YouTube has removed the entire six-year archive of the author’s show “On Contact.” This censorship, he says, is about supporting what I.F Stone reminded us is what governments always do — lie.
By Chris Hedges
The entire archive of “On Contact,” the Emmy-nominated show I hosted for six years for RT America and RT International, has been disappeared from YouTube. Gone is the interview with Nathaniel Philbrick on his book about George Washington. Gone is the discussion with Kai Bird on his biography of J. Robert Oppenheimer. Gone is my exploration with Professor Sam Slote from Trinity College Dublin of James Joyce’s “Ulysses.”
Gone is the show with Benjamin Moser on his biography of Susan Sontag. Gone is the show with Stephen Kinzer on his book on John Foster Dulles and Allen Dulles. Gone are the interviews with the social critics Cornel West, Tariq Ali, Noam Chomsky, Gerald Horne, Wendy Brown, Paul Street, Gabriel Rockwell, Naomi Wolff and Slavoj Zizek.
Gone are the interviews with the novelists Russell Banks and Salar Abdoh. Gone is the interview with Kevin Sharp, a former federal judge, on the case of Leonard Peltier. Gone are the interviews with economists David Harvey and Richard Wolff. Gone are the interviews with the combat veterans and West Point graduates Danny Sjursen and Eric Edstrom about our wars in the Middle East. Gone are the discussions with the journalists Glenn Greenwald and Matt Taibbi.
Gone are the voices of those who are being persecuted and marginalized, including the human rights attorney Steven Donziger and the political prisoner Mumia Abu Jamal. None of the shows I did on mass incarceration, where I interviewed those released from our prisons, are any longer on YouTube. Gone are the shows with the cartoonists Joe Sacco and Dwayne Booth. Melted into thin air, leaving not a rack behind.
I received no inquiry or notice from YouTube. I vanished. In totalitarian systems you exist, then you don’t. I suppose this was done in the name of censoring Russian propaganda, although I have a hard time seeing how a detailed discussion of “Ulysses” or the biographies of Susan Sontag and J. Robert Oppenheimer had any connection in the eyes of the most obtuse censors in Silicon Valley with Vladimir Putin. Indeed, there is not one show that dealt with Russia.
I was on RT because, as a vocal critic of U.S. imperialism and militarism and, of the corporate control of the two ruling parties, and especially because I support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel, I was blacklisted.
I was on RT for the same reason the dissident Vaclav Havel, who I knew, was on Voice of America during the communist regime in Czechoslovakia. It was that or not be heard. Havel had no more love for the policies of Washington than I have for those of Moscow.
Are we a more informed and better society because of this wholesale censorship? Is this a world we want to inhabit where those who know everything about us and about whom we know nothing can instantly erase us? If this happens to me, it can happen to you, to any critic anywhere who challenges the dominant narrative.
And that is where we are headed as the ruling elites refuse to respond to the disenfranchisement and suffering of the working class, opting not for social and political change or the curbing of the rapacious power and obscene wealth of our oligarchic rulers, but instead imposing iron control over information, as if that will solve the mounting social unrest and vast political and social divides.
Most Vocal Cheerleaders
The most vocal cheerleaders for this censorship are the liberal class. Terrified of the enraged crowds of QAnon conspiracy theorists, Christian fascists, gun-toting militias, and cult-like Trump supporters that grew out of the distortions of neoliberalism, austerity, deindustrialization, and the collapse of social programs, they plead with the digital monopolies to make it all go away. They blame anyone but themselves.
Democrats in Congress have held hearings with the CEOs of social media companies pressuring them to do more to censor content. Banish the troglodytes. Then we will have social cohesion. Then life will go back to normal. Fake news. Harm reduction model. Information pollution. Information disorder. They have all sorts of Orwellian phrases to justify censorship.
Meanwhile, they peddle their own fantasy that Russia was responsible for the election of Donald Trump. It is a stunning inability to be remotely self-reflective or self-critical, and it is ominous as we move deeper and deeper into a state of political and social dysfunction.
