I have a lot of things I’d like to write about, from local to global issues. My views on many things run counter to the prevailing currents, and might be a useful countercurrent to add to the public discourse.
But the level of public intimidation and punishment for the exercise of free speech and a free press has gotten so high these days, that I’m too scared to publish.
It’s mostly imposed through social media mobs pressuring institutional employers in media and academia to fire people who don’t toe the political lines, and render them permanently unemployable in their fields. For more analysis, check out Matt Taibbi and Glenn Greenwald’s recent commentary.
Since I don’t earn a living from writing, it’s not so much a fear that I’d lose my livelihood and any chance of ever being hired by another news organization, although that’s happening to many journalists these days, and the media job market is a wasteland of emptying and abandoned newsrooms.
It’s more a fear that my husband would lose his job - which supports our whole family - because of something I wrote. As happened, for example, to professional soccer player Aleksandar Katai, who was fired “after his wife posted ‘racist and violent’ commentary about protesters on social media.”
Maybe some of the crazy will pass in a few months. Maybe not.
Also, independent reporting and critical analysis feel completely ineffectual against the powerful wealth-holders whose decisions shape most of the contours of most of our lives, usually without our knowledge, input or consent. Maybe I should have packed it in years ago.
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