on news stories, but also—far more ominously—by censoring the stories they find inconvenient. You cannot be outraged by an injustice, or encouraged by a positive development, if you don’t hear about them.

Mistrust of the mass media is widespread in our society today. Many Americans say that they don’t believe what they hear from the mainstream media. That skepticism is richly deserved, and for the most part healthy. Still a problem remains. You may not believe what you see in the mainstream media, but what about what you don’t see? You don’t know what you don’t know.

This is why, for more than 30 years now, I have been insisting that discerning readers need to find their own trusted sources of news. If you know that the mainstream media are offering slanted coverage of some stories, and blacking out other stories altogether, you need to find outlets that will provide accurate reporting on the subjects that interest you. Which is I why I established Catholic World News, 25 years ago, and why I want you all to encourage your loyal Catholic friends to discover us.

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