What were my sins? I did not, like my former employer, The New York Times, sell you the lie of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, peddle conspiracy theories about Donald Trump being a Russian asset, put out a 10-part podcast called the “Caliphate” that was a hoax, or tell you that the information on Hunter Biden’s laptop was “disinformation.” I did not prophesize that Joe Biden was the next FDR or that Hillary Clinton was going to win the election.
This censorship is about supporting what, as I.F Stone reminded us, governments always do – lie. Challenge the official lie, as I often did, and you will soon become a nonperson on digital media.
Julian Assange and Edward Snowden exposed the truth about the criminal inner workings of power. Look where they are now.
This censorship is one step removed from Joseph Stalin’s whitewashing of nonpersons such as Leon Trotsky out of official photographs. It is a destruction of our collective memory. It removes those moments in the media and the press when we attempted to examine our reality in ways the ruling class did not appreciate.
The goal is to foster historical amnesia. If we don’t know what happened in the past, we cannot make sense of the present.
“The moment we no longer have a free press, anything can happen,” Hannah Arendt warned.
“What makes it possible for a totalitarian or any other dictatorship to rule is that people are not informed; how can you have an opinion if you are not informed? If everybody always lies to you, the consequence is not that you believe the lies, but rather that nobody believes anything any longer. This is because lies, by their very nature, have to be changed, and a lying government has constantly to rewrite its own history. On the receiving end you get not only one lie — a lie which you could go on for the rest of your days — but you get a great number of lies, depending on how the political wind blows. And a people that no longer can believe anything cannot make up its mind. It is deprived not only of its capacity to act but also of its capacity to think and to judge. And with such a people you can then do what you please.”
I am not alone. YouTube regularly removes or demonetizes channels, which happened to Progressive Soapbox, without warning, usually by arguing that the content contained videos that violated YouTube’s community guidelines. Status Coup, which filmed the Jan. 6 storming of the Capitol, was suspended from YouTube for “advancing the false claims of election fraud.” My video content, by the way, primarily consisted of book covers, quotes from passages of books and author photos, but it got disappeared anyway.
The de-platforming of voices like mine, already blocked by commercial media and marginalized with algorithms, is coupled with the pernicious campaign to funnel people back into the arms of the “Establishment” media such as CNN, The New York Times and The Washington Post. In the U.S., as Dorthey Parker once said about Kathrine Hepburn’s emotional range as an actress, any policy discussion ranges from A to B. Step outside those lines and you are an outcast.
The Ukraine war, which I denounced as a “criminal war of aggression” when it began, is a sterling example. Any effort to put it into historical context, to suggest that the betrayal of agreements by the West with Moscow, which I covered as a reporter in Eastern Europe during the collapse of the Soviet Union, along with the expansion of NATO might have baited Russia into the conflict, is dismissed.
Nuance. Complexity. Ambiguity. Historical context. Self-criticism. All are banished.
My show, dedicated primarily to authors and their books, should have been, if we had a functioning system of public broadcasting, on PBS or NPR. But public broadcasting is as captive to corporations and the wealthy as the commercial media, indeed PBS and NPR run commercials in the guise of sponsorship acknowledgements. The last show on public broadcasting that examined power was Moyers & Company. Once Bill Moyers went off the air in 2015, no one took his place.
A few decades ago, you could hear independent voices on public broadcasting, including Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, Howard Zinn, Ralph Nader, Angela Davis, James Baldwin and Noam Chomsky. No more. A few decades ago, there were a variety of alternative weeklies and magazines. A few decades ago, we still had a press that, however flawed, had not rendered whole segments of the population, especially the poor and social critics, invisible.
It is perhaps telling that our greatest investigative journalist, Sy Hersh, who exposed the massacre of 500 unarmed Vietnamese civilians by U.S. soldiers at My Lai and the torture at Abu Ghraib, has trouble publishing in the United States. I would direct you to the interview I did with Sy about the decayed state of the American media press, but it no longer exists on YouTube.
