Hunt for fake news is the new McCarthyism
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The controversy over fake news is creating panic among members of the media, and seems to be serving as an excuse to hunt down conservative competitors to mainstream outlets.

There is no denying that fake news sites exist. Fake news and hoax statistics have circulated the Internet for years.

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But with politicians and tech giants such as Facebook and Twitter teaming up to “combat” the spread of fake news, conservative outlets have found themselves in the crosshairs of an ideological witch hunt.

 

Members of the press have tried to identify fake news sites by using lists compiled by outside sources. The LA Times recently published, as objective news, an article that included a list of “fake news” websites compiled by a professor at Merrimack College. That list included top conservative news sites like Breitbart, Bizpac Review, Indepenent Journal-Reivew, Redstate, and The Blaze.   

The Washington Post published another list from an obscure website, “ProporNot,” listing 200 websites they contended were instruments of the Russian government. The list contained conservative websites including The Ron Paul Institute, Antiwar.com, the Drudge Report, and InfoWars.

McCarthy used the threat of communism as a way to instill fear and target citizens. The need for fear was often exaggerated. The effort by today’s media’s to discount any view held by conservatives as “fake news” or as Russian propaganda reeks of modern McCarthyism. 

It’s no secret that the mainstream media tends to cater to a more liberal audience. As a result, conservatives who feel marginalized and disenfranchised by that dynamic often turn to conservative websites in order to find news that is not being covered by larger outlets.

If mainstream media wants those consumers back, it should make more of an effort to cover the topics they’re interested in rather than lazily trying to discount those topics as “fake.”

It’s not just media giants jumping into the fray.

Social media giants have launched an initiative to purge certain ideas from their sites as well. Breitbart Tech editor and provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos in June was banned from Twitter, while former Washington Times editor and Blogger Robert Stacy McCain was suspended in February. Twitter has refused to offer any explanation for either incident.

Facebook suspended conservative personality Lauren Southern for complaining about that website’s censorship practices. Christopher Cantwell was suspended for comments he made supporting rape victims in Europe.

Both websites have engaged in a purge of other conservative activists as well, suspending or banning their accounts without explanation. The bottom line: Conservatives have found themselves in a growing state of exile that has been imposed by political and corporate elites.

The media elites pushing the “fake news” narrative are trying to create a dynamic in which they define what is “fake.” While the Constitution’s First Amendment speech protections do not apply to private media enterprises, it is nonetheless ironic to see the chief beneficiaries of those protections taking full advantage of their right to squash the speech of others.

Preya Samsundar (@Psamsundar) is a senior editor for Alpha News.


The views expressed by contributors are their own and are not the views of The Hill.