NBC blue-check “journalists” celebrated all over Twitter Tuesday afternoon after engaging in blatant anti-trust behavior, conspiring with Google to de-platform conservative news sites The Federalist and ZeroHedge. It later turned out that they had not quite succeeded in the way they had hoped, as Google backed off to some extent – probably on their internal lawyers’ advice – but the clear anti-trust nature of NBC/Comcast’s and Google’s actions was not lost on at least one GOP Senator.
The controversy started when NBCNews ran this story:
ZeroHedge and The Federalist will no longer be able to generate revenue from any advertisements served by Google Ads. https://t.co/5lOoy3ycbL
— NBC News (@NBCNews) June 16, 2020
From the article:
Google’s ban comes after the company was notified of research conducted by the Center for Countering Digital Hate, a British nonprofit that combats online hate and misinformation. They found that 10 U.S-based websites have published what they say are racist articles about the protests, and projected that the websites would make millions of dollars through Google Ads.
ZeroHedge had already been demonetized prior to NBC News’ inquiry, Google said. ZeroHedge and The Federalist did not respond to requests for comment.
Imran Ahmed, CEO of the Center for Countering Digital Hate, said it found advertisements for many companies that had otherwise made public statements supporting Black Lives Matter and the recent protests running on the websites.
NBC of course leaves out two key facts:
- The Center for Countering Digital Hate is not a “research group” at all: It is in fact a radical, far-left activist group. Big difference;
- NBC’s own employees were apparently responsible for taking CCDH’s “research” to Google, as evidenced by this celebratory tweet from an NBC reporter:
— Adele-Momoko Fraser (@AMFraserNBC) June 16, 2020
All of this clear anti-trust sort of activity by Comcast/NBC News and Google caught the attention of at least one GOP senator, Josh Hawley of Missouri, who issued this tweet a little bit later:
Wait, wait – you want to treat the @FDRLST comment section, which they don’t curate, as THEIR speech but simultaneously say the content you directly host and modify IS NOT your speech under Section 230? Wow, this is getting really interesting https://t.co/QEtpCtssco
— Josh Hawley (@HawleyMO) June 16, 2020
Moments after that, Google made it clear that it had not actually de-funded either site, further clarifying that its issue had nothing to do with the actual content of the sites, but in their non-curated comments sections, as Senator Hawley had noted in his tweet.
So, here we have:
- NBCNews/Comcast acting like Standard Oil circa 1900, aggressively collaborating with leftist activists and a fellow media giant to de-platform two other news sites that it does not like or approve of;
- Google threatening to de-platform two conservative media sites for not engaging in the same form of censorship that it practices itself;
- And NBCNews/Comcast and Google clearly engaging anti-trust, restraint of trade behavior designed to put smaller competitors out of business.
This is EXACTLY the very behavior that a real journalist named Ida Tarbell convinced Teddy Roosevelt to go after Standard Oil and other industrial monopolies over, and which led to the nation’s landmark anti-trust laws.
If this episode does not spur the Justice Department into action to formally investigate these two media giants, then you might as well just take those laws off the books, because they will have no meaning anymore.
The ball is clearly in your court, Attorney General Barr.
That is all.
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