Chris Hedges is a Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist who was a foreign correspondent for 15 years for The New York Times, where he served as the Middle East bureau chief and Balkan bureau chief for the paper. He previously worked overseas for The Dallas Morning News, The Christian Science Monitor and NPR. He is the host of show The Chris Hedges Report.
Author’s note to readers: There is now no way left for me to continue to write a weekly column for ScheerPost and produce my weekly television show without your help. The walls are closing in, with startling rapidity, on independent journalism, with the elites, including the Democratic Party elites, clamoring for more and more censorship. Bob Scheer, who runs ScheerPost on a shoestring budget, and I will not waiver in our commitment to independent and honest journalism, and we will never put ScheerPost behind a paywall, charge a subscription for it, sell your data or accept advertising. Please, if you can, sign up at chrishedges.substack.com so I can continue to post my Monday column on ScheerPost and produce my weekly television show, The Chris Hedges Report.
This column is from ScheerPost, for which Chris Hedges writes a regular column. Click here to sign up for email alerts.
The views expressed are solely those of the author and may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.
The left-wing you generally support are the people that have disappeared you, if you can see that.
I would like to invite you to tell your story as a guest on my podcast.
Are there social media based outside the US which might replace Youtube, etc.?
I follow Chris Hedges and support the largest parts of his comments and observations. However, the other side of this coin is that YouTube is under no obligation to let any of us be a part of it. That said, restore Chris Hedges’ programs to YouTube. YouTube is not in the position of doing journalism, pro or con.
Chris, your contributions to our understanding of how the world works will always be available to find and watch and learn.
You have been released from their platform.
There are others that will remain free from their control.
Carry on man, we need you.
Fascism is alive and well in the U$A. Joseph Goebbels would be proud.
The majority are preoccupied with earning enough to pay for food and rent. Homelessness is growing. That’s what frightens me!
And the reason there must be all this censorship is a military conflict taking place in eastern Europe that does not involve US servicemen. Makes perfect sense. At this rate when the Pentagon gets its way and the shooting war finally begins, there may be no Internet at all. Not that we’re likely to live long enough to miss it. I really am beginning to fear that Trump’s place in history will be as the buffoon who managed to postpone for four years the last, catastrophic battle of the Hundred Years War. It began so long ago with the US invasion of Russia in 1919 to overthrow a regime that has long since ceased to exist.
Unlike The Don, Sleepy Joe probably hasn’t yet figured out how to use a smart phone and flood the world with his daily tweets. (One piece of advice, Joe, try recording every remark that comes out of your pie hole. Perhaps you won’t look so foolish when you deny what you just said moments before.)
Rather we’ve got Larry Page and Sergey Brin deciding what “information” we should be exposed to, and therefore believe, every unblessed day of the week. RT and Mr. Hedges’ way of thinking does not qualify for mass consumption according to the new definers of “truth.”
“And that is where we are headed as the ruling elites refuse to respond to the disenfranchisement and suffering of the working class, opting not for social and political change or the curbing of the rapacious power and obscene wealth of our oligarchic rulers, but instead imposing iron control over information, as if that will solve the mounting social unrest and vast political and social divides.”
Well, it certainly solves one problem – for our corrupt leaders – of ever having to explain anything that alerts us to their crimes.
Your voice is necessary and welcome by those of us with the stomach to confront hard truths. Please carry on and I will support you however I can.
People’s Facebook accounts are being constantly restricted from posting including mine. It appears it’s mostly surrounding Russia and Ukraine. Do we need to start printing underground newspapers again like in the 60s? It may come to that.
Underground newspapers and personal ‘zines are a good idea.
Leave U-toob, leave Facelies, leave Twicher … leave all of these censorious infiltrators of the public sphere and never use them again.
It was foolish to depend on giga-corporations to vouchsafe free speech; nonprofit equivalents focused on service to the community need to be set up and the great creators and artists, people like this author, need to migrate over to them.
Great show with, as Hedges describes, a great variety of subjects including literary, historical, biographical, political and so on. I miss RT and its extraordinary variety of viewpoints that aren’t even hinted at in the US mainstream which is really the official government propaganda agency which is now the Ministry of Truth. There is no free press in the USA outside the internet. Current reporters (and I know Hedges defends them sometimes) are ALL public relation professionals not reporters in any way. I suggest Hedges switches to other venues.
