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BlockNYT and CancelMSM: Rebalancing MSM, Twitter after The Purge

Written By | Feb 18, 2021
CancelMSM, BlockNYT, New York Times, cancel MSM, Twitter

Portion of the BlockNYT homepage. (Screen grab, sized to fit CDN format.)

WASHINGTON – Blocking obnoxious ads, invasive pop up sites and content, and other trolls and trollery has been common among Internet users for many years. Parents block inappropriate content to protect their children. Students and other responsible individuals, perhaps working on deadline or aware of their tendencies toward inattention, block social media sites, including Twitter. Automatically tuning out the garbage and fake news in the New York Times and elsewhere, to the extent it’s successful, has become a way of life for every computer user. A pair of new blocking tools — BlockNYT and CancelMSM — could come to the rescue.

The problems with Twitter, the New York Times and other media annoyances

But what if you still actually like Twitter? You don’t want to leave Twitter. You just want to control the invasive political tweets and other assorted flotsam.

It’s no big secret that Twitter recently purged many hundreds of accounts, largely for dubious political reasons. You may have been fortunate enough to escape this site’s recent purges. So perhaps enough of your followers remain twittering away to keep you happy. You might even enjoy long-term online friendships with many of them.

You may have noticed, however, that the recent Great Purge left Twitter seriously unbalanced in many ways. Those adjudged even slightly to the right of Mao have routinely been sent to Twitter’s algorithmic slaughterhouse. Yet entire swaths of the hyper-partisan MSM and its overpaid faux “journalists” you’ve long ignored still linger on. For example, the New York Times – aka Pravda-on-the-Hudson – and the hundreds of writers associated with it.




The entire MSM, now including the Murdoch Empire (et tu, Fox?) espouses and promotes the same disinformation, often employing the same words, phrases and assorted terminology, as if every outlet is plagiarizing a single central source. Most likely, the ubiquitous and usually wrong New York Times. This obvious practice is not only annoying. It’s also ever-present. No individual, group or entity can stop it unless they can take on the herculean task of identifying and blocking over 800 accounts, one account at a time.

Introducing BlockNYT and CancelMSM

It’s okay to say you’ve had it with junk communications and sites. But now there are at least a couple of new ways to help you actively tune out these constant intrusions.

Today, we’re talking about BlockNYT and CancelMSM. Both are new, efficient tools you can use to eliminate the endless pop-ups and flashing ads, all vying for your attention in ways that are hard to avoid. Don’t look for news about these new tools on MSM channels and sites like the New York Times or the Washington Post. They’re unlikely to report on anything that makes possible the demise of advertising and fake news intrusions. Democracy Dies in the Darkness both has-been newspapers offer an often gullible public each and every day.

BlockNYT: Easy, Effective, Erasable

Block NYT – available here – is a handy Twitter app that blocks 800 New York Times reporters. It keeps the NYT gang from annoying you with their constant parade of lies masquerading as Important News You Can Use.

Before clicking on “Block 800 New York Times Reporters for $0” at the top of the page, be sure to first reinforce your determination to ban them on your machine. Just scroll down and read about the many journalistic sins routinely perpetrated by the “Great” Gray Lady. These include the Times’ deceptions, retractions, inconsistencies, omissions and errors. These include current journalistic sins and those going back decades. All these entries are well-sourced with text and links. No “Pants On Fire” fake fact-checking here.

Some followers of this blocking tool have been worried about the multiple privileges BlockNYT appears to enjoy when it lives on your computer.

What BlockNYT can do vs. the slyness of Twitter

Twitter, wanting you to be very afraid (while absolving itself of any responsibility), allegedly lists them all. This most partisan of social networking sites claims that BlockNYT can:

  • See Tweets from your timeline (including protected Tweets) as well as your Lists and collections.
  • View your Twitter profile information and account settings.
  • See accounts you follow, mute, and block.
  • Follow and unfollow accounts for you.
  • Update your profile and account settings.
  • Post and delete Tweets for you, and engage with Tweets posted by others (Like, un-Like, or reply to a Tweet, Retweet, etc.) for you.
  • Create, manage, and delete Lists and collections for you.
  • Mute, block, and report accounts for you.

To counter that disinformation, however, BlockNYT explains that Twitter’s API makes them ask for all these permissions. Whom to believe? Consider Twitter’s outstanding track record for honesty and fairness. Then make your own decision.

