The Censorship Hydra  (Or Amy Klobuchar Sucks)

By Matt Taibbi  Substack  October 26, 2023

Senator Amy Klobuchar  (D-MN)

If you read this morning’s Racket article about Senator Amy Klobuchar’s letter to Jeff Bezos asking for “proactive measures” to suppress sites like Substack or Rumble, you probably gathered I’m in a mood. I’ve had it.

Whether it’s NewsGuard slapping “anti-US” labels on Joe Lauria and Consortium Newsor Drs. Jay Bhattacharya, Aaron Kheriaty, and Martin Kulldorff censored on multiple platforms for being right on Covid, or podcaster Alison Morrow fired from a state job for interviewing Kheriaty, or friend CJ Hopkins in Germany criminally convicted for a book cover, or the FBI asking Twitter to remove Aaron Mate for the Ukrainian Secret Police, or ballooning budget requests of “counter-disinformation” enforcement agencies, or the new jailing even of Owen Shroyer for having “helped create January 6th” with speech, or of course the forever-detention of Julian Assange, and above all the total indifference of legacy media to all of it, it’s over. I’ve lost patience. Time for a more focused approach.

A problem when grappling with the censorship hydra is that it has no public face, no Tipper Gore or Jerry Falwell to personify the topic. Klobuchar, for reasons listed this morning and beyond, is right for this role. She needs to be Red Pencil Amy, Blacklist Amy, Amy “Thought Police” Klobuchar. And longshot or not, removal of her from office in next year’s election or even from Senate leadership positions is a worthwhile goal. The rest of Washington needs to read public sentiment about this issue through a colleague’s public relations dilemma.

I’ve already got a lot on my plate, but I’ll make Klobuchar a personal branding project, even if it takes time. I’ll write up any move she makes in this direction, or not in this direction. Her lesser-known partner in the bid to make Amazon a “verified sources only” zone, congressman Joseph Morelle of the Rochester, New York area, can be thrown in. Think of Morelle as the VP half of the censorship movement’s ticket. It’s nothing personal. At earlier times this person could have been anyone from Rick Stengel to Adam Schiff (especially him) or Mark Warner. Klobuchar and Morelle just picked the wrong time in my personal downward spiral to pull this stunt.

T-shirting, postering, meming ideas very welcome.

Incidentally, I’m still planning town halls on the speech subject, and in fact have one confirmed at my old college in the third week of November. (Details to come). Willing to do more if anyone can help on the venue side. Although perhaps these events would be best held in Minnesota now.

For readers who might be concerned I’m losing my mind, you’re not wrong. What can I say? Even my dog flashes worried looks at me these days. But I was pushed. Pushed I say! And so were many, many others. A la bataille!

Amy Klobuchar: The Minnesota Senator asks Amazon to censor Substack and Rumble. How much more of this can we take?

Minnesota Senator and Hindenburg presidential candidacy Amy Klobuchar sent a letter (h/t to Jeff Bezos demanding that he enjoin Alexa from citing “unvetted sources,” specifically Substack and Rumble. No hell is hot enough for this person.

Referring to a Washington Post story complaining that Alexa cited Substack, she wrote: “When asked about the 2020 presidential election, it appears that some answers were provided by contributors instead of verified news sources.”

Amy Klobuchar is the absolute fave of the national media consensus. They love her so much, they speak in italics. “Oh, my God. She’s great. And funny, too!” gushed a cameraman to me in Winterset, Iowa, birthplace of John Wayne, four years ago. He was standing astride an AMY AMY AMY banner in a diner packed with press admirers, who are legion, everywhere. The “funny” legend came courtesy mostly of one joke she repeated everywhere she went, over and over, clinging to the one time Donald Trump bothered to mention her, tweeting about her looking like a “Snow woman.” Funny Amy’s retort?

“I wonder how your hair would fare in a blizzard,” she’d say, in a nasal voice, laugh-snorting at her own joke. In my time following her I heard the joke about five times. By the last I was ready to drive a railroad spike through my foot:

National press tried endlessly to sell the public on “funny” Amy, always emphasizing her geographic origin, as if she were the media’s running mate. The New York Times, in an interview over “dumplings” in which Klobuchar talked about how she thinks about “her own humor and power,” described her act as a “clean, ‘aw, shucks’ approach that conveys her own background as a Midwesterner.” The paper noted: Klobuchar could remember many times when people laughed at her jokes! “She laughs easily… and can recall dozens of her successful zingers.”

