Many of our readers will be familiar by now with the common practice of our mainstream media – the Guardian has become notorious for it — of censoring political comments which challenge the US/NATO approved narrative on international affairs. As Off-Guardian has learned from Shawn Irwin, a social media contact who’s shared his screenshots with us, the CBS has come up with a new twist on this.
If your comments on the CBS news site happen to displease the resident censor, a.k.a. moderator, they will be silently removed from the stream of readers’ comments while still appearing on your own computer screen. In other words, your post shows up on your screen, but if someone else tries to view it either as a visitor to the site or as a reader who’s logged in under his or her name, it’s not there. Thus, unless you actually log out and then log in under another name, what you see on your screen will give you the impression that your comment is still there, for all other readers to see and respond to if they so wish. In reality, the politically unwelcome comment will have been removed; a discovery one can make only by chance, as Mr Irwin did a few weeks ago. Nor is his experience unique. Jesse Marioneaux has also shared with us screenshots of his comments appearing on his screen, yet invisible to other readers of the same thread.
How this is done, what the technical means used may be, whether other news outlets are also using this method of “perception management” I leave to others to speculate upon. But, here’s what it looks like in practice.
The first screenshot below shows Mr Irwin’s post (under the moniker LucifersShadow) sandwiched between a post by Catapologisttx and one by Olyboy. The text of the vanishing post reads:
“Building walls won’t change that.” But dropping bombs will? This raving &*^% also said that – I’ve Restored the US as the ‘Most Respected Country in the World – I am not sure what drugs he has been doing lately, but nations all over hate the USA because of its repressive, imperialistic policies and preference of using violence, that is bombing, drones, etc, rather than diplomacy. Obama: “We have to twist arms when countries don’t do what we need them to.” Arrogance. . . Obama, along with George Bush, and Hillary Clinton are both war criminals. You do not need to choose between twiddle-dee-dee and twiddle-dee-dumn.
Do a search on you tube for Green Party debate and Libertarian Party debate, and you will find some decent candidates for once.
Here’s what it looks like when Irwin views the page, logged in under his alias.
If you go to the relevant CBS page and search for that comment, what you will see is this:
Note how the censored comment has completely vanished, with not trace of it, no alert that it’s been deleted, while the site lets us see the record of two deleted comments which had, to all appearances, at some point taken the place of the disappeared one.
To make sure that what had happened was not merely a glitch or a fluke, Irwin then posted the same comment as Archeus-Lore, a second alias he uses, and with the same result. In both cases, what a CBS moderator took umbrage at was the description of US policies as repressive and imperialistic, the observation that the US is the most hated country in the world, and his characterization of Obama, George Bush, and Hillary Clinton as war criminals.
As Jesse Marioneaux’s screenshots of his vanishing comment show, however, our MSM moderators seem to have a very broad set of criteria on what is to be allowed and what censored from the readers’ comments. In this case, merely quipping “This country’s looking like a joke”, was deemed worthy a Matrix-effect bit of censorship. The first screenshot below shows the page as it appears when Mr Marioneaux accesses it, logged in under his name.
Here is what the same page looks like when you or I access it:
So, if you happen to look for a comment you made on one of American (or British?) news sites and can’t find it because you’ve logged out (but do see it when you log in), it’s neither your eyes nor your mind that are playing tricks on you. It’s the new censorship state and its collaborator “free press” using their latest techno-wizzardry to keep the public docile and unaware of the degree of control they now exercise over our over freedom of speech.
The idea is, clearly, to manage our perceptions, regulate which opinions are allowed to circulate in the public sphere and which are not, and to conceal the extent of the censorship-culture that continues to erode whatever’s left of democracy in the West.
We are making this available for public scrutiny in the hope that organizations which advocate and protect the freedom of speech, such as the American Civil Liberties Union in the USA, for instance, will look into this and other censorship and perception-management techniques used by the corporate media, investigate whether they might be acting in co-ordination with government agencies, and determine if these practices are constitutional and at all compatible with the requirements of democracy.