YouTube Removes Videos of Putin Critic in Latest Act of Corporate Censorship

We have been discussing the rising support for corporate censorship among leading Democratic politicians, academics, and writers. Social media and Internet companies now actively respond to calls from government officials to silence those with opposing views. The latest such example is Google-owned YouTube removing videos of jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny before Russia’s parliamentary elections.  Alphabet Inc.’s Google and Apple Inc. also pulled a voting app from Navalny ahead of the election. Nevertheless, CEO Susan Wojcicki bizarrely claimed in a Bloomberg interview Bloomberg Television that free speech remains a “core value” for the company.

Wojcicki explained that “[w]hen we work with governments, there are many things that we have to take in consideration, whether it’s local laws or what’s happening on the ground.” There is an alternative. You could simply protect free speech as the defining value of your company, particularly when “what’s happening on the ground” is an authoritarian crackdown against reformers and democratic change.

Russia banned Navalny’s groups as “extremist” organizations before the election to rig the election and YouTube carried out the orders of the Kremlin in the anti-democratic crackdown.

This is not the first such example of these companies carrying out the censorship directives from political figures. We have previously discussed Twitter’s robust censorship program that repeatedly has been denounced for bias in taking sides on scientificsocial, and political controversies. Twitter admitted to censoring criticism of India’s government and the company later flagged a critic of the Chinese government.

This is also a concern in the United States where politicians have demanded greater corporate censorship. Members of Congress are now pushing for public and private censorship on the internet and in other forums. They are being joined by an unprecedented alliance of academics, writers and activists calling for everything from censorship to incarceration to blacklists. For example, an article published in The Atlantic by Harvard law professor Jack Goldsmith and University of Arizona law professor Andrew Keane Woods called for Chinese-style censorship of the internet, stating that “in the great debate of the past two decades about freedom versus control of the network, China was largely right and the United States was largely wrong.”

Companies like YouTube are now acting as effective state medias in managing a massive system of censorship and speech controls. The action taken in Russia makes a mockery of claims that such censorship is meant to protect democracy. The only core value revealed in YouTube’s action is profit at any cost.

93 thoughts on “YouTube Removes Videos of Putin Critic in Latest Act of Corporate Censorship”

  1. Professor Turley is quoted today in the UK Telegraph re: ACLU and Woke censorship

    US free speech group accused of ‘woke’ censorship after removing ‘women’ from Ginsburg abortion quote

    On the first anniversary of the Supreme Court Justice’s death, the (ACLU) civil rights group published part of one her best known speeches, but changed the wording to make it gender neutral.

    At Ginsburg’s confirmation hearing in 1993 she was asked her position on abortion.

    In a quote that would be widely repeated in the following decades, she said: “The decision whether or not to bear a child is central to a woman’s life, to her well-being and dignity. It is a decision she must make for herself.

    “When the government controls that decision for her, she is being treated as less than a full adult human responsible for her own choices.”

    But in the version that the ACLU shared on Twitter, it removed any reference to women.

    The new quote read: “The decision whether or not to bear a child is central to a [person’s] life, to [their] well-being and dignity.

    “When the government controls that decision for [people], [they are] being treated as less than a fully adult human responsible for [their] own choices.”

    Jonathan Turley, a law professor at George Washington University, said: “Ginsburg herself would have had little patience with such woke revisionism.

    “If one accepts this view that the reference to ‘woman’ is offensive, you can still accept that historical documents should be read in their original form.”

  2. Trump Derangement Syndrome..?

    Thinkthrough, and fellow puppets of the Blog Stooge, like to say that liberal commentators suffer from ‘Trump Derangement Syndrome’. The idea seems to be that normal people recognize Trump as a normal president. As though executives in their 70’s normally have yellow hair!

    Donald Trump was the most abnormal president in history. For 4 years, Trump’s personal grievances took priority over the business of governing. Trump’s grievances are still a constant issue. The man has lived a life of wealth and privilege yet he imagines himself the victim of vast conspiracies. Conspiracies that can never be verified. Instead they always turn out like the Arizona Election Review; nothing tangible, but that’s ‘part of the conspiracy’.

