Facebook removed a video interview of President Trump with his daughter-in-law Lara Trump, a Fox News contributor. The social media company said that any content representing the “voice” of Donald Trump will not be allowed on Facebook’s main platform and Instagram.
On Tuesday, Lara uploaded a photo on Instagram of her sitting across from the former president, calling on followers to watch the interview that night.
Shortly after posting the image, a Facebook staff sent Trump officials an email warning that content “in the voice of President Trump is not currently allowed on our platforms (including new posts with President Trump speaking).”
The email further warned that such content “will be removed if posted, resulting in additional limitations on accounts that posted it.”
Nothing of significance has changed since Trump left office, apart from the narratives about how much things have changed.
The wars are still going. Washington is still the hub of an oligarchic globe-spanning empire. Americans are still being impoverished and propagandized into political impotence by an unfathomably wealthy plutocracy. Sanctions are still squeezing people to death in Venezuela, Syria, Iran and North Korea. The world’s worst mass atrocity is still continuing in Yemen. The kids are still in cages. Authoritarian creep continues to metastasize. All the old abuses roll on completely uninterrupted, along the same trajectories they were on before.
If you were to take the entire US-centralized power structure and assess its overall behavior as a whole, you would find that the actual behavioral changes amount to the tiniest fraction of a single percentile of the total. If you’d just been analyzing the raw data without looking at the news stories, you’d see that the money, troops, weapons and resources have continued to move in more or less the same ways after January 20th as they were moving before.
What has changed is the narratives, the stories that Americans are being fed by those who are responsible for controlling the way people think, act, organize, and vote. If you are a Democrat, you have been hearing that the country is now a thousand percent better without the Orange Menace in charge. If you are a Republican, you’ve been hearing that it’s a thousand percent worse. In reality, in terms of the overall operation of the empire both domestically and internationally, hardly anything of significance has changed apart from the narrative overlay.
Secrecy is the ultimateentitlement program for the Deep State. The federal government is creating trillions of pages of new secrets every year. The more documents bureaucrats classify, the more lies politicians and government officials can tell. In Washington, deniability is prized far more than truth.
At the end of the Trump era, the Deep State is triumphant at home and abroad. Trump’s epic clashes with federal intelligence and law enforcement agencies helped cripple his administration, and they illustrate the continued danger of Deep State secrecy. If all of the FBI’s shenanigans on Russiagate came to light, it would be far more difficult for the FBI to manipulate American politics and presidents in the future. If CIA records on Syrian rebels were exposed, the Biden administration would have far more difficulty dragging America back into the Syrian civil war. But both seem unlikely. Recent court rulings make clear how badly Trump failed to drain the swamp.
On January 12, 2017, FBI chief James Comey attested to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act court that the Steele dossier used to hound the Trump campaign had been “verified.” But on the same day, Comey emailed then-Director of National Intelligence James Clapper: “We are not able to sufficiently corroborate the reporting.” That email was revealed last week thanks to a multi-year fight for disclosure by the Southeastern Legal Foundation.
The first three years of Trump’s presidency were haunted by constant accusations that he colluded with Russians to win the 2016 election. The FBI launched its investigation based on ludicrous allegations from a dossier financed by the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign. In late 2019, an Inspector General report confirmed that the FBI made “fundamental errors” and persistently deceived the FISA Court to authorize surveilling the Trump campaign.
If the FBI’s deceit and political biases had been exposed in real time, there would have been far less national outrage when President Trump fired Comey. Instead, that firing was quickly followed by the appointment of Special Counsel Robert Mueller to investigate the Russian charges. In April 2019, Mueller admitted there was no evidence of collusion. Conniving by FBI officials and the veil of secrecy that hid their abuses roiled national politics for years. Not one FBI official has spent a single day in jail for the abuses. The Bureau’s charade simply confirms the nearly boundless prerogatives of the nation’s most powerful law enforcement agency.
Absurd secrecy rationales also made mincemeat of Trump’s foreign policy. One of Trump’s biggest failures abroad was his failure to end U.S. involvement in the Syrian civil war. Beginning in 2013, the Obama administration began covertly providing money and weapons to Syrian groups fighting the government of Bashar Assad. The program was a catastrophe from the start: CIA-backed Syrian rebels ended up fighting Pentagon-backed rebels. Much of the U.S. aid ended up in the hands of terrorist groups, some of whom were allied with Al Qaeda. Providing material support to terrorist organizations is a federal crime, except apparently when the weapons are sent by U.S. government agencies.
CNN host Brian Stelter asked a big question on his Sunday show. “What’s the future of fact-checking now that Trump is out of office?” He proclaimed it was “fraught with complexity, and allegations of bias and shouts of false equivalence.”
This is not complex. In 2016, a Rasmussen poll found that only 29 percent of the public trusted the media’s “fact-checking” of presidential candidates. There’s not just “allegations” of bias but easy and daily confirmation of bias.
Stelter tried to insist — on behalf of his network — that the fact-checking focus is now on President Joe Biden. CNN fact-checker Daniel Dale explained, “(I)t’s basically more like a smattering of falsehood than the daily avalanche we got from Trump, but he’s not perfect.” Dale has tried to demonstrate that he’s checking Biden, issuing an online report on 40 of Biden’s statements from his first month in office.
But there’s a catch. Dale’s becoming less visible. Mediaite noted on Feb. 20 that this CNN fact-checker was featured on air or mentioned by name on average more than once every other day since June 2019. But exposure dipped noticeably after the election, and “since President Joe Biden’s inauguration … Dale has only appeared on the network once. And that appearance, last Friday, was to fact-check Donald Trump’s lawyers.” Dale showed up with Stelter just three days after the Mediaite piece was published.
Stelter also interviewed PolitiFact editor-in-chief Angie Drobnic Holan. Is PolitiFact obsessed with fact-checking Biden? No.
In the first four weeks after Biden took the oath, PolitiFact issued two Biden fact-checks — two! Last week, it fact-checked three of Biden’s statements from the CNN town hall, since that was apparently a little too prominent to ignore. It added one more on Feb. 22. That’s six fact-checks of the president so far.
Let’s compare that to fact-checks defending Biden. In the same time frame, PolitiFact issued 19 fact-checks of Biden’s critics, and all but one of them were proclaimed “Mostly False,” “False” or “Pants on Fire.” (There was one “Half True”). There’s apparently no such thing as a “True” Biden critique.