Did NBC and Google engage in antitrust collusion against two conservative sites?
Leftists cannot allow ideological competition. If their ideas have to go head to head with conservative ideology, their ideas lose. Leftists and other fascists win only by shouting more loudly and breaking things more aggressively than do people committed to individual rights.
Sometimes, though, if you're arrogantly confident that you have the upper hand, you get careless. That's what happened with NBC and Google when they colluded to demonetize The Federalist and Zero Hedge. It's no coincidence that the Department of Justice almost immediately afterward announced that it was going to end the immunity that protected internet platforms from antitrust actions if they try to stifle competition — something that may save American Thinker from a demonetizing attack.
There's a lot to unpack here. First, under §230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996, the big platforms were made immune from liability for third-party content on the ground that they were functioning as bulletin boards, not publishers. They're still protected even though they're now making judgments about the content (usually in ways that hurt conservatives). They're also immune from antitrust actions if they work with other parties to silence the latter's competition.
Second, NBC announced on Tuesday that Google was going to "de-platform" two conservative sites — The Federalist and Zero Hedge — from its ad service because the sites allegedly made "unsubstantiated claims" about the Black Lives Matter movement. Google, realizing that the announcement created the elements for an antitrust action, said the whole issue was a nothing-burger, being merely a transient problem with some comments on the sites. Those comments, of course, should be protected content under §230.
Third, Google AdSense has what amounts to a monopoly on internet advertising. If it demonetizes you, you can't meet your business expenses.
The collusion was not only clear, it was self admitted. What made the issue more explosive was the NBC article explained the motives of both organizations; the targeting was intentional and specific. The goal was to take-down The Federalist news outlet by removing their revenue. There was no ambiguity of purpose, and Google knowingly agreed with the intent.
Fifth, 24 hours after NBC published the communications, the Department of Justice announced that it was pushing for §230 reforms. One of the reforms will clarify that §230 was not intended to protect against antitrust actions. "It makes little sense to enable large online platforms (particularly dominant ones) to invoke Section 230 immunity in antitrust cases, where liability is based on harm to competition, not on third-party speech."
Sixth, NBC initially approached Google because of work from Adele-Momoko Fraser, a wealthy young journalist from England. It was Fraser who found a "Stop Funding Fake News" project at The Center for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH). The CCDH is a British organization that works to "de-platform" ideas with which it disagrees. "Fake news" proves to mean anything that does not wholeheartedly support the Black Leftists...er, Black Lives Matter movement or other leftist narratives.
The organization has ten conservative sites in its crosshairs or, as it says with no hint of irony about the McCarthyite echoes, its "blacklist":
- American Greatness
- American Thinker
- Big League Politics
- Zero Hedge (which it boasts is "defunded")
- The Washington Standard
- Gateway Pundit
- The Federalist
The screenshot for American Thinker's entry on the list is for an article I wrote, "It takes an African black to understand what Black Lives Matter really is." There is nothing fake about it. Instead, it introduces readers to a video showing Nestride Yumga, a native of Africa, telling mostly white supporters of the Black Lives Matter movement that they're hypocrites because they've never spoken up for the epidemic of black-on-black killings in Democrat-run inner cities. The video is real, and my factual observations about the video are accurate.
Of course, that article's a smokescreen. American Thinker's real sin is having challenged Obama and publishing work from people blacklisted by the Southern Poverty Law Center, a leftist group that routinely besmirches conservatives to silence them.
This needs to stop, and it needs to stop now. We are at a tipping point, with leftists on the rampage both on the streets and on the internet. The balance between free speech and censorship, and freedom and fascism, is extremely delicate. If leftists get just a little more power, the American experiment is over. The Orwellian world we already see in Europe and England will land in America, and there's no walking that back.