George Galloway: I now wear a star on my chest thanks to Twitter’s extraordinary ‘state media’ discrimination
I don't know if you will ever read this. At the least, it will now have a metaphorical red star atop it, in a (vain, I hope) attempt to dissuade you from doing so.
Twitter's latest censorship maneuver – labelling work such as this as somehow the act of an enemy agent – is both transparently wrong and opaquely confusing at the same time.
It claims the guidance is being applied to “state-affiliated” media, but in fact it applies only to some such organisations. The BBC is exempted, even though the relationship of the corporation to the state could not be clearer. You get fined and can ultimately even go to jail in Britain if you don't pay the BBC your “licence fee” (which in total earned the network over £3 billion last year) – even if you never watch it!
The state appoints the chair and members of the BBC Board, who control the vast army of transcribers and stenographers who sing the same song as the state and are creatures of what Dr Johnson called the “grimmest dictatorship” of them all – “the dictatorship of the prevailing orthodoxy.” And, just in case, the state regulator Ofcom patrols the borderline of that orthodoxy to make sure even the commercial media stays well within it.
The British government's Foreign Office has given the BBC World Service dozens of millions of pounds since the Second World War to pump out British state propaganda to the world. At one time in Bush House (no kidding), every language group in Yugoslavia had a dedicated radio station fomenting the break-up of the country. At least in that case the state got its money's worth. But there will be no health warning slapped over the output of these shills.
Perhaps most absurdly, neither will there be a label slapped on the Voice of America.
There cannot be a sentient being anywhere in the world who is unaware that the Voice of America does what it says on the tin! It is, literally, the voice of America. From the Cold War until now – though with ever-dwindling audiences – it is unashamedly a soft-power arm of the US state, and wholly financed by that state.
Twitter has said they are looking at other states, but so far only Russia, China and Iran are having to wear the star. I don't have a crystal ball, nor have I tarot cards, but I am willing to bet on the short list of journalistic outfits next up for the treatment. And I don't have to educate an audience like this one as to who they will be. Assuming this ever gets to you.
Of course, Twitter has not been TOLD by the US and British governments to take this brazenly discriminatory step – which I believe to be unlawful – because, well, there's no reason to. While TikTok is supposedly sending Chinese Communist propaganda to millions of our karaoke-ing teenagers, Western social media companies are paragons of virtue. Platforms with hundreds of thousands of accounts – ranging from paedophiles through perverts all the way to ISIS and Al-Qaeda (which they can't POSSIBLY be expected to police) no doubt – but virtuous where it counts. The enemies of the White House and Downing St are the enemies of Twitter (after a decent time-lag to preserve decorum).
Unlike journalists at the BBC, I have never been told what to write or say on any RT platform. Of course, the cowering craven crowds in the MSM only need to be told once, and only in general terms. After that they're just doing what comes naturally.
But it's me who is wearing a star on my chest today, not any of them. It's only a small star, to be sure. But a cloud no bigger than a man's hand can be a harbinger of great storms to come. I'm getting my raincoat out of the closet just in case.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.