    Yet Thinkthrough, and every Trump supporter, fancy normal people see nothing odd about Trump. So they label as ‘derangement’ the perceptions of truly normal people.

    1. Calling Nathan Hale: I regret I only having one head instead two to wear a MEGA hat if for no other reason to set the Commie/Fascist/Genderless Loonies hair on fire.

    2. Don’t you get it? It doesn’t matter, it NEVER mattered what party flag Trump ran under. The fact that he wasn’t a polished, focus group tested, career Beltway Insider WAS the appeal. The fact that he gave the middle finger to the very concept of “Presidential” was and is the reason he built a loyal support base.

      The simple fact is if you have spent a lifetime giving speeches, getting elected, and raising funds for campaign after campaign while you spend years in the House, Senate, Governor’s office, etc, is all that is necessary to disqualify you from office. A career in elected office is not now, nor should it ever be a positive thing on the resume for someone who wants’ to lead the country.

      I don’t care what you call yourself, Liberal, Progressive, Conservative, Libertarian, doesn’t matter. If you have spent your professional life getting elected, you are unfit for the highest office.

    3. “. . . like the Arizona Election Review; nothing tangible . . .”

      That is inaccurate.

      Some people need to learn the difference between a “recount” and an “audit.” The AZ *recount* revealed “nothing tangible.” The *audit* revealed much that is tangible — that points to either incompetence or fraud, that could have a material affect on the results.

    4. “The man has lived a life of wealth and privilege yet he imagines himself the victim of vast conspiracies. “

      Do you prefer a failure as President? Doesn’t that sound a bit foolish?

      “yellow hair”

      Do you prefer yellow hair to a successful end to the Afghanistan war. Biden doesn’t have yellow hair. His Afghan retreat was a failure and killed people. Preferring the hair not to be yellow sounds a bit foolish.

    5. The man has lived a life of wealth and privilege yet he imagines himself the victim of vast conspiracies. Conspiracies that can never be verified.
      A united project between the FBI, DoJ, State Dept, CIA, And the 5I’s is sort of a classic example of a conspiracy.
      We know the Foreign intelligence agencies are involved because those aligned against the President were public about NOT declassifying intel, because of the problem it would cause for our allies. All of the involvement of all these agencies and Foreign powers are all a matter of public record. The head of Mi6 promptly resigned days after the election when he knew all would be exposed. Steffen Halper has never been interviewed and Josheph Mifsud has not been seen in public, since.

    1. Young, your article tells us that Milley’s calls to China were witnessed by several others. So it doesn’t sound the least bit sneaky. In fact, I read that even Trump’s Chief Of Staff, Mark Meadows knew about the calls. That was ‘normal’ for Trump’s White House. Everyone had to protect Trump from Trump. He was essentially a mad king.

      1. But when the Taliban acted up after the agreement, Trump immediately stopped the madness and no Americans were killed over about 18 months. In comes Biden who actually needs to be protected from his senility and bad judgement of 47 years in the Senate. Biden destroyed western unity, soft power, killed Americans, killed our friends, and left Afghanistan so that America could face more prospects of terrorism. It seems failure is your preferred outcome.

      2. Read carefully. Ignore the media lies. You learn that Meadows and Pampeo were notifired of the call…after.
        The larger context. There was NO EVIDENCE, that the Chinese had any angst.
        The Larger context. The Chairman of the Joints Cheif of Staff are not authorized to conduct foriegn affairs. That is the Constitutional perview of the Executive Branch, and implemented through the Department of State. Not the military head of the armed forces, Controlled by the Civilian Secretary of Defense, answering to the President of the United States.
        Milley is wildly ignoring the Chain of Command.

    2. I believe I have a fairly good grasp of the military chain of command. Where does the Speaker of the House fit in? When the Pelosi calls Milley to ask about anything to do with the command structure and more specifically the competence of the CinC, shouldn’t he report the inquiry up to his superiors?

      1. Olly,

        Exactly. Where is Pelosi in the chain of command?

        Somebody should ask Milley where the President is in the chain of command. He doesn’t seem to know, or care.

    3. Rats fleeing the ship.

      Yes, they told the truth about the number of troops to leave in Afghanistan. But that’s small potatoes.

