The Somewhat Free Flow of Information

From IBD:

For years, Google has called for “the free flow of information” on the internet. How does that square with its YouTube subsidiary’s apparent bias against conservative content? Answer: It doesn’t.

YouTube promises that it is “a community where everyone’s voice can be heard.” But that promise doesn’t seem to apply if the voice espouses conservative viewpoints.

The latest evidence of this comes from Dennis Prager, a conservative talk-show host whose syndicated column appears regularly in IBD and who also runs Prager University. PragerU produces hundreds of educational videos from academics and other experts on various topics, ranging from the history of the Korean War to Israel’s founding. There’s no profanity, no nudity, no calls to violence. But the videos do give conservatives a voice.

On Monday, PragerU filed suit against Google for singling out dozens of PragerU videos for censorship only because they are conservative. YouTube did this, the suit claims, by labeling the videos as “inappropriate” for younger or sensitive viewers — making them unavailable to anyone in a “restricted” viewing setting — or by “demonetizing” them, which means PragerU doesn’t get ad revenue, even if the videos are widely viewed.

PragerU says it tried to work with YouTube for a year to get its videos off the site’s “restricted” list, and ended up receiving conflicting, vague and unhelpful answers from the company.

The complaint argues that singling out conservative voices for such treatment “is speech discrimination plain and simple” and says by doing so Google violated PragerU’s First Amendment rights, engaged in “unlawful discrimination under California law,” and violated its own terms of use.

Prager himself put it more simply: “Google, and their wholly owned company YouTube, apparently believe they can pick and choose who has free speech in this country.”

We can’t comment on how solid the legal ground is under the lawsuit, but it’s painfully obvious that Prager has a point about YouTube’s arbitrary and capricious handling of its videos.

One of them deemed inappropriate, for example, is a discussion with esteemed Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz. Another is about e-cigarettes, and another is titled: “Ten Commandments: 6, Do Not Murder.”

How exactly is a video admonishing against murder “inappropriate” for sensitive viewers?

One of the “demonetized” videos was a PragerU Live talk with Bret Stephens, who is now a New York Times columnist.

PragerU also has compiled a long list of its videos that YouTube has restricted, along with similar videos that aren’t.

The best one: YouTube labeled a PragerU video titled “Why America must lead” as inappropriate, but not a video by Sen. John McCain titled … “Why America must lead.”

It even found instances where the exact same video was restricted when it appeared under the PragerU label, but not when it was posted by someone other than PragerU.

Prager is hardly the first conservative to complain about YouTube censorship, and such complaints aren’t limited to YouTube. Twitter has been accused of applying double standards to conservative speech, as has Facebook.

Yet all of these companies piously proclaim that they are dedicated to “net neutrality.” As Google put it on its own website, the internet must be a “level playing field” where people can “reach users on an equal footing.”

Of course, by “net neutrality” Google and others are talking about banning ISPs from charging different prices for different kinds of content as a way to manage the load on their networks.

But at the very least, Google should apply the same principle to itself that it demands from ISPs. Google can’t claim to be for a “level playing field” if it’s financially punishing those who don’t conform to its liberal orthodoxy.

Source

Advertisements

What One Expects of Totalitarians

From Investor’s Business Daily:

A 10-page weekend memo by a former Google engineer called for a rethinking of the company’s “extreme and authoritarian” culture of “diversity and inclusion.” His reward? He was fired, of course, proving his point.

If you need any further proof that what software engineer James Damore said was true it was in the immediate reaction on Monday by Google to his screed. Damore said he had been fired for “perpetuating gender stereotypes.”

In making a plea for being treated as an individual, Damore wasn’t ranting, calling anyone names or making claims that couldn’t be sustained by simple recourse to a biology text or, even, to personal experience. Even so, his anodyne comments were treated as extreme ideological anathema, and he was instantly banished from the company for making them. Fired.

Be clear on this: Damore was only asking for tolerance of different points of view, including those of conservatives. He described himself as a “classical liberal,” which means he believes in reason, tolerance, freedom of conscience and the right of individuals to their own beliefs.

He was careful to note, too, that he is not inimical to much of what Google’s authoritarian culture now imposes on its workers: “I value diversity and inclusion, am not denying that sexism exists, and don’t endorse using stereotypes.” What he did oppose was the one-size fits-all culture of victimhood and deified diversity that the company, like much of the rest of Silicon Valley’s tech culture, forces its employees to adopt.

He didn’t demand acquiescence to his own views. He merely asked for an “honest discussion” of the fact that we are not all mere emblems of different victim groups, but rather individuals, and deserve to be treated as such.

“Google’s political bias has equated freedom from offense with psychological safety, but shaming into silence is the antithesis of psychological safety,” Damore wrote. “This silencing has created an ideological echo chamber where some ideas are too sacred to be honestly discussed.”

Yet in the end, Damore said, he was fired for the odious crime of “perpetuating gender stereotypes.”

Damore’s firing only adds an exclamation point to his reasoned remarks. And Google executives jumped on the bandwagon, issuing remarks to show just how “woke” and completely brainwashed they were into the company’s ideology. It’s sickeningly reminiscent of the bad old days of the purges in the Soviet Union and the Cultural Revolution in China, when friends, colleagues and family were routinely compelled to publicly denounce and criticize those whose beliefs had suddenly become fatally politically incorrect.

