There’s a media earthquake just beginning to rumble and it could end up affecting us all.
Earlier this week, news leaked that Google and Facebook would be working to “crack down” on sites that the two media giants consider to be “fake news” sites.
Google and Facebook said they will take steps to prevent fake news sites from generating revenue through their ad-selling services, The Wall Street Journal reports. Google was dragged into the arena after its search engine highlighted a little-known right-wing blog that erroneously claimed Donald Trump won the popular vote, WSJ reports. Google acknowledged the mistake and said it is always working to improve its algorithms. Facebook’s change won’t affect the fake news that appears in users’ feeds, so expect the controversy to continue. Gizmodo reported that the social giant had the chance to remove fake news from news feeds but chose not to when it realized that the necessary update would have disproportionately impacted right-leaning sites.
This news comes as no surprise to those of us operating in the conservative media world. We’ve been facing growing pressure from the left for years now, and Donald Trump’s election may have simply been the straw that broke the camel’s (i.e. the liberal media’s) back. Interestingly, these attacks on conservative media sources can be traced back, not to liberal media, but to the Democrat Party. A few years ago, the Democrats launched a push to pass a “Media Shield Law” that would ostensibly defend “journalists” from a heavy-handed and secretive government. The Media Shield Law blossomed after the Obama administration arrested Fox News’ James Rosen and then was discovered to have illegally spied on the Associated Press. Congress developed the Media Shield Law to protect journalists from despotic actions like the ones taken by the Obama administration. The only problem? Congress then decided who “journalists” were… because not everyone would be covered by the Media Shield Law.
What seemed like Congress’ attempt to protect the 1st Amendment (which I will remind you protects EVERYONE’s right to free speech and free press) was actually the opening salvo in what has become an all-out war on conservative media.
These attacks have continued steadily over the last few years, with more and more left-leaning organizations targeting conservative sites as “fake news.” The attacks have been ratcheted up even more over the election season.
President Obama himself began parroting the talking points about the dangers of conservative media while on the campaign trail these last few months. Here’s what he had to say about us at rally in Miami:
“Trump didn’t come out of nowhere now. For years, Republican politicians and far-right media outlets have just been pumping out all kinds of toxic, crazy stuff. I mean, first of all, there was the whole birther thing. Then, they start saying that climate change is a Chinese hoax. And according to them, I’m powerful enough to cause these hurricanes; I’m about to steal everybody’s guns in the middle of the night and declare martial law; but somehow I still need a teleprompter to finish a sentence.
“So, they’ve been saying crazy stuff. And there are a lot of politicians like Marco Rubio who know better, but they just look the other way.”
“Toxic, crazy stuff.” We don’t agree about man-caused climate change, we think the President is anti-2nd Amendment, and people questioned his birth certificate (something the Clinton team came up with in 2008)… and we’re “toxic” and “crazy”? Apparently, President Obama missed all of the “Bush as Hitler” media from 2000-2008, and he also missed the 9/11 conspiracy theories, or the Hurricane Katrina conspiracy theories. Why weren’t liberals or the media worried about the left-wing media during the Bush years?
As the Editor-in-Chief at Liberty Alliance, I am the contact point for content related issues on any of our sites. Because of this, I often get contacted about media appearances and stories from other journalists, writers, radio hosts, etc. Over the summer, I was contacted by two journalists essentially pitching the same story – “how partisan media has changed the shape of social media and politics.” The journalists were from the New York Times and the New Yorker, and both said that their stories would be about how partisan media from the right and the left had changed how we do politics, thanks to our presence on social media networks like Facebook and Twitter. While the New Yorker’s story was pushed off, the New York Times did run their piece, titled “Inside Facebook’s (Totally Insane, Unintentionally Gigantic, Hyperpartisan) Political-Media Machine.” The gist of the story, delivered in the over-the-top title and the obvious conclusion that readers are meant to come to, is that those of us operating in the new media space are obviously “insane,” and “hyperpartisan”… and so we can not be “real” news.
This is a common theme in the narrative of the left. Because the conservative news media is conservative (and partisan), we then cannot also be an accurate, honest, or true news source. Unfortunately, what this theory forgets is that the “mainstream” news media has itself become a cesspool of partisanship and bias, and this truth has given rise to the right-wing media in America. In fact, the vast majority of Americans agree with us that the mainstream media is biased against conservatives, and in favor of liberals.
Here are some of the key findings from the poll, taken from Newsbusters:
- 7 in 10 (69%) voters do not believe the news media are honest and truthful.
