Big Tech, woke finance crack down on Flynn, Gateway Pundit, Berenson in cancel culture purge
In recent days, Twitter permanently banned independent journalist Alex Berenson, Google demonetized The Gateway Pundit from its ad network, and Chase Bank canceled the credit cards of retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn.
The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook
With national attention riveted over the weekend on two major stories — the frantic U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan amid its fall to the Taliban and category 4 Hurricane Ida slamming into the Louisiana coast — Big Tech and woke finance dramatically extended the reach of cancel culture with brazen moves to silence and harass three high-profile voices of political and scientific dissent: independent journalist Alex Berenson, popular conservative news and opinion website The Gateway Pundit, and Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn.
On Saturday, Twitter permanently banned Alex Berenson, who has built a large social media following challenging public health establishment orthodoxy on COVID issues ranging from lockdown to vaccine mandates.
"The account you referenced has been permanently suspended for repeated violations of our COVID-19 misinformation rules," a Twitter spokesperson responded to an inquiry from Fox News.
"Goodbye Twitter," Berenson headlined the announcement of his banning on his Substack page.
"This was the tweet that did it," he wrote above a screen capture of the post that apparently triggered his purge from the dominant microblogging platform. "Entirely accurate. I can't wait to hear what a jury will make of this."
In his original offending tweet on the the COVID vaccine, Berenson wrote: "It doesn't stop infection. Or transmission. Don't think of it as a vaccine. Think of it — at best — as a therapeutic with a limited window of efficacy and terrible side effect profile that must be dosed IN ADVANCE OF ILLNESS. And we want to mandate it? Insanity."
Twitter has been criticized for anti-conservative viewpoint bias and censorship, including permanently banning former President Trump following the Jan. 6 Capitol breach, citing the platform's policies on incitement to violence.
Twitter has consistently denied charges of ideologically selective censorship of user content.
Meanwhile, on Thursday search and online advertising giant Google took aim at The Gateway Pundit, a conservative online news and opinion site that is ranked in the top 200 of U.S. websites according to Alexa and in the top 50 of English language news websites, according to a study prepared for media industry news site PressGazette.
"Google demonetized the Gateway Pundit from their ad network," the site's founder and editor Jim Hoft reported on Saturday.
"We're emailing you to let you know that we've repeatedly found content on one of your sites that violates our Google Publisher Policies," the search giant notified Gateway Pundit's legal department. "As a result we'll be disabling ad serving on the site ... in 4 business days, on 09/012021."
In explaining its move, Google cited two categories of violations: "Dangerous or derogatory content" and "Misreprentative — Unreliable and harmful claims."
"The Gateway Pundit has an outstanding record of accurately reporting the top news stories of the day," Hoft shot back. "Because of our continued success and our honest conservative bent we are regularly censored."
Loss of revenue from Google Ads can be a severe blow to a digital news site, given the platform's commanding position within the online advertising marketplace.
"For the record," wrote Hoft, "the Google advertising platform is one of the largest ad networks on the internet. So now Google is not only censoring and shadowbanning conservatives, they are taking away their ad money.
"Google is truly one of the most dangerous companies in the world today."
The third victim of the weekend purge was former Trump National Security Adviser and director of the Defense Intelligence Agency during the Obama administration Michael Flynn, who posted to his Telegram account a notice from Chase Bank notifying him of the cancellation his credit cards.
"After careful consideration, we decided to close your credit cards on September 18, 2021 because continuing the relationship creates possible reputational risk to our company," read the terse update from the Cardmember Services division of Chase, the banking subsidiary of financial services behemoth JPMorgan Chase.
"Chase Bank has gone full blown woke!" Flynn posted in reply.
"They need to deal with their own reputation instead of persecuting my family and I," Flynn said, alluding to JPMorgan's agreement to pay $920 million to resolve federal wire fraud charges against the company for its role in separate criminal schemes to defraud the precious metals and U.S. Treasuries markets.
"DOJ dropped my case for their own egregious government misconduct, appears you weren't that lucky with the DOJ," Flynn chided. "I guess my America First political views don't align with yours."