‘Fossil Fuel Age’ Has Failed, Proclaims UN Secretary-General; + The Trusted News Initiative

‘Fossil Fuel Age’ Has Failed, Proclaims UN Secretary-General

The World Economic Forum held the Sustainable Development Impact Meetings 2023 (SDIM23) in New York from September 18-22. More than 1,000 leaders came together to promote the United Nation’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

“The SDGs aren’t just a list of goals,” UN Secretary-General António Guterres told world leaders on the first day of the Assembly. “They carry the hopes, dreams, rights and expectations of people everywhere.”

To stand a fighting chance of combating the climate crisis, coal, oil and gas must be phased out in a fair and equitable way, and renewables massively boosted, he told the assembly.

“G20 countries … must lead, they must break their addiction to fossil fuels … The fossil fuel age has failed,” asserted the overstuffed teddy bear, adding that it must be the energy companies that the transition to renewables.

If the ‘hopes, dreams and expectations of people everywhere’ were indeed spearheading policy making decisions, then investment in fossil fuels would be increasing, not decreasing.

Cheap and reliable energy is the backbone of a society’s well-being and prosperity. And this is the reason, at least by my reckoning, that the higher-ups have declared outright war on it.

A prosperous population is a content population, a content population is a thinking population, and a thinking population is the greatest threat to a state. Being afforded the opportunity to think inevitably leads to discovery. We proles notice corruption, we spot inconsistencies in official narratives, contradictions in media reports, the shutting down of independent media, the reticence of the legacy media to investigate alleged crimes of the powerful, and so on and so on…

And this is a war. Make no bones about it.

The Trusted News Initiative

The Trusted News Initiative (TNI), launched in March 2020, is a coalition of the world’s largest news organizations, including the Associated Press, the BBC, the Washington Post, and Reuters, who partnered with Big Tech in order, so they claim to stop the spread of “misinformation.”

In early 2023, however, a lawsuit was filed against the TNI by Chairman of Children’s Health Defense (CHD) Robert F. Kennedy Jr., and other plaintiffs, accusing the coalition of ‘antitrust’ and ‘First Amendment violations’.

Kennedy, the CHD itself, and several other organizations, journalists, and individuals filed a lawsuit in the District Court for the Northern District of Texas-Amarillo Division alleging that these legacy news organizations colluded with Big Tech to “collectively censor online news” that did not align with officially agreed-upon narratives, to do with COVID-19 and the 2020 presidential election.

“My uncle, President Kennedy, and my father, the attorney general, sought to prosecute antitrust laws that are still on the nation’s books, with vigor,” Kennedy told The Defender.

“As private enforcers of those laws, we are confident that the federal court in Texas will vindicate our bedrock freedom to compete with legacy media in the marketplace of ideas.”

CHD president Mary Holland said: “To have a free society, you have to have free speech, you have to have a diversity of views … If the government and the corporations they collaborate with can engage in censorship and propaganda nonstop, and there are no alternative voices, democracy is dead.”

The lawsuit notes that there are two categories of TNI members: legacy news organizations and Big Tech platforms, and states.

“The TNI exists to, in its own words, ‘choke off’ and ‘stamp out’ online news reporting that the TNI or any of its members peremptorily deems ‘misinformation,’” the lawsuit states.

“TNI members have targeted and suppressed completely accurate online reporting by non-mainstream news publishers concerning both COVID-19. … By their own admission, members of the [TNI] have agreed to work together, and have in fact worked together, to exclude from the world’s dominant Internet platforms rival news publishers who engage in reporting that challenges and competes with TNI members’ reporting on certain issues relating to COVID-19 and U.S. politics.

“While the ‘Trusted News Initiative’ publicly purports to be a self-appointed ‘truth police’ extirpating online ‘misinformation,’ in fact it has suppressed wholly accurate and legitimate reporting in furtherance of the economic self-interest of its members.”

The lawsuit claims: “this is an antitrust action” and notes, “Federal antitrust law has its own name for this kind of ‘industry partnership’: it’s called a ‘group boycott’ and is a per se violation of the Sherman Act.”

“Group boycott” is “a concerted attempt by a group of competitors” to “disadvantage [other] competitors” by “cut[ting] off access” to a “facility or market necessary to enable the boycotted firm[s] to compete.”

To support the allegation, the lawsuit cites several public statements made by TNI members.

In March 2020 then-senior news controller at BBC News Jamie Angus explained TNI’s strategy to beat disinformation:

“Because actually the real rivalry now is not between for example the BBC and CNN globally, it’s actually between all trusted news providers and a tidal wave of unchecked [reporting] that’s being piped out mainly through digital platforms. … That’s the real competition now in the digital media world.

“Of course, organizations will always compete against one another for audiences. But the existential threat I think is that overall breakdown in trust, so that trusted news organizations lose in the long term if audiences just abandon the idea of a relationship of trust with news organizations. So actually we’ve got a lot more to hold us together than we have to work in competition with one another.”

Note how Angus talks only of perceived ‘trust’ here, not ‘accuracy’ — when the latter should govern the former, nothing else.

The lawsuit explains: “Plaintiffs are among the many victims of the TNI’s agreement and its group boycott. Plaintiffs are online news publishers who, as a result of the TNI’s group boycott, have been censored, de-monetized, demoted, throttled, shadow-banned, and/or excluded entirely from platforms like Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and Instagram.”

I, personally, have been on the receiving end of such censorship.

Back in Dec 2021, at the height of electroverse.net‘s reach, the site’s advertising was pulled after a concerted effort by the establishment, such as the Center for Countering Digital Hate and The Washington Post, deemed my climate reporting “harmful”.

The Supreme Court ruled in favor of the plaintiffs, reports reclaimthenet.org.

Writing for the majority opinion, Justice Felix Frankfurter said that the First Amendment “rests on the assumption that the widest possible dissemination of information from diverse and antagonistic sources is essential to the welfare of the public, that a free press is a condition of a free society.

“Surely a command that the government itself shall not impede the free flow of ideas does not afford nongovernmental combinations a refuge if they impose restraints upon that constitutionally guaranteed freedom.

“Freedom to publish means freedom for all, and not for some. Freedom to publish is guaranteed by the Constitution, but freedom to combine to keep others from publishing is not. Freedom of the press from governmental interference under the First Amendment does not sanction repression of that freedom by private interests.”

Holland explained that the lawsuit only targets TNI’s legacy news organizations because Big Tech firms have “very serious, very binding arbitration provisions” that require legal challenges against them to be filed in the courts of northern California.

“Northern California is Silicon Valley. It’s their turf,” said Holland. “And so, we decided, in order to be able to file in a jurisdiction that we believe will be more neutral on these issues … we elected to file in Texas just against the legacy media.”

However, he added, they could still be liable because “the conspiracy between legacy media and Big Tech will incorporate all of them. If there is a conspiracy, they’re all liable, not just those who were named as defendants.”

Explaining how TNI acts as “a global media monopoly,” Holland said: “They couch what they’re doing, their conspiracy to suppress independent media, i.e. the voices of dissent about election information and COVID information, as a ‘need to preserve the trust of the people’ and ‘upgrade the trust.’

“By censoring independent voices, what they’re doing is economic suppression. Antitrust is against trusts, it’s against monopolies, and what the TNI has done is essentially create a global media monopoly in the English language.”

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