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Print Newspapers Preserve Our Freedoms ~ VALLEY PATRIOT EDITORIAL, MARCH, 2018

While Big Tech Corporations Censor
On-line Speech, You Can’t Censor PRINT!

As we celebrate the 14th Anniversary of The Valley Patriot we see a troubling future for free speech and a free press here in the United States. As most people get their information about the world through the internet, print newspapers are folding daily.

What makes this dangerous is that only a handful of people control what you can see on-line. Google censors your search results. Facebook and Twitter censor your posts and even change the words you used to explain your feelings or your thoughts.

YouTube punishes people who do not share their political views by stripping them of the right to monetize their videos (make money through ads).
Last month, Valley Patriot publisher Tom Duggan had his Facebook “privileges” suspended for 48 hours for daring to state that men and women are biologically different and that men who believe they are women [or vice versa] have a mental illness.

That has always been true, by the way. It is “settled science”, it’s not even an opinion. And while you are FREE to take issue with that if you like, to have that sentiment censored and removed from the public debate as an “unacceptable view” is scary. It’s something that totalitarian dictators do.

When those who control the information that you see can remove or even change facts, our ability to be free is lost forever. In order to maintain our right of free speech, we must be able to make informed decisions by having access to all views, hateful or otherwise. Facebook wants you to hold THEIR opinions and if you don’t like it, well you should just shut up about that. If you complain, your Facebook “privileges” will be revoked even longer. They may even shut down your page.

Facebook actually sent a notice to all those who viewed Duggan’s “offensive” post saying that they believe “you have a right not to be offended by what you see on-line.”

ACTUALLY NO … NO, YOU DON’T. That kind of backward thinking has been shared by every dictator and tyrant in history. It has never ended well. For anyone!

In a free society you have the right to disagree. You also have the right to look away. But you do not have a right NOT to be offended. Nor should you.
Take a hard look at your Twitter or Facebook pages today. Tomorrow half of what you have posted about your life might just be gone. News stories you once read may also disappear because it doesn’t meet the world view of those who want to live in an alternate reality. This is the beginning of the white-washing of history, while it is actually happening.

Libertarians say “it’s their company, they have the right to do as they want.” The problem is that there is no alternative. Facebook, Twitter, Google and YouTube are all owned by people trying to create a world of mob rule that controls what you know, and by the way THEY control the mob.

These corporations can pretend they are not “content providers” and therefore not subject to regulation by the government. But, the second they removed material based on “content”, they became exactly that. And they should be regulated. We are either all treated equally on-line, or we are not. Right now, we are not.

This is by far the most compelling reason to advertise and support local print newspapers like the Valley Patriot or the Methuen Loop. Once something is in print it cannot be deleted. It cannot be censored. History cannot be rewritten.
In the near future, print newspapers will be the only platform where people with dissenting views can be heard and can fight back against perceived thought-crimes. Someday soon we will all wake up being told what to think by our computers and our phones – and punished for not complying. We are almost there now.

Happy Anniversary to everyone who has ever contributed to the Valley Patriot’s mission to preserve our First Amendment rights over the last 14 years. Our future ultimately depends on the businesses who support free speech with their advertising dollars at the local level. We sincerely hope you will continue doing that. Otherwise…..

Tom Duggan

Tom Duggan

Tom Duggan is president and publisher of The Valley Patriot Newspaper in North Andover, Massachusetts. He is an author, host of the Paying Attention TV/Radio Program, lectures on media bias and police issues, is a former Lawrence School Committeeman, former political director for Mass. Citizens Alliance, and a 1990 Police Survivor. You can email your comments to valleypatriot@aol.com.

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