Where Did It All Go Wrong for the Internet?

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Max Blumenthal. Photo by Ben Norton, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Wild West days of the Internet are over, conclude Scheer Intelligence host Robert Scheer and his guest, The Grayzone founder and editor Max Blumenthal. They recall a time when one could find scorching exposés of anti-establishment news on sites like Salon, with the potential to reach millions of readers, that has evolved into a tightly controlled and intensely surveilled space dominated by a handful of Silicon Valley monopolies. Inconvenient information doesn’t stand a chance and will more often than not be algorithmically butchered into oblivion.

On this episode of Scheer Intelligence, Scheer and Blumenthal reminisce about those days of the Internet and attempt to trace where it all went wrong. They frame this reflection through the growth of liberalism via the Clinton administration as well as the lasting impact of Donald Trump on American media and politics.

Blumenthal argues that liberalism, and in effect the Democratic party, works as a means to justify the true and insidious goals of the American empire such as regime change, suppressing class-based demands and maintaining hegemonic global control. This entails, says Blumenthal,  “controlling the Internet, controlling the flow of information, finding everything as disinformation that contravenes their objectives, while perpetuating this sense that people, by voting for the Democrats, can actually be more free…”

Nothing has altered the trajectory of the Internet and media more than Donald Trump’s election,  Scheer and Blumenthal opine. While Trump often used the worst facets of America’s modern history to his own advantage to discredit his establishment dwelling opponents in the 2016 election, this allowed the Democratic Party to become a coalition for any establishment figures, left or right wing, to make their case for Draconian measures used against Trump and his base. 

“So when you talk about liberalism, Bob, we're not even talking about liberalism,” says Blumenthal. “We're just talking about people who happened to not be supporting Trump, who work in the corporate world or who work in academia and live in coastal America and believe that love is love and science is real… And all they want is control because they're so afraid of this populist upsurge. They want control, and that's why they are the chief supporters of censorship on the Internet. Because the Internet is our digital commons; it's our new Hyde Park Speaker's Corner. They want control. They'll vest all of their trust in the intelligence services which are unaccountable to the public, undemocratic and opaque, to restore that control.”



Joshua Scheer