NPR did a segment on how “Amy Klobuchar Turns To Humor To Distinguish Herself Among Candidates,” with Mary Louise Kelly abasing herself with the intro, “In the 24-person Democratic presidential field, Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota has distinguished herself as a comedian.” U.S. News and World Report went with, “How Amy Klobuchar’s Humor Sets Her Apart,” and claimed her ability to “sav“Amy Klobuchar is Hilarious,”agely deploy a zinger” would be a “critical element in taking on Donald Trump” (!). Barack Obama gushed that Al Franken was now Minnesota’s “second-funniest Senator,” while the hometown MINNPOST went with  adding — this is real — the following deck:

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Amy Klobuchar can legislate, but can she tell a joke? The answer is a resounding “yes” — as in bring-down-the-house, my-stomach-hurts-from-laughing, “yes.”

Yes, they went with hilarious, for starters. It wasn’t just that campaign journalism requires every angle be done to death, killed over and over like Jason Vorhees, but that the press really thought Amy was the best choice, a truth that emerged in the New York Times all-time cop-out co-endorsement of her and Elizabeth Warren. Saying “May the best woman win,” the paper wrote that Klobuchar would be able to “connect” to voters’ “lived experiences,” especially “in the middle of the country,” as:

The senator talks, often with self-deprecating humor, about growing up the daughter of two union workers, her Uncle Dick’s deer stand, her father’s struggles with alcoholism…

In case it’s been forgotten, here’s how voters — Democratic Party voters — responded to a candidacy with such enthusiastic backing of media establishment. Amy Klobuchar got 12.2% in Iowa and 19.7% in New Hampshire (where her third-place finish, five points behind. winner Bernie Sanders, was hailed by the New York Times as the “big surprise”). Then came Nevada, where she had a volleyball-style setup for victory in the form of a shameful last-minute dirty trick. “Intelligence community” leaks led to the Times headline, “Russia Is Said to Be Interfering to Aid Sanders in Democratic Primaries.” Even with her lead opponent official denounced as Putin’s favorite, she got 7.3%, a distant fifth behind Warren (11.5%) Pete Buttigieg (17.3%), Joe Biden (18.9%), and Sanders (40.5%).

Some primary numbers that followed: 3.1, 31., 2.2, 1.4, 1.2, 5.6 (her home state!), 2.3, 2.2, 2.1, 3.4, 1.3, 0.6, 0.2, 0.7, 0.2, 0.4, etc. “At Least Amy Klobuchar Has Retired Her Twilight Jokes,” quipped New York. “Despite a strong third-place finish in New Hampshire,” lamented the New York Times when she dropped out, adding that Klobuchar “ultimately could not compete with better-funded rivals.” The paper moved on to the burning question of what she would do with all seven of her delegates.

Now this person, whose “humor” persona was surely cooked up in part to soften a rep for throwing things at aides, who scored roughly John Blutarsky’s grade-point average with the backing of the national media establishment, who managed less than 6% of Democratic voters in her own state, has the gall to push one of the world’s biggest media distributors to disallow voluntary access to “contributors instead of verified news sources.” Klobuchar wants Jeff Bezos to make sure Amazon’s home surveillance robots don’t spit out even occasional answers from a wider pool of real human beings, including thousands of independent contributors. The information landscape must be a pure monopoly of “verified news sources.”

This Senator-to-billionaire communiqué isn’t illegal because she didn’t phrase it as an order or voice the implied threat of regulation, among other things. If Bezos ends up complying, however, I’ve half a mind to sue. Patience is wearing thin with the relentless determination of government figures — whether U.S. Cyber Command or a Minnesota Senator — to weed out independent media from the digital landscape. It’s not enough to have 99% of the informational space? They need all of it?

About those “verified news sources”: the list includes the Bezos-owned Washington Post, which gave Klobuchar the idea by producing the original news article complaining about “Substack, a subscription newsletter service.” They linked to another Post piece describing this site as a home to “conspiracy theorists” banned elsewhere, pointing a finger at Joseph Mercola and complaining about a contributor who claimed Trump won Pennsylvania in 2020.

The Washington Post has serious boulders to whine about inaccuracy here. When via the Twitter Files I exposed the Hamilton 68 scam they fell for over and over, the Post with reluctance issued “minor” corrections to eight reports. Why “minor”? Because reviewing editors concluded the paper “appropriately reported on emerging research, including Hamilton 68.” Emerging research is code for “We didn’t know yet it was bullshit yet.” The Post repeatedly claimed to be describing social media activity of “online Russian bots” who were mostly ordinary users in the U.S. and other Western countries. That’s actual conspiracy theory that they wouldn’t have had to admit without Substack, and they have the cheek to seek a ban on us.

These people are the worst. I would pay money to watch them all mauled by bears. Senator Klobuchar, Mr.Bezos, esteemed editors of the Washington Post, to hell with all of you.


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