As Speakers At The RNC Whined About Big Tech Bias, You Could Only Watch The Full Convention Because Of 'Big Tech'
from the stop-shitting-where-you-eat dept
There was much nonsense spewed at this week’s Republican National Convention, and as has been expected given the nonsense narrative about “anti-conservative bias” in big tech, there were plenty of people using the podium to whine about how the big internet companies are working against them. Thanks to the folks at Reason for pointing out how utterly stupid and counterfactual this actually is. Indeed, if you actually wanted to watch the RNC speeches (and I’m not sure why you would), the only place to actually watch them uninterrupted was… on those internet platforms that the speakers swore were trying to silence them.
And yet if there was ever a televised event that demonstrated the lameness of the conservative anti-tech position, it was the first day of the RNC. No major tech platform censored any of the content?on the contrary, they granted easy and unrestricted access.
Multiple YouTube channels aired the RNC in full. It was possible to watch the event live on the GOP Convention’s Facebook page, and to find it on Google (it’s the top video result). Even Twitter, the platform most obviously hostile to conservatives, made it perfectly easy to watch. All of the platforms provided unlimited access to the remarks by Kirk, Parnell, and everyone else who spoke?and importantly, this access came at no cost to viewers.
Meanwhile, the other options — mainly cable news including Fox News — regularly cut away from the coverage:
Contrary to the anti-social media perspective peddled by Kirk and others, it was traditional media outlets that restricted conservative speakers. CNN, MSNBC, and even Fox News cut away from the convention repeatedly. MSNBC host Rachel Maddow was petrified that unfiltered access to Republican speakers would cause her audience to succumb to disinformation, and thus she ceaselessly intervened to explain why certain GOP talking points were false. (Unsurprisingly, there was no live fact-check of the Democratic National Convention.)
Viewers with a cable subscription who preferred a selective, biased curation of the RNC could turn on their televisions. Viewers who just wanted to watch the event without interruption or interjection could do so for free on any of the major tech platforms.
As Robby Soave at Reason points out, there’s a lesson here, if Trump’s crew of whiners actually were interested in learning, not just playing the victim.
To the extent that there are genuine anti-conservative biases on social media, they pale in comparison to the biases of the traditional media. It’s true that tech platforms occasionally make arbitrary or contradictory rulings about politically extreme speech; meanwhile,
The New York Times opinion page apologized for publishing a provocative but fairly mainstream opinion piece by a major Republican senator, fired the editor responsible, and essentially vowed never to make this mistake again. Conservative voices have flourished on Facebook, where articles from Breitbart and The Daily Wire praising President Donald Trump are routinely among the most shared content. At the same time, there’s not a single reliably pro-Trump columnist at the Times or The Washington Post.
While I disagree that an op-ed proposing turning American troops on American citizens is a “fairly mainstream opinion piece by a major Republican Senator,” the rest does stand. As we’ve pointed out many, many times, the problem people have is not so much with censorship, but rather that they don’t like anyone having editorial discretion over them. Yet, that happens much more in the world of traditional media than on social media. And a big part of the reason for this difference may be because Section 230 exists.
Section 230 allows social media to host whatever nutty idea the RNC and its supporters want to post. The NY Times and others, by contrast, recognize that publishing dangerous nonsense might make them liable, should that dangerous nonsense run afoul of the law. It is still perplexing why any Republican who is upset about perceived (not real) anti-conservative bias is against 230. Without it, many platforms just wouldn’t bother with their nonsense at all.