TwitterFacebook

Glenn Greenwald Argues That Private Companies Have No Right to Censor Genocidal Incitement

Yes, he really did
Weird • Views: 24,854

Today, MSNBC’s Ronan Farrow published an opinion piece in the Washington Post calling on companies like YouTube, Facebook and Twitter to do more to stop terrorists from inciting violence. To make his case, Farrow cited the incitements to genocide by Rwandan media that led to a horrific bloodbath 20 years ago.

“The graves are only half empty; who will help us fill them?” Twenty years ago, that rallying cry on Rwandan radio helped explode ethnic enmity into one of history’s worst atrocities. In today’s Iraq, another vicious conflict between a formerly-empowered ethnic minority and a long-subjugated majority is causing the deaths of thousands. At its heart is another mass media appeal to bloodlust on radio’s modern-day equivalent: social media. And this time, the world may have a chance to stop what it failed to in Rwanda.

The Sunni Islamic State insurgents, now locked in a deadly struggle with Iraq’s Shiite majority, excel online. They command a plethora of official and unofficial channels on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. “And kill them wherever you find them,” commands one recent propaganda reel of firefights and bound hostages, contorting a passage from the Koran. “Take up arms, take up arms, O soldiers of the Islamic State. And fight, fight!” adds another, featuring a sermon from the group’s leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. The material is often slickly produced, like “The Clanging of Swords IV,” a glossy, feature-length film replete with slow-motion action scenes. Much of it is available in English, directly targeting the recruits with Western passports that have become one of the organization’s more dangerous assets. And almost all of it appeals to the young: Photoshops of Islamic State fighters and their grizzly massacres with video game-savvy captions like, “This is our Call of Duty.”

But officials at social media companies are leery of adjudicating what should be taken down and what should be left alone. “One person’s terrorist is another person’s freedom fighter,” one senior executive tells me on condition of anonymity. Making that call is “not something we’d want to do.”

This is a good argument, and one that I’ve made many times at LGF; private companies like Facebook need to do more to prevent the spread of hate speech by users of their services, especially when it involves incitements to violence or genocide. These kinds of restrictions are the purview of private companies to impose, not governments, and especially not the US government.

But Farrow’s op-ed drew the attention of the all-seeing eye of civil libertarian hero Glenn Greenwald, who immediately attacked Farrow with his usual obsessions: the US and Israel.

Farrow responded:

And it was at this point that Glenn Greenwald tipped over into what can only be described as a right wing authoritarian position:

Consider what Greenwald is advocating here; he’s actually saying that private companies should not be allowed to determine what types of “political ideas” they disseminate.

Leaving aside the absurdity of calling genocidal incitement “political ideas,” this is exactly counter to the First Amendment of the US Constitution, which makes it very clear that only private companies should be able to restrict the types of speech they publish.

So who should decide these issues, if not private companies? Is Greenwald actually arguing that the US government should censor hateful or genocidal incitement? Well, it’s hard to know, because when pressed on the issue he simply decided to attack Farrow again as a mouthpiece for Israel — a very weird argument indeed.

As usual, Greenwald sleazes his way out of directly confronting the issue with non sequitur attacks like this. But his statement that he thinks private companies should have no right to decide what types of speech they promote is very revealing, indeed — because it’s exactly opposite to the usual libertarian line of argument.

In his haste to attack one of his enemies, Greenwald argued himself into an unconstitutional corner, and then tried to deflect the argument rather than defend it.

A classic performance by the Mighty Greenwald.

^ back to top ^

TwitterFacebook

Turn off all ads for a full year by subscribing!
For about 33 cents a day (per month) or 22 cents a day (per year), our subscription option turns off all advertisements at LGF!
Read more...

► LGF Headlines

  • Loading...

► Tweeted Articles

  • Loading...

► Tweeted Pages

  • Loading...

► Top 10 Comments

  • Loading...

► Bottom Comments

  • Loading...

► Recent Comments

  • Loading...

