News, Culture & Society

Ted Cruz and Tucker Carlson slam Google for cautioning The Federalist

Ted Cruz and Tucker Carlson are the latest to slam Google over its threat to demonetize The Federalist, a right-wing news outlet, over reader comments on its stories.  

What exactly Google complained to The Federalist over remains murky and it’s unclear if they ever threatened to ban it from the ad platform. 

The row began with an NBC story which claimed that its reporting prompted Google to act. NBC said it gave Google a report from a British think tank that flagged that The Federalist and nine other sites for ‘racist’ content. 

The think tank flagged that The Federalist had used a ‘black crime’ tag to categorize content. It also flagged a story in which a journalist claimed the media was ‘lying’ by reporting that white supremacists were involved in looting. It specifically singled out CNN and the New York Times.   

ZeroHedge, a blog, was also flagged and has now been defunded. 

In the NBC story, a Google spokeswoman was quoted by NBC as saying it had ‘removed both sites’ ability to monetize’. The NBC journalist who wrote the piece, Adele-Momoko Fraser, also thanked the think-tank for its ‘collaboration’ afterwards in a since-deleted tweet.  

However later, Google said it had never demonetized The Federalist – which is run by Meghan McCain’s husband – and that it got in touch to address something in the website’s comments section that violated standards. 

Now, conservatives are accusing the company of trying to backtrack. Even the walk back, however, has sparked outrage. 

In a letter to Google on Monday night, Sen. Ted Cruz said Google’s actions ‘raise serious concerns that it is abusing its monopoly power in an effort to censor political speech with which it disagrees’. 

Cruz is now demanding that Google turn over all correspondence it had with NBC, the think tank and all communications between staff about The Federalist.  

Ted Cruz is demanding records from Google which relate to its threat that it might defund The Federalist

Ted Cruz is demanding records from Google which relate to its threat that it might defund The Federalist 

‘Google seems more than happy to play this censorship role by trying to break the financial back of a media publication with which it disagrees. 

‘Whether or not one agrees with this characterization, destroying the publisher’s ability to use advertising to reach willing readers should be wholly beyond the pale,’ Cruz continued. 

Tucker Carlson said Google was the 'chief threat to our liberties' and says the news industry is forced to 'obey' its rules and preferences or risk being bankrupt

Tucker Carlson said Google was the ‘chief threat to our liberties’ and says the news industry is forced to ‘obey’ its rules and preferences or risk being bankrupt 

He said it was indicative of the ‘bigger problem’ that ‘the culture of free speech in this country is under attack.’ 

‘Google is helping lead the charge,’ he went on. 

Carlson, on his Fox News show, echoed Cruz’s sentiments. He said Google was the ‘chief threat to liberties’.  

‘Most media companies are dependent on Google, who will control 70 percent of all online advertising. 

‘So if you’re in the news business, you obey Google. When Google tells you to do something, you do it. You have no choice.

‘They can bankrupt you in a minute and they will. In all of human history, no single entity is ever had more control over information than Google does right now.

‘So if you’re worried about the concentration of power in the hands of a few unaccountable actors, and you very much should be, nobody has more unchecked power than Google does,’ he said.   

Google tweeted that it had told The Federalist to remove the comment section after some content posted there violated its policies, without specifying what the offensive comments were

Google tweeted that it had told The Federalist to remove the comment section after some content posted there violated its policies, without specifying what the offensive comments were

Meghan McCain, whose husband runs The Federalist, tweeted on Tuesday night: ‘Google is now trafficking in digital fascism. How soon until all conservative speech and publications are completely banned?’ 

Donald Trump Jr. said the company was trying to have it ‘both ways’ by on the one hand seemingly trying to hold The Federalist accountable for comments posted on its site while shirking responsibility for what appears on its own search results page – something that has recently been called into question by the president as tech giants’ way of getting out of being sued.  

