This is our newest Ghion Cast, make sure to read the full write up below this video.
After talking with some of my fellow independent journalists and having a running conversation with like minded writers and speakers, I have been moved sufficiently to write this article addressed to Ghion Journal readers and to the public as a whole. Yesterday, I published an article that highlighted the extreme measures social media corporations the likes of Facebook, Twitter, and Google (by extension YouTube) are undertaking to methodically silence voices who diverge from the corporate media narrative.
I detailed the barriers these companies are taking to marginalize independent journalists (read Killing Free Speech). Social media giants are unleashing Orwellian methods ranging from key word based suppression to algorithms that pushes articles from mainstream media to the forefront while systematically quashing links from unaffiliated writers and reporters. Outlets like the Ghion Journal, who do not have the vast resources and wealth of CNN, Fox News and Washington Post, are already at a disadvantage because we cannot spend freely to market our work. The greed of corporate media knowing no bounds, social media companies are now turning to outright censorship—masked by technology and subterfuge—to claw what little market share independent journalists have worked hard to capture.
What these corporations, and the oligarchs who own them, are attempting to do is akin to Goliath aborting David before he is born—this is how hard they are trying to evade accountability. Nothing is more dangerous to freedom than power that is monopolized in the hands of a few. Well my fellow Americans, our freedoms are sufficiently under assault as more than 90% of the information we consume is directly owned and directed by six corporations. As I noted yesterday, that means six people control 90% of the news, entertainment and the public airwaves that 300,000,000 consume! Joseph Stalin would be envious of the way plutocrats have co-opted all levers of power and have commandeered the national conversation.
Yet, the death of free speech and the abrogation of the marketplace of ideas is not fait accompli. We have more powers than we think. Consumers drives this engine of corporatism. If we get a critical mass of people who decide to say enough and stop feeding this beast of corporatism before us, we can make a difference. We don’t have to get to the destination overnight; progress will be in fits and starts. People have told me for example to get off Facebook and use other social media sites to amplify the message of the Ghion Journal. While we have diversified the platforms we are using, in the end it would be an act of business malpractice if I decided to log off Facebook out of spite. While we take steps to counter the ongoing efforts to diminish our reach and our voice, I am asking you—our readers and those who are tuning in for the first time—to assist us in this effort. Social media sites, especially Facebook, are using very subtle form of censorship in order to keep our articles away from their newsfeed. If you notice some people on Facebook posting a write up and then including the link at the bottom without the corresponding drop down highlight of that article, that is because they are trying their best to evade Facebook’s algorithm based censorship. This is where we have come as a society; people have to revert to gimmicks in order to counter the systematic blocking of their speech. America is slowly turning into a Stasi state.
Lest you think this is nothing but a tempest in a teapot and that I’m exaggerating the lengths to which social media corporations are going to in order to shackle anyone who dares question the system, let me share with you the story of Charlie who used to go by the handle @PoliticsPeach on Twitter. In Charlie’s case, subtle silencing gave way to explicit censorship. This is an excerpt from her write up where she details her banishment from Twitter:
All of this was told to me only hours after I had learned of the newstory line of Neolibs corporate media, of African Americans being colluders with Russia. One article talks about a former twitterer that only tweeted about positive successes and historical moments of black people @Crystal1Johnson, her account was taken down on the same week/day as mine and she was labeled a Russian bot. I have no idea who was behind the Crystal Johnson account (I didn’t follow her) and I’m sure most of us will never know but her account was harmless with over 57K followers, she rarely if ever tweeted about anything other than the latest positive story about black people. [read Charlie’s full account by clicking here]
These extraordinary steps Google, Facebook and Twitter are taking is nothing shore of corporate fascism. Be careful when the powerful start bandying around terms like “fake news”, just like the Patriot Act was a pretext to take away our privacy, the debased (elites) use euphemisms as a means to hide their malicious intentions to accumulate power by stepping on the necks of the people. My experiences are similar to those encountered by endless voices who refuse to kowtow to the narratives of corporate media.
I could at least understand a little bit if what I was writing at the Ghion Journal was hate based and preached violence. Freedom of speech ends the minute speech wishes violence upon others. But what I write about is the exact opposite of hatred. I use this platform to speak of our common struggles and common hopes and the exigent need for us to come together as a people. Even when I speak against those who use their influence and affluence to repress the masses, I never preach violence. My overriding message is love. What then is the reason for social media using ham handed techniques to diminish Ghion Journal articles while I see the most divisive and hateful articles pop up on my social media feeds frequently? It’s because the powerful love it when we revert to animosity but are fearful of those who speak of unity and oneness.
The steps social media corporations are taking to nullify a free exchange of ideas is breathtaking. I’ve had a lot of people contact me recently to tell me that the ability to share on Facebook was not there when they try to share our articles. Twitter reverts to other practices where shadow banning and temporary restrictions impinge speech and censors ideas. As long as people are completely dependent on the share buttons and stay only within the Facebook and Twitter ecosystem to disseminate our articles—and articles from other independent journalists—we remain a hostage to their chicanery.
The way to defeat high tech is to go low tech. Don’t worry, I’m not asking you to start sending snail mail or to gather up carrier pigeons to relay our articles. If the problem is systematic blocking and suppression based on key words and algorithms, the way to overcome that obstacle is for readers to diversify the ways they share our articles. While we are not asking you to stop using the share applications embedded at this website, we nonetheless ask you to use other means to disseminate our articles. Though less people are using email these days, it is still a vital tool of communication and one that escapes the monsoon of articles that inundates readers when they are using social media.
This is what we mean by low tech, I’m asking you to share our articles in ways that is a lot more focused instead of the shotgun approach that social media represents. Text messages, emails and of course face to face conversation is a great way to let others know about the articles you find here without being blocked or impeded by social media sites. Lastly, as you share our articles on the various social media sites, as much as possible go to our website and share the links directly instead of depending on the share button within Facebook and Twitter, organic posts get a lot more eyeballs than retweets and re-shares. As I ask you to take measures to ensure our viability in the marketplace of ideas, I likewise ask you to do the same for other voices who are not on the dole of corporate media. I’m not saying to disavow the corporate media as a whole, heck even I still go to mainstream media outlets. As I noted earlier, we have to ween ourselves off this paradigm of corporatism incrementally. I write this to dedicated Ghion Journal readers and audience, I want to thank you for your continued support. We have made great strides in reaching a broader audience. Your efforts on our behalf is empowering us to add our two cents to a public discourse that seems to be going bankrupt. Likewise I want to thank first time readers, welcome aboard. I hope you bookmark this site, enroll at the bottom right of this website to get push notifications of new articles and continue to come back to take part in the conversations we are starting.
Whether you are a first time reader or a dedicated reader, we are grateful to each one of you and we ask you to continue telling others about us. As you share our articles, let people know in your own words why they should check in at the Ghion Journal and convey to them the importance of retaining independent voices and journalists in the news industry and in the marketplace of ideas. We are in perilous times; a free press that is not beholden to moneyed interests is not only needed, it is an imperative in order to defend our rights and speak against the excesses of the powerful. We are dependent on our readers to amplify our message and to further our aims as we continue to give a voice to the voiceless. #ClarionCallGhion
“A free press can, of course, be good or bad, but, most certainly without freedom, the press will never be anything but bad.” ~ Albert Camus
The Ghion Journal is an experiment of sorts. We disavow corporate contributions and advertisement revenues and depend on the people. Check out the Ghion Cast below where I discuss the mission and purpose behind the Ghion Journal.
Originally from Ethiopia with roots to Atse Tewodros II, Teodrose is a former community organizer whose writing was incorporated into Barack Obama's South Carolina primary victory speech in 2008. He pivoted away from politics and decided to stand for collective justice after experiencing the reality of the forgotten masses. His writing defies conventional wisdom and challenges readers to look outside the constraints of labels and ideologies that serve to splinter the people. Teodrose uses his pen to give a voice to the voiceless and to speak truth to power.
Latest posts by Teodrose Fikre (see all)
- Rebranding MLK: How the Establishment Blackened His Dream and Whitewashed His Legacy - January 19, 2019
- Inciting Emotions and Playing US: Why Sectional Movements are Counterproductive - January 17, 2019
- A Noble Experiment: Journalism for the Marginalized Majority - January 15, 2019