Wednesday, Jan. 6th was a bad day for conservatives and a bad day for America.
American Action News reporters were at the U.S. Capitol, and our entire staff was on edge hoping that what we were witnessing would end without loss of life and without damage to our great republic.
Sadly, there were lives lost — and great damage was done.
And just as troubling has been the immediate and swift rebuke to all conservatives and Trump supporters alike — branding us “seditionists” and “traitors” — and then deplatforming and censoring the speech of so many.
You’ve seen the headlines: Twitter Bans President Trump, Facebook Suspends Donald Trump, Conservatives Leave Twitter for Parler, Parler Dropped from Apple App Store, Amazon Shuts Down Parler’s Servers — it’s all very troubling.
Regardless of who you vote for, or the issues you care about — we can all agree that the First Amendment to our Constitution is VITAL. After all — in a free and open society we need those five fundamental freedoms (Religion, Speech, Press, Assembly, Petition) to be able to make informed decisions — we need those freedoms to maintain a functioning republican democracy.
As a media organization that makes no bones about our editorial viewpoint, we are justifiably concerned about becoming a target in this latest purge by those who think their version of freedom requires those with whom they disagree ought to be silenced. You see, at AAN and American Media Source — AAN’s parent company, we call that tyranny — and that makes us bad people as far as the thought police are concerned.
Yes, you read that right: latest purge. Many seem to think that this move to reduce access to audiences for the likes of President Donald Trump is somehow new. It is not. Indeed, having been in the political and media business for many years, I often laugh when my less-informed peers scoff at the notion that widespread censorship occurs at all.
You see, while the tumult on the Hill was occurring, I was on a conference call with one of our advertising partners — and they were demanding that we alter the way we cover and write about the news, or they would no longer work with us. In December, a major advertising network locked out most conservative news sites. In September, one of the biggest ad networks heaped policy violations upon media firms in the hopes they couldn’t be resolved quickly enough, requiring the media outlets to be banned from receiving ad network traffic.
In 2016 similar methods were used — and I can go even further back to 2002 when a conservative non-profit I was working for was first targeted with a denial service attack, then de-platformed at the urging of the political opposition for collecting reports of voter fraud and forwarding them to the Department of Justice. So, you can say that I’ve witnessed a variety of underhanded tactics used by tyrants for decades.
As a media business, we produce a product for our readers — insightful and meaningful news and opinion delivered to your inbox and posted to our sites. We also produce another product: advertising impressions. It’s the revenue from those ads that pay for emails, staff salaries, staff health insurance, office lease, and fees paid to our content partners — it is the lifeblood of our firm — as it is for most media firms. Without that revenue, we wouldn’t exist. The AAN team would have to pack up their desks and go find another line of work.
Well, we don’t want to find other work — we love what we do, and we love serving as a vital component of the Republic — by connecting our readers to the news and information they need, and also by connecting them to the relevant advertisers that they can donate to, or buy products from to both change the electoral landscape or to enrich their own lives. As such, we juggle many different advertising networks and ad units — so that when they decide to “crackdown” on conservative media sites, we are ready and able to shift inventory amongst various firms to mitigate the impact on our cash flow. It’s a tremendous administrative and technical burden — but we must do it in order to survive as a conservative media outlet.
It may be news to you that there has been an ongoing battle in the advertising and tech world to shut down the likes of outlets like AAN. It’s a bit scary that this cold war is now becoming hot, but we have high hopes that there will be consequences for the tyrants that wish to control what you read and think. That — and we will use whatever means we can to ensure that we can continue to serve you.
So, I guess the next thing is — what can we do about all of this?
The best thing I can tell you is: the audience matters. Support the news organizations and platforms that don’t see you as terrible humans. Open our emails, sign up for our texts (we will be sending news updates via SMS soon) — and spend your money with companies that actually respect you, and respect your freedom. Vote. Petition your congressman, assemble peacefully, demonstrate your freedoms — and do so regularly. We must stand together against tyranny, and we must do so within the framework of freedom and peace that we have preserved for so long.
David M Keene is CEO of American Media Source, LLC, owner and operator of American Action News.