I make no secret of my contempt for Sen. Ron Johnson. He’s a fool, and a humorless one at that. But YouTube was wrong to censor him.
The other day YouTube blocked a video of Johnson’s June 3rd appearance at the Milwaukee Press Club in which he criticized the Trump and Biden administrations for, “not only ignoring but working against robust research (on) the use of cheap, generic drugs to be repurposed for early treatment of COVID,” the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.
That could be read as an endorsement for quack treatments like Hydroxychloroquine. YouTube said his comments violated their policy on incorrect medical information, but if they were to enforce that across the board it’s a fair bet that they would have to take down a lot more than Johnson’s rant.
The Press Club had the right perspective. Corri Hess, Milwaukee Press Club president, tweeted: “This on the record event with journalists will remain on the Press Club’s YouTube site.” But it later took down the video, it said, pursuant to YouTube policies.
Look, YouTube is a private entity and so it can allow or disallow anything it wants on its platform. But social media has become the new main street of ideas. I’m not sure what was served by censoring Johnson since the dust up got covered in national and local media and just gave more exposure to Johnson’s misinformation.
Better to leave Johnson’s idiocy out there for all to see and evaluate. It’s a bad thing — and ultimately futile — to try to save people from wrong-headed points of view. Let’s have some faith that exposing Johnson for who he is will result in his defeat should he run for another term.