Under pressure from campaign group Stop Funding Hate, the Danish toy company Lego has publicly announced that it will no longer be working with the Daily Mail, a newspaper the campaign group alleges promotes “hatred, discrimination and demonisation.”
Stop Funding Hate is claiming this as an emphatic victory, and continues to self-aggrandize and attack the profit mechanisms of other media establishments.
If you’re unfamiliar with the organization, Stop Funding Hate is a 21st Century hive mind version of Mary Whitehouse in her free speech crushing prime, hacked and rewired into the online politics of Millennial leftists.
From their Facebook page:
Help us take on the divisive hate campaigns of the Sun, Daily Mail and Daily Express by persuading advertisers to pull their support.
Their campaigns aim to have crucial advertising revenue cut off from the blacklisted media groups they’ve decreed to be politically incorrect, and in doing so force them to either revise their politics or endanger their business model.
They make no bones about their intention to make editors think twice before running content which dissents from Stop Funding Hate’s own political preferences, and they explicitly target only right-of-centre organisations.
Judging from their recent moves, they oppose robust debate around immigration policy, and would force journalists to step very carefully around the judiciary. Journalism which is strongly critical of the EU, while at the same time promoting Brexit, also appears to be in their sights.
Regardless of left/right allegiances, tolerating tabloid broadsides, particularly those which go beyond the pale, is a sign of a well adjusted, free society. The holier-than-though moralizing of Stop Funding Hate is itself a perfect example of the kind of authoritarian pomposity that needs deflating with a good old-fashioned tabloid kicking.
These censorious do-gooders have learned precisely zero from Donald Trump’s success in the US election. The clearest lesson from America is that if you drive popular points of view underground they won’t magically disappear. We have social media now. Forbidden opinions will circulate, self-reinforce and sometimes become powerfully distorted in the potent echo chamber of illicit caucus. Having memed their way to readiness, they’ll triumphantly yank the rug out from under your feet and piss liberally all over your politically correct strawberries, and get a round of applause for doing so.
There’s no way of making social progress which has been shown to work better than free and open debate, with all the rhetorical excesses, bruised egos, and occasional hurt feelings that are involved. It might rub you up the wrong way sometimes, but it works magnificently.
Should Stop Funding Hate come up with an alternative means of doing politics, then they must be sure to let us know, but de facto censorship is off the cards.