My esteemed colleague Russell Brandom leads our policy team. He was struck by the disingenuous response from conservative lawmakers to the most recent video sting from Project Veritas, which presented YouTube employees in an unfair light. Russell asked if he could take over the column today, and I was happy to oblige. I’ll be back tomorrow with thoughts on Mark Zuckerberg’s appearance at the Aspen Ideas festival.
James O’Keefe’s Project Veritas has been on a tear against Google lately, with the most recent salvo coming this Monday. Like most of O’Keefe’s work, it’s deceptively edited and doesn’t add up to much, but he managed to catch one executive in a pretty poor choice of words. In a hidden camera conversation with Jen Gennai, Google’s Head of Responsible Innovation, the executive is caught saying the following:
Elizabeth Warren is saying we should break up Google. And like, I love her but she’s very misguided, like that will not make it better it will make it worse, because all these smaller companies who don’t have the same resources that we do will be charged with preventing the next Trump situation, it’s like a small company cannot do that.
If you substitute “Cambridge Analytica” for “Trump Situation,” it’s more or less the argument Facebook and Google have been using to fend off antitrust proposals all year. But if you’re inclined to think the whole media is biased against the president, it was exactly what you’d been waiting to hear. When the video was pulled off YouTube for “privacy violations” the next day, it only fueled the paranoia.
The whole situation would probably have stayed quiet if it weren’t for Ted Cruz, who called out the video in an uncomfortable moment at the Senate Commerce hearing the following day. Cruz was questioning Google UX Director Maggie Stanphill, who was nominally there to speak about dark patterns in interface design. Cruz took her to task for the quote in the video, and then again when he realized she hadn’t actually read the report.
“I would recommend people interested in political bias at Google watch the entire report and judge for yourself,” Cruz said. The clip was then circulated on the usual right wing outlets (Town Hall, Breitbart, PJ Media), and got a minor replay from the Homeland Security Committee the next day. After that last hearing, the scandal grew big enough that YouTube decided to issue an official denial, saying simply “we apply our policies fairly and without political bias.”
It’s embarrassing that Congress took this so seriously, and no one wants to give it any more attention than it deserves. But O’Keefe has played this trick over and over, so it’s worth breaking down exactly what’s happening here.
To start with, there’s a fairly straightforward reason why the Veritas video was banned. YouTube’s privacy guidelines ban videos that identify people who don’t want to be identified. There are exceptions for newsworthiness and public figures, but the Veritas video is clearly on the wrong side of the rule. The offending footage is the hidden-camera video of Gennai, who is no one’s idea of a public figure, and obviously didn’t consent to be in the video.
Even if you see Veritas as making a newsworthy point about platform bias, it’s hard to argue that including Gennai’s name and face was necessary to make that point. (Hidden camera footage used on broadcast news typically blurs out faces for exactly this reason.) Given the general temperament of Veritas subscribers, one can only imagine the kind of abuse that’s been pointed at Gennai in the days since the video went live.
This sort of takedown happens often enough that we can assume most YouTubers are aware of them, to say nothing of reporters covering YouTube moderation issues. It’s hard to believe O’Keefe was walking into this blind — just like it’s hard to believe he wasn’t aware that YouTube was scheduled for a run of congressional hearings in the days after the video posted. He was daring YouTube to ban him, knowing that it would elevate a mediocre scoop into two days of congressional berating.
The point wasn’t to force YouTube into better policies or more consistent enforcement. It was simply brute force, letting executives know that every time someone in the conservative clique has trouble with YouTube, there will be a lawmaker ready to sweat them over it. Each time it happens, Google gets a little more gun-shy dealing with high-profile policy violations, whether it’s Alex Jones or Steven Crowder. And as long as the trick keeps working, O’Keefe and Cruz will keep doing it.
ABC News suspended one of its veteran correspondents late Tuesday for unguarded remarks he made in a video by operatives of Project Veritas, the conservative group that records “undercover” footage of mainstream journalists to bolster its accusations of media bias.
