The social media platforms claim they are unbiased, but the facts show otherwise.
It’s less than a week before the 2018 mid-term elections. Candidates and PAC’s are spending record level money to make the last pitch to the few undecided voters who may decide key races for control of the US House and Senate.
Over at the Daily Caller, Marsha Blackburn submitted political ad videos only to be rebuffed from Google as “shocking content”. The ad was about Democrat mobs and included recorded video of protesters during a campaign event in which a moment of silence was interrupted.
Shocking content? To whom? Is Google saying that protesters are “shocking content? The ad is also slated to air in TV markets. But Google thinks its users may become offended by Black Lives Matter protesters slinging racial comments at the Republican candidate. It’s almost comical when one tries to rationalize why anyone at Google would come to that conclusion. I wonder if they would consider shocking a grandmother in a wheelchair being pushed over the cliff as part of a political ad? Oh wait, it’s still on YouTube!
Several weeks ago, Google refused to show up for Congressional hearings about the bias in social media networks. The evidence of a concerted effort to shut down conservative speech on a whim is overwhelming. And when asked, the social media’s public relations team rattles off standard responses of how they won’t comment on specific examples, but the company is not biased against any political speech. Lately, they’ve stopped responding to media requests.
And yet events like Blackburn’s is not uncommon. It’s not the political message that’s the problem; it’s the content that is viewed out of context and determined to be offensive, EVEN THOUGH, in Blackburn’s case, the utterances are clearly from a leftist protester.
What is painfully clear is that social media platforms are now inserting themselves into the political process affecting how candidates can spread their message. Google, Facebook, Twitter all have tools to help candidates spread their message. The ever changing rules of what is considered a “violation” has made it difficult for conservative candidates to share their message.
Antifa posts videos freely on all platforms that showcases their intent to commit as well as engage in violence. But if a candidate were to use those same videos, a reviewer could flag it as “shocking content”, denying potential voters from seeing where a candidate stands.
Social media giants suspended Alex Jones, almost in unison, as a means to appease the leftists from attempting to regulate their products. Indeed, Democrats are looking to define and clarify hate speech so that social media platforms can more easily remove content. Political speech from Conservatives could easily fall under the classification while allowing liberals to continue their dangerous rhetoric freely.
So imagine you’re a political candidate looking to share your family history of escaping the regime of a communist despot to come to this country and raise a family in freedom. All of a sudden, your ad is suspended because the content is deemed offensive. This actually happened to Elizabeth Heng, a Republican candidate for the 16th District in California. Eventually, the ad was restored, but not before conservatives ire was raised and picked up over the media.
Still, the approach of ban, deny and then later apologize after waiting for some period of time continues which is a disservice to voters looking to make an informed choice. Instead of analyzing at how to address historical content of bad players in a responsible political video, the answers are to just train the liberal arbiters how to be less liberal. It isn’t working as is shown by the ever growing number of incidents.
It’s very clear that the social media platforms are not serious about addressing enforcement errors. John Hoge’s primary twitter account was suspended by a focused effort from Team Kimberlin and his nefarious band of bad actors leveraging Twitter’s reporting tools. Eventually, Hoge’s account was restored but not before it had an impact on his blog.
These same tactics are used to silence many conservatives. James Woods was suspended over a meme he retweeted and was found offensive by the internal monitors at Twitter after receiving numerous reports. The meme itself was actually something that would be believable – that feminist supporting men wouldn’t vote so a woman’s vote would not be affected. Whatever that means. It was classified as violating Twitter’s policy on misleading content. Woods didn’t even create it, and the group responsible for the parody meme was still tweeting it. In other words, Twitter didn’t care about the meme, but punished one of it’s verified members with millions of followers because it might gain traction. That’s not how free speech works.
The larger issue here is how the social media platforms have amassed enough power to control what users will see. Subscribers who are politically opposed to the social media powers risk additional scrutiny and even enforcement errors. Indeed, Gab was removed from the internet because the Tree of Life shooter had an account on that platform. Yet, he also had an account on Twitter. Because Gab does not prohibit free speech with the exception of those inciting violence, it suffered from political left service providers who decided the service violated it’s term of use, not recognizing that the service itself did nothing wrong. Microsoft and GoDaddy had already pushed Gab off for violating their ever changing policies.
It used to be Free Speech was a cherished right and was important in our political discourse. That has changed, and tech giants who control the vast majority of resources available for those who want to share their views. They can be denied simply for having different political views. Zuckerberg, Dorsey, and Google all deny they have a bias, but the evidence continues to amount that can’t be explained away by “enforcement errors.”
While the tech giants do not want to be regulated, their efforts to suppress Conservative speakers is only seen as a good thing by Democrats. Some Democrats want the platforms to do more to curb hate speech. If Democrats gain control of Congress, the expectation is that tech giants will be used to help legally define what is hate speech. The question is, just what will be the ultimate definition?
You can easily see how complaints by Democrats of Trump rhetoric is the set up for more speech regulation that targets Conservative voices. They’ve been trying for years to raise the Fairness Doctrine in direct response to Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity’s command of the radio waves. Even in more liberal urban areas, conservative radio has been a boon to local station’s bottom lines.
So it shouldn’t shock anyone that with liberal CEO’s of the social media giants behind them, Democrats could make great inroads of curbing conservative ideas using the banner of “hate speech” against any conservative policy supported by reasonable Americans. A good example is the caravan. Already, Democrats are trying to frame it through the lens of racism. Such classification would make it “hate speech” – ergo, an immigration policy that is strong on border enforcement could be seen as racist which is by definition, hate speech.
Obviously, such an attempt to legislate hate speech would not pass the Supreme Court. The installation of Kavanaugh was fought unusually hard by the democrats for someone who many in conservative circles believed was more moderate. Democrats had hoped to prevent any new justice until after the election so that they could pack the court, an ironic charge they leveled against Republicans.
This is why some Democrats continue to push the idea that once they’ve taken the house, they can reclaim that seat and hope to push the court towards a liberal bias. Indeed, having that seat available for the 2020 elections would be a dream come true.
With all that being said, it’s hard not to see what this is about: Power. Democrats want it, and the first step is to get one chamber of the legislature, keep Trump from doing anything else that would interfere with their agenda until they could retake the Senate and White House. By that time, there could be up to the three Supreme Court picks available.
If the democrats fail, to get the house, then it’s back to square one. They and the media will become even more toxic towards Trump, but the hope would be that Republicans will finally fulfill their campaign promises, especially if they gain more seats in the Senate. And perhaps they can spend some time and really help dig into the inner working of the social media giants and have them account for their inconsistent policies and practices.
After all, a little sunlight is a good thing.