Two weeks ago, there was widespread panic on the internet when the free speech social network Gab, announced that they were creating a browser extension called Dissenter. What Dissenter promises to do is create an alternative comments section for any website.
If you are a reader of mainstream news outlets, then you have become accustomed to the fact that major publications do not have comment sections on their articles and editorials. Why? Because comment sections have influence over people’s opinion on the piece. For example, when you read a piece from the New York Times that says “Donald Trump LITERALLY praised the Nazis after Charlottesville” but then you have a comment section with 3000+ replies debunking the premise of the article, who are you more likely to believe?
The possibility that you won’t pick the media is a decision that could not be left in the hands of the citizenry according to the people who have decided that the only way to protect the narrative is to prevent people from challenging it. The only way to prevent people from challenging you is to make sure they don’t have a voice to do it. But it isn’t just multi-billion dollar corporate news media outlets who are silencing dissidents, now the ability to review film, television, and video games as a consumer are now under attack by those who wish to protect their narrative and bottom line.
In 2017, Netflix changed their rating system by removing the classic five-star ratings shortly after Amy Schumer and members of the media blamed ‘alt-right trolls‘ for giving her Netflix special ‘The Leather Special’ one-star reviews on the site. Claims that her bad reviews were the work of the alt-right to this day remain completely unfounded and for those who actually watched her special feel that the 1-star ratings were completely justified. But when Netflix decided to alter their site to take away the ability for audiences to voice their displeasure with the content of streaming service, it opened the door to a wave of online censorship. Not the type of censorship that ‘protects’ people from ‘hateful’ speech, but the type that protects the agenda those running the outlet.
By now, you have heard the story regarding Captain Marvel and Rotten Tomatoes. When users began to use Rotten Tomatoes’s ‘not interested’ feature to voice their displeasure with the comments of Brie Larson along with the marketing of that film, the media parroted claims that ‘trolls’ were ‘review bombing’ the movie. In response, Rotten Tomatoes removed the feature entirely and began to take steps to assure that the ability for audience members to leave reviews on their platform would be much harder. So why did this happen?
First, the media referred to these people as ‘trolls’, not people. By naming someone a ‘troll’ you do one of two things. First, you completely dehumanize them. If they are trolls, that means they don’t have real opinions. This is your justification to not only remove their voice but make the argument that they don’t deserve one in the first place. Secondly, the media also referred to negative feedback as ‘review bombing’. You simply can’t silence someone because they have a negative opinion about something you like unless you’re Kim Jong-un and you live a communist state. But if you refer to negative opinions as ‘review bombing’ then you establish that something nefarious is happening that requires immediate attention and silencing because we can’t have people review bombing films…unless it’s Batman vs Superman, Venom, Suicide Squad, Aquaman, Justice League, etc.
Now Steam, the distribution home of thousands of online video games are cracking down on what they call “off-topic” reviews in order to protect developers from having their games get ‘review bombed’ with ‘unfair’ ratings. What has been created here is a one-two punch to silence dissenting opinion. Why? Because we are now in a situation with the media where the most important things are money and the narrative. Who are the biggest threats to both of those things? You, the people. You choose whether you buy into the version of events that the media sells to you. You also decide with your hard earned money, whether to financially support what a media giant is trying to sell you as a consumer. If that media giant happens to be a company like Disney, then you can expect that company to protect their shared interests (In most cases, big media owns a stake in news outlets such as Disney and ABC News).
So who gets left with the short end of the stick? That would be you, the person without a voice. When your opinion comes at the expense of the controllers, your opinion becomes dangerous. Removing comment sections eliminates the possibility of someone challenging the narrative. Removing reviews of films, television shows, and video games that push a certain ‘left friendly’ agenda will push the narrative this is exactly what the fans want. Don’t be fooled, the war on reviews and opinion is simply another war on speech. Many progressives believe that government is what awards ‘rights’ to the citizens and outside of government, you don’t have the right to your free opinion, especially if they oppose it.
This is why they fear innovations like Dissenter, Dissenter is a tool that returns the voice back to the people it was taken away from, and the media can’t stop it. If there is one thing that puts the fear of God into people who don’t believe in him, it’s the ability to think for yourself rather than have someone think for you.
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One thought on “How The Attack On ‘Reviews’ Has Become The Latest War On Speech”
Another example. Popular Science and Popular Mechanics nixed their comments sections. In the case of PS, their articles on the impending apocalypse of carbon based globull warming were being expertly disputed by comments. Not long after that the comments section went away. Same for PM, which, like Scientific American and PS has gone left. “Dissenter” sounds like a great idea.