The network disciplined David Wright, who reports for ABC’s signature news programs, including “World News Tonight,” “Good Morning America” and “Nightline,” several people confirmed late Tuesday.
“I don’t think we’re terribly interested in voters,” he said, echoing gripes about the superficiality of some aspects of White House and campaign coverage that have been raised by journalists for decades. Also: “Commercial imperative is incompatible with news.”
At one point he says, “We don’t hold him him to account. We also don’t give him credit for what things he does do.” In subtitles, Project Veritas indicated that “him” stood for President Trump. He refers to Trump at another point as “the f—— president.”
But ABC likely was also alarmed at Wright’s criticism of ABC News, which is owned by the Disney Co. At another point, he raises another longstanding critique of ABC News — that it blends news with promotion of Disney-owned movies and TV programs.
“Like now you can’t watch Good Morning America without there being a Disney princess or a Marvel Avenger appearing,” he says. “It’s all self-promotional.”
In a statement Wednesday, ABC News said, “Any action that damages our reputation for fairness and impartiality or gives the appearance of compromising it harms ABC News and the individuals involved. David Wright has been suspended, and to avoid any possible appearance of bias, he will be reassigned away from political coverage when he returns.”
In the video, which the group said was taken while Wright covered the New Hampshire primary, a voice asks the reporter if he considers himself “a Democratic socialist,” and Wright seems to reply, “more than that, I consider myself a socialist.”
Wright, 56, is one of ABC’s most seasoned and versatile correspondents, having joined the network nearly 20 years ago. He has covered the White House and was “Nightline’s” lead political reporter during the 2016 presidential campaign. He has also periodically reported from the Middle East and Europe, including covering the Notre Dame cathedral fire in Paris last year. He shared a 2004 Emmy Award for his reporting from Iraq and shared a Peabody Award for reporting in Afghanistan after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
Project Veritas conducts undercover “stings” of journalists and others it considers allied with liberal causes or organizations. Its operatives often befriend the organization’s targets using aliases and lull them into casual conversations in bars or restaurants that are then surreptitiously recorded. The videos are edited and released publicly in an effort to show what O’Keefe calls liberal bias or allegedly corrupt practices.
Although O’Keefe has defended the organization’s methods as journalistically sound, mainstream news organizations have largely abandoned the practice of infiltrating businesses or organizations to record video without a subject’s knowledge or consent. News organizations generally consider the practice deceptive, and doing so can subject them to criminal trespass penalties.
O’Keefe’s group has targeted media organizations such as CNN, NPR and the New York Times, as well as Democratic political operatives.
The hypocrisy of Reich-Wing Media such as Fox News, Breibart, Reich Wing pundits like Limbaugh and Jones and of course? Project Veritas
Here is just a sample of the Fox News Pundits attacks against President Barack Obama
Grinning While Joking About Killing A Candidate Senator Barack Obama
The incident happen in an exchange with the FOX News anchor. When asked her opinion of the recent scandal surrounding some comments made by Sen. Hillary Clinton, which Trotta described by saying that, “some are reading [it] as a suggestion that somebody knock off Osama.” Hemmer quickly corrected Trotta, having noticed that she had said “Osama” when she meant “Obama.” At this point, Trotta said, “Obama. Well…both if we could!” Trotta then laughed gleefully.
What prompted Trotta to joke about the assassination of Sen. Obama was her apparent inability to differentiate between Sen. Obama and the terrorist leader responsible for the terrorist attacks on the United States of September 11, 2001.
Since Sen. Obama first declared his intention to seek the Democratic nomination for president, right-wing pundits on FOX News and a variety of other broadcast outlets have regularly called the Sen. Obama by the name “Osama” in a systematic propaganda campaign to convince the American public that a sitting member of their government has secret ties to terrorists.
As if she were providing a punchline to that long-running propaganda campaign, Trotta made known that the conclusions the public should draw were (1) that Sen. Obama and Osama bin Laden are equivalent, and (2) they both deserve to be assassinated.
Sean Hannity and other right-wing conservatives are calling out President Barack Obama‘s presidential portrait, accusing the painting of having hidden perversion.