Having said that I oppose Hedges’ view of power politics particularly the Russian invasion of Ukraine which was a defensive move against the equivalent of a gun pointed at Russia’s head. Putin had been avoiding doing much until now because he did not want to fight a war. Because he knew that the US and its vassals want the complete destruction of the Russian Federation to make room fo the showdown between the Empire and China. What Hedges does not seem to realize is that the Washington Empire is not content to make life better for the people under its domination–it wants complete power over every square inch of our Mother Earth and the reals of space as well. Washington is the Evil Empire and any force that stands to block this fascist attempt at the Nazi dream of world domination should have our support until the neocons fanatics are purged and the coup regime of 1963 can be reversed and we return to some sort of Constitutional republic.
MSM are not even reporters, they are pimps for the U.S. and other governments.
Chris could not have said it any better. Imagine Mexico killing 8000 Americans at its border by neo fascists. We would have nuked Tijuana. Your absolutely right the coup of 1963 destroyed the soul of the country and it never recovered.
Is it possible for you to move your archives to another platform? Alexander Mercouris and Russell Brand seem to have large followings on Rumble.
Peter Thiel is one of the investors in Rumble, so there is no guarantee that your material is safe there, either, in the long run. But posting files on YouTube simply pours more money into Google’s coffers.
Of course, it would be very boring and time-consuming to upload all these files again. But I’m sure you still have them, and it can be done!
One hopes that it does not get to the point where Hedges’s books are banned in a country which is getting more and more oppressed by the hour, if not the minute.
Yes, it CAN happen here! And we are watching it unfold.
The very idea that Chris Hedges — the most commendably moral journalist I’ve ever read — could be banned for free-thinking is a sure sign that we are headed toward full-fledged totalitarianism here in the US.
I hope Chris’s programs can be retrieved and seen on another platform. He is a powerful voice.
Your shows are still on RT. I can now watch them even on the RT app as well.
So you have not totally “disappeared” .
I’ve found that any even moderately-worded comment I submit on the US-based Mother Jones website that criticises US policy on Ukraine, such as comparing Russia’s invasion with the Saudi war in Yemen, is being deleted. It’s not just YouTube that is censoring Left comment.
David Corn has destroyed what was once a great magazine. Shame on him for still using Mother Jones’ name.
What’s worse is that the majority of Americans seem to be blissfully ignorant of the changes that have transformed media from an open, freely accessible, though imperfect, forum where nearly every point of view could be heard and the truth could be discovered even if it sometimes took a little searching into what’s now basically a private club where only the obscenely rich ownership class have their cases presented and interests defended. Deviate slightly from the well outlined and proclaimed orthodoxy and its cancellation for you and your dangerous facts and analyses. With all the banishments from our great and mighty American Fantasyland, I think the burgeoning conspiracy theorist class will soon constitute a solid majority, even if they have no access whatsoever to the levers of power, including the mass media. All but the privileged insiders are certain to become totally disenfranchised, just as they prefer.
Do major universities even have their own student-run daily newspapers and radio stations any more? I’m retired too long already to know the answer. They were already disappearing over a decade ago, during my last years on the job. They played major roles in opposing the Vietnam War and supporting the civil rights movement. Today it takes a street riot to get exposure on such matters which only serve to deepen divides.
What you’ve written about the liberal class is all true. They pretend to be on the side of the suffering little guy, but they most definitely are not. The other day, I was going through some old vinyl records I got at a thrift shop, and I went to play a record of Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake that I found, and for just a fraction of a second, a thought popped in my head, that this was illegal now, ridiculous maybe, but that’s how far down this censorship path we are now, that it might be illegal someday to play Swan Lake on your turntable. God help us.
