Robert Gehl reports conservative news site operators are becoming increasingly nervous that Google is preparing to stifle their voices on the internet by reducing their ability to generate from the omnipresent search engine.
They’ve recently began using “machine learning” to document “hate crimes and events” in the United States. In the project, they’re partnering with leftist groups like the Southern Poverty Law Center, BuzzFeed and ProPublica to ostensibly gather information about hate crimes to make them more accessible to journalists.
Called “Documenting Hate,” it’s a seemingly innocuous project to keep track of all hate crimes, but, as PJ Media notes, it’s partners in this effort signal something more sinister.
The ProPublica-led coalition includes The Google News Lab, Univision News, the New York Times, WNYC, BuzzFeed News, First Draft, Meedan, New America Media, The Root, Latino USA, The Advocate, 100 Days in Appalachia and Ushahidi. The coalition is also working with civil-rights groups such as the Southern Poverty Law Center, and schools such as the University of Miami School of Communications.
What’s happening now is that reporters are contacting the sites that the mainstream media have deemed “hateful,” like JihadWatch, and asking probing – and some say threatening – questions about where they get their funding. Here’s an email sent by ProPublica reporter Lauren Kirchner to Robert Spencer, head of JihadWatch, and Pamela Gellar:
I am a reporter at ProPublica, a nonprofit investigative newsroom in New York. I am contacting you to let you know that we are including your website in a list of sites that have been designated as hate or extremist by the American Defamation League or the Southern Poverty Law Center. We have identified all the tech platforms that are supporting websites on the ADL and SPLC lists.
We would like to ask you a few questions:
1) Do you disagree with the designation of your website as hate or extremist? Why?
2) We identified several tech companies on your website: PayPal, Amazon, Newsmax, and Revcontent. Can you confirm that you receive funds from your relationship with those tech companies? How would the loss of those funds affect your operations, and how would you be able to replace them?
3) Have you been shut down by other tech companies for being an alleged hate or extremist web site? Which companies?
4) Many people opposed to sites like yours are currently pressuring tech companies to cease their relationships with them – what is your view of this campaign? Why?
The intent of your questions, and no doubt of your forthcoming article, will be to try to compel these sites to cut off any connection with us based on our opposition to jihad terror. Are you comfortable with what you’re enabling? Not only are you inhibiting honest analysis of the nature and magnitude of the jihad threat, but you’re aiding the attempt to deny people a platform based on their political views. This could come back to bite you if your own views ever fall out of favor. Have you ever lived in a totalitarian state, where the powerful determine the parameters of the public discourse and cut off all voice from the powerless? Do you really want to live in one now? You might find, once you get there, that it isn’t as wonderful as you thought it would be.
Once one of these sites is labeled a hate site (like Vanguard America, which is a hate site), it finds itself unable not only to raise revenue on the Internet, but to even find a tech company willing to host their site. WordPress recently yanked their support of the group’s latest site.
PJMedia’s Paula Bolyard is worried: “We’re on a very slippery slope. Be assured that the left won’t stop at taking down alt-right sites. They’ve tasted blood with their recent successes and they won’t quit until we are all silenced.”