During the 2019 NFL season, team fouls seemed to be fairly flagged as the most foul prone team averaged 7.6 per game while the least averaged 5.7. But, what if a referee were to call 65 fouls against one team and none against the other? Even if the penalized team were the most foul prone in the league, a neutral referee would undoubtedly try to find the opposing team guilty of committing some kind of infraction, just out of a sense of fair play. But officiating resulting in a 65-0 differential would clearly warrant an NFL investigation. No referee who is allegedly fair-minded could call so many fouls on one side of the ball and not on the other, and expect to retain credibility as a neutral judge.
This, in a nutshell, is what has happened with a referee – the social media – calling the shots on what is provided on their platforms. While supposedly serving as sideline observers to the battle for the presidency being waged between the campaigns of Donald Trump and Joe Biden, what the social media have done is inject themselves into assisting Team Biden – becoming the illegal "12th man" on the football field. As incredulous as it may seem, the Media Research Center's (MRC) Techwatch reports the number of times the Trump campaign has been censored as compared to the Biden campaign is shocking: 65 for the former and zero for the latter. The censoring of the New York Post's article about Hunter Biden's allegedly corrupt business practices and possible financial benefit inuring to his father – extracted from Hunter's own computer left unclaimed at a repair shop – is just the latest effort by the social media to keep a lid on negative press concerning their presidential "poster child."
While rejection of the story was based on the premise it lacked independent verification, such justification often failed to rear its head when it came to posting anti-Trump stories based on pure speculation. For years, fake news about the Trump/Russia hoax was freely distributed by an unconcerned social media. Perhaps seeking to give Twitter and Facebook ammunition for their justification now, Trump-hater Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., provided a smoke screen by alleging the story was "Russian disinformation," effectively launching his own disinformation campaign. Amazingly, Schiff and his cronies were quick to accept the Russian disinformation claim in Hunter's case after rejecting disinformation play in the Trump collusion hoax for years.
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With less than two weeks before the presidential election, it is imperative that news related to the character of either of the presidential candidates be freely circulated within the social media to educate voters. Ironically, despite social media's effort to tilt the playing field in Biden's favor by censoring the New York Post article, the mere act of doing so triggered interested readers to seek it out from other sources. Ironically, by attempting to kill the story, the social media actually gave it wings.
Just like Marcellus – the guard in William Shakespeare's play "Hamlet" who uttered the famous line, "Something is rotten in the state of Denmark," something rotten is going on within social media, and Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, is committed to finding out what exactly it is. He is currently in the process of getting Jack Dorsey of Twitter and Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook to testify before the Senate, voluntarily or not. If the latter, subpoenas will require testimony concerning the alleged "suppression and/or censorship" their tech companies have demonstrated.
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Undoubtedly, any Senate hearings will want to explore the following as well:
- Anna Makanju published an article in 2019 in the Washington Post when Biden was under scrutiny for his dealings in Ukraine. Having advised him on Ukraine at the time in question, her article obviously was aimed at absolving him of any wrongdoing. But what does Makanju do now? She holds a senior position at Facebook, overseeing content regulation. It is a position from which she could well have influenced the censoring of the New York Post's story.
- Nick Pacilio works at Twitter's San Francisco headquarters. He joined the company in 2014, first as its senior communications associate before being promoted later to a managerial position, which he occupies today. But, of more importance, is his employment history before coming to Twitter. From 2011 until 2014, he was the deputy spokesman and senior spokesperson for California's attorney general – a position occupied by now Democratic vice presidential candidate Kamala Harris.
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Although Dorsey and Zuckerberg claim their policies are being changed – and despite substantial corroboration about the veracity of the New York Post story – the article remains blocked. Interestingly, since its ban, another fake news anti-Trump story has appeared on social media. Vox journalist Aaron Rupar posted a quote by Trump suggesting he was admitting a quid pro quo contribution from Exxon CEO Darren Woods. But he conveniently omitted any context for the quote – made only as an example of what Trump would not do.
A recent Pew poll reveals 72% of American believe "social media platforms actively censor political views that those companies find objectionable." While, understandably, 85% of those on the political right believe this bias exists, an astonishing 62% of those on the left agree. Further evidence supporting such bias was evident from Facebook's more recent rejection of video of a peaceful crowd of black Trump supporters chanting, "We love Trump." Why? Because – are you ready for this? – Facebook found it to be "dangerous," claiming, despite zero evidence to support it, the crowd's chants made them guilty of "bullying and harassment."
Lest there still be some doubt about social media bias, it should be clear from the following declaration by Twitter's Dorsey: "I don't believe that we can afford to take a neutral stance anymore. I don't believe that we should optimize neutrality."
During the Cold War, the Soviet newspaper Pravda regularly screened out truth to feed the Soviet people its own propagandized "facts." That is exactly what the social media are doing in America today.