Google will now be faced with the irony of being sued for its own intolerance. Steeped as it is in Silicon Valley’s culture of immense moral privilege, it doesn’t seem to understand that federal anti-discrimination statutes don’t allow companies to discriminate against someone for their political views. It’s not allowed. It’s un-American.

And who knows? As some have suggested, Google’s intolerant political monoculture and extreme dominance of its markets might tempt federal antitrust officials into taking action to break it up. In the interest of “diversity,” of course.

Google and others in Silicon Valley such as Apple have a creepy habit of lecturing Americans on their backward political and moral beliefs, while serving as authoritarian nannies for what we read, write and view. They pose as guardians of personal and intellectual freedom, but are really centurions of the new censorship, stifling debate and thought itself.

In Google’s case, its Orwellian insistence on a kind of progressive groupthink is beyond creepy — when magnified across dozens of politically correct corporations across the country, it poses a danger to our nation and its precious freedoms. The chief diversity officer of Google, Danielle Brown, wouldn’t even link to Damore’s memo, claiming “it’s not a viewpoint that I or this company endorses, promotes or encourages.”

Apparently, neither does the rest of the tech world. As Elaine Ou, a blockchain engineer at Global Financial Access, pointed out in Bloomberg: “Past and present colleagues chimed in over the weekend with calls for (Damore) to be ousted. Media outlets like TechCrunch, Gizmodo and Motherboard jumped on board to declare the memo an ‘Anti-Diversity Manifesto.’ It appears that the ideological echo chamber extends beyond Google’s campus.”

This is indeed a major problem in a country premised on the sanctity of free speech and the right to one’s own opinion.

Sadly, Google’s is the kind of thinking one expects from totalitarians, not from those who prize intellectual freedom, the right of dissent, and an open society based on reason. Google and all the rest of the anti-freedom left should be deeply ashamed of itself. If this is “woke,” maybe it’s time Google went back to sleep.

Source

The Bum that Wants to Do Wonderful Things

…with your money.

From Investors Business Daily:

Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders said Monday his parents would never have thought their son would end up in the Senate and running for president. No kidding. He was a ne’er-do-well into his late 30s.

“It’s certainly something that I don’t think they ever believed would’ve happened,” the unabashed socialist remarked during CNN’s Democratic town hall forum, as polls show him taking the lead in Iowa and New Hampshire.

He explained his family couldn’t imagine his “success,” because “my brother and I and Mom and Dad grew up in a three-and-a-half-room rent-controlled apartment in Brooklyn, and we never had a whole lot of money.”

It wasn’t as bad as he says. His family managed to send him to the University of Chicago. Despite a prestigious degree, however, Sanders failed to earn a living, even as an adult. It took him 40 years to collect his first steady paycheck — and it was a government check.

“I never had any money my entire life,” Sanders told Vermont public TV in 1985, after settling into his first real job as mayor of Burlington.

Sanders spent most of his life as an angry radical and agitator who never accomplished much of anything. And yet now he thinks he deserves the power to run your life and your finances — “We will raise taxes;” he confirmed Monday, “yes, we will.”

One of his first jobs was registering people for food stamps, and it was all downhill from there.

Sanders took his first bride to live in a maple sugar shack with a dirt floor, and she soon left him. Penniless, he went on unemployment. Then he had a child out of wedlock. Desperate, he tried carpentry but could barely sink a nail. “He was a shi**y carpenter,” a friend told Politico Magazine. “His carpentry was not going to support him, and didn’t.”

Then he tried his hand freelancing for leftist rags, writing about “masturbation and rape” and other crudities for $50 a story. He drove around in a rusted-out, Bondo-covered VW bug with no working windshield wipers. Friends said he was “always poor” and his “electricity was turned off a lot.” They described him as a slob who kept a messy apartment — and this is what his friends had to say about him.

The only thing he was good at was talking … non-stop … about socialism and how the rich were ripping everybody off. “The whole quality of life in America is based on greed,” the bitter layabout said. “I believe in the redistribution of wealth in this nation.”

So he tried politics, starting his own socialist party. Four times he ran for Vermont public office, and four times he lost — badly. He never attracted more than single-digit support — even in the People’s Republic of Vermont. In his 1971 bid for U.S. Senate, the local press said the 30-year-old “Sanders describes himself as a carpenter who has worked with ‘disturbed children.’ ” In other words, a real winner.

He finally wormed his way into the Senate in 2006, where he still ranks as one of the poorest members of Congress. Save for a municipal pension, Sanders lists no assets in his name. All the assets provided in his financial disclosure form are his second wife’s. He does, however, have as much as $65,000 in credit-card debt.

Sure, Sanders may not be a hypocrite, but this is nothing to brag about. His worthless background contrasts sharply with the successful careers of other “outsiders” in the race for the White House, including a billionaire developer, a world-renowned neurosurgeon and a Fortune 500 CEO.

The choice in this election is shaping up to be a very clear one. It will likely boil down to a battle between those who create and produce wealth, and those who take it and redistribute it.

Source

Dereliction of Duty

Congressional Democrats are willfully not doing their job. They let San Francisco radicals write much of the “stimulus” bill. From Investor’s Business Daily:

If the stimulus isn’t working, perhaps it’s because it was largely written by a collection of leftist interest groups called the Apollo Alliance that counts among its directors a co-founder of the Weather Underground.