      Meanwhile, all three (Austin, Milley, and McKenzie) lied during the Taliban’s romp to Kabul, during the mangled withdrawal, and after the entire debacle. Now their playing CYA, and not one of them takes responsibility for the disaster that they were in charge of.

      A pox on both of their houses.

  3. Professor Turley says that “[YouTube] CEO Susan Wojcicki bizarrely claimed in a Bloomberg interview Bloomberg Television that free speech remains a “core value” for the company.” There is nothing bizarre about Wojcicki’s claim. YouTube is committed 100% to “free speech” and it is, indeed, a core value for the Company and for Alphabet. Professor Turley just needs to understand that YouTube and its parent company allow any any all opinions to to be freely expressed as long as they comply and comport with the views of the Elite Establishment, who properly determine what people should be saying, writing, and thinking.

  4. Stephanie Grisham Recalls Exchanges Between Trump And Putin

    Donald Trump told Vladimir Putin he had to act tough next to the Russian president for the cameras, according to the former White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham.

    “OK, I’m going to act a little tougher with you for a few minutes,” Grisham says she heard Trump tell his Russian counterpart in Osaka in 2019. “But it’s for the cameras, and after they leave, we’ll talk. You understand.”

    Grisham makes the claim in a new book, I’ll Take Your Questions Now, which will be published next week.

    Mueller did not establish a conspiracy but stressed that he did not exonerate Trump of seeking to obstruct justice. Speculation over the two leaders’ relationship remained rampant, particularly over a meeting alone save for interpreters in Helsinki in 2018.

    In front of the media at the G20 summit in Osaka in 2019, with Grisham sitting nearby, Trump joked with Putin that they should both “get rid” of journalists who published “fake news”, saying: “You don’t have this problem in Russia.”

    Putin said: “Yes, yes, we have too, the same.”

    Trump later smirked, pointed at Putin and said: “Don’t meddle in the election.”

    Grisham was Trump’s third press secretary, an unhappy reign in which she did not hold a single White House briefing. Her book has been extensively trailed, titbits including a comparison of Melania Trump to Marie Antoinette.

    Edited From:

    Key Sentence From Above: “Speculation over the two leaders’ relationship remained rampant, particularly over a meeting alone save for interpreters in Helsinki in 2018”.

    Trump had a 2018 meeting with Putin witnessed by only interpreters. This is remarkable because by the then the Mueller Probe was already well-established. Did Trump not want to cover his butt by having other officials present? Presidents, in fact, should ‘always’ have witnesses present when speaking to foreign leaders. Someone has to know what was said in case the president dies in office. In the aftermath of a president’s death, we can’t have foreign leaders claiming the late president made certain promises. And Putin is, no doubt, the type of foreign leader who might just claim certain promises were made.

    Another Key Sentence From Above: Trump later smirked, pointed at Putin and said: “Don’t meddle in the election.”

    Trump became the first American president to draw a Special Counsel investigation within his first 6 months in office. He then openly disparaged Robert Mueller on numerous occasions. So it’s odd that Trump was able to joke about the probe with Putin; especially in the presence of others. One would think the probe would have been so unfunny to Trump, that it’s the ‘last’ thing he would’ve joked about.

    1. Anonymous loves tell all books about Trump. Never for a moment does Anonymous think that there is large amounts of money to be made in a tell all. Even millions. Anonymous reads the National Enquirer and believes every story to be true. If it lends itself to Anonymous’ view it must be the most true story ever written.

      1. Some folk have no perspective and even less of a memory. One day this Anonymous should look at international affairs and see what Trump attempted to do with Russia. The Democrats tried to stop that.

        Which is more dangerous?

        1) Russia and China against the US?

        2) Russia or China individually against the US

        It’s a 50:50 chance of getting the right answer, but based on your comments, you will scr-w that up as well. The idea in world politics is to try and keep your enemies separated. Russia isn’t the threat that China is though you might have to see the Chinese flag raised over your house to see that.