In a blog post published on Tuesday and subsequently deleted on Tuesday, the Fox News anchor’s staff reports that “industry insiders” believe Kehinde Wiley secretly placed concealed images of sperm throughout his painting.
“Controversy surrounding Kehinde Wiley’s wildly non-traditional portrait of the Commander-in-Chief broke out within minutes of its unveiling; with industry insiders claiming the artist secretly inserted his trademark technique -concealing images of sperm within his paintings,” the post reads.
Hannity’s blog post also brings up comments Wiley made in 2012 about a provocative art piece he painted of a Black woman beheading a white woman. “It’s sort of a play on the ‘kill whitey’ thing,” he told New York Magazine.
Obama portraits target of racism
The attacks on Obama’s portrait have been ongoing since going public. While most of America was captivated by former President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama‘s recently unveiled presidential portraits at the National Gallery, some right-wing and racist online users have used it as an opportunity to spread hate.
You don’t have to search far before coming across racist and misogynistic attacks aimed at the Obamas on Twitter, with some comparing the political couple to monkey (no surprise there), among other racist undertones.
In one photoshopped version of Barack Obama’s portrait, a user claims to have “fixed” it by portraying the former president behind bars. Another manipulated Michelle Obama’s face in not so flattering ways. Others are so grotesque it’s almost disbelieving.
Say Sean Hannity said in 2008 that Obama’s willingness to meet with North Korea was “disturbing” while Trump’s “willingness to meet with North Korea is a huge foreign policy win.”
Imagine a reporter from MSNBC, CNN or other news organizations saying what this scumbag Sean Handjob Hannity of Fox News has said about President Barack Obama, about Donald J Trump? Why Sean would be crying, melting down, demanding they be fired. But it is perfectly ok for old Sean here to spew the bigotry, hate and lies about President Barack Obama all he wants and if someone demands he gets fired for it? Why he screams how the liberal Fake Media is trying to silence him.
LAURA INGRAHAM OF FOX NEWS
If any news organization such as MSNBC, CNN or others were to have a reporter say these things about Donald J Trump? Fox News and Project Veritas would DEMAND they be fired. But hey, Laura Ingraham can spew any racist, bigoted bullshit she wants from her outhouse piehole against President Barack Obama cause that? Is her First Amendment right to free speech of bigotry.
MORE FOX NEWS PUNDITS ATTACKING PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA IN DISGUSTING WAYS
Ahhh yes, the good old Double Standard Fox News pundits apply between President Barack Obama and Donald J Trump.
President Obama goes golfing? That is bad. Trump goes golfing? Why that is ok.
President Obama talks to North Korea, why how dare he!! Trump does the same? Oh that is great statesmanship.
Fox contributors suspended for on-air profanity against Obama
Fox News suspended two contributors after they used profane language in reacting to President Obama’s Oval Office speech. Video provided by Newsy
HOW DARE THEY SUSPEND THESE FINE FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTERS FOR SPEAKING THEIR MIND AND THE TRUTH ABOUT PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA, SO WHAT IF THEY SWORE.
BUT!!! DON’T YOU DARE SWEAR ABOUT DONALD J TRUMP DAMMIT!!! AND DON’T YOU DARE CALL OUT DONALD J TRUMP WHEN HE SPEWS HIS RACISM, BIGOTRY, MISOGYNY AND HIS SWEARS!!!
Now? Have these same Fox News pundits blamed Donald J Trump for ALL the recent shootings of police officers? Or are they continuing to blame President Barack Obama for them?
Interesting isn’t it? Fox News pundits can spew how President Barack Obama is always angry and has thin skin. But don’t you dare say anything about that Orange Menace in the White House, Donald J Trump and his psychotic Twitter meltdowns, or his rages at his White KKKLan Rallies, or any of the hate and anger he has spewed out of his well used outhouse piehole, or all his thin skin reactions to anyone who says he is wrong or did something illegal
President Barack Obama made a passing remark about the Crusades and Fox News pundit Eric Bolling has a meltdown over it. Of course.
