If you thought you had political fatigue in the 2016 presidential election, you ain’t seen nothing yet.
In a sweeping move by parent company Google, YouTube is hunting conservative channels and taking them down like 10-point bucks, the most recent and largest one being Alex Jones’ InfoWars channel. According to Jones himself, his YouTube site contains 33,000 videos that receive billions of views. YouTube froze the video channel several days ago and threatened to lock it down on Sunday, March 4, 2018 if it received “one more strike.”
It is stupefying to witness the purge of conservative voices from what was essentially created as a politically blind and public forum for amateur content creators. But YouTube became much more than a video sharing sight for funny cat videos. It spawned alternative news stars, in-depth and original reporting and fueled the popularity of creators willing to report on or discuss issues that the mainstream corporate media would not.
In the case of Jones’ InfoWars, it was news competitor CNN who took issue with the advertisers it found on Infowars in an article it published on Saturday. CNN pursued the social media giant and its advertisers, questioning why Nike, Acer, 20th Century Fox, Paramount Network, the Mormon Church, Moen, Expedia, Alibaba, HomeAway, Mozilla, the NRA, Honey, Wix and ClassPass would advertise on a YouTube channel it clearly disagrees with.
The success of conservative news and pundits such as Jones has always been a sticking point with YouTube and the left-leaning CNN, which has a history of referring to the site as a conspiracy news operation and has falsely accused Jones of making statements regarding the Sandy Hook shooting that Jones says he never made.
And in its article targeting InfoWars, CNN leaves out information that thousands of YouTube creators, not just Jones, have had their sites demonetized during the presidential election in an attempt to cripple their reach. Between its “town hall” meetings following the Parkland shooting and this recent push to remove advertisers from conservative YouTube channels, CNN has squarely placed themselves in the activism box rather than a news reporting agency.
Since the lead up to the 2016 presidential election, YouTube has been caught red handed with its finger on the trigger of successful conservative channels by tweaking algorithms, flagging videos as restricted, banning or removing sites and demonetizing sites it didn’t agree with. Its recent purge of conservative voices, including powerhouse conservatives such as Ron Paul, Steven Crowder, Michelle Malkin, Pamela Geller, Jerome Corsi and Dave Rubin has moved Google into the draconian, alarming and dangerous ground of totalitarianism.
So why the push now to eradicate conservative voices? Because no one is paying attention to mainstream media. The massive media attacks against then presidential hopeful Trump proved how weak the press corp has become—and how wrong they are on issues Americans care about. And despite the media hysteria, Americans mostly agree that any election meddling by Russia was negligible and wasn’t anything new to the Trump presidential campaign.
Americans have grown weary of being told what to think by journalist they don’t agree with, and voters attuned to political events and news long abandoned a media that didn’t speak for them. Even voters who don’t believe in conspiracy theories recognize the media as the propaganda arm of the Democratic party and, more insidiously, may even have ties to deep state programs. This large block of voters doesn’t get its information or its energy from the mainstream news media, but the millions of conservative news and talk shows found on YouTube.
The Democratic party hasn’t ever met an individual or group it didn’t want to control, and clearly this is one enormous group outside their purview. The left already has its own platform in mainstream media and its traditional journalists, who almost exclusively skew left. James O’Keefe of Project Veritas sent reporters undercover at The New York Times and released a video of one of the Times own, a 20-year IT consultant, admitting the outlet has an anti-Trump culture. Undercover video obtained by Project Veritas also showed The New York Times London Senior Staff Editor, Desiree Shoe, revealing a biased political agenda in the operation of the so-called “paper of record.”
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai confirmed the off-the-chain bias of social platforms when speaking in November 2017 at a panel on the “future of internet freedom,” where he named YouTube, Facebook and Twitter’s purported double standards against conservatives and identified them as the “actual threat” to the open internet.
And Pai’s remarks are certainly coming true. In addition to taking down big game such as Alex Jones, YouTube recently suspended Dennis Prager’s PragerU channel. Prager is a prominent Jewish libertarian and talk show host whose channel receives millions of views. Prager fought back by filing a lawsuit claiming that YouTube’s restricted mode filtering method, which was used in its decision to take down PragerU’s videos, violates free speech.
PragerU says that at least 37 of its videos continue to be censored by “restricted mode filtering,” which limits views based on certain characteristics, including the age of the viewer. Those videos include “educational content ranging from the legal creation of Israel and the history of the Korean War, to the idea of diversity of thought on college campuses.”
“Google/YouTube have represented that their platforms and services are intended to effectuate the exercise of free speech among the public,” write PragerU lawyers in the organization’s complaint (PDF). “As applied to PragerU, Google/YouTube use their restricted mode filtering not to protect younger or sensitive viewers from ‘inappropriate’ video content, but as a political gag mechanism to silence PragerU.”
YouTube content creators who post content that doesn’t agree with the left’s approved viewpoints on controversial topics, such as same-sex marriage, are removed. When video creators protest, it is almost never successful. Rather, appeals by content creators to YouTube are routinely denied under the guise of violating their Community Guidelines, which are arbitrary and not uniformly applied.
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai’s critics said the net neutrality repeal would lay the groundwork for internet service providers to fragment and meter out the internet, but speaking on a panel hosted by libertarian think tank R Street Institute, Pai said Silicon Valley already does this by promoting some viewpoints while suppressing others.
Despite the weak protestations from YouTube officials that they are not actively pushing political agendas they favor, it runs contrary to what their own employees are saying.
Arne Wilburg, a long-time YouTube employment recruiter, claims that YouTube stopped hiring white and Asian men for technical positions and, like Prager, he has filed suit. According to Wilburg, recruiters at YouTube tracked the hiring of minorities with a “diversity tracker.” Wilberg, who refused to cooperate with these hiring goals, says his performance reviews suffered as a result.
And like Google, who fired tech employee James Damor, who released the now famous memo decrying Google’s diversity practices, Damor and other ex-Google employees claim they were ostracized, belittled and punished for their political views and because they are white males.
This unprecedented power grab by YouTube/Google is an attempt to silence the right in the lead up to the contentious 2020 political races. Google’s attempt to control unapproved talking points through its fake news campaign and the media’s failed Russian collision accusations have backed liberal giants into a corner. Without the ability to control the free flow of information and opinions, they can’t control the outcome. And whether you agree with the viewpoints of any of the conservatives being banned on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, you should be alarmed.
When Adolf Hitler took power in 1933, the Nazis controlled less than 3 percent of Germany’s 4,700 papers. The elimination of the German multiparty political system not only brought about the demise of hundreds of newspapers produced by outlawed political parties, it also allowed the state to seize the printing plants and equipment of the Communist and Social Democratic Parties, which were often turned over directly to the Nazi Party. Not surprisingly, the Nazis established control or exerted undue influence over independent press outlets.
Or to all of you hunting enthusiasts, unless we want to become a nation of ghost bucks, we must protect conservative channels from being arbitrarily shot down. Hunting season will begin anew with the mid-term elections. Stay vigilant and don’t remain silent as our free speech is eroded. Reign well.