Last week, at some point following the inauguration, I was watching a MSNBC segment about the takeaways from the Trump era and what lessons were learned on either side. The former RNC chairman Michael Steele was one of the guests on the segment. He said something that I’ve been thinking about ever since, which is basically that Republicans were really mad about “cancel culture” and “woke culture” and how those things are ruining society in their minds. What bugged me is that Steele seemed to think that they had a point. I’ve come to realize that this is the argument the GOP is making and will continue to make: that “woke” culture is coming to “cancel” you (“you” being Republican voters) for just being yourself. If you vote Republican, you don’t have to bother to learn how to be a functioning member of society, or learn how to not offend people 24-7.
The whole “anti-woke” and “cancel culture run amok” thing is also a conversational smokescreen for what actually happened before, during and after the January 6th insurrection. Donald Trump and his minions plotted a terrorist attack and they were genuinely trying to overthrow the government. It was an attempted coup, and Trump was still threatening violence and retribution even after the coup largely failed. Trump was threatening those things… on social media. And he promptly got deplatformed from most social media sites, and there was a mass banning of Nazis and MAGAts and the like. All of these things are connected, all of these conversations are connected. Which brings me to this: Rupert Murdoch decrying the “woke orthodoxy”:
Rupert Murdoch has been silent on Twitter for nearly five years, but the media baron has come out swinging against social media and what he described as the prevalence of a “woke orthodoxy” in the online realm. Murdoch, 89, created a stir with a two-minute video message that was released in connection with his receiving the Australia Day Foundation’s lifetime achievement award. The video was posted on the website of Melbourne’s Herald Sun newspaper, which News Corp. owns.
Murdoch’s remarks veer from a conventional thank-you for a lifetime achievement honor and kind words about his “undying love” for his native country to a deliberate swipe at social media. He remarks echo the recent refrain from far-right conservatives that Big Tech giants and social media platforms are seeking to impose censorship by flagging false and inflammatory statements from political figures such as former U.S. President Donald Trump, who has been permanently banned from Twitter and other platforms.
“For those of us in media, there’s a real challenge to confront a wave of censorship that seeks to silence conversations, to stifle debate and ultimately stop individuals and societies from realizing their potential,” Murdoch said. “This rigidly enforced conformity, aided and abetted by so-called social media, is a straitjacket on sensibilities. Too many people have fought too hard in too many places for freedom of speech to be suppressed by this awful woke orthodoxy.”
Again, all of this sh-t happened in just the past THREE WEEKS. We were there. We all witnessed what actually happened, we witnessed Donald Trump inciting an insurrection in broad daylight, sending his Nazis to the Capitol to murder the vice president, the speaker of the house and anyone else they felt like. Those Nazis actually *DID* murder a Capitol Police officer by beating him to death. After he incited an insurrection, Trump was still issuing barely veiled threats on Twitter and calling on his supporters to stay agitated and violent. It’s not like Jack Dorsey just decided out of the blue that he hated what Trump was tweeting. These are private companies who realized – rather suddenly – that they had significant liability issues if they continued to allow Trump and his followers a platform to organize and incite violence. But Murdoch is definitely telegraphing the same argument which Michael Steele, Josh Hawley and others will make going forward: inciting terrorism is a “free speech issue” when white people are involved.
Photos courtesy of Avalon Red.