- 8 in 10 (78%) of voters believe the news coverage of the presidential campaign was biased, with nearly a 3-to-1 majority believing the media were for Clinton (59%) vs. for Trump (21%).
- Even 1/3 (32%) of Clinton voters believe the media were “pro-Clinton.”
- 8% of Trump voters said they would have voted for Clinton if they had believed what the media were saying about Trump.
The negative reporting didn’t stop with the New York Times. In October, Buzzfeed picked up the thread and used five different researchers and countless of man hours to develop a hit piece that they said showed the mainstream media was more accurate and honest than partisan media (particularly right wing partisan media). Buzzfeed found that the mainstream media never published what they called “Mostly False” content, but publishers on the left and right did so regularly. But as Phil Hodges of Eagle Rising points out, any consumer of the news knows that Buzzfeed is simply wrong on this.
What they didn’t cover in their never-ending article was how they did their “fact-checking.” How did they decide which stories were accurate, and which were false? By comparing hyperpartisan content to CNN?
What makes mainstream news networks so misleading is how much information they leave out. They lie by omission. They define the narrative, and if they don’t mention something, then it doesn’t exist. If they don’t talk about Hillary’s scandals, then she doesn’t have any.
But they also engage in twisting words, taking quotes out of context, blowing things out of proportion, and they do it for ratings.
All that makes people mad. It creates a vacuum and a demand for what BuzzFeed calls hyperpartisan blogs and websites. They cover the stories that the big national media won’t cover.
Then, just this past week, HBO’s John Oliver jumped on to the anti-conservative media train while whining about Donald Trump’s election victory. Oliver blamed Trump’s win on conservative media and “fake news” stories. Apparently, Trump’s victory was all our fault. (You’re welcome, America.)
Which leads us to today. Google and Facebook are openly discussing how they can clamp down on our speech and keep us in the conservative media from having a voice on social media networks and in their search engines. The Los Angeles Times and the Daily Caller are both reporting that the media giants may use a list created by a liberal professor in Massachusetts to help them in silencing the conservative media. Merrimack College’s Assistant Professor, Melissa Zimdar, recently published a document claiming to list many sites that are either “false, misleading, or clickbait-y” and — no surprise here — most of them are conservative sites. Professor Zimdars even argues that several news organizations with White House press clearance are actually “fake news” sites! Sites like Breitbart, Independent Journal Review (IJR), the Blaze, 100% Fed Up, Liberty Unyielding and the Daily Wire, are listed with objectively fake news sites like abcnews.com.co. The list has gone viral on social media, being pushed particularly hard by liberal organizations who want to see Google, Facebook, and other media organizations ban certain kinds of news content.
The problem with trusting any such list is that it will be inherently flawed because of its creator. In this case, for example, Zimdar has included many more conservative sites than liberal sites. (While Breitbart makes the list, the liberal Huffington Post does not). However, a quick perusal of Zimdar’s web site and Twitter history (she’s hidden both but you can see some of her cached Twitter feed here and her website here, here, and here) shows that she is a far-left liberal, who considers herself a “feminist.”
In this we see the liberal assault on the First Amendment coming full circle. Remember it began with the Democrat push for a “media shield law,” which would protect some “journalists” but not others. It gave the government the power to decide what was “really” news media and what wasn’t. When the media shield laws failed, the left moved in a new direction. They enlisted their partners in the media to help them undercut the work that we in conservative circles are doing. The very same organizations that obey the Clintons and their cronies when reporting the news were now attacking us for our “biases.” Hillary Clinton, President Obama, the New York Times, Buzzfeed, CNN, NBC, ABC, CBS, HBO… they’ve all spoken out against conservative media because of our biases, while ignoring the biases inherent with their reporting, just like Professor Zimdar. Now, they’re demanding that Google, Facebook, Twitter, and other media giants step in to stop us from speaking out. The question is – will we allow it?
Here at Liberty Alliance we reach millions of people every single day. More than 55 million people follow our pages on Facebook, our websites have been visited over 172 MILLION times in the last 30 days, and more than 30 million Americans (+ 3 million more internationally) have read an article on one of our websites. (That’s 10% of America!) The left wants to stop us. They want to throttle our voice. They want to keep us from connecting, because they know that together we (you the reader and us the publisher) can change everything.
We just proved it by electing Donald Trump and defeating the corrupt Clinton machine.
The liberals and their cronies in the mainstream media can continue deriding us and our friends as “fake news” sites, but it won’t stop us from speaking out.