Now that others are venturing timidly from their foxholes, I can take to print without becoming the sole target of a vengeful, monopolistic technocracy. It appears that Google, YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter have all gone to war with President Trump, and are punishing anyone who dares to speak up for him.
.@YouTube has added a disclaimer to my global warming video, saying: "evidence show[s] that the climate system is warming."
I say that in my video, too. But does YouTube really need to inject its opinion? Is there no room for nuance?https://t.co/yvSuiUj6j6
— John Stossel (@JohnStossel) August 15, 2018
Don’t take my word for it. See for yourself. It may cost you $5 and you may find your Google Ads account temporarily suspended, but you will enjoy the innocent conversations with kindly Google employees in Mumbai as they try to explain policies unrelated to what is really going on. Here’s what happened to me.
Almost a year ago, an employee noticed a YouTube video at the top of a “Doug Wead” search and wondered how it got there. It wasn’t related to the date, the view count, or anything else that they could determine. But since it was there, at Google’s omniscient discretion, we decided to do something we had never done before: buy an ad to promote it. That’s when our troubles began.
Within days, Google blocked my ad and informed my team that we had violated their policies. I called Google. The problem, they explained, was that the video had hate speech.
It was a Fox Business Network video with Trish Regan interviewing me about the Russian collusion investigation. The Google employee could not find the exact offending words, but referred me to various other supervisors up the ladder.
It took much of the day listening to elevator music as I waited, playing “Civilization V” interspersed by brief conversations with successive employees reciting Google policies that they admitted explained nothing. We concluded I should re-submit the ad and whoever was offended at Google would be forced to surface.
Once again my ad was blocked, and this time my Google account was suspended. I felt like Roseanne Barr. Once again I called Google and spent a day trying to figure out what was wrong. “This call may be monitored,” they announced, and I announced back that I would do the same. So the discussion began. Was I too nice to President Trump? Should I have been more critical? Was it something Regan had said? She seems to fairly cover all sides of an issue. Why would they have a problem with her?
Google employees appeared to be baffled. Could they call me back tomorrow, they asked? The next day, Nurse Ratched at Google finally emerged. I was never given her name, but conversations with her employees indicated her sex. It was nothing that I or Regan had said in the video, her team explained. Huh?
No, no, the problem, I was told, was in the “crawler of words along the bottom of the video.” It was a quote of Trump declaring that the Robert Mueller investigation was a “witch hunt.” This was apparently hate speech.
Hmmm. You’re saying to me that words from the duly elected president of the United States cannot be shown on YouTube—words that have already been printed in The New York Times? I did my best to play along with the wisdom of this Silicon Valley logic, imparted to me by kind Google employees from India. What time is it over there?
Well, the Google representative suggested, maybe I could bracket the video with a message saying these words do not represent the views of my channel or of most people in the country. I reassured the representative that I had interviewed Democratic president Jimmy Carter several times and had served on a committee with Lady Bird Johnson and Coretta Scott King. I founded Save the Refugees in 1979. I had been interviewed by Dan Rather during the Gulf War and Katie Couric at the inauguration of Barack Obama. If I wasn’t an employee of George Soros, I was certainly not yet a candidate for the Google Gulag.
We agreed I would not try to promote this Trump-contaminated video again, and they would restore my account. That was one year ago, June 2017. All this time I have kept my promise, but it has apparently gotten me nothing.
In January, 2018 my channel was hit by shadow-banning. Sometime that month, Google allegedly hired thousands of outside actors supplied by the infamous Southern Poverty Law Center. This was the organization that attacked Ben Carson, the only African American in Donald Trump’s cabinet. They were apparently the new arