The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

Zuckerberg and the Trump Exception

Posted on | April 11, 2018 | Comments Off on Zuckerberg and the Trump Exception


Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg was “grilled” in front of a Senate committee Tuesday about his company’s violations of privacy, and Toni Williams at the Victory Girls blog reminds us that Facebook’s role in electing Barack Obama president was not controversial. In fact, Obama’s use of Facebook was celebrated by the media:

U.S. News & World Report, Nov. 19, 2008
Barack Obama and the Facebook Election
We know that Obama’s landmark victory was due, in part, to a groundswell of support among young Americans. Early in his campaign, political pollsters were observing that Obama was “rocking the youth vote.” This proved true: Exit polls revealed that Obama had won nearly 70 percent of the vote among Americans under age 25 — the highest percentage since U.S. exit polling began in 1976.
Obama enjoyed a groundswell of support among, for lack of a better term, the Facebook generation. He will be the first occupant of the White House to have won a presidential election on the Web. . . .
It has even been called the “Facebook election.” It is no coincidence that one of Obama’s key strategists was 24-year-old Chris Hughes, a Facebook cofounder. It was Hughes who masterminded the Obama campaign’s highly effective Web blitzkrieg — everything from social networking sites to podcasting and mobile messaging. . . .
Obama was by a long stretch the most effective online politician during the presidential campaign—not only against John McCain but also against his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton. For the past two years, Facebook has overwhelmingly been pro-Obama virtual territory. Some have attributed Obama’s victory to a “Facebook effect.”

Ten years later, of course, your Grandma is on Facebook, but in 2008, online social media was a new phenomenon, and Team Obama exploited it to maximum effect. Nobody in the media questioned this at the time, and it wasn’t until Donald Trump was elected that we heard complaints against Facebook because of “Russian bots” and “fake news.”

It was the need to make excuses for Hillary Clinton’s defeat that inspired this conspiracy theory. Somehow, the pro-Clinton media suggested, the Trump campaign had done something illegal to win the election, and it was this claim which inspired both the Mueller special-counsel investigation and the outrage over the revelation that Cambridge Analytica leveraged Facebook data on behalf of the Trump campaign.

Was the data-mining done by Cambridge Analytica illegal? Was it unethical, was it immoral, was it wrong? From the perspective of the liberal media, anything is wrong if it helps Trump, but it is far from clear that Cambridge Analytica did anything with Facebook data that the Obama campaign had not previously done with Facebook data.

Meanwhile, of course, conservatives have complained that Facebook has penalized right-leaning sources on its pages — Diamond and Silk being one obvious case — and so Zuckerberg not only had to face Democrats angry about the Trump campaign’s use of Facebook, but also from Republicans demanding that Facebook treat conservatives fairly:

Cruz raised a number of issues during his questioning, including the recent censorship of Diamond & Silk on Facebook, the controversial firing of Oculus VR founder Palmer Lucky, and the question of Facebook’s legal status as a neutral public forum.
Sen. Cruz started by asking if Facebook considers itself to be a “neutral public forum.” . . .
Zuckerberg avoided giving Cruz a direct yes-or-no answer, despite the Senator asking numerous times.
“We consider ourselves to be a platform for all ideas” said Zuckerberg.
“Are you a First Amendment speaker expressing your views, or are you a neutral public forum allowing everyone to speak?” pressed Cruz.
Zuckerberg went on to list some of the things that are banned from the platform, including “hate speech, terrorist content, nudity” and “anything that makes people feel unsafe in the community.”
Accusing Facebook of giving “conflicting answers” on whether they are a neutral public forum, Cruz went on to outline voters’ concerns about political censorship.
“There are a great many Americans who I think are deeply concerned that Facebook and other tech companies are engaged in a pervasive pattern of bias and political censorship.”
Cruz went on to cite the trending news scandal of 2016, in which it was reported that Facebook “routinely suppressed” conservative stories from its Trending News feature.
“In addition to that, Facebook has initially shut down the ‘Chick-fil-A appreciation day page,’ has blocked the post of a Fox News reporter, has blocked over two dozen Catholic pages, and most recently has blocked the Trump supporters Diamond & Silk’s page – with 1.2 million Facebook followers – after determining that their content and brand were ‘unsafe for the community’.”
In response, Zuckerberg said concerns over political bias were “fair,” and conceded that Silicon Valley is an “extremely left-leaning place.”

The question is why Silicon Valley is so left-leaning, and I’ve answered that question in relation to James Damore’s firing from Google:

What happened at Google, I suggest, is that decades of (federally mandated) “diversity” policies in higher education have replicated, in workplaces where university education is a prerequisite for employment, the campus climate of intolerant political correctness. . . . No young graduate of an elite university leaves campus without knowing that racism is the worst thing in the world, an unforgivable sin, and that the only things that are even remotely as evil as racism are sexism and homophobia. Because companies like Google are staffed almost exclusively by alumni of elite schools — the Ivy League, M.I.T., Stanford, Cal-Berkeley, etc. — the politically correct attitudes promulgated on campus are inevitably imported into the workplace.

Liberal bias at Facebook, like liberal bias in the news media, does not simply materialize as a naturally occurring phenomenon. Both are largely byproducts of the Left’s hegemonic control of higher education. And it is this bias which has inspired the paranoid attitude toward the Trump presidency. Recall that students at Yale University were reportedly “traumatized” by Trump’s electionwhy? Who taught these privileged youth that Republicans are evil monsters, that Trump’s election meant the dawn of a nightmare era of racism, sexism and homophobia?

“I cannot even function right now. As a queer, black woman, I feel unsafe in this country.”
Isis Davis-Marks, Yale sophomore, Nov. 10, 2016

“You’ve got to be carefully taught” — what Rodgers and Hammerstein said of racial prejudice is true also of political prejudice, and it is obvious what Yale and other elite schools are carefully teaching students.

In point of fact, 15 months into the Trump presidency, nothing remotely resembling the prophesied fascist nightmare has transpired. There is no more reason for a “queer black woman” to “feel unsafe” in America today than there was when Obama was in the White House, but Democrats and the liberal media refuse to recognize this reality. They cling to their paranoid delusion that Trump is a “threat to our democracy,” because this was the message promoted by Hillary Clinton, and the media are still fighting the 2016 campaign. But if you say this on Facebook, you’ll probably be suppressed. Liberals are engaged in an attempt to turn social media into an online cocoon, replicating the stifling environment of political correctness on elite university campuses where no student is ever exposed to any information that contradicts the liberal narrative.

(Hat-tip: Sarah Hoyt at Instapundit.)




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