“This claim about election fraud is disputed.” 

Warning labels like this are growing exponentially at an alarming rate. It seems that every free thought is fact-checked by a third party, oftentimes as justification for censoring content.  

This tactic, invoked by media outlets and social media platforms, is being used to silence and shut down debate on a range of topics in society today. Censorship and cancel culture are growing issues in many American institutions.  

I know. This issue impacted me personally.  

Last month, I was asked to write an op-ed explaining Republican gains in Congress by The Ithacan, my campus newspaper.  

My submitted op-ed was shared internally with over 50 members of their editorial staff for review and was approved to be published.

The piece received immediate backlash. Within 24 hours of publication on Facebook and Twitter, the attacks began. I was called a Nazi and my family was attacked.

Criticism on the merits of my piece would have been perfectly acceptable, but this was defamatory rhetoric of the highest order.  

What was my offense? I mentioned that there may have been fraud in this election and others in the past. I cited The Heritage Foundation’s credible work on the subject, including its Election Fraud Database

The Ithacan took the rare step of removing the piece from its website and writing an editor’s note explaining its rationale for doing so. 

To their credit, The Ithacan editors granted me an opportunity to resubmit the article, which was surprising. However, I had to fight tooth and nail to defend the credibility of my sources, including The Heritage Foundation, and to keep major points in the article.  

The most perplexing aspect of this experience is that the same sources that were deemed problematic, and used as evidence for why the story was pulled, were allowed in the resubmission. That showed me the editorial process was in shambles.  

As I sat waiting for the next round of social media hate, I realized that The Ithacan buried the article by sharing it in an existing Facebook thread deep in its timeline rather than posting it as a standalone where it was more likely to be seen by its audience. This was a clear example of The Ithacan taking additional steps to reduce the spread of information. 

My experience is hardly the only example. It is becoming so commonplace that if a conservative dares to question liberal thinking, controversy follows. 

The war on discussion also does not end at the university steps—for even The New York Post, America’s oldest newspaper, had its story on Hunter Biden censored on social media. Those who questioned Big Tech’s decision to restrict the story were smeared as Russian puppets. This is just one example of how Big Tech abuses its power. 

There are other notable cases involving the media. Look at the whirlwind Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., created for the editorial board at The New York Times when he wrote an op-ed titled, “Send In the Troops,” daring to suggest President Donald Trump use the military to quell protests this summer. After a supposed rushed editorial process, The New York Times editorial page editor, James Bennett, chose to resign

A similar situation played out at the Philadelphia Inquirer when the newspaper ran a headline, “Buildings Matter, Too,” about the buildings damaged during protests. The newspaper’s longtime editor, Stan Wischnowski, resigned after a backlash over the headline. 

Intolerance to those with opposing views has become normalized in our current society. Unfortunately, colleges are some of the most intolerant. 

Take the situation involving Austin Tong, a student at Fordham University who was attacked on social media. Tong had commemorated those killed at Tiananmen Square in a post captioned “don’t tread on me” while holding a rifle in support of the Second Amendment.  

These instances are becoming more prevalent. We are seeing a common theme here—whether questioning credible sources in my case or the intentions of Tong. We live in a society that moves quickly to censor, especially when you question the prevailing narrative.  

Censorship appears in many forms, and attempts to discredit speakers are the latest tactic to silence conservatives and anyone who dares question authority. If you speak against the grain, the social media mob will attack your sources as pseudo-science, go after your credibility, and stop at nothing to block the discourse.

No one should be intimidated to give their opinion. We must stand up and speak out—don’t give in.