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[EXCLUSIVE] Matt Taibbi: How Hidden Actors Distort Reality and Enforce Consensus

“This is the new technology of speech in America: You can dial people all the way up to ‘everybody sees it,’ and you can dial someone else down to ‘it’s almost impossible to see them.’ And that is extremely dangerous, and it’s especially dangerous if it’s done in secret and nobody knows exactly how it operates.”

In this episode, Jan Jekielek sits down with investigative journalist Matt Taibbi. He was one of the key investigators of the Twitter Files, which exposed collusion between social media companies, the nonprofit sector, and the federal government to censor Americans on a mass scale.

“In parallel to this censorship program, I think what they’re doing—with things like shadow banning and denylisting—is they’re trying to simplify controversies and reduce everybody’s intellectual field of view and, in doing so, kind-of drain our will to be curious, to stand up for ourselves, [and] to think about things in a complicated way,” says Mr. Taibbi.

We discuss the current state of journalism, government information operations, internet culture and addiction, and the importance of free speech and free inquiry.

“All of these agencies that were once involved with counterproliferation, counterterrorism, trying to counter messaging to disaffected young Muslim men in foreign countries … they are now turning all those techniques inward on our own populations and trying to get them to believe in a different kind of political consensus,” says Mr. Taibbi.

“Instead of, ‘don’t join al-Qaeda,’ now they’re saying, ‘don’t vote for Donald Trump,’ or ‘don’t join the Canadian trucker protests,’ or ‘don’t join the Yellow Vest movement.’ It’s actually not a left or right thing—it’s just: stay in the safe place, stay with consensus.”


Interview trailer:

Watch the full interview:


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