So How Bad is Media (and Social Media) Bias in This Election?
Earlier today, I came across an interesting article about media (and social media) bias related to the 2016 Presidential election. The piece was published in the Observer and titled, Tech Companies Apple, Twitter, Google, and Instagram Collude to Defeat Trump. Here are a few excerpts:
The usual suspects from left-leaning major media outlets like The New York Times, MSNBC, CNN and even entertainment networks are doing everything in their power to ensure a Clinton victory. Look no further than to Wolf Blitzer mincing around and drinking wine at the Democratic convention, celebrating Hillary’s nomination. But the propaganda skewing this election runs much deeper than just the media: our iPhones, iPads, social media networks, Google and even video games are all in the tank for Hillary Clinton—and it’s chilling.
I began looking into how strong the bias and censorship runs in these forums after I did an interview on the pro-Trump podcast, MAGAPod. The show’s host, Mark Hammond, was disappointed Apple wouldn’t run his show without an “explicit” warning. Hammond’s podcast didn’t contain content that would be deemed explicit under Apple’s policy, and most other shows in the News & Politics category aren’t labeled as such.
On June 18, Hammond talked to Sandra, a representative from Apple. She explained that, since the description of his show is pro-Trump, his show is explicit in nature—because the subject matter is Donald Trump. So, an Apple employee concluded the Republican presidential candidate is explicit.
iTunes has dozens of podcasts discussing Osama Bin Laden and Adolf Hitler—none of which is marked explicit. I encouraged Hammond to contact Apple again, via email to their podcast support team. Within 48 hours he received a response from “Tim,” who informed Hammond that his podcast would be updated to “clean” within 24 hours.
Further digging on Apple revealed more evidence that the computer giant is feeding users pro-Hillary and anti-Trump propaganda.
Over the past year, Apple twice refused to publish a satirical Clinton Emailgate game, “Capitol HillAwry,” claiming it was “offensive” and “mean spirited” even though the game’s developer, John Matze, cited in communications with Apple that the game fits the standards of Apple’s own satire policy. Apple has, however, approved dozens of games poking fun at Donald Trump—including a game called “Dump Trump,” which depicts the GOP nominee as a giant turd.
On July 25, Breitbart exposed this blatant double standard and favoritism toward Clinton. A few days after the article was released, Apple caved and published Capitol HillAwry, 15 months after Matze’s first attempt to go live.
While it’s commendable that Apple resolved both situations, Trump supporters and conservative users should never have faced such biased treatment in the first place.
Indeed, why are these things happening in the first place?
Apple claims not to endorse candidates, but their actions suggest otherwise, and some of their executives—including CEO Tim Cook—actively support Clinton’s campaign. Buzzfeed recently obtained an invitation to a private $50,000-per-plate fundraiser Cook is hosting for Clinton with his Apple colleague, Lisa Jackson, at the end of this month.
Apple isn’t the only corporation doing Clinton’s bidding. Wikileaks founder Julian Assange said Clinton made a deal with Google and that the tech giant is “directly engaged” in her campaign. It’s been widely reported Clinton hired Eric Schmidt—chairman of Alphabet, the parent company of Google—to set up a tech company called The Groundwork. Assange claims this was to ensure Clinton had the “engineering talent to win the election.” He also pointed out that many members of Clinton’s staff have worked for Google, and some of her former employees now work at Google.
Of course, I covered Groundwork earlier this year. See: Meet “Groundwork” – Google Chairman Eric Schmidt’s Stealth Startup Working to Make Hillary Clinton President
Twitter is another culprit. The company has gotten a lot of slack for banning conservatives and Trump supporters such as Breitbart’s Milo Yiannopoulos and, most recently, rapper Azealia Banks after she came out in support of Trump. Twitter has provided vague answers as to why conservative voices have been banned while they’ve allowed other users to call for the killing of cops.
Just yesterday, Buzzfeed revealed that the social media giant’s top executive personally protected the President from seeing critical messages last year. “In 2015, then-Twitter CEO Dick Costolo secretly ordered employees to filter out abusive and hateful replies to President Barack Obama.”
The founders of some of the most popular pro-Trump Twitter handles—including @USAforTrump2016 and @WeNeedTrump—insist Twitter is censoring their content. They’ve pointed out that Twitter changes trending hashtags associated with negative tweets about Clinton (which has been reported before). On August 4, shortly after the hashtag “HillaryAccomplishment” began trending, it was taken over by anti-Clinton users, who used it to mention Benghazi or Emailgate. Eric Spracklen, @USAforTrump2016 founder, noticed the hashtag was quickly changed—pluralized to #HillarysAccomplishments.
Many people have pointed out the exact shenanigans described above for other Clinton-related hashtags. In fact, it’s been my self-described progressive friends who have been most up in arms about it.
“They take away the hashtag that has negative tweets for Clinton and replace it with something that doesn’t so the average person doesn’t see what was really trending,” Spracklen said. “This happens every day.”
This new strand, where one cannot even search for alternative viewpoints amid technology companies who stand to benefit from the free-trade policies and eased immigration regulations of a Clinton presidence, represents a dangerous sea change. There’s absolutely no question the digital forums we use every day are censoring conservatives and favoring Clinton. You can’t simply scroll through photos on Instagram, look for a video game in the App Store or do a quick Google search without being fed anti-Trump and pro-Clinton propaganda.
Personally, I’ve definitely noticed a big-time pro-Clinton bias in my Twitter stream on a daily basis, and I don’t follow people/organizations that would define themselves as overtly pro-Clinton. That’s my honest perception, and I don’t have a dog in this fight.
Moving along, one of the more interesting interesting aspects of the above piece is that the Observer was honest enough to have the following byline at the end:
Disclosure: Donald Trump is the father-in-law of Jared Kushner, the publisher of Observer Media.
The New York Times should learn a lesson in honesty and transparency from them.
For example, recall last week’s post: New York Times Fails to Disclose Op-Ed Writer’s Ties to Hillary Clinton’s ‘Principal Gatekeeper.’
Another thing that continues to get on my nerves, is how the U.S. media consistently obsesses over every little stupid thing Trump says, while spending far less time on the actual disturbing policy positions he often takes. For example, just yesterday he expressed support for trying Americans accused of terrorism in military tribunals.
The Hill reports:
Donald Trump said that he would try Americans accused of terrorism in military tribunals at the Guantanamo Bay detention camp.
During an interview with the Miami Herald on Thursday, Trump was asked if he would push to get U.S. citizens accused of terrorism tried by military commissions at the U.S. military base in Cuba, something that would require action from Congress.
“Well, I know that they want to try them in our regular court systems, and I don’t like that at all. I don’t like that at all,” he said. “I would say they could be tried there, that would be fine.”
So which deserves more coverage, the above, or the fact he said Obama is the founder of ISIS. Which actually received more coverage?