by Michael Tennant
25 January 2012
Do you think anthropogenic global warming is a hoax?
Are you unconvinced
that your ancestors had more in common with Cheetah than with Tarzan?
you any doubts about the official version of how 9/11 went down?
according to Evgeny Morozov, are part of a “kooky” “fringe movement” whose
growth must be checked by forcing you to read “authoritative” content
whenever you go looking for information on such topics on the Internet.
Morozov is a visiting scholar at Stanford University, a contributing editor
to Foreign Policy magazine, and a former fellow at George Soros’ Open
Society Institute - in other words, a reliable bellwether of globalist
His musings in Slate - in which he argues that while
outright censorship of the web may not be possible, getting browsers and
search engines to direct people to establishment-approved opinions would be
an excellent idea - offer,
“proof of how worried the bad guys are about
popular disbelief in State pieties, and about sites… that stoke it,” Lew
citing his own website as an example.
The New American
undoubtedly would fall under that rubric as well.
The problem, as Morozov sees it, is that people who “deny” global warming or
think vaccines may cause autism - opinions that conflict with those
proffered by governments, the United Nations, and other globalist
organizations - can post anything they want on the Internet with “little or
no quality control” over it.
As a result, he says, there are,
sites that undermine scientific consensus, overturn well-established facts,
and promote conspiracy theories.”
In addition, Morozov worries that those searching for information on a
disputed topic will, because of the way search engines are structured, tend
to find sites giving the politically incorrect version of events first and
may never get around to reading the “authoritative” sources on the subject.
“Meanwhile,” he argues, “the move toward social search may further insulate
regular visitors to such sites; discovering even more links found by their
equally paranoid friends will hardly enlighten them.”
Then comes the big question with the foreordained answer:
“Is it time for
some kind of a quality control system?”
Morozov, not surprisingly, replies
strongly in the affirmative.
Since dissuading those already committed to
these outré views may be impossible, he thinks,
“resources should go into
thwarting their growth by targeting their potential - rather than existent -
“Given that censorship of search engines is not an appealing or
even particularly viable option”,
...note that he doesn’t say he opposes
censorship per se.
Morozov argues for changes to browsers and search
engines that would notify users that they are about to see something that
the self-appointed arbiters of acceptable opinion have deemed unfit for
human consumption and, if possible, direct them elsewhere.
He suggests two approaches to ensuring that web searchers are not exposed to
One is to train our browsers to flag information that may be suspicious or
Thus, every time a claim like “vaccination leads to autism”
appears in our browser, that sentence would be marked in red - perhaps, also
accompanied by a pop-up window advising us to check a more authoritative
The trick here is to come up with a database of disputed claims that
itself would correspond to the latest consensus in modern science - a
challenging goal that projects like “Dispute Finder” are tackling head on.
The second - and not necessarily mutually exclusive - option is to nudge
search engines to take more responsibility for their index and exercise a
heavier curatorial control in presenting search results for issues like
“global warming” or “vaccination.”
Google already has a list of search
queries that send most traffic to sites that trade in pseudoscience and
conspiracy theories; why not treat them differently than normal queries?
Thus, whenever users are presented with search results that are likely to
send them to sites run by pseudo-scientists or conspiracy theorists,
may simply display a huge red banner asking users to exercise caution and
check a previously generated list of authoritative resources before making
up their minds.
Morozov admits that his suggestions “may seem paternalistic” and,
trigger conspiracy theories of [their] own - e.g., is Google shilling for
Big Pharma or for Al Gore?”
However, he concludes, it is,
“a risk worth
taking as long as it can help thwart the growth of fringe movements.”
fact, he adds, Google should “atone for its sins” of inventing “social
search” (whereby links shared by one’s friends are presented more
prominently than others) by,
“ensur[ing] that subjects dominated by
pseudoscience and conspiracy theories are given a socially responsible curated treatment.”
Morozov’s concerns about the Internet’s openness to anti-establishment views
are not new among the power elite. As far back as 1998, then-First Lady
Hillary Clinton bemoaned the lack of a “gate-keeping function” that allows
anyone to post anything on the web.
Morozov’s proposed solutions to this
perceived problem are not exactly original, either, as Paul Joseph Watson
observed at Infowars.com:
[Morozov’s contention] represents a similar argument to Cass Sunstein’s
“cognitive infiltration,” an effort by Obama’s information czar to slap
government warnings on controversial websites (including those claiming that
exposure to sunlight is healthy).
widely derided white paper, Sunstein
called for political blogs to be forced to include pop ups that show 'a
quick argument for a competing view.' He also demanded that taxes be levied
on dissenting opinions and even suggested that outright bans on certain
thoughts should be enforced.
Indeed, notes Watson,
“Morozov’s rhetoric is merely one aspect of the wider
move to turn the Internet into an echo chamber of establishment propaganda.”
We can, therefore, expect calls for Internet censorship to continue and even
become more pronounced.
Many people thus have good reason to fear that the
Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) is a back door to government censorship of the
Clearly the globalist establishment is running scared.
blackout and the popularity of Ron Paul attest, the Internet is enabling
individuals to see through the smokescreen of propaganda emanating from
Washington and to mobilize effectively against threats to their liberties.
In fact, that very free flow of information on the web may be the one thing
standing between the elites and their dreams of - as Watson put it -,
“Chinese-style thought control.”