Banning Seymour Hersh’s “Offensive” Ideas – Ron Unz 2/17/23


In an unprecedented step, Youtube has severely restricted as “inappropriate or offensive” Seymour Hersh’s blockbuster Nord Stream Pipelines interview with Amy Goodman on Democracy Now!

Hersh won his Pulitzer Prize more than a half-century ago in 1970 as the fiercely independent reporter who uncovered America’s My Lai Massacre in the Vietnam War. During his following decades at the New York Times and the New Yorker he broke some of the biggest stories in journalistic history, including the domestic spying activities of the CIA, the Abu Ghraib prison abuses of the Iraq War, and the killing of Osama bin Laden, while being honored with two National Magazine Awards, five George Polk Awards, and numerous other accolades.

Hersh’s long career arguably ranks him as the most renowned living American journalist, and indeed Prof. Jeffrey Sachs of Columbia University described him as such in a recent interview.

Then late last week, Hersh dropped a bombshell as big as anything in his career, revealing on his Substack platform the exact details of how the Biden Administration had secretly destroyed the Nord Stream pipelines, an attack on $30 billion of vital European energy infrastructure that constituted an act of war against Germany, one of our closest NATO allies.

  • How America Took Out The Nord Stream Pipeline
    The New York Times called it a “mystery,” but the United States executed a covert sea operation that was kept secret—until now
    Seymour Hersh • Substack • February 8, 2023 • 5,200 Words

As I discussed in my own column, despite Hersh’s stellar career and the massive implications of his remarkable story, almost all our mainstream media outlets boycotted it, ensuring that it received minimal attention.

Hersh said he wanted his story to stand on its own, and was only willing to do a very limited number of interviews, with the first of these being with a small radio podcaster:

He soon followed this up with a half-hour appearance on Amy Goodman’s Democracy Now!, a leading left-liberal news program broadcast on more than 1,400 radio and television stations worldwide, many of them PBS and NPR affiliates.

During that interview, Hersh responded to criticisms and explained that Ukraine’s war with Russia was going far worse than reported by the American media. According to Hersh and some of his government sources, the American attack on the pipelines may have been a disastrous mistake that could result in the collapse of NATO once most Europeans became aware of what had happened.

Democracy Now! has 1.3 million subscribers on its large Youtube channel, and immediately released Hersh’s important interview on that platform. Within hours the segment was approaching 250,000 views on its way to a likely total of many millions, becoming one of the channel’s most popular videos. I naturally linked it in several comments on our website.

But the same day it was released, Youtube suddenly censored Hersh’s Democracy Now! appearance, claiming that it represented “a violation of community standards” and was “offensive”:

As a result, Hersh’s Democracy Now! segment can no longer be viewed anywhere except on the Youtube site itself, and then only after clicking through two layers of warnings. The obvious intent was to drastically reduce Hersh’s potential audience and this will surely succeed. I assume that these restrictions have been combined with the most severe sort of shadow-banning. So a segment that would have probably been seen by many millions will only get a small fraction of that total.

Such Youtube censorship of a top mainstream journalist on a leading mainstream channel seems completely unprecedented, a massive escalation of the previous measures directed against the political fringe. The move was probably driven by concerns of how Youtube had earlier allowed the views of other important public figures to circumvent the blockade of media gatekeepers:…

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