The Federalist is run by Meghan McCain's husband Ben Domenech

The Federalist is run by Meghan McCain’s husband Ben Domenech 

Their decision to demonetize ZeroHedge is likely to annihilate whatever revenue it made and is the most dramatic step Google has taken in stripping sites of their ability to make money through ads. 

The company has in the past been accused of promoting left-wing sites over right-wing counterparts but insists its algorithms are impartial.  

The report by the Center for Countering Digital Hate that was given to NBC cited ten websites including Brietbart and The Gateway Pundit, two other well-known conservative websites. 

The ten websites flagged were American Greatness, Moonbattery, American Thinker, Big League Politics, Zero Hedge, WND, The Washington Standard, Gateway Pundit, Breitbart and The Federalist. Google refused to say whether any of the other sites had been demonetized.  

The think-tank piece flagged two articles by ZeroHedge. 

One was said the movement was a ‘George Soros astroturf campaign for leftists and their agenda to reshape the fabric of American society.’ 

The other said it was ‘practically a revolutionary operative of the CIA via Soros’. 

The Federalist’s violations, according to the think tank, were the ‘black crime’ tag, under which stories appeared, and an article alleging the media had lied. 

Meghan McCain's husband runs The Federalist. She tweeted that the company was trafficking 'in digital fascism'

Meghan McCain’s husband runs The Federalist. She tweeted that the company was trafficking ‘in digital fascism’ 

Donald Trump Jr. piled into the debate, saying big tech 'wants to have it both ways'

Donald Trump Jr. piled into the debate, saying big tech ‘wants to have it both ways’ 

NBC gave Google this report by a British think tank that listed 10 websites and claimed they were racist in their coverage of the protests. Google now insists it had nothing to do with the report and was over the comments section, despite a spokesman earlier saying the site had been defunded

NBC gave Google this report by a British think tank that listed 10 websites and claimed they were racist in their coverage of the protests. Google now insists it had nothing to do with the report and was over the comments section, despite a spokesman earlier saying the site had been defunded 

That story, published on June 3, read: ‘Over the weekend we were told, for example, that the looting and violence was being instigated not by left-wing anarchists and antifa groups but by the media’s favorite villains: white supremacists. 

‘CNN, whose Atlanta offices were vandalized Friday, went on and on—without a shred of evidence to back it up—about how white supremacists might be infiltrating the protests and stirring up trouble. 

‘The New York Times, in a report that even quoted a senior police official in New York City saying outside anarchist groups were coordinating mayhem before the protests began, nevertheless veered into a long aside about how far-right “accelerationists” were hoping the unrest would bring about a long-sought second civil war.

‘By Monday, no one was talking about the white supremacist agitators anymore. The media had moved on to better, more plausible lies.’ 

That story remains online but the ‘black crime tag’ has been removed. 

NBC suggested that it supplying the report to Google was what prompted Google then contacting The Federalist.  

‘We have strict publisher policies that govern the content ads can run on and explicitly prohibit derogatory content that promotes hatred, intolerance, violence or discrimination based on race from monetizing. 

‘When a page or site violates our policies, we take action. In this case, we’ve removed both sites’ ability to monetize with Google,’ a spokeswoman said. 

But the company later tweeted: ‘The Federalist was never demonetized.

‘We worked with them to address issues on their site related to the comments section.’

Ben Domenech, The Federalist publisher and McCain’s husband, declined to comment when approached by DailyMail.com on Tuesday afternoon. 

The move is the latest in efforts by tech companies to crack down on content it deems inappropriate that more often than not, comes from conservatives. 

A poignant recent example was Twitter censoring President Trump’s tweet about the Minneapolis protests, where he said: ‘When the looting starts, the shooting starts.’ 

The decision prompted Trump to sign an executive order targeting social media giants. 

‘A small handful of social media monopolies controls a vast portion of all public and private communications in the United States. 

‘They’ve had unchecked power to censor, restrict, edit, shape, hide, alter, virtually any form of communication between private citizens and large public audiences,’ he said at the time. 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk