What I expected then, after Trump would have unceremoniously lost the 2016 election, was a type of cultural purge against anybody and everybody who enabled his run or supported him. What surprised me was that after he won the cultural purge proceeded anyway. In retrospect it seems obvious, at the time it blindsided me.
For the next four years we watched any (remaining) semblance of objectivity and impartiality wither away from the mainstream media. Even more troubling, was that it was also happening withinBig Tech. Everything polarized and all judgement calls became characteristically asymmetrical. As I noted on occasion, that compared to the post 9/11 era when the Neocons controlled the narrative and the word “liberal” was a slur, everything flipped. Now it was the word “conservative” that was unusable and being a single micron to the right of centre was equated with being “literally Hitler”.
I could list the countless examples of deplatformings, cancellations, character assassinations and careers destroyed in the intervening time. It became so ridiculous, so devoid of any attempt at a claim to due process or fairness that an entire counter-culture has formed around criticizing or ridiculing it. I wrote a book about defending from deplatform attacks, which I started giving away for free in April when Big Tech started deplatforming deviant reporting on the COVID-19 crisis. Babylon Bee sprang into existence and quickly rivalled The Onion, riffing on cancel culture and hitting headwinds on multiple occasions when their scathing satire was indistinguishable from the reality they were lampooning.