This is a big subject which I don’t have time to do justice to in this post. I am afraid that we will need to return to it frequently in the months ahead. The place to begin is this excellent piece by Paula Bolyard at PJ Media: “Is Google Working with Liberal Groups to Snuff Out Conservative Websites?”
Briefly, Google is partnering with far-left groups like Pro Publica, BuzzFeed and the Southern Poverty Law Center to create a database of “hate” news for use by journalists. “Hate,” of course, means everything from opposing mass immigration to failing to endorse the latest LGBTQIA fads, while trying to murder Republican Congressmen apparently doesn’t qualify. Pro Publica’s page titled “Documenting Hate News Index” is here.
Ms. Bolyard writes:
On the surface, this looks rather innocuous. It’s presented by Google as an attempt to create a database of hate crimes — information that should be available with a quick Google search, it should be noted. But a quick glance at the list of partners for this project should raise some red flags:
The ProPublica-led coalition includes The Google News Lab, Univision News, the New York Times, WNYC, BuzzFeed News, First Draft, Meedan, New America Media, The Root, Latino USA, The Advocate, 100 Days in Appalachia and Ushahidi. The coalition is also working with civil-rights groups such as the Southern Poverty Law Center, and schools such as the University of Miami School of Communications.
It’s easy enough to figure out the direction of this project by taking it for a test drive. A search for “Scalise” returned four results, one of which didn’t even mention Steve Scalise, the congressman who was shot by a crazed leftist in June. A search for “Trump” during the same time period yielded more than 200 results. A search of the raw data resulted in 1178 hits for Trump and not a single mention of Scalise.
Note that Google, which recently fired an employee for expressing his counter-progressive opinions, thinks this information could be used to “help journalists covering hate news leverage this data in their reporting.” What do they mean by “leverage this data”? They don’t say, but an email sent to several conservative writers by a ProPublica reporter may give us some indication. Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer along with some others received this from ProPublica “reporter” Lauren Kirchner:
I am a reporter at ProPublica, a nonprofit investigative newsroom in New York. I am contacting you to let you know that we are including your website in a list of sites that have been designated as hate or extremist by the American Defamation League or the Southern Poverty Law Center. We have identified all the tech platforms that are supporting websites on the ADL and SPLC lists.
We would like to ask you a few questions:
1) Do you disagree with the designation of your website as hate or extremist? Why?
2) We identified several tech companies on your website: PayPal, Amazon, Newsmax, and Revcontent. Can you confirm that you receive funds from your relationship with those tech companies? How would the loss of those funds affect your operations, and how would you be able to replace them?
3) Have you been shut down by other tech companies for being an alleged hate or extremist web site? Which companies?
4) Many people opposed to sites like yours are currently pressuring tech companies to cease their relationships with them – what is your view of this campaign? Why?
Leftists are trying to drive conservatives off the web by pressuring hosting services, payment services like PayPal, and other companies that provide technical support on a more or less indiscriminate basis to web sites. They already have had considerable success in this regard. Their pretense that the campaign is directed only at “hate” sites is absurd. No rational person would put pamelageller.com, for example, in that category.
And don’t think for a moment that this effort will end with the initial targets. Before long, the Left will try to make it impossible for mainstream conservative sites like Power Line, as well as Christian and Jewish web sites, to exist. Bill Jacobson writes at Legal Insurrection:
Attempts to induce corporations to silence conservatives are nothing new. We have seen years of pressure tactics from groups such as Media Matter to shut down voices such as Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity by pressuring and harassing advertisers. Campaigns are currently underway to force advertisers away from websites such as Breitbart and Gateway Pundit.
As discussed in many posts, this tactic can be effective when highly organized because major corporations are scared to death of bad publicity in general, but particularly bad publicity that could find it accused of supporting racism or other -isms. So the easy decision is to drop the advertising, rather than face protesters outside headquarters and in social media.
That tactic now has gone to a completely different level with attempts to intimidate internet hosting companies and companies that provide internet infrastructure to cut off access to the internet. So far, the effort has been focused on the neo-Nazi website The Daily Stormer. People might not care that The Daily Stormer is taken down, but the history of leftist tactics shows that the target universe will expand dramatically and it will not be long before efforts are directed, as they are now for advertisers, at mainstream conservative and right-of-center websites.
This is an important topic, and one to which, I am afraid, we will have many occasions to return in the future.
JOE adds: I will myself have a lot to say on this in due course, but for the moment let me say that it’s a good thing there are freedom-of-expression oriented ad technology companies like Publir, which I had the privilege of helping to found, out there!