“They” – the authoritarian left, right, front and center – always go after the intellectuals first. Which is why “they” went after Chris Hedges. “They” are no longer us – which is all you need to know to understand your place in the world. It’s not a coincidence that certain people are censored and others are let loose to unravel their rot upon the minds of the populace. It’s pretty obvious that in the face of Trumpism, the liberals have decided that the proxy war against Russia is the point of no return. The Third Way is, in fact, the only way forward. And I’m certain they tell themselves that it is all for our own good. Obama certainly did. It’s the only explanation for his two administrations. He really thought Hillary couldn’t lose. So much for 11th level chess strategies. Another Cold War was the only fuse left to light after you’ve shuttered the world in darkness.
Chris, I have tremendous respect for you and your work. But you knew this was coming. I don’t know but assume that as your content was conducted on RT that the retain the primary copy of your work. If that is the case, route the work (and your future work) to Rumble or Bitchute or one of the other platforms.
And fuck YouTube. Ever since it was sold to Google its been worthless.
Modern organized Christanity needs Remedial Mammon Recognition:
The money-changers are in charge at every level.
“Those who control the present control the past, and those who control the past control the future.”
Move your show to Odysee. Everyone is slowly ditching YouTube anyway because it’s a censorious pile of garbage; like twitter, or facebook.
Decentralization of content is the future. Hopefully, the very near future.
One might think this level of naked censorship of a popular public intellectual like Mr. Hedges would arouse Americans to awareness of their dictatorship but the ability to produce willing and obedient subjects is now too effective. Americans are blinded by the idolatry for themselves to be able to recognize they are destroying the world and their society.
I get being upset at Youtube. But is there a reason why so many people want to empower them even more but not using viable alternatives?
RT is still on Rumble and Odysee. Why has Chris or anyone else not mentioned that?
You also have Bitchute, Gab.tv, Brigteon, and decentralized hosting platforms: D.Tube and Peertube.
Did you know that Rumble started back in 2013 !!? So why are people so focused on giving monopoly powers to Youtube? Is it because some people want uniform, regulated (un-free) speech codes? Mark Zuckerburg has explicitly advocated for regulating internet and having uniform global codes even though at first glance, you might think it negatively affects Facebook/Meta, but looking deeper, it’s because if that occurs, there will be no rationale for alternatives, and a legal way to cut off the competition!
This is because lies, by their very nature, have to be changed, and a lying government has constantly to rewrite its own history. On the receiving end you get not only one lie — a lie which you could go on for the rest of your days — but you get a great number of lies, depending on how the political wind blows.
This struck a chord with me. It reminded me of this video on the BBC’s whitewashing of neo-Nazis in Ukraine: hxxps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fvsnYJPqLSI&t=4s
Amazing given that they were proclaiming the opposite until recently:
Yes, BBC thinks we won t notice the Swastikas, sadly, as our Government wees their pants with excitement
at war games! I wonder why our Defence Secretary was in a secret meeting in Ukraine before Christmas?
Consortium News was the only Media that gave us that photo and he wasn t happy when the young people
served some snacks….and a hidden camera!
Our article with that photo was a republication of a piece from Classified UK.
Well, this story tells us what to expect when the broadcasting platform (YouTube, in this case) offers to host your material without a fee.
The fee, actually, is that YouTube is totally in control. And, now that YouTube has a semi-monopoly on video hosting, what other options do we have?
This, in my view, is how a soft fascist system evolves (as foreseen by Chomsky and others). By the citizens’ voluntary surrender of their essential rights, in exchange for short-term material goods. Gradually we give up our choices. But, hey, there’s still a lot of funny cat videos!
There ARE alternative means to share text and video over the internet. But the big players strongly influence what shows up when we make a search. There may be some censorship on the internet as such, but judging from what is available in the land of pornography the limits are very broad. Perhaps it is different when you get political. Certainly the search engines, such as Google, are biased by an opaque screen of algorithms designed to promote advertising income. I don’t know if it would be practical to develop an alternative, open-source search engine, but it seems worth exploring.
Who have no past have no future.
Me Hedges is one of the most meticulous and incisive writers still with us. When his videos were banished from YouTube, it’s a loss to all wether we concur or not with him. It also proves that Mr. Hedges dissemination of information contrary to the official narrative was and still is right on the money. If not, how can one rationalize his entire video collection being disappeared. I thought that this type of censorship could only take place in a totalitarian state; apparently, I was mistaken.
