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As important elections loom in both the United States and Canada, and the spectre of Brexit hangs over the United Kingdom, mainstream and social media giants have joined forces to ensure that our sacred Western democracies are safeguarded. They are working hard to prevent a repeat of painful democratic failures like the election of Donald Trump or England’s decision to leave the EU.
But what if I told you there is one bad actor that has free reign over the internet, influencing millions of people by spreading hate speech, anti-Semitic jokes, race segregation propaganda, and conspiracy theories? What if I told you there are currently no plans to address this hotbed of hate?
This vile threat to democracy I speak of has a horrifying history of hate. They have downplayed the Holocaust on numerous occasions, obscuring the fact that Jews were the victims, and often replacing the word Jew with words like “refugee” and “citizen.” They also brazenly compared Jews to dogs and greedy opportunists, employing visual tropes to illustrate their hate. When called out on their anti-Semitism recently, one in their ranks blamed “Jewish propaganda.”
This is a website that strongly suggests men and women of different races should not be in romantic relationships, encouraging people to stay in their own ethnic lanes. While most civilized people agree that skin colour should never be a factor in romantic relationships, the people behind this hate factory have published content suggesting that if you’re a person of colour, you shouldn’t be with a white partner. They’ve also promoted the idea of racially segregated schools. In 2019, it’s hard to believe they could get away with dehumanizing entire communities, but that’s what’s happening.
The conspiracy theories pushed by this website are beyond the pale. They have spread anti-scientific lies that harm women. They have spread rumours and misinformation about countless young people, baselessly branding them as rapists, racists, and irredeemable monsters, while encouraging others to form online mobs to ruin the lives of the accused. If that wasn’t enough, they stoked racial tensions by running numerous stories about race hoaxes and fake hate crimes, making people needlessly afraid of one another. They are also responsible for spreading a vast conspiracy theory that has undermined the democratic institutions of the United States. This conspiracy theory has since been debunked by the highest level of law enforcement.
Yet people congregate to consume their content every day, and every day impressionable people are radicalized. It’s widely recognized that Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter are often the means by which bad actors spread their bigotry, and we have made great strides in eliminating access to these social platforms to people who wish to spread their virulent hate. But we can’t just stop at deplatforming Alex Jones, Louis Farrakhan, and Paul Joseph Watson. Larger venues that provide platforms for radical and violent ideologies must be taken down as well. A dignified society must not tolerate hate speech, anti-Semitism, race supremacy, and conspiracy theories.
In keeping with the progress made by eliminating dangerous people from social media, this hate-mongering website must also be removed from Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. In fact, the website itself must be taken down. They also have a brick and mortar presence that boasts a head office in a major metropolis and—if you can believe it—a staff in the thousands, hiding in plain daylight as they spread fear and division throughout our society. They even have a print version they distribute throughout the world under the guise of “journalism.”
This hateful publication is called the New York Times and it must be eliminated if our march toward progress is to continue.