First the Second Amendment, Now the First Amendment: The Left’s Attack on Streaming Content
Not content with their efforts to ban so-called assault weapons, liberal activists like those at Everytown for Gun Safety are now looking to tell Americans what they can and cannot watch. Like the people’s democratic dictatorship, it would seem that they are taking a page from Xi Jinping’s book and attempting to block us from streaming content they don’t agree with.
Late last month, Hollywood liberals and everyday Twitter users began imploring streaming services like Amazon, Roku and Apple TV to remove NRA TV from their catalogs. It was a move that broke with the self-proclaimed progressives’ supposed love for freedom of speech.
They called for Forbes favorite Jeff Bezos to stop streaming NRA content on his website, using the hashtag #StopNRAmazon. Of the multiple platforms that have been facing heat from the Left, Amazon is getting the most flack because nearly 36 million people own an Amazon Fire stick.
A petition on Change.org suggests that the 24-hour streaming service promotes the NRA’s “propaganda,” but there’s little evidence that those boycotting the service have ever watched it. If they had, they would have seen shows like Empower the People which is hosted by a rape survivor who demonstrates how important advanced training is for gun owners.
They would have also seen the informative G/Daily which harnesses the knowledge of law enforcement officers, crime survivors, prison guards, counter-terror agents and elite military veterans to teach viewers survival skills.
The extreme Left would like the public to think that NRA TV is a never-ending orgy of civilian fatalities and slobbering maniacs ogling AR-15s when, in fact, the truth is a far cry from that nauseating image. On the contrary, it is an educational channel that offers everything from international big game hunting series to shows like Curator’s Corner which look at historical firearms less as weapons than as priceless works of decorative art.
The petition launched late last month and promptly racked up tens of thousands of signatures. This illustrates the desperation of the liberals to see their conservative counterparts silenced. We’ve seen it elsewhere as well as in the case of Facebook who removed conservative content from their platform.
It is more than a little ironic to see celebrities tweeting @Amazon and @Apple to take down NRA TV when many of them have made millions brandishing assault-style rifles in their blockbuster shoot-em-ups.
Despite his co-chaired the Bray Campaign’s Gun Control Awards in 2016, Brad Pitt had no qualms about shooting an unarmed character in the back with a Mossberg 500 in the film Killing them Softly. On the contrary, he’s had no qualms about glorifying firearms in multiple films.
One would think that it would be easy for them to start addressing their concern about gun control by turning down roles that make gun violence look sexy, but that would be detrimental to their bottom line. Instead, they are joining gun control advocacy groups in their online campaign to get streaming services to ban users from viewing NRA content.
The world has seen this kind of thing before; China famously blocks its citizens from viewing Twitter and streaming content. The Turkish government has blocked access to YouTube and Pakistan has put the kibosh on social media services.
At times like this, the best thing for Americans to do is follow the example that President Trump set when he visited China and used “special equipment” to get around the “Great Firewall.” In times of potential censorship and scrutiny, VPNs (Virtual private networks) are the first line of defense when it comes to warding off the trolls and unblocking censored content.
Virtual private networks enable us to hide our IP addresses, stream anonymously and maintain cyber security.
Some VPNs are open source, much like the blockchain-based cryptocurrency Ethereum, which is itself a viable way to anonymously pay for services offering NRA TV. Open source technology is the future of the world, one that promises to put the power in the hands of the people. And evidence suggests that the blockchain can ensure the autonomy promised us by the US Constitution.
So far, it is unclear whether Apple and Amazon will cave to the pressure placed on them by the liberals. Luckily for fans of Netflix, Hulu and more, Roku has already confirmed that they will not drop NRA TV, writing in a statement that they “do not curate or censor based on viewpoint.”
The announcement was a refreshing change of pace in the wake of Dick’s Sporting Goods and Walmart’s respective pledges to stop selling assault-style rifles and high capacity magazines. After several inundating weeks of chatter from Dems about banning guns and silencing the Right, the streaming company’s stand came as a warm welcome.
For once, we’re seeing a company stand by its unbiased bi-partisan programming in the face of attacks by the Left. Here’s hoping that giants like Amazon and Google follow suit. But if they don’t, there are plenty of practical measures Americans can take to maintain their privacy and watch the shows they have a right to watch.
No matter one’s politics or sensitivity, it should be a given that we all want to retain the First Amendment right to freedom of the press and our Fourth Amendment to personal security.
When we start censoring content that we do not agree with, we rob ourselves of the opportunity to change our minds or broaden our horizons. When that happens we enter the realm of Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 and that’s not a world worth living in.