Chris, you are not disappeared.
Are the programs still archived somewhere? Library of Congress?? (Hahaha.)
Very well stated and entirely correct. The US is no longer a democracy: all branches of the federal government and mass media run on bribes and serve the rich and corporations run by the lowest scammers. We approach totalitarianism.
I appreciate your work as one of the very best news analysis sources and have made a donation.
You may contact me via CongressOfDebate dotcom.
I just watched an interview with Abby Martin concerning this same issue. She hosted Breaking the Set on RT for 3 years, with sometimes up to 5 reports per day. When the interviewer asked her if all of that content was lost Abby started laughing: She didn’t know, but it turns out her biggest fan recorded every episode on hard disc. Her biggest fan? Her mom.
Perhaps we should tip our hats to the moms of the world. They are relentless creatures.
I am right now watching On Contact, Oppenheimer and the Bomb on RT website.
Not only is the moment ripe for a mass disconnect with YouTube but Microsoft windows as well. Try Ubuntu platforms or visit odysee.com, bitchute.com, d.tube. archive.org, loc.gov and a half dozen other multimedia hosting web pages. For every action there is a reaction, for every problem, a solution. Whatever, just don’t take it lying down!
I appreciate you Mr Hedges. Best of luck and keep doing what you do as long as you can.
I have followed your journalism and writing since the release of War Is A Force That Gives Us Meaning. IMO you have always shown the greatest sagacity and finest insight in your criticism of American politics and culture. I am 73 years along now, a retired physician and retired military officer, and the madness I am witnessing is unlike anything I have seen, or hoped to see, in my life. When I look around me, I see little that is cause for joy or hope or optimism. I don’t choose to be this way; I feel that I and everyone else is being swept along in a flood of concupiscence, ego and greed, and our political systems and vacuous, self referential media are quite unable, because unwilling, to turn the fatal tide.
You have been a voice of reason, and I trust that you will continue to bear witness. We need voices like yours, and I thank you personally for what you have done and try to do.
Late in life I came to see the wisdom and truth of the teachings of an itinerant first century Palestinian Jew who became the living Logos. But the “Christian” world has turned its back on what it claims to believe. Only a higher state of human consciousness and unselfish human love can or will save us. Without The Logos, alive in every religion, we are lost.
THE Will Durant?? Back from the dead?? I see he attended St. Peters College in Jersey City, this year’s much heralded “sweetheart team” in the NCAA basketball tournament. For US corporate media, it’s either the “sweetheart” or the “Evil Empire,” take your pick. (Whichever gets the most eye-balls.)
Any possibility here Chris for the producing of Christian
character (Rom.5.3-4), to oppose the “Christian fascists”?
Doesn’t Christian character derive from the same institutional religious resource as Christian fascism?
“Fascism is a form of far-right, authoritarian ultra nationalism characterized by dictatorial power, forcible suppression of opposition, and strong regimentation of society… ” Does not all institutional religion meet these criteria? — Wikipedia
Supposedly not, given the rampant, universal hypocritical character afoot these days.
Are the good character believers not one and the same, of the whole, of blind-faith believers?
Actions speak louder than words and tend to tarnish the character of all.
“It was Sir Thomas Browne who has first used the expression (in the present form, as we use it today) in Religio Medici published in 1642”:
Charity begins at home!
„But how shall we expect charity towards others, when we are uncharitable to ourselves? Charity begins at home, is the voice of the world, yet is every man his greatest enemy, and as it were, his own executioner.“
Fascists are but the opposite side of the same coin of Christian character.
“Charity begins at home, is the voice of the world: yet is every man his greatest enemy”.
Yep utube bans the real voices of freedom but allowed the ukraine Nazi to have the utube voice back. google do no harm is now google control the narrative at all cost. Sad
Mr. Hedges, have watched On Contact, read several of your books and yet…….still can’t believe what in the hell is going on !
What a shame .