Regular readers know how I love a good joke. Some will say that I also love a bad joke, which I suppose is fair enough. Nevertheless, I was interested to read recently a disturbing trend of killing American satire websites on the grounds that it is political “misinformation.”
Babylon Bee is a website with a conservative bent. Apparently it’s been hitting too close to home for some in the KKK (Kancel Kulture Kommunity). They want Big Tech social media companies to do something to control and correct the Bee’s “far right misinformation.” Babylon Bee, its critics say, “dishonestly” claims to be satire in order to protect itself from social media censors.
That, by the way, was not some random comment at the end of a kooky blog. It appeared in the New York Times. I am not making that up. And, that kind of attitude and action was in the news last week, with former President Trump filing suit against Big Tech for de-platorming him. No matter how you feel about Trump, this issue may settle one of the biggest First Amendment issues of the new century. Keep an eye on this one.
But let’s get back to the Bee. So, what kind “misinformation” is this little website supposedly passing along as satire that you should not be allowed to read?
Well, in a recent edition it ran a picture of Hollywood celebrities sending a political message about COVID-19 by spelling out “We’re all in this together” with their yachts. (I nearly snorted my coffee through my nose when I saw it.)
In another whimsical bit, the website wrote what looked like a legit news story that read: “In a move to save tax dollars, U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland has replaced federal executions with bus tickets to Chicago. The move received praise from both sides of the political aisle, as a $60 bus ticket per inmate will free up millions to be spent on more important issues like funding a border wall in Egypt.”
And, in a response to the idea of social media gatekeeping political satire, it wrote this:
“MENLO PARK, CA—Facebook has introduced a new feature that will warn you when one of your friends is sharing free and independent thoughts on its network.
“Should you encounter an unapproved opinion, Facebook will provide a pop-up warning letting you know that if you’re concerned about a friend expressing opinions derived from free thought that is not in line with big tech companies, major corporations, Hollywood, universities, or the government, you can get them help.
“The social media platform will allow you to take steps to report people who are sharing unapproved opinions. You may report them to Facebook, who will reach out to them to help them by forcibly sending them to a Facebook reeducation camp.
“’Yes, the camp is mostly brainwashing,’ Mark Zuckerberg admitted, ‘but the food is pretty good. They serve mac and cheese with the little cut-up hot dogs in there every Tuesday. Plus, we’ve got one of those big inflatable launcher things out on the lake, which you can use to relax and launch each other into the water. It’s a ton of fun. If we kidnap you and take you to our camp, we guarantee you’ll love hanging out there on the lake.’
“‘Once you finish your reeducation sessions, of course.’”
Other headlines seen on the Bee: “NFL Clarified The Entire League Isn’t Gay, Just The Dallas Cowboys,” “Britney Spears Immediately Freed After Donning Bill Cosby Mask,” “New Evidence Indicates Critical Race Theory Escaped From A Lab In A College Humanities Department.”
C’mon, man! Those are not only funny, they are fair game in the long history of political satire in America. This new trend of trying to label unfavored political thought as “misinformation” and then deplatforming it must be resisted. It is unAmerican as hell and that ain’t no joke.
The SFChron is reporting that 20% of downtown SF office space is empty. That’s a game changer for the downtown economy, isn’t it?
ONE MORE THING
And with that, let’s call it a day. Thanks for your time this week. If you’re not reading a Marinscope newspaper, you’re missing something essential to life here. See page 3A to subscribe. Also, live by the hippie credo: Be kind; question authority.
(Sherman Frederick is the editor and publisher of Marinscope Community Newspapers. You can reach him by email at email@example.com, or by phone at 415-408-1073.)