The push from many on the political left to censor and shut down its political opposition has ramped up in recent months.
A recent example of an individual seeking to silence opposition is CNN host Brian Stelter, who attacked his network’s chief rival, Fox News, and argued that censorship of certain ideas is necessary on social media and on television as part of a “harm reduction strategy,” the Washington Examiner reported.
Stelter made the remarks during the broadcast of his show, Reliable Sources, on Sunday and argued that limiting the “freedom of reach” of certain people and entities is necessary for the good of society.
“Freedom of reach”
“How can that harm be reduced? Well, Big Tech platforms say they are removing lies about vaccines and stamping out stop the steal B.S. and QAnon cult content,” Stelter said.
“Do these private companies have too much power?” he went on. “Many people would say sure. But reducing a liar’s reach is not the same as censors freedom of speech. Freedom of speech is different than freedom of reach.”
Stelter, partially quoting former Fox News editor Chris Stirewalt, then turned his focus on rival outlets, complaining, “News consumers are both overfed and malnourished at the same time, gorging on empty information calories, indulging their sugar fixes of self-affirming half-truths, outright lies.”
“It’s impossible to make those lies go away, but they can be reduced,” the left-wing host insisted, characterizing such an effort as “harm reduction.”
Stelter then went on to deny that there was any push to deplatorm Fox News despite having just alleged that networks like it were selling “half-truths” and “outright lies” and need to change.
“Tucker Carlson is telling viewers that this network, CNN, is trying to force Fox News off the air, which is patently false,” the host said.
“It is as predictable as the sunrise. Democrats win elections, and then Republicans say they are being silenced. While some cry cancel culture, let me suggest a different way to think about this: a harm reduction model,” Stelter continued.
CNN’s @brianstelter believes the way to combat misinformation is by limiting reach, which he called a “harm-reduction model.”
“Reducing a liar’s reach is not the same as censoring freedom of speech. Freedom of speech is different than freedom of reach.” pic.twitter.com/eE0XhO81sQ
— Washington Examiner (@dcexaminer) January 31, 2021
Conservative podcast host Ben Shapiro challenged Stelter’s denial on Monday’s episode of The Ben Shapiro Show. “So you have ‘Reliable Sources,’ this is supposed to be a free speech program, saying, ‘Freedom of speech is really important, but what we would love is for private companies to restrict that freedom of speech,'” Shapiro said.