Watch the full episode here:
Good evening. It's Tuesday, November 28.
Tonight: Since the October 7h attack by Hamas in Israel and Joe Biden's immediate announcement that the U.S. would support Israel and fund its new war in Gaza, many American citizens have been punished in various ways for expressing their views on this new war. Some have been fired or have been placed on “no hire” lists, others have had their student groups banned because of the views they express, while still others have been de-platformed, censored, or publicly vilified with trucks that ride around with their face on them.
For years, many journalists and pundits built their very lucrative careers by denouncing exactly these sorts of recriminations that were intended as reprisals for political speech. They railed against what they called “cancel culture,” warned of the dangers of censorship and in general insisted that society is far healthier when people are rationally engaged, rather than fired, censored or publicly strung up for their disagreeable views.
Yet many of those very same people who quite lucratively branded themselves as champions of free speech and the right to express controversial views without being fired from your job, the need to toughen up and hear views that make you uncomfortable, have strangely become some of the leading voices, not just endorsing, but demanding these very various punishments for these political views about this war. The way they have justified all of that is by using the same exact left-liberal censorship theories that they spent years railing against. They claim that what is being punished is not free speech, but hate speech and not just hate speech, but advocacy of genocide against a minority group, that the people who have been fired or otherwise punished have all called for the murder of all Jews.
But is that true? We'll take a look at some of the high-profile cases of Americans who have been fired or otherwise punished for their views in the United States since October 7 and we'll examine what they actually did and did not say. I think the results might be somewhat surprising.
Then: it has become gospel in U.S. political discourse that TikTok is a weapon of the Chinese Communist Party designed to propagandize young Americans into hating the United States. That was one of the core claims that Democratic Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut made on CNN in a segment we covered last night where he argued that more social media censorship is needed in the wake of this new war in Israel. But is that claim true?
TikTok just recently banned all videos discussing the 2002 Osama bin Laden letter, the letter that explained to Americans the grievances of the Muslim world against the United States government. Why would TikTok – if it's trying to sow division and make Americans hate their own government – censor a letter that the American government itself tried to censor? We'll dig a little deeper to ask on whose behalf is TikTok actually censoring in the United States.
Then finally, CNN today announced what it clearly regards as a groundbreaking journalistic achievement, the scoop of historic proportions, it “obtained” – that's the self-glorifying verb used – it obtained Liz Cheney's new book, one where she rants and raves against Democrats, the Republican Party and Donald Trump and Kevin McCarthy and new Republican House Speaker Mike Johnson. Exactly what you'd expect. CNN not only ‘obtained’ the book, but they're bravely showing us some of the excerpts where she shockingly bashes Trump and the Republican Party. We’ll pay homage to our colleagues and their intrepid and courageous reporting, people who incurred unimaginable – unimaginable – dangers to break the story, provoking the wrath of power centers throughout the world and we'll examine what the implications of this earth-shattering parting from CNN are.
For now, welcome to a new episode of System Update starting right now.