YouTube couldn’t have picked a worse time to go into censorship mode.
The American people are sick and tired of the randomness with which they’re being asked to comply with government dictates surrounding COVID-19, and of the ever-changing and outright false numbers on the coronavirus counts coming from hospitals that are then used to justify additional crackdowns on civil liberties. So they’ve begun to ask questions, challenge the status quo and even, in some cases, in some states, protest. And that is good.
Some doctors, too.
A couple of doctors in particular — Dan Erickson and Artin Massihi, from Accelerated Urgent Care in Bakersfield, California — cut a video and outright called the government’s ongoing unconstitutional activities, well, unconstitutional. And that is good, as well.
But YouTube just pulled the doctors’ video.
YouTube just censored the doctors’ speech.
YouTube, owned by Google, just blacked out the doctors’ voices from their widely watched social media platform.
That doesn’t make the doctors’ message disappear.
It only embeds it further in the minds of the millions who’ve already heard it. It only raises the red flags that have been raised in recent days over concerns about government’s ongoing chipping of citizens’ individual rights due to COVID-19 — it only raises these red flags higher.
YouTube explained the censorship this way: “We quickly remove flagged content that violate our Community Guidelines, including content that explicitly disputes the efficacy of local healthy authority recommended guidance on social distancing that may lead others to act against that guidance. … “
Blah, blah, yada, yada. Typical YouTube stuff.
And since, 23ABC News in Bakersfield has appealed YouTube’s removal of the doctors’ video.
But this whole stifling of opinion and free expression is a dark blot on America. And it comes at a time when dark blots are everywhere.
Not only is censorship un-American. Not only is the shutdown of free expression contrary to the First Amendment, and the core American principle of individual rights coming from God, not government.
But on COVID-19, at this moment in time, at a place in history where Americans are being told to stay home, stay off the streets — except, say, to shop at Walmart or to buy marijuana — and to listen to the government’s orders, and oh yes, shhh, to please ignore the fact the orders are based on faulty computer models and false hospital reports, well, it seems counterintuitive to the cause of calming the citizenry to clamp a couple of doctors’ doctorly-based COVID-19 analyses.
These are doctors, for crying out loud. Not activists.
Aren’t Americans being told daily to listen to the medical experts?
Now it’s only a select group of medical experts Americans are supposed to listen to and obey?
Add that to the list of randomness of the whole response system surrounding the coronavirus — just above “Stop Buying Face Masks, For Pete’s Sake,” just below “Wear Your Face Mask In Public, For Pete’s Sake.”
YouTube didn’t just do a disservice to American freedoms by pulling these doctors’ video feeds.
YouTube added to the confusion surrounding the coronavirus and to the growing suspicions about politicians’ use of the virus for partisan gain — that some would use this crisis to stretch the bounds of government’s authority ever more.
The few Americans who weren’t concerned about the fate of America’s Constitution and freedoms and system of limited government, post-COVID-19, sure as heck are now. Nothing like some good old-fashioned censorship amid a constitutional crisis to raise the red flags on authoritarianism and ratchet fears further. And honestly, Americans are completely justified to worry.
• Cheryl Chumley can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter, @ckchumley. Listen to her podcast “Bold and Blunt” by clicking HERE. And never miss her column; subscribe to her newsletter by clicking HERE.
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