Google and Facebook peddle their own falsehoods while trying to drive opposing views off the web entirely

– Congress needs to order Google and Facebook to cease operations and close up their companies!

Kyle Rittenhouse is a “domestic terrorist” according to Google. Brett Kavanaugh is a “rapist” according to Facebook. Donald Trump won in 2016 only because “he colluded with the Kremlin” say Google executives. Nick Sandmann, the boy from Covington Catholic High School on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, was an “entitled white bigot” say Google bosses. Mr. Trump said the neo-Nazis at Charlottesville were “good people”, says Facebook. Last year’s riots were “mostly peaceful” says Google. Unarmed black men “are routinely shot in huge numbers by police officers” says Facebook. The discovery of Hunter Biden’s laptop was “a Russian plot” says Mark Zuckerberg. Google and Facebook bosses sell these weaponized thoughts to left wing extremist billionaires who pay Google and Facebook to control the internet FOR such thoughts, and exclude all other ideas.

Which of these have you heard in the last five years? I doubt there’s an American with even the faintest interest in public events who wasn’t made aware of every one of these stories, didn’t have them repeatedly drummed into his head in the amplifying loop that connects agenda-driving traditional news organizations, culture-shaping digital sites, knowledge-delimiting search engines, and information-controlling social media platforms.

I didn’t pick deliberately obscure fabulations, “nutpicked” items of agitprop peddled by extremists. I didn’t have to scour the nether regions of the Marxist-anarchist web to find them. These were all, for a while, the received versions of major news events promoted by the people who loudly proclaim their credentials as guardians of the truth. They were all conspicuously consensus accounts of the biggest stories “reported” in the past five years by the usual newspapers and TV networks, relayed by the entire news food chain that seeks to emulate them and retailed eagerly by the half-wit entertainers of Hollywood, publicity-hungry professional athletes and the crowd of gender- and media-studies graduates who churn out press releases for S&P 500 companies.

And these are only some of the more obvious ones. I could have added: Inflation isn’t a problem. Andrew Cuomo was America’s greatest governor. Republican-run states are killing people with their anti-science Covid policies. A white man killed a succession of Asian-Americans in Georgia in a fit of racist rage. Russians offered cash bounties to the Taliban to kill American soldiers. Anyone who suggested the pandemic started in a Chinese laboratory was a racist. Oh, and Mr. Trump’s postmaster general was stealing mailboxes.

Can you name similar falsehoods on the other side? Of course you can. There’s the impenetrable drivel of QAnon and its tale of a political elite that drinks the blood of children. But also, less lurid and more widely disseminated and believed: The 2020 election was stolen in some kind of conspiracy between Venezuelan operatives and Democratic ballot-counters. Covid vaccines don’t work. Jan. 6 was a false-flag operation. All every bit as false and misleading as the fictions of the bulk of the media.

But there’s an important difference.

It’s not simply that the left-leaning Google/Facebook media and their allies control most of the public discourse. They do, but that doesn’t much matter any more. My suspicion is that most news now is consumed by people who choose what they believe. Tens of millions of Americans have simply shut the traditional media out of their consciousness. I’m not even sure I believe the sports reporting there any more. I had to seek independent verification recently that the Atlanta Braves had won the World Series.

It may be a pity that we don’t have widespread faith in most of the media anymore, but it’s not the end of the world. It’s happened before and it will probably resolve itself over time. Contrary to the screaming hysteria from some on the right, Don Lemon won’t single-handedly dismantle democracy.

The larger problem is that these people, even as they tell us their ideologically approved falsehoods, are trying their level best to drive the other side out of circulation completely. Not just the falsehoods; they’d like to drive out facts and arguments they don’t approve of too. And they think they can do it.

The big buzzword on the left these days is—absolutely without irony—“misinformation.” Many of the big mediacompanies now have teams of reporters to cover “misinformation” or, more conspiratorially, “disinformation.”

As far as I can tell, not one of these has yet produced a single report on any of those fabrications I briefly described at the top of this column. Surprise.

The aim is a full-bore corporate and regulatory crackdown on news and information that doesn’t help their cause. They want the memory-holing of the Hunter Biden story to be the model for all news dissemination.

The recent brouhaha over the Facebook whistleblower who exposed internal debate at the company about the content on its platform emphasizes this. It underscores how important it is for conservatives not to be tempted down the primrose path of regulatory redress. It’s not the harm the company may be doing to teenage girls’ self-esteem that’s driving the mainstream media’s criticism; it’s the harm that the plethora of conservative news sites and commentators that dominate Facebook’s newsfeed is doing to the self-esteem of corporate media.

This is the ultimate objective of those who have fed us so much falsity for so long now. They want the primary channels of digital information, not only social platforms but search too, to be as epistemically closed as the rest of the media is currently.

They live in a self-contained world where only one sort of information counts as misinformation, and they intend to get us all into that world. Then, by their own impeccable Orwellian logic, there will be no misinformation. Only truth, duly enforced.

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/11/12/opinion/facebook-privacy.html

https://www.allsides.com/blog/how-news-outlets-chose-words-rittenhouse-trial-coverage