Western publics support Ukraine in its war with Russia, pretty much unanimously. But that hasn’t stopped many news outlets from banning Russian “misinformation” about the conflict. RT (which stands for Russia Today, just like BP stands for British Petroleum) is a more or less official mouthpiece of the Russian government, and I don’t doubt that much of what it reports is false. That has caused YouTube, among others, to ban RT from its platform. Many other outlets have self-righteously banned RT as “misinformation” or “propaganda.” Which, in large part, it is.
But so what? The New York Times consists in considerable part of misinformation, in my opinion, and it is–in even larger part–propaganda for the Democratic Party. That doesn’t cause me to want to ban it, although admittedly the thought is tempting. And in the case of RT, its propaganda has been wholly ineffective. Moreover, nearly every story has at least two sides, and why shouldn’t Russia’s side–weak though most think it is–be heard?
Elon Musk has resisted the tide of censorship by refusing to block Russian news sites from his Starlink network. Musk tweeted:
“Starlink has been told by some governments (not Ukraine) to block Russian news sources,” the world’s richest man tweeted over the weekend.
“We will not do so unless at gunpoint.”
Musk added: “Sorry to be a free speech absolutist.”
Kudos to Musk. If you are not in favor of free speech for what you think is misinformation, you are not in favor of free speech.