Opinion / Politics

NBC Tries and Fails to Wreck a Conservative Website. Here’s Why It’s Deeply Problematic.

NBCIf you value a robust media offering a variety of voices, you should be troubled by a chilling incident that occurred this week.

Citing the work of two foreign-based activist groups, NBC News reported Tuesday that Google would demonetize a conservative news and opinion outlet, The Federalist–meaning not allow it to carry Google Ads on its site.

Why? Because of The Federalist’s coverage of the George Floyd protests.

Later that day, Google clarified that its specific issue was the comments section below articles on The Federalist, not the articles themselves. When The Federalist removed its comments section, Google said it considered the issue resolved.

This episode shows how a media outlet such as NBC News apparently is willing to collude with radicals alongside one of the world’s most powerful tech companies to ruin the competition.

“Google’s ban of the websites [The Federalist and financial blog ZeroHedge] comes after the company was notified of research conducted by the Center for Countering Digital Hate, a British nonprofit that combats online hate and misinformation,” NBC initially reported, according to Fox News. “They found that 10 U.S-based websites have published what they say are racist articles about the [Floyd/ Black Lives Matter] protests, and projected that the websites would make millions of dollars through Google Ads.”

NBC worked with two left-wing advocacy organizations as sources in its reporting: the Center for Countering Digital Hate and Stop Funding Fake News.

NBC reported that Google blocked The Federalist from its advertising platform after NBC brought the project to its attention. The tech giant already had demonetized ZeroHedge, it reported.

“When a page or site violates our policies, we take action,” an unnamed Google spokesman told NBC. “In this case, we’ve removed both sites’ ability to monetize with Google.”

Shortly after NBC published its article, Google denied demonetizing The Federalist. Google said the issue was that The Federalist’s comments section, maintained by a third party, paired Google Ads with “dangerous or derogatory content” there.

Google said nothing about The Federalist’s articles, as NBC initially claimed in its report, which was changed significantly—although not retracted—after publication.

And although The Federalist removed the comments section below the pieces on its website, founders Ben Domenech and Sean Davis vow to bring back comments.

For full disclosure, I have written for The Federalist and my wife, Inez Stepman, is a senior contributor at the publication.

Unfortunately, the issues involved in this story are much bigger than a single NBC report.

The reporter who wrote the story, London-based Adele-Momoko Fraser, did little to hide the fact that she worked in “collaboration”—her words in a now-deleted tweet—with far-left groups.

Later, Fraser changed her tune and said on Twitter that she obtained her research “exclusively” from Stop Funding Fake News, but didn’t “collaborate” with them.

Regardless of what actually happened, this is deeply troubling.

Unfortunately, it’s unlikely that these brute-force tactics to curb speech will end here. Far from it.

wrote in 2018 how YouTube—which is owned by Google—partnered with the Southern Poverty Law Center to police content under YouTube’s “trusted flagger program.”

The SPLC is notorious for making wild and exaggerated claims about mainstream conservative organizations, lumping them in as “hate groups” with extremist groups such as the Ku Klux Klan.

Last year, YouTube effectively censored the words of a medical doctor who writes about children and gender identity issues. She had said in a Daily Signal video: “See, if you want to cut off a leg or an arm, you’re mentally ill, but if you want to cut off healthy breasts or a penis, you’re transgender.”

Rob Bluey, vice president for communications at The Heritage Foundation and executive editor of The Daily Signal, criticized the actions of NBC and Google and said all Americans should be appalled.

This whole episode has disturbing implications for the free exchange of ideas in America, where the “cancel culture” of college campuses has been injected into the mainstream of our national political discourse.

The Federalist successfully fought back. But as noted by its  founders, could they have done so if they didn’t already have a significant public megaphone?

In a commentary published by The Wall Street Journal, Domenech and Davis lambaste what they call an attack “not only individuals but free speech itself”:

NBC News colluded with a foreign left-wing group [Stop Funding Fake News] in an attempt to destroy us because it disagrees with our political commentary and media criticism. The episode illustrates how dangerous the combination of partisan media and monopolistic tech companies is to America. We survived the attack because our organization is well known.

NBC’s failed attempt at bullying The Federalist is just another example of how social justice warriors have taken hold of newsrooms, using the immense power of their positions to squash voices that dare to contest the all-important “narrative.”

It’s the narrative, rather than pursuit of the truth, that’s been prioritized.

Activists on the far left want to control how and what people think. Dissent is problematic; debate ensures that not everyone will come to the “correct” conclusions.

It’s far more effective simply to silence the opposition.

My colleague Mike Gonzalez, author of the forthcoming book “The Plot to Change America: How Identity Politics is Dividing the Land of the Free,” recently wrote that the far left is manipulating language and using activists in media institutions “to make it impossible for conservatives to openly discuss their policy remedies to the ills besetting society.”

Absolutely.

If this trend continues unabated, we will lose our grip on our culture of free speech—and our free society along with it.

Reprinted with Permission from - Daily Signal by - Jarrett Stepman

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Paul W
3 months ago

Blatant hypocrisy. The real question is why are violations of “Terms of Use” ONLY mentioned when CONSERVATIVE SITES are involved? NOTHING is ever questioned regarding comments on leftist sites. Enforce it equally or not at all. You can’t have it both ways…although the left has for FAR TOO LONG.