    2. Has anyone noticed a pattern. Whenever Professor Turley writes about censoring of free speech by big tech Anonymous changes the subject. I have been looking for just one time when Anonymous will tell us about the importance if free speech in a free nation. It’s always Trump did this or Trump did that instead of a defense of one of the founding principles of our nation. Anonymous spends more time on a man of the past then on an obvious danger to our nation in the present. Like alcoholism once you have Trump Derangement Syndrome you always have Trump Derangement Syndrome. Anonymous wants us to think that she is guarding the nation against Trump while refusing to stand up for the nations most important freedom in the founding documents. Anonymous’ protection of the nation is hidden by a very thin veil of insincere concern.

    3. Prosecutors do not exonerate anyone. That’s not in their scope of responsibilities. To clarify, if they don’t have enough evidence to win a conviction the best solution is to drop the case or the investigation, but they don’t have the option to exonerate; it’s simply not and has never been a prosecutorial tool. That Mueller (or more likely one of the team members) added that commentary means nothing, legally. To clarify further, when have you ever heard a prosecutor exonerate anyone? Defendants are either found guilty or acquitted in court but never ‘legally’ exonerated.

    4. Key Sentence From Above: “Speculation over the two leaders’ relationship remained rampant, particularly over a meeting alone save for interpreters in Helsinki in 2018”.

      Can someone with the secret leftist decoder ring please translate this for me. All I see is the enirety of leftist though in the first word of the sentence. The rest is meaningless filler, to add to the word count.

  5. Putin is laughing his ass off.

    At who? Hillary, the Democrats, the American security state, and the media. Not to mention their fellow travelers on this blog.

    Why? Because Putin’s goal was to sow division and weaken America. Drunk with their lust for power and their hatred for Trump, Hillary and the Dems spent years concocting conspiracy theories (Clinton, Perkins Coie and the fabricated server, anyone?), funneling misinformation into our security state and secret courts (the Steele dossier, the FBI and the FISA courts, for example), and destabilizing a duly elected president (years of digging by Mueller, Weissman and their accomplices, fueled by breathless accusations and leaks). They helped Putin succeed behind his wildest dreams. And now that the Dems are back in power, their allies in the American tech industry have the green light to help Putin censor his domestic opposition.

    Putin is laughing his ass off.

  6. Big tech companies have become cats’ paws for authoritarians in government, allowing bureaucrats and politicians to violate the Constitution without blame.

  7. Radio Free Europe. The Voice of America.
    In days past.
    Some wealthy person needs to fund a free speech website.

  8. These big tech companies need to be broken up, they are far too powerful and have far too much public and political influence and bias. The are “Too Big To Survive”.

  9. Turley– “The only core value revealed in YouTube’s action is profit at any cost.”

    They will do anything and say anything to protect their rice bowl.

    Antitrust now. State laws creating liability for censorship and election meddling now. Crack the rice bowl.

  10. The standard defense of Google et al. in this situation is that these are private companies that can do what they want with their platforms. The standard remedy for the problem that this creates for free speech is to call for breaking the companies up via anti-trust laws. There is nothing objectionable about either of these arguments, and I support breaking these companies up because it is nowobvious that this must be done to preserve the possibility of free public discourse.

    The idea that is rarely discussed when addressing tech monopoly power over speech is the constitutional question of whether the government can indirectly control the free speech of private companies that it is prohibited from controlling directly, by effectively intimidating them with implicit and explicit threats to change laws in adverse ways that could really give those companies a hard time, e.g. Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, hauling their CEOs repeatedly before Congress to testify and browbeating them to “de-platform” what the government wants them to suppress, etc. Glenn Greenwald ran a piece on this apparently new First Amendment issue once, but I haven’t seen anything else on it since. I’d like to hear what Turley thinks about it as a strictly legal question, politics aside. Can Congress do this under the First Amendment?

    Finally, where is Turley on Julian Assange? I just searched Assange’s name on the blog and the last mention Turley made of him was February 1, 2020. This is after he pointed out on May 26, 2019 that Assange’s case was the John Peter Zenger case of our time. It was just revealed that the CIA conspired to assassinate, i.e., murder Assange, who has been ruthlessly persecuted for exposing war crimes in a trumped-up trial that has no credibility as a matter of law and is revealing the legal system to be nothing more than an instrument of the powerful that is used against the less powerful. Turley’s credibility on free speech is downgraded in my mind when I think that he has not used his reach to denounce the case against Assange every day, but especially now, when the government has been exposed as no better than gangsters.

