Commentary

Censoring Social Media for 'Promoting Crime'

By L. Brent Bozell III and Tim Graham | December 4, 2019 | 4:48am EST
Lesley Stahl interviews YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki on CBS' "60 Minutes." (Photo: Screen capture)
Lesley Stahl interviews YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki on CBS' "60 Minutes." (Photo: Screen capture)

The other day, YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki subjected herself to a hard-hitting interview with Lesley Stahl on CBS' "60 Minutes." Stahl lectured her for allowing "harmful" or "hurtful" speech to be posted on her platform without any fact-checking.

Welcome to the latest demonstration of the traditional "news" media's merciless pounding away at social media for having the audacity to allow dissenting information that undermines their expert narratives and authority.

Wojcicki was far too polite to respond with incredulity. This is the same show that allowed Dan Rather to broadcast fake National Guard documents in an effort to derail the reelection campaign of then-President George W. Bush.

Then there's Stahl herself — the alleged guardian against harmful, unreliable information — who put author and convicted felon J.H. Hatfield on national TV in 2000 to claim that Bush was hiding an arrest for cocaine. On the "60 Minutes" website, CBS admitted, "Scores of journalists have failed to corroborate his much-publicized accusation against the presidential candidate, and instead have found holes in it."

Now Stahl is passing judgment on what is harmful.

The Old Media always fall back on their branding as "authoritative sources" to lecture everyone else. For example, Stahl complained to Wojcicki that the YouTube site hasn't completely censored posts that dare to mention the alleged name of the impeachment whistleblower. The RealClearInvestigations website first reported it's a man named Eric Ciaramella.

"The company keeps trying to erase the purported name," Stahl lamented, "but that ... is still there, which raises doubts about their system's ability to cleanse the site." Cleanse? To say the name is ... filth?

Since the RealClear report, numerous people including Donald Trump Jr. have fingered this Ciaramella as the one who met with Rep. Adam Schiff and set impeachment in motion. To suggest he isn't the whistleblower is to stretch the rules of logic past the breaking point. What would an innocent man do? Answer: the only reasonable reaction. He'd deny it, possibly laughing in the process. Only a guilty person would remain silent when named over and over.

And it raises the next question. Did anyone in the media bother asking Ciaramella if he's the whistleblower? It's a simple question.

Leesa Donner, editor-in-chief of the Liberty Nation website, says she posted a six-minute video in which lawyer Scott Cosenza named Ciaramella as "the person Washington believes" is the whistleblower.

Shortly after publishing the video, YouTube changed the designation of the video from public to private, meaning only those who are administrators of the Liberty Nation YouTube channel could watch it, effectively censoring it. YouTube did not inform Liberty Nation of the change in status, Donner says, which means the video had links that, when clicked, would simply read, "404 Error."

And yet, Ciaramella's name is well-recognized as that of the alleged whistleblower. We are not familiar with a single person in Washington who has stated with authority that this man is not the one. Game, set, match to Cosenza.

This liberal censorship is also happening on Facebook. Journalist Tim Pool says he was suspended from Facebook for having used the name and linking to a Politico column by media critic Jack Shafer, who made the obvious point: "Journalists are supposed to report the news, not suppress it." Facebook told Pool, "Your post goes against our Community Standards on coordinating harm and promoting crime."

Coordinating harm?! Promoting crime?! By this transparently political standard of protecting one party's (or country's) backstage operatives, the entire media are guilty — on one story after another, daily.

(L. Brent Bozell III is the president of the Media Research Center. Tim Graham is director of media analysis at the Media Research Center and executive editor of the blog NewsBusters.org.)



 

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