The squabbling between self-identified progressives and conservatives continues as social media transforms itself into a news, information, and opinion gatekeeper.
All information that contradicts the establishment narrative will either be downgraded into obscurity of excluded outright on social media.
Take for instance ThinkProgress, the Soros-financed news website, a project of the Center for American Progress Action Fund welded to the infrastructure of the Democrat party. On May 2, it complained that a bias study at Facebook will be run by conservatives, that is to say establishment Republicans, notably former Arizona Congress critter Jon Kyl.
ThinkProgress believes there is no such thing as bias aimed at conservatives—it’s the liberals who are routinely downgraded at Facebook while so-called conservatives are free to post what progressives characterize as an evil and poisonous ideology.
According to Libby Watson at Splinter News, conservatives are involved in “grift,” flimflamming poor Mark Zuckerberg with untrue claims of bias against the likes of Breitbart News.
It’s all part of a never ending and hugely counterproductive “culture war” that has raged between the ostensible right and left going on thirty years now. Ms. Watson manages to squeeze identity politics into her screed.
“The conservative movement has done a remarkable job over the last half century to bellow and bully its way into having its most ridiculous and reality-divorced concerns taken seriously,” she writes. “It lies about and distorts everything: about tax cuts, about Benghazi and her emails, about immigration, about healthcare, about Diamond and Silk. The further Facebook descends down the path of letting that screaming white face of faux outrage dictate how they run their platform, the harder it’s going to be for them to get away from them.”
The progressive news website Common Dreams complains it has weathered “significant drops in traffic since Google and Facebook began changing algorithms and talking openly about their new attempts to control the kind of news content users see. According to internal data and Google Analytics, traffic to Common Dreams from Google searches fell by 34 percent after the powerful search giant unveiled its new search protocol in April 2017.”
Meanwhile, on the other side of the yawning divide, Brent Bozell, founder of the Media Research Center, rallied around 60 conservatives and fired off an open letter to the social media giants demanding transparency, clarity on the definition of hate speech, equality for conservatives, and respect for the First Amendment.
“Social media censorship and online restriction of conservatives and their organizations have reached a crisis level,” the open letter states. “Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s hearings on Capitol Hill only served to draw attention to how widespread this problem has become. Conservative leaders now have banded together to call for equal treatment on tech and social media.”
Both liberals and conservatives are missing the point.
Facebook and Google will continue and enlarge the effort to gatekeep information that does not jive with the establishment narrative, be it from the right or left.
The internet and web upended the establishment’s carefully constructed propaganda machine—the CIA’s “Mighty Wurlitzer” under its Operation Mockingbird beginning in the early 1950s—deeply embedded within corporate media.
Beginning with Friendster, MySpace, and like projects in the early 2000s and eventually morphing into the corporate behemoths Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter, social media platforms have extended the reach of alternative media, much to the displeasure of the establishment. Its preferred propaganda conduits have withered and this has seriously hampered its ability to control the narrative.
Both the right and left need to nurture their own social media platforms and drive traffic there.
Of course, this will not be as effective as plugging into the massive matrix of social connectivity provided by the corporate tech giants, but the alternative is to be marginalized and eventually swept into the memory hole as the context of “extremism” narrows and constricts expression, excluding all but the most token disagreement with the establishment narrative.
However, I’m not sure we’re up to it.
The elite has done a remarkable job of using the time tested divide and conquer concept, endlessly pitting the so-called right against the amorphously defined left and vice versa. Liberals and conservatives continue to fight over frivolous ideological points as the funny money asset-driven economy prepares to implode and the mission of infinity war expands to the point where it endangers life on planet Earth.