  11. Social media was all about publishing false information about Trump’s so called collusion with Russia. It’s looking like the real purpose for the lies was to establish a smoke and mirrors to distract from their own actual collusion. And, they will get away with it. As Trump would tweet…SAD

    1. It’s looking like the real purpose for the lies was to establish a smoke and mirrors to distract from their own actual collusion.

      And it works. As Bezmenov stated, we now have generations of demoralized people unable to distinguish facts from fiction. It’s very SAD.

        1. Yeah, I saw that earlier today. Good luck getting a jury of his peers. They’ll all be woke and double-vaxxed.

  12. There is no use in saying these words That you are about to read, that I have seen so many times on the Internet and you the reader of my comment have seen them so many times to. “Time to break-up big media companies such as, Facebook, Twitter, Google, etc etc.” The reason I say there’s no use in posting these words anymore is because nothing absolutely nothing is ever going to be done about it as long as the party that is in Power right now remains in power.

    And if history is any kind of a teacher the Republicans will not do anything if they took back the House and the Senate and the White House. Look what happened when they held both houses before. Look at the things they ran on and they lied to all of us so we would vote for them so they could take the house and the senate. They swore up and down they would defund PLANNED-PARENTHOOD , NPR, The NEA, = NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR THE ARTS. Break-up big-tech. Put a stop once and for all to the power of the NEA = National Education Association.

    I can keep going and going. They held the house & senate and yet, they never wield power like the anti-democrat-party does. They have not had an actual ON-FIRE Party leader inside the Senate or the House of Representatives. Furthermore, up until Donald Trump came along, the GOP has not had a fire-brand party leader. Not in this Baby-Boomer’s lifetime. And the party needs, it needs an on fire party leader in both houses that will call out this evil vile party for what it really is that’s in power for right now.

    Call it what it really is. Put Biden front and center with the videotape that Tucker cross and played the other night of Joe Biden bragging, about what an “Unrelenting stream of immigration”, will do to our white race. What it will do to our Nation. And in the name of God, never 👎, ever, 👎 apologize for what he or she says!! NOT EVER!!

  13. (OT)

    The FDA’s Covid Deaths and Destruction

    Moderna developed its Covid vaccine in about *48 hours*. That was mid-January of 2020. (It was based on 15-years of research into the vaccine’s underlying technology.) Allow 3 months (worst case) for additional testing. That brings us to mid-April of 2020.

    The first vaccine was not administered in the U.S. until early December 2020. That means that Americans were subjected to 7 months of suffering and death — all because of FDA regulations. If you think that the FDA exists to protect your health, think again.

    “But three months from the design of the Moderna vaccine was April 13 [2020]. The second and third surges, the return to school and the long-dreaded fall, 225,000 more deaths and 50 million more infections — all of that still lay ahead. Shave another month off somehow and you’re at March 13, the day the very first person in New York City died.”

  14. Profit at any cost is right. Anyone that thinks Silicone Valley is their ‘friend’ is delusional. This is not new. I’m glad there’s more awareness now, but it needed to happen a looong time ago. Funny how in the current climate all mention of regulation has evaporated on the left, huh?

  15. It is time to end safe harbor for these companies. If twitter, facebook, google, etc. want to selectively publish content, they should be held legally responsible for content they publish (like any publisher). If they want the protection of being an open platform, they need to be a open platform.

    1. Every platform “selectively publishes content” whether that means enforcing their terms of service (that stuff you agree to when you sign up) or editorial control (only publishing stories that meet editorial standards whatever those may be- ideological, grammatical, etc). So what do you mean “held legally accountable?” For what and by whom?

  16. Social media has proven unworthy of the power that it acquired.

    We know all the examples, but basically social media supports the strong against the week.

    Companies like Twitter are anti-democratic.

    Time to break them up in order to lessen the power of an authoritarian force.

    1. “Time to break them up in order to lessen the power of an authoritarian force.”

      So give the government authoritarian power, to combat an (alleged) “authoritarian force.”

      I see you’re not a fan of the law of noncontradiction.

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