How Reddit Is Crushing The Voices Of The Politically Independent
I am really loathed to bite the hand that feeds. But here at Indie Truther, a promise has been made to give you personal experience to paint a picture of how the reality of things is oftentimes much different than what is espoused. And it’s only when you dig a little deeper that you see the problem is much worse than originally anticipated, along with being more widespread as well. The popular social media outlet Reddit has recently become the latest in promoting the idea of people honestly helping people by espousing anonymity as a cloak, by changing the exact definitions of “right” and “wrong.”
Written By: Anton Sawyer
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Since complaining about Reddit on Reddit is fairly popular, we need to determine when the beginnings of this moral divide began, and start there. This look back is also going to include how we were able to get such national treasures as Rush Limbaugh and Fox News too. Everything in the article today will research how not only the moderators of Reddit, but many business and political leaders too, have been able to skew so widely apart. Whenever someone of power says they want to “end divisional politics in the news,” they are lying most of the time.
The number one complaint I hear on both conservative and liberal political analysts, or “talking heads,” preach about wishing there was no slant to mass media; history shows that’s not true. This is especially so when it comes to those with a Republican bent. The reason I say this with such certainty is that for the first 40 years of widespread increased broadcasting in the United States (the late 1940s through 1987) was completely fair and balanced. LEGALLY REQUIRED to be fair and balanced. The FCC policy The Fairness Doctrine required “licensed radio and television broadcasters to present fair and balanced coverage of controversial issues of interest to their communities, including by granting equal airtime to opposing candidates for public office.”
Whether you were a Democrat or Republican, each side was given the same amount of airtime. As its name implies, it was designed to keep the political landscape in check. This is how it was until 1987 when GOP leaders—including former President Ronald Reagan—realized that this equality was harmful to the branding of their message. Regan was a charismatic genius, I have to give him that. His landslide victory in 1984 was mostly based on the fact that Americans had completely bought into Reaganomics and national pride was at an all-time high. So when you are trying to sell the American public on the idea that everything is awesome, then warnings about a rocky economy (with double-digit inflation potentially causing downfall on the horizon) comes immediately after, it causes confusion. Through legislative and executive action The Fairness Doctrine was dismantled.
I know there are those on both sides of the fence that dismiss this idea as a catalyst towards the division in America. However, I cannot see a more recent (or even better) example of cause and effect than what happened after its repeal. Within the first five years, former G.O.A.T. of conservative talk radio Rush Limbaugh was syndicated nationwide. He had exploded in the late 1980s and had become enough of a national figure that adding him to thousands of radio stations could only be the next logical step in his career. Within two years of him going national in 1992, the Republican party took control of the House of Representatives. The importance of this event cannot be understated as the DNC had held control of the House for 40 years—1952 to 1994. Within five years of Limbaugh-mania, Fox News Channel was born, and quickly became the number one cable news source for the US. The divisions were primed by the removal of the doctrine. If ANY political cable network says they hate the slant of the opposition, they don’t. It’s good for business.
During the 21st Century, we have seen this division branch out to breathtaking amounts. Both sides will do whatever they can to illustrate the shortcomings of their opposition. Sure, liberals use more statistic, fact-based information to present their cases, so their section does appeal to those with a more educated flavor. Conservatives go for the doomsday angle, which is also highly effective. Regardless of the method, it helps to perpetuate this “us against them” mentality; which kills the forward progress brought about by earnest discussion in many cases. It’s when you take the most extreme ends of both parties, the pro-Trump nation and the Social Justice Warriors, that you separate the wheat from the chaff. By this I mean, the moderates of each side are leaving in droves. Many liberals love blue humor—for example, I can promise you that H3H3 Productions fanbase is not 100% conservative—but are so worried about how their lives could be wrecked in any number of creative ways by the SJWs, that they just kind of … go along. Many conservatives outright hate everything that Trump stands for, but they too kind of tow-the-line. It’s when a company says they are all about expanding the discussion, yet their actions don’t follow suit, it becomes a problem. Enter Reddit.
Reddit is one of the world’s largest online communities. And I mean community in the literal sense. In order to allow the flow of honesty in ANY discussion, they push anonymity quite a bit. Of course, there’s the argument that if someone is completely anonymous, their evil side comes out into all kinds of harassment. Yes, this happens. But it also allows people to share intimate details about their lives knowing that it will be safe through being anonymous, in an attempt to help a fellow person with bettering the lives of everyone. Let’s say someone had a traumatic event, and it’s one that you’ve been through and can relate to. Because your true identity is secure, you can really open up and share details about your experience that you normally wouldn’t have otherwise. This is why you can find any topic ranging from mental health awareness to topless women holding a beer for comments and upvotes. Almost anywhere the human imagination can go, there’s a subreddit for it. But people are going to people, and when there are different moderators for different topics, each with their own potential agenda, it gets messy. In fact, it was because of moderators that Reddit found themselves in hot water recently with massive protests causing hundreds of subreddits to shut down temporarily.
Everything stemmed from Reddit hiring an administrator named Aimee Knight (previously known under the surname of Challenor). Knight, 23, had a controversial political career in the UK. She had been suspended by the U.K Green Party in 2018 after it emerged her father, David Challenor, was appointed as Knight's election agent despite him previously being charged with multiple serious sexual offenses, including taking indecent photographs, false imprisonment, rape, and sexual assault of a child in November 2016. It kicked off on social media when another moderator of the popular community r/ukpolitics shared an article that mentioned Aimee Challenor by name. This triggered the website's anti-doxxing protection for its employee. This caused the article and other information pertaining to the nefarious past of Knight to be removed. By doing this, a whole other section of the Reddit community began to protest, making it known they were upset that it appeared like Reddit was covering the tracks or trying to enact censorship of some kind. There’s a lot of nuances to this case, one element including that some users suspected the increased protections were necessary for Knight because she has faced harassment online previously due to her being transgender. By the end, Knight was let go, and the information was allowed back to the site. However, this isn’t the most recent example. The most recent involves yours truly.
Over the past month, we have really grown, and we cannot thank our readers enough. We receive emails, contacts, and comments that let us know we’re on the right track. In a recent series of emails back-and-forth with one of our Truthers, we’ve found that the inconsistencies inherent in Reddit are impacting independent news. What we found is that if this person posted anything in certain subreddits, like r/conservative, they would be immediately banned from r/blacklivesmatter and vice versa—no matter the content of the post. This means someone could post in the conservative section the most critical story ever written, but if certain words trigger the algorithm, the moderators of the other subreddits don’t want to hear from you at all. This essentially crushes any truly independent discussion, further perpetuating what I spoke about earlier when it comes to silencing the moderate members of each party.
I know a lot of people who are socially liberal, but fiscally conservative. They hate the policies of the GOP, but can’t support the larger government. If they support LGBTQ rights, but happen to praise the fiscal policies of a conservative administration, they are left to feel that their voices don’t matter when it comes to equal rights. There are a thousand examples I could place here, but you get the idea. It seems somewhat hypocritical to try and protect who people are so they can be open, but then tell them that if they do, then their voices could be silenced elsewhere.
I’m all about companies having their own policies and being allowed to enforce them. If Twitter wants to ban Trump, it’s their choice. If Reddit wants to continue to allow the moderators to make the rules as they go along, even if those rules fly directly in the face of the company goal, then that’s great. But please don’t pretend to be the most open forum of discussion currently in the sphere of humanity. The façade is starting to crack kids …
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