But? If a Democrat called for the arrest of Donald J Trump? Why Charles Krauthammer would have a complete and total meltdown now wouldn’t he? But it is ok for him to call for the arrest of President Barack Obama though.
A Sample of Fox News Pundit Attacks against Democrats
But? It was perfectly ok for Fox News pundits, Reich-Wing News and the Repugnants to work for 8 years to de-legitimize the Presidency of Barack Obama.
But, but, but Judge Jeanine, what about the nonstop hate, bigotry, hypocrisy and hysteria spewed by you and your fellow Fox News pundits as well as Trump, his Trumpanzees and the Repugnants? Oh, that’s different huh? That is perfectly ok with you because YOU help with the spreading of Donald J Trump’s hate-fest.
But Gaetz and the rest of the Trump Crew had a meltdown over Donald J Trump being called insane.
Here is an example of how the Conservatives and Republicans and Fox News will defend any Trump attack against any news organization exposing Trump for his shit. From just one of the MANY Trump supporting news site called Mad World News
CNN Slams Trump, Feels His Wrath When He Unleashes Nasty Counterattack
It’s clear the story was crafted to undermine the President. CNN, since the election, has poised itself as an anti-Trump network. Their hope is to prevent the President from having success, perhaps even ruin his chances at reelection.
The story made Trump appear to be lying about a meeting his son had with a Russian lawyer. The meeting itself was pointless but is used by the left as “proof” the Trump campaign was colluding with Russia. CNN’s story was trying to throw weight behind that tired lie. It’s obvious what they were trying to do. They failed, yet they still push the lie.
Now, they are calling out the president, directly calling him a liar. Does anyone need more proof that CNN is a corrupt, biased, and pathetic network?
Trump quickly dropped a bomb on them.
The hatred and extreme bias of me by @CNN has clouded their thinking and made them unable to function. But actually, as I have always said, this has been going on for a long time. Little Jeff Z has done a terrible job, his ratings suck, & AT&T should fire him to save credibility!
What’s going on at @CNN is happening, to different degrees, at other networks – with @NBCNews being the worst. The good news is that Andy Lack(y) is about to be fired(?) for incompetence, and much worse. When Lester Holt got caught fudging my tape on Russia, they were hurt badly!
I just cannot state strongly enough how totally dishonest much of the Media is. Truth doesn’t matter to them, they only have their hatred & agenda. This includes fake books, which come out about me all the time, always anonymous sources, and are pure fiction. Enemy of the People!
CNN is woefully unprepared for a war of words with Donald Trump. He is a master at confrontation, negotiation, and positioning. He rose to the top of one of the most cut-throat industries on the planet. He also went on to defeat a political rival who had over $2 billion and most of the media behind her. That’s not to mention the many millions who back the president with all their hearts.
Does CNN think they can win against a man like this? They can’t even get a handful of people to watch their programming!
This story is far from over. Make no mistake: CNN will continue to push their false story. They will double down on the lies, even as it ruins their reputation. They will then find new lies to push, thinking it will be enough to take the president down. But something tells me it’s going to blow up in their faces.
Isn’t it amazing? That Fox News and many others could say outright that President Barack Obama was a liar, and he was not lying, or they can insult, denigrate and defame him, they can spew racist, bigoted, shit at him, but oh hell no you never should call Donald J Trump a liar because that would be insulting the man. Even when he is bagged, cold out dead to stop telling these lies? Oh you are not to call him out on them because they are not lies. Nor should you EVER call out Donald J Trump’s bigotry, racism, misogyny, his failed marriages and adulteries, or his pedophile perversions, or his sexual assaults of women, or his nasty, disgusting shit he has said about his daughters, or his frauds and crimes he has been busted for. Oh no, you should never, EVER speak about anything like this.
