Posted on: April 21, 2022 Posted by: Glacier Staff Comments: 0

Graphic by Sarah Schudt

Former President Donald Trump amassed more than 80 million followers and commanded one of the most popular accounts on Twitter. When Trump was banned from Twitter following the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, Twitter’s founder, Jack Dorsey, called the ban “the right move.”

Dorsey also expressed concern that the ban would set a precedent for future censorship that would be dangerous to a “free and open global internet.”

So far, he is right.

Omar Eloiza


As Americans, we are acquainted with the First Amendment: “Congress shall make no law…abridging the freedom of speech.” But the framers had no idea how much power private companies would possess in the current age of information. We live in an era where private enterprises are slowly encroaching onto the public sphere and affecting our rights as citizens. 

One company that has been engaging in censorship is YouTube. In response to anti-Russian sentiment following the attack on Ukraine, YouTube has removed any channel associated with the Russian state, including RT America.

By censoring RT, YouTube also censored a voice of dissent in America: Pulitzer Prize-winning former New York Times journalist Chris Hedges, who has been known for his biting criticism of the mainstream media since the 1980s. After being reprimanded by the Times for criticizing the war in Iraq, Hedges had found his way to RT, where he hosted the show “On Contact.”

In March, YouTube deleted every video under the RT America channel, including more than six years of Hedges’ material, under the pretense that the channel served as a mouthpiece for Russian propaganda.

I’m not endorsing Russia or its view of free speech or the way it treats journalists. But this example shows the power of private companies like YouTube to control what we see and hear. And whether we agree with Hedges’ views or not, what matters is that there is an outlet for all voices to be heard. 

If Americans cherish their freedoms and liberties and want to avoid totalitarianism, then we must remain a beacon of freedom of speech for all dissenting views and opinions.

As Americans, we pride ourselves on our outspokenness. But the U.S. has been declining in its trust of journalists and freedom of speech in general, and that trend must be reversed.

Elon Musk has reportedly offered $46.5 billion dollars to buy Twitter. He calls himself a “free speech absolutist” and says he wishes to buy Twitter in an effort to loosen moderation and censorship so Twitter can be a “platform for free speech around the globe.” 

Very well. But why must civic society rely on private individuals to make key decisions in our lives? What is the role of the government when freedom of speech is not at the whim of a megalomaniac businessman?

A good antidote to private censorship would be the reintroduction of the FCC fairness doctrine. There was a point in American discourse where even avowed Marxist-Leninists and anti-Muslim conspiracy theorists were allowed on a program to debate each other on live television. This open exchange of views no longer takes place.

Networks like FOX and MSNBC are results of the repeal – televised echo chambers that regurgitate what the viewer wants to hear. Undoing the repeal would benefit our civic intelligence by forcing all networks to provide all sides of the story, no matter what position the government, companies, or anyone else has to say about it.

If Americans cherish their freedoms and liberties and want to avoid totalitarianism, then we must remain a beacon of freedom of speech for all dissenting views and opinions.

We as Americans must be diligent in protecting our rights, unless we wish to stay under the hypnotism of deceit, where telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.