Grandma Sandy73
3 months ago

Congress (Ha!) really needs to undo the special privileges they have given to these most popular on-line companies and put them under the FCC rules where no one can be censored or not allowed for saying anything

Patriot Will
3 months ago

Very sad that in a Constitutional Republic we the American patriots are being treated as if we have no rights to a more traditional perspective. Most of the media believes that conservatives are not even full fledged citizens but deplorables who only deserve disrespect and contempt. Even though conservatives are the folks who are doing their best to be positive and keep the USA a healthy nation, the radical left (socialists and communists) are doing their best to tear us all apart. These, indeed, are very scary times!

PaulE
3 months ago

This is sadly neither new nor unique, despite what the author may be trying to imply. Rather this is simply one more instance in a long series of such actions by both the MSM and the so-called social media platforms in this country to suppress and ultimately eliminate any and all perspectives that are NOT totally aligned with the socialist narrative being pushed around the world. If you compare how the global media and our social media platforms behave in other countries, you will find the identical actions being done there on a regular basis.   Yes, I will agree… Read more »

Steven
3 months ago

NBC say’s they want to ban “fake news”…That’s a joke! As for YouTube, they’ve been censoring their content for years. My opinion is that most of the media is left leaning if not completely to the left. Very few outlets actually report the truth or even care about this country at all.

Fred J Noel
3 months ago

Germany, 1930 and early 1940s sound familiar? Thank God we in America have the second amendment! Once the deep state mangers to abolish the second amendment, it’s over for freedom in the U.S. The government will handle any protects against the government the same way China did in the seventies.

JOSEPHINE POOLEY
3 months ago

Keep fighting for our right of free speech and thought and ideas AMAC!

carol
3 months ago

I read another article about this and in that article the author said Google is now a monopoly and should be broken apart. The author says Google is where Microsoft was years ago when it was king of browsers. I agree that Google needs to be dealt with but what about NBC? The media has freedom of the press but it doesn’t have freedom to shut down other media outlets either! I hate government interference but this is about protecting the freedoms of folks guaranteed by the Constitution. It’s about time Congress did the job we pay them for!

Charlotte A Mahin
3 months ago

It is sad and frightening that it seems very few are standing up to these deranged mobs trying to take away all of our rights. It is sickening to see politicians caving into their Communistic and Fascist demands…even some so-called Republicans! The out-right lies that are being stated as fact on the majority of news outlets is worse than I have ever seen in my 75 years on Earth. We have let a few hi-jack our country and destroy everything it stands for. We must not allow this to happen. I am praying for a Trump victory in November for… Read more »

Malcolm Elliott
3 months ago

Google and Facebook and the like are jokes, they were created to be platforms of free speech, now that the “people who maintain” these platforms Google, Facebook, Twitter, etc wants to dictate what you can and can’t say, your opinion does not matter, seemed we as a country fought a war just for that reason from 1776-1787 and then again from 1812-1815. History does matter, lessons are learned and should be remembered from History.

Micky V
3 months ago

Make Google put in parenthesis after their name like this: GOOGLE (All content censored by leftists)
 
That way you know what you are getting in Google products.

BajaRon
3 months ago

Global, man made climate change. Worldwide pandemic. Black Lives Matter. Riots and blocking of areas in cities as ‘Autonomous Zones’. None of which are intended to ‘Fix’ anything. It’s all 100% about just one goal.
 
Total Control over your life, cradle to grave. Which is also the sole purpose of the United Nations and affiliates.
 
You and I will have a lot to do with which way all of this will go in November. If it goes the wrong way. There may not be anymore meaningful ‘Novembers’ in our future.

John C
3 months ago

We also note the NBC and other MSM players attacking One America News and The Epoch Times, both of which generally support our President.

George
3 months ago

.. Fake news, Bias News, Out right Liar News..Should be taken down…Permanently.

James
3 months ago

It’s so simple! The MSM and the rest of the democrat party can’t win in an honest debate! Their solution? Eliminate the debate!

WRS
3 months ago

The Wall Street Journal has adopted a similar, maybe even more damaging policy, as it now has “moderators” that review all comments made by readers and removing those they don’t like. That is certainly a form of censorship and a restriction on free speach.

Robert Hellam
3 months ago

Free speech is important. So is courtesy. Online comments are frequently impolite and unnecessarily abusive. I wish people were wiser in general, so we could more effectively police ourselves–perhaps count to ten before pushing the “enter” button. I stay off Facebook. I don’t comment much in these online “Comments” sections. I use the “mute” button on Nextdoor to eliminate trolls from my computer. I am glad that the trolls do not seem to have invaded LinkedIn. When complete strangers have something worthwhile to say, that’s one thing. When they’re just venting, who wants to hear them? But all that I… Read more »

John A Bird
3 months ago

This has been under siege by the globalists since the early 60’s, it’s why JFK was killed! Every president with the exception of Trump was in on it and had Killary been elected we’d be there. When will people wake up to this fact and unite to stop the nonsense?

R J B
3 months ago

TIME TO DEMAND EVERYONE OF OUR CONGRESSIONAL MEMBER REMOVE PROTECTIONS FROM ALL TECH COMPANIES AND USE ANY MEANS NECESSARY AS THE LEFT DOES TO BRING CHANGE. POLITICAL LEADERS BOW TO POWER IT IS TIME THEY MEET REAL POWER IN THIS UNCIVILIZED COUNTRY WE FIND OUR SELVES IN. WAR IS HELL WAR IS HELL TIME TO FIGHT IT UNDER THEIR RULES THEY SET.

Gery Ratterman
3 months ago

Is there an alternative to Google if I wish to use?

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