Instead of focusing on the possible treason of their own president and the Russian abuse of social media to steal an election for their “side” (which sadly appears not to be the American “side”), House Republicans spent the day after #TreasonTrumpSummit debacle whining at Facebook, Google and Twitter about conservative content being discriminated against content for political reasons.
No, this is not a thing. The thing that is happening is the weeding out of Russian fake news, and all “fake news” – an irony, since this Fake News is Trump’s favorite mantra and indeed appears to have hoisted the p*ssy grabber Putin “fan boy” into the White House.
Congressional conservative Republicans have been focusing their efforts not on the Russian abuse of social media to successfully implement a disinformation campaign to undermine western democracy, but instead on how they feel conservative content is being discriminated against.
The companies all reject this absurd notion. And it is absurd. Every publisher out there has been through the social media changes going on and it is incumbent upon them to do better, as it is incumbent upon the social media companies to do better.
Republican House Judiciary Committee chairman Bob Goodlatte said that since an April hearing, Congress has “seen numerous efforts by these companies to improve transparency,” but he also pointed to anecdotes of some content being removed.
Goodlatte asked if these companies are “using their market power to push the envelope on filtering decisions to favor the content the companies prefer?”
Representative David Cicilline, a Democrat, blasted the hearing and said Facebook for two years has “bent over backwards to placate and mollify conservatives,” and pointed to Facebook’s failure to remove pages promoting unsubstantiated conspiracy theories.
“There is no evidence that the algorithms of social networks or search results are biased against conservatives. It is a made-up narrative pushed by the conservative propaganda machine to convince voters of a conspiracy that does not exist,” Cicilline said.
Cicilline is correct, but this is what conservatives have been doing for decades now- they accuse before and without evidence, they cry persecution, and thus game the ref. Not wanting to seem biased, people and companies then go out of their way to allow garbage fake news pizza gate stories to be published and shared. This is where the real wrong is occurring, and it is evident in our media as well as social media companies.
Facebook said earlier this year it had retained former Republican Senator Jon Kyl to advise the company “on potential bias against conservative voices.”
Did they hire a far left Democrat for the same purpose?
Facebook’s head of global policy management, Monika Bickert, told the committee it wants to fairly treat all groups, in explaining why it is conducting various audits.
“We just want to make sure that we are doing our job right,” Bickert said, adding Facebook consults with a wide variety of groups.
House Democrats said the committee should be focused on the threats to the U.S. electoral process from Russian hackers. Representative Jerrold Nadler, the top Democrat on the committee, unsuccessfully asked the panel to adjourn to a private session to discuss Russia.
In other words, Republicans blew off the Russia attack the day after their President sided with Putin over his own country. They are more concerned with fake complaints of bias against far right fake news that benefits their “side.”
Juniper Downs, global head of public policy and government relations at Google’s video channel YouTube, said the company does not discriminate against conservatives. “Giving preference to content of one political ideology over another would fundamentally conflict with our goal of providing services that work for everyone,” she said.
Twitter’s senior strategist Nick Pickles said the company does not discriminate against conservatives and works to make neutral decisions. “Our purpose is to serve the conversation, not to make value judgments on personal beliefs,” he said.
The committee held a hearing in April on the same topic after representatives of the companies skipped it.
The bottom line is conservatives can’t play in an even playing field, so they try to game the ref and get preference and introduce bias in their favor by playing persecuted.
Here is how this should be working. If conservatives can’t handle being held to the very meager standard of reality, that is a problem they should address on their end. That is not the fault of social media companies.
All social media companies are struggling to balance their beliefs in platforms that promote dialogue and speech with not allowing their platforms to be used again as a weapon to destroy western democracy. That is the concern here. That is the real issue here.
But conservative House Republicans are not interested in reality or in dealing with Russia’s ongoing attack against their country.
By the way, at no time have Republicans even established that these social media companies and the people making decisions are liberal or Democrats. It’s odd how this charge of bias is just immediately bowed down to, instead of vetted and sourced. Many of these companies are no doubt getting huge gains from Trump’s tax cuts, for instance. Many of the people in charge make big salaries. The idea that these folks are throttling conservative news is ridiculous, and is actually meant to silence “liberal”, aka real news.
This whole “fake news” hysteria is meant to put reality into question, and it must not be allowed to succeed. This is a bipartisan matter of putting our country first, ahead of political concerns. By ignoring the Russian warfare against the U.S., conservative House Republicans are failing the country.
(Additional reporting by David Shepardson)
Ms. Jones is the editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah has won two Telly Awards and is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.