In the fall of 1998, Susan Wojcicki had just turned 30 years old and was working at the marketing department of some big company in the Bay Area. Wojcicki was hardly a failure. She had a college degree and a job. On the other hand, it's hard to imagine that anyone who knew her at the time thought she was going to become rich and powerful someday. But things change fast.
In one of those amazing windfalls of good fortune, these great movies about Wojcicki rented her garage to the two guys who founded Google. And voila. Twenty-three years later, she's worth more than half a billion dollars and runs YouTube, the largest digital platform in the world.
We tell you this not to attack Susan Wojcicki’s life story, good luck is a great thing, but simply to remind you that many of the people now in charge of your life have no relevant qualifications to justify the power they now hold. They just fell into it, as people do.
What's infuriating is that they won't admit this. They pretend that the control they wield is part of the natural order of things somehow, that they deserve it, that they’re God. Most of them forget that not so long ago they worked in the marketing department. Susan Wojcicki announced that she plans to censor any information about COVID that she doesn't like, even if that information has been posted by physicians who are treating COVID.
SUSAN WOJCICKI: But then we also talk about removing information that is problematic, of course, anything that is medically unsubstantiated to people saying like take vitamin C, you know, take turmeric, like those oral will cure you. Those are examples of things that would be a violation of our policy. Anything that would go against World Health Organization recommendations would be a violation of our policy. And so remove is another really important part of our policy.
CNN BRIAN STELTER: So you're not just putting in the truth next to the lie, you're taking the lie down. That's a pretty aggressive approach.
Where do they learn to go up in tone on the last syllable? But yes, as the eunuch just told you, that's a pretty aggressive approach, that's for sure. To restate: Susan Wojcicki has no medical background at all. She's not a doctor. She's not a researcher. She's hardly an eminent epidemiologist. In fact, Susan Wojcicki’s main contribution to science is drawing the doodles that appear on Google's homepage. True, she's from the marketing department.
In no sane country would Susan Wojcicki be in charge of determining what constitutes problematic medical disinformation. And certainly, in no sane country would she be allowed to silence physicians who are treating the virus.
But because of the way our system is structured, Wojcicki is certainly allowed to do that, and so she is. This week Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky, who, by the way, is an actual doctor, not just some guy who rented his garage to Larry Page in the 90s, tried to make an obvious point. And it's this: The masks that you buy at the airport in order to comply with federal law will not keep you from getting COVID.
Rand Paul was not just guessing about this, the science is very clear, no honest person will deny that. But Susan Wojcicki doesn't think you should know that because that'll make you harder to control. So she pulled Rand Paul's video from YouTube. Here's part of what she tried to censor.
RAND PAUL: Most of the masks you get over the counter don't work, they don't prevent infection, saying cloth masks work when they don't actually risk lives, as someone may choose to care for a loved one with COVID while only wearing a cloth mask.
Oh, so controversial disinformation, you can't say that. But wait, before they repainted the slogans on the side of the barn, pretty much everyone was saying just that. "The typical mask you buy in the drugstore is not really effective in keeping out the virus, which is small enough to pass through material." Where's that from? It's from an email that Tony Fauci sent just last year. In fact, just last week, Joe Biden's former COVID adviser said the very same thing.
DR. MICHAEL OSTERHOLM: We know today that many of the face cloth coverings that people wear are not very effective in reducing any of the virus movement in or out. Either you're breathing out or you're breathing in. And in fact, if you're in the upper Midwest right now, anybody who's wearing their face cloth covering can tell you they can smell all the smoke that we're still getting.
If you could smell the smoke, you can get COVID. Got it. The point is there was nothing kooky or inaccurate about Rand Paul's video on masks. It was true. People who know what they're talking about agree with it, including the people in charge of our COVID response.
But it was censored anyway. And the fact that YouTube did censor it anyway is a scandal. It's one of many such scandals playing out in our country right now.
Now, you'd think the media might be on this story. You'd imagine that people who make their living on the First Amendment would defend it and lead the charge against censorship. But no, just the opposite in this bewildering time. Those people encourage censorship. They're out there in public begging the tech companies to suppress news and information to make certain the public never sees it. Doing that makes them feel powerful and protects their monopoly. So now, they're attacking Rand Paul.
We've gone on and on and on, you're not shocked you see this sort of thing so often, you can't be shocked by it anymore. But some perspective: Three years ago, this was a free country. Now it feels like everything that we hear has been written by a committee at the propaganda ministry downtown.
What's the long-term effect? Pretty soon no one's going to believe anything ever again. And that shouldn't shock you because censorship is always counterproductive. It doesn't work. People know they are being lied to, so they tune it out.
The rollout of the vaccines, for example, earlier this year was so heavy-handed, so Soviet, that you've got to wonder how many people it scared away. We would definitely have a higher vaccination rate if they just treated us like adults, but they can't because they don't think we're adults.
Obviously, this can't continue. You cannot have a self-governing country in which people aren't allowed to read what they want, a free press is not an optional feature of a democracy. It's the center of democracy. That's obvious. It's written down in our founding documents. It's always been obvious.
So for years now, we have been waiting for the big legacy media outlets - NBC News, CNN, The New York Times - to wake up and recall that they must oppose censorship. It's their duty. It's why they exist. So as much as we criticize them, we've assumed at some point they'll recall that.
But no, that's not going to happen. Let's be honest, they're not going to oppose censorship. They benefit from it. So what's our option? The rest of us living in this country who don't have another passport, who are going to stay here.
We have to replace them. We need something new. Glenn Greenwald has been working on that for quite some time. He spent the last couple of months gathering a group of free thinkers and planning a move to an alternative video platform called Rumble. At Rumble, free speech is the whole point. They don't have censorship. You can say what you want like you lived in America. So naturally, the totalitarians are infuriated by this idea to challenge their hegemony.
YouTube Susan Wojcicki from the marketing department has pulled down at least one video promoting Rumble. Jeff Bezos' newspaper attacked it. That means The New York Times will soon be on it, along with the Atlantic and The Daily Beast and all the rest of the praetorian guard. Your job, ignore it. You know they are liars. They are frantically defending a system that no one believes in anymore.
If there's going to be a renaissance in journalism and we desperately need one, it will be led not by them, but by people like Glenn Greenwald.
This article is adapted from Tucker Carlson's opening commentary on the August 12, 2021 edition of "Tucker Carlson Tonight."