► Tools/Info

► Tag Cloud

► Contact

You must have Javascript enabled to use the contact form.
Your email:

Subject:

Message:


Messages may be published unless you request otherwise.
Tech Note:
Using the Contact Form
LGF Pages

This button leads to the main index of LGF Pages, our user-submitted articles. You can post your own LGF Pages simply by registering a free account with us.

Create a Page

This is the LGF Pages posting bookmarklet. To use it, drag this button to your browser's bookmark bar, and title it 'LGF Pages' (or whatever you like). Then browse to a site you want to post, select some text on the page to use for a quote, click the bookmarklet, and the Pages posting window will appear with the title, text, and any embedded video or audio files already filled in, ready to go.

Or... you can just click this button to open the Pages posting window right away.

Last updated: 2014-03-07 2:19 pm PST

LGF User's Guide
Recent Pages
Randall Gross
Federal Ferguson Investigation Will Remain Independent, Holder Insists
Attorney General Eric Holder says "far more must be done to create enduring trust" between police and communities they serve, even as his Justice Department continues to investigate possible discriminatory police actions in Ferguson, Mo. Civil rights lawyers at ...

5 hours, 12 minutes ago
Views: 132 • Comments: 0
Tweets: 0 • Rating: 2
The Vicious Fergushka
The Scientific Explanation of Why People Kill Each Other Over TVs on Black Friday
More: The Scientific Explanation of Why People Kill Each Other Over TVs on Black Friday What causes people to kick, shove and even stab each other on Black Friday? Each year there are reports of violence during the Black Friday ...

1 day, 1 hour ago
Views: 239 • Comments: 1
Tweets: 6 • Rating: 1
Skip Intro
Anti-Gay Hate Preacher Accidentally Tweets 4,000 Followers Cartoon Clip of Him ‘Confessing’ to Be a ‘Homosexual Sodomite’
Adam Reakes Promotes Truth That Starbucks Markets Semen Laced Lattes http://t.co/RY06dEEb0I— James David Manning (@DrJamesDManning) November 20, 2014

1 day, 3 hours ago
Views: 308 • Comments: 0
Tweets: 0 • Rating: 1
Lumberhead
One Man Should Not Dictate Immigration Policy
Well played. You know, the more I mull over the Republican complaint about how immigration reform is being implemented, the more I sympathize with them. Public policy, especially on big, hot button issues like immigration shouldn't be made by one ...

1 day, 20 hours ago
Views: 309 • Comments: 6
Tweets: 0 • Rating: 6
teleskiguy
“Chelsea Hotel” performed by Tal Wilkenfeld
I first saw Austrailian bass player Tal Wilkenfeld play with Jeff Beck (not live, mind you. On YouTube) and was amazed at her skills and chops. She was only 20 when she scored that gig. She's coming into her own ...

3 days, 17 hours ago
Views: 205 • Comments: 0
Tweets: 0 • Rating: 4
FemNaziBitch
History of Laws Concerning Immigration and Naturalization in the United States -WIKI
The United States Constitution was adopted on September 17, 1787. Article I, section 8, clause 4 of the Constitution expressly gives the United States Congress the power to establish a uniform rule of naturalization.[1] Pursuant to this power, Congress ...

4 days, 2 hours ago
Views: 311 • Comments: 1
Tweets: 1 • Rating: 2
MichaelJ
COMFORTABLY NUMB - Peahi Nov 12 on Vimeo
Channel angle of the Nov 12th swell at Peahi.

1 week ago
Views: 480 • Comments: 0
Tweets: 1 • Rating: 2
Romantic Heretic
Money Makes Us Less Rational
Here's an interesting article on scientific studies that demonstrate how rationality and empathy break down is the presence of large amounts of money.

1 week, 3 days ago
Views: 684 • Comments: 2
Tweets: 0 • Rating: 2
 Frank says:

It makes me wanna dance. -- From a FZ interview about some music he had composed (on the synclavier). It was written in 17/35 (or something like that).