[Note: A previous version of this article appeared on Power Line.]
Days after Jan. 6, 2021, Army Col. (Ret) Mike Ford, a highly decorated infantry officer and a former colleague of mine, was sitting in church with his wife. The pastor read a prayer that had been sent to congregations in the area by the District Bishop. Below is an abridged version of the prayer:
Compassionate God, we come before you with heavy hearts. We are grieved by the violence that has occurred in recent days in Washington, D.C. Forgive us for any ways in which our actions, attitudes and words have contributed to the divisions, polarization and distrust that abound in our country.
God of the nations, we are grateful for the freedoms we enjoy as Americans. We thank you that, though our capitol building was stormed in an unprecedented way on January 6, order was restored, and Congress was able to complete its work. We pray for the peaceful transition of power in coming days.
God of comfort, we pray for the families and friends of persons who died in the chaos. We also lift up to you those who were traumatized and intimidated by what they experienced at our capitol building.
Mike and his wife stood up and left the church. He rattled off an op-ed about the “egregious gaslighting of the American public” surrounding the events that had occurred days before and published it on the conservative blog he wrote for at the time.
Hours after the post went up, Mike received a phone call from his managing editor. He was informed that “under financial threat” from the social media platform that provided their “ad revenue aggregation services, he was forced to retract the article and disavow its content.” Below is the retraction.
Overnight, this article about January 6th was published. Many details, opinions, and analysis contained in the piece were either incorrect or inappropriate. It has been retracted and we regret its publication.
Feeling vindicated by the unveiling of previously unseen Capitol surveillance footage on Tucker Carlson’s show last week, Mike wrote about this episode in a new post published on conservative opinion site American Free News Network, where he is the editor.
[Note: Friday’s article includes a copy of the post that had been retracted in January 2021.]
This, or a version of it happened twice more in a very few days. Then, upper management changed the editorial rules. Instead of the free-wheeling environment where writers picked topics, wrote opinion pieces and directly published them. Certain (and growing number of) topics needed editorial review and approval. Eventually, all articles required such approval. A clear case of the leftists in Big Tech, co-opting conservative management as their enforcers. More on that another time.
Suffice it to say that this wasn’t good for conservative messaging. Fortunately some friends of mine retired out of the defense and intelligence communities and some in the private sector formed a non-profit (American Free News Network) to push back on this type of thing. In a singular act of poor judgment, they named me CEO and Chairman of the Board. But that too is another story.
Moving forward two years, Tucker Carlson of Fox News Network, is now releasing unedited security footage withheld by [the] former Speaker of the House. These videos never saw the light of day during the multiple hearings by the House of Representatives or in our vaunted legacy media. Interestingly, yet not surprising to those of us who watched the original event play out, these videos have confirmed what we had been saying all along.
Mike asked me to promote his new article on my social media pages. I posted it on LinkedIn. When I checked back on Friday evening to look for reader reaction, I learned that my post had been censored.
A notation from the site’s moderators read: “Only you can see this post. It’s been removed because it goes against our Professional Community Policies. Learn more.”
I also received an email from LinkedIn which said: “YOUR POST DOESN’T COMPLY WITH OUR POLICIES. Your post goes against our policy on misinformation. … Repeatedly creating content that doesn’t comply with our Professional Community Policies could lead to your LinkedIn account being restricted.”
Mike asked me to repost it – which I did. And surprisingly, the second post has remained on the site.
Whether or not one agrees with Mike’s characterization of Jan. 6, we can all agree he had the right to state his beliefs.
What is most surprising about this story is not that LinkedIn would censor my post: It is that the suppression of free speech and information by the media isn’t the sole domain of the left. Although conservative media does a very good job of exposing the hypocrisies of the left, fear has crept into the equation.
Due to the explosion in the number of fact checks, lawsuits, demonetizations or cancellations over statements deemed to be racist, censorship by editors of many right leaning online publications has become a reality.
Following the 2020 election, large portions of my posts were cut out entirely or watered down to insignificance by conservative editors. A few posts were deemed too controversial to publish.
One reader who noticed the weakness in my posts at that time wrote, “I was reading your articles and thinking that they appeared a bit anemic compared to the older ones. I didn’t have the heart to say so by email and kept watching for the return of the ‘glory days.’ 🙂 That they were whittled away to within a few words of their life explains their state.”
This is a dangerous time in history. We’ve witnessed events we never dreamed possible in the “land of the free.” We now fully understand the meaning of the phrase “whatever it takes.”
Our nation is in crisis and Americans need to hear the truth about the left’s plan to turn our constitutional republic into a socialist country.
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