You also should not mind how Fox News and the Racist Pigs of Trump? Trashed First Lady Michelle Obama and not speak about that, because that makes you the racist and bigot, but you also should NEVER speak of the First Skank currently in the White House who posed nude in lesbian layouts and got to this country under a fake Genius Visa. Or how she dressed up like a five dollar street whore in a see through top, leather mini skirt and come fuck me heels, oh no, we should only talk about the time that Michelle Obama went to church in a sleeveless dress and how that brought real shame to the title of First Lady huh Fox News and Reich Wingers?
Project Veritas I am calling you out
So the Conservative Fascists of Project Veritas believes that NO Democrat, or NO reporter should EVER speak ill of Traitor Trump, the Repugnants or anything against the Conservative Agenda of ChristoFascism and the Rich over the Poor huh? And if you do? Then you should be fired from your job.
BUT Project Veritas does not give a flying fuck about Fox News, Briebart or other Reich-Wing Conservative Hypocrite scumbags who do the very things that Project Veritas decries the Democrat or Liberal or “Fake News” are doing.
So? I guess it will now be my duty to expose Project Veritas for their bias and discrimination and their support and defense of these Faux Nitwit Newsless, Breibart Reich-Wing Conservative ChristoFascist scumbag shitstains on the underwear of humanity.
Get it fucking right Project Veritas…I hate Donald J Trump and EVERYTHING he stands for. I hate the Russian Repugnants like Moscow Mitch McConnell, Lenningrad Lindsey Graham, Devin the Cow Nunes and the rest of the Repugnants who sold their souls to Putin’s Puppet, Dotard Donnie Drumplestillskin. They are ALL Traitors in my book and they all deserve to be dragged to Gitmo, thrown up against the wall and executed for High Treason Against the United States.
So expose me assholes, cause I admit? The best thing Donald J Trump could do for this country?
IS FUCKING SHOOT HIMSELF.
To learn more about the Right Wing Media and the harm it has done to us? Get this book.
Outright Barbarous: How the Violent Language of the Right Poisons American Democracy by Jeffrey Feldman
Outright Barbarous turns the spotlight on the rhetorical thuggery of the Right, exposing how the verbal excesses are being perpetrated not just by media blowhards like Ann Coulter and Rush Limbaugh but by conservative thought leaders. But Feldman does more than point fingers; he offers practical steps for cleaning up our too-often-toxic political discourse.”—Arianna Huffington
“Since 9/11, America has been contaminated by the violence of right-wing language, in the speeches of Republican politicians and the rantings of the talking heads on Fox News and on conservative talk radio. Jeffrey Feldman’s insightful and important book cuts through the violence, and shows how we can restore the democratic ideals that America was founded upon.”—Thom Hartmann
“Jeffrey Feldman warns us to ignore the right wing noise machine at our own peril. Backed by right-wing think tanks, foundations and millionaire families, conservative standard bearers will continue to enrich themselves at the cost of a more civil, equitable society. Read Outright Barbarous to find out what they’re really saying, and how we can stop it!”—Sam Seder
Since September 11, 2001, most attempts at reasoned political debate in America have been severely limited by the violent language of the Right. In books and on television, it has become a regular ritual for conservative pundits and intellectuals to infuse violence—particularly against Democrats or liberals—into discussions of the major issues of the day, such as terrorism, immigration and gun violence. The result is the creation of a shrill discourse that silences opposition and destroys any chance for serious, civil debate.
In Outright Barbarous: How the Violent Language of the Right Poisons American Democracy, political language expert Jeffrey Feldman analyzes the words of leading conservative figures Ann Coulter, Dinesh D’Souza, James Dobson, Wayne LaPierre, Pat Buchanan and Bill O’Reilly to show how the Right’s language of violence is polluting our public discourse and limiting the free exchange of ideas. In addition to exposing the conservative obsession with violence, Feldman also shows how the civic discussion in America can be reshaped without the use of violent language, creating a healthier political climate.
An expert on language and political messaging, Jeffrey Feldman is the author of Framing the Debate: Famous Presidential Speeches and How Progressives Can Use Them to Change the Conversation (and Win Elections.) He is also editor of the influential blog, Frameshop http://frameshopisopen.com and teaches at New York University.