The left is claiming this as a big win for AOC, but… did they watch it? Yeesh!
Things don’t happen in a vacuum and this exchange between Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is a prime example of that. When one is asking questions about integrity whilst astride an unusually lofty moral high-horse, one must have an ounce or two of said integrity. This was not the case with this line of questioning.
During yesterday’s House Financial Services Committee hearing, AOC asked Zuckerberg if the social media giant was going to be fact-checking political advertisements. He responded by saying that the social media company would remove any call for violence or an attempt at voter suppression even if it was posted by a politician according to current Facebook policy, but that fact-checking each individual claim was not something that the company would be doing.
She continued to press him on the fact-checking of political advertisements by giving him an example.
AOC: Could I run ads targeting Republicans in primaries saying that they voted for the Green New Deal? If you’re not fact-checking political advertisements, I’m just trying to understand the bounds here, what’s fair game.
ZUCKERBERG: I don’t know the answer to that off the top of my head. I think probably.
AOC: Do you see a potential problem here with a complete lack of fact-checking on political advertisements?
ZUCKERBERG: Well, Congresswoman, I think lying is bad. And I think if you were to run an ad that had a lie, that would be bad. But it’s not the role of Facebook to prevent your constituents or people in an election from seeing that you had lied.
AOC: So you won’t take down lies, or you will take down lies? I think that’s a pretty simple yes or no.
ZUCKERBERG: In a democracy, I believe that people should be able to see for themselves what politicians that they may or may not vote for are saying and judge their character for themselves.
To my complete shock, I agree with Zuckerberg. That is a completely reasonable, thoughtful response. It’s not the job of Facebook to do the work of a citizen. If a politician knowingly posts a lying ad, voters should be aware of the issues, do their own research and be able to make the decision on the integrity of said politician on their own instead of having a biased source do the work of fact-checking for them. It’s your responsibility to be informed on the issues, not Facebook’s responsibility.
"So, you won't take down lies or you will take down lies? I think that's just a pretty simple yes or no."
— CSPAN (@cspan) October 23, 2019
All of this concern over the truthfulness of politicians is pretty rich coming from AOC who plays pretty fast and loose with the truth quite frequently to push her socialist utopian view.
When she received 4 Pinocchios from the Washington Post about her claim that the United States spends $21 trillion on defense, she said that it was more important to be “morally right” than “factually correct.”
Lying is the only way to make people believe socialism works. This Ocasio-Cortez quote should scare you… even Anderson Cooper calls her out.
“There's a lot of people more concerned about being precisely, factually, and semantically correct than about being morally right.” pic.twitter.com/F2swMaTDOC
— Tim Young (@TimRunsHisMouth) January 7, 2019
She just got fact-checked by the Washington Post but she dismisses it. You see, she doesn’t want to be fact-checked because she’s “morally right” and that so much more important than actually telling the truth. It shows a greater truth rather than the actual truth.
And that’s just one example. Remember her first big interview with Margaret Hoover on PBS’s Firing Line where she referred to the “occupation of Palestine”? Or maybe the flubbed roll-out of the Green New Deal? Her defense of being anti-Israel? How about the “concentration camps” at the border?
You see, it’s ok for her and her fellow Democrats to lie because they’re “morally right” but they’ll fact-check anyone to the right of them and call them liars even if they aren’t lying.
Also, it’s worth noting that AOC slipped into her questions that right-leaning news organization, The Daily Caller, which has been designated as one of Facebook’s independent fact-checkers, has “ties to white supremacists.”
— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) October 23, 2019
This is a claim that has been spread by the totally reliable and not-at-all biased leftwing organization, the Southern Poverty Law Center. To sum up: an editor for the Daily Caller was writing for alt-right sites under a pseudonym. Once The Atlantic confronted him that they had secret chat logs of his pseudonym, he severed ties with The Daily Caller. There were also some contributors that had alt-right ties, but those have been removed.
If I understand correctly, the main reason that The Daily Caller is being accused of having “white supremacist” ties is because a former editor had to hide his identity in order to write for an alt-right publication for fear of losing his job at The Daily Caller.
That doesn’t actually sound damning if you ask me.
The Daily Caller has been pretty clear in its reporting on white nationalism and the alt-right movement that it is racism and should be condemned.
It’s also a minority-owned and minority-run organization with many visible minorities among the staff.
The Daily Caller posted a statement from their Co-Founder, Neil Patel on Twitter.
— Daily Caller (@DailyCaller) October 24, 2019
The statement reads:
Our reporting has directly contributed to putting four members of the “alt-right” in prison and sending two more on the run, at great personal risk to our reporters on the ground. And, as a minority-owned and minority-run news company with a diverse staff — including many African-American, Jewish, Asian, and other minority employees — any allegation that our company is in league with white supremacist types is offensive. We have denounced white supremacy in the past and are happy [to] do so again. We share nothing with them and they aren’t welcome at our company. For a sitting member of Congress to knowingly repeat such spurious allegations — especially during these polarized, violent times — is not just despicable, it endangers our staff.
They followed that tweet with a link to a Daily Caller article denouncing white supremacy.
The horrors of white supremacy will not go unreported by us: https://t.co/ivYhEa46fH
— Daily Caller (@DailyCaller) October 24, 2019
If AOC says that The Daily Caller has ties to white supremacy, then so does CNN who has given alt-right poster-boy, Richard Spencer air time not once, not twice, but three times.
Remember, some of these “news” organizations give free-reign to Democrats and anti-Trumpers but have been rather selective about having Trump supporters on air. Both CNN and MSNBC had shunned Kellyanne Conway from some of their programming.
“But how are white supremacists and the alt-right racists have managed to travel in right-wing circles undetected in the first place?” asks a snide leftist.
That’s actually a reasonable question.
The answer is this: The same way that virulent anti-Semites have infiltrated the left-wing circles and are ignored.
That’s not whataboutism, either. Let me explain…
It all comes down to gatekeeping. It’s a problem that both sides need to deal with. We need to be cautious and examine the views of those that we embrace. This isn’t easy. Racists aren’t always right out there with their racism and have managed to get pretty cagey about it. It’s sometimes couched in appealing for white people — especially men — who it seems is the only group that can be vilified and publicly shamed because of their skin color. Criticizing the intolerant left’s wacky view of privilege and oppression doesn’t make someone an advocate of a white ethnostate, but it doesn’t mean that they’re not, either. Just as someone who is on the left and doesn’t like what they see as the oppression of the Palestinians by Israel might jump on the BDS movement and not realize that it is inherently racist.
What is interesting is how different the approach is. The (generally) censorious left keen on “cancel culture” has been known to deny that the problem of anti-Semitism on their side is, in fact, anti-Semitism, while the (generally) big-tent right will denounce racism and racists once it’s clear that they are indeed racists.
In our post-truth reality, where the left has pushed the idea of “my” truth, “your” truth, and that there is no actual objective truth, why should we worry about lying in political ads anyway?
Besides, it’s only one side that gets to define what words mean, and when and if they apply.
If you point that out, however, they’ll probably call you racist. This makes the job of gatekeeping even more difficult, because when everyone is labeled as a racist, and an organization will be judged on who is accepted into the fold, conservatives tend to give people the benefit of the doubt. After all, they could be vilified simply for opposing leftism.
Frankly, it is the illiberal behavior of the left that is perpetuating the problem. Maybe they should stop it.