In the short term, silencing conservative outlets benefits mainstream journalists in the same way that the Parler shutdown benefits Facebook and Twitter: by eliminating competition. But the zeal for censorship isn’t just cynical self-interest. Progressive journalists have been in an ideological bubble so long that they’ve come to believe their own hype about the right-wing menace—and they’re oblivious to their blatant double standards.
They pretended that riots across the United States last year were “mostly peaceful protests,” while the one at the Capitol was a historic “insurrection” and “attempted coup” that put “democracy in peril.” Its symbolism made the Capitol riot a singularly horrifying spectacle on television, but the actual toll in life and property was much smaller than that of last year’s mob violence, which claimed at least 15 lives and caused more than $2 billion in damage.
Yes, the mob at the Capitol had been fed lies and conspiracy theories about election fraud, and some of the organizers had used social media—including not just Parler but also Facebook and Twitter—to enrage the protesters. It’s no surprise that Joe Biden and other Democrats are denouncing this “Big Lie” and promising to fight “domestic terrorism” by imposing new restrictions on social-media platforms. Politicians are always eager for more power.
But why would any sensible journalist go along with them?