Conservatives have found a way to communicate that is free from Big Tech censors. But how long will it last?
Over the weekend, the liberal Brookings Institution released what it calls “a tool to monitor political broadcasts” on increasingly popular podcasts. Why? To combat “misinformation.”
Brookings treats the growth of podcasts the way Count Floyd would describe one of his movies on the classic Monster Chiller Horror Theater sketch on SCTV. “Ooh, that’s scary, kids, scary!”
Podcasts, it warns, “played a central role in disseminating election fraud narratives in the lead up to January 6.” Scary, kids!
Podcasts “also offered a prime avenue for the spread of pandemic-related misinformation.” Very scary, kids!
What’s really got the left scared is that nobody is controlling what gets said on podcasts. Valerie Wirtschafter at Brookings laments that “despite the real-world harms caused by this misinformation and the medium’s growing reach and influence,” podcasters “can say whatever you want.”
“The nature of the RSS feed, which is open-sourced and accessible by design, represents a significant hurdle for content moderation. Although Apple can remove the RSS feed from its platform, some smaller platforms allow any content on an RSS feed to be played through their services, making it easy for listeners to access a removed podcast elsewhere.”
So, Brookings created the “Popular Political Podcast Dataset” to help out would-be censors.
Wirtschafter says that this database is just about “equipping researchers with tools to better understand and evaluate the ongoing conversations across the podcasting medium.”
And, to be sure, it is interesting to see what is on the minds of liberals and conservatives. Brookings used its tool to add up the most frequently uttered words on 79 popular political podcasts in the first week of September. It shows that liberals remain utterly fixated on Trump – almost all of the top 10 words on liberal podcasts involved Jan. 6, the Mar-a-Lago raid, etc. Conservatives, in contrast, were talking about things like the queen, 9/11, and Joe Biden.
But make no mistake, the only reason Brookings is raising this specter of unfettered “lawful but awful” dialogue is that conservatives currently dominate the podcasting world.
Brookings’ dataset shows not only the rapid rise in the number of podcast episodes, but the fact that the vast bulk of prominent political podcast series are conservative leaning. (The chart below was pulled from the Brookings website.)
What’s more, this effort is clearly more about controlling content than researching it. All the examples Wirtschafter provides of supposedly dangerous misinformation just happen to be positions held by conservatives. And elsewhere she writes that “Due to the way podcasts are distributed … addressing the problem will require a different approach than in other sectors of the tech industry, one that combines broad infrastructure changes and a fundamental rethinking of the role of the listener in content moderation.” (emphasis added)
Just who do you think would be in charge of imposing these “broad infrastructure changes”?
This new tool comes as evidence emerges that Big Tech has been working hand-in-glove with the Biden administration to stamp out content they don’t like.
As the Heritage Foundation’s Jake Denton notes, “the past few weeks of whistleblowers and court discovery have revealed evidence of the Biden administration’s deliberate weaponization of the power of Big Tech.”
Among the revelations:
- More than 45 Biden officials communicated with social media platforms about “misinformation.”
- Emails showing Facebook employees taking direct orders from government officials on which Facebook accounts to act against.
- Twitter suspended a New York Times reporter after White House officials explicitly requested his removal because his COVID tweets weren’t in keeping with official dogma. (Twitter later reinstated his tweeting privileges.)
So, don’t be at all surprised if you start to hear more calls to cancel conservative podcasts, or learn that Biden administration officials are “working with” tech firms to stop podcasters’ ability to spread “misinformation.”
What’s really very scary, kids, isn’t what podcasters are saying, it’s that so many on the increasingly fascistic left are now so eager to censor talk they don’t like.
— Written by the I&I Editorial Board