What BlockNYT actually does

All BlockNYT really claims to do is block the accounts in its csv. Once in the app, you can examine the raw data via this link. (Note: the link can be a little kludgy in some browsers or older operating systems.) You can uninstall the app right after using it. The accounts will stay blocked.

The BlockNYT app cannot access your password. That remains completely separate from any app you install in Twitter. Later, when you install a Twitter app, the app’s developer gets a specially generated password, called a token, to access your account. If you remove the app, the token no longer works for them. That eliminates one of the secret ways that apps can continue to spy on you even after you’ve deleted the app.



Install, opt out, uninstall. Blocks stay, permissions go away. That’s it.

On the off-chance you want to undo a blocked account, you can do it later as part of your usual account activities.

CancelMSM: An Intriguing Maybe?

CancelMSM, developed and maintained on GitHub, is more comprehensive than BlockNYT. However, it is also more useful for the technically-inclined. Its designer makes a good case for using it via this link. But running CancelMSM requires several non-obvious steps. These steps may be transparent to programmers. But they may prove opaque to those who don’t write apps for a living.

CancelMSM is definitely intriguing for those who want to controll the intrusion of unwanted Twitter accounts. In addition, the app’s developer recently added the BlockNYT csv file to the collection of MSM files it can block.

For us at least, CancelMSM can be complicated, as already noted. So we’re currently looking into ways we can present instructions for running it that non-programmers can use. We’ll post what we find when we can.

Whatever you do, free yourself from MSM and social media disinformation

Even though it’s more complicated than it used to be, you can still control much of what you access on the Internet even today. You do have a choice: Feed your head or it will be filled for you.

Most of today’s “news reports” are no more than extended opinion pieces. As opposed to real news reports, these scurrilous reports are easily identifiable. They’re loaded with highly charged editorial adverbs, adjectives, trite and unsubstantiated catch phrases (“without evidence,” “falsely claimed by”) and extended metaphors more appropriate for works of fiction than fact-based, unbiased journalism.

In addition, identical rhetoric, phraseology, usage, and vocabulary deployed in stories released on the same day across the majority of MSM platforms clearly indicates that they all come from the same central propaganda source. This phenomenon simultaneously bores and insults intelligent readers in search of objective reporting.

Today’s authoritarian and manipulative “news” sites and sources went over to the dark side many years or many decades ago. They continue to spew endless emotional cycles of denounce and defend, rinse and repeat.

Beware of personal system overload and today’s lazy reporters

What happens when normal, rational individuals get emotionally over stimulated by the same relentless messages delivered day after day? They first become numb, and then indifferent to news of real disasters. Like fake pandemics and fraudulent elections and phony presidents. Nothing to see here folks, move along.

Spoon-fed, one-time reporters learn to stop asking real questions, particularly questions challenging the MSM’s left-wing heroes. Today, that’s an instant career breaker.

Worse, new “reporters” quickly learn that rewriting someone else’s copy is easier than researching and writing your own. Particularly if that copy originates with the New York Times, the Washington Post or the hopelessly biased Associated Press (AP).

An aside: one wonders, how many of today’s journalists suffer from call-reluctance? Calling someone up to ask hard questions is a solo activity. Even a lonely one. No gaggle to hide yourself in, as in today’s farcical White House press briefings.

Alert citizens need to fight back

That said, alert citizens can protect themselves from lies. Too many different reporters reporting the same news in the same way in the same words on the same day is their first tip-off that something is fake. The way to avoid this propaganda? Block MSM as much as possible. And tools like BlockNYT can be a small step in the right direction.

Another possible, if quirky way of getting real information that’s also amusing is through humor – something that’s largely a lost art in today’s perpetually angry media jungle.

And not only humor. But reliable, truthful, factual, thoughtful humor. Like the humor you can find via the already legendary Babylon Bee. You can also find the Bee (“Fake news you can trust”) on Twitter. Unless they’ve already banned it.

But the Bee is another story for another time.

– Headline image: Portion of the BlockNYT homepage. (Screen grab, sized to fit CDN format.)

 

Frances Ponick

Fran Ponick is a speaker, author, commentator, teacher, and coach. She has decades of experience in technical, business, marketing, and proposal writing and editing, and has won awards in journalism, formal poetry, and acting. She has also served as a consultant to DoD. Her book, Only Angels Can Wing It: How to Prepare a Eulogy Quickly and Present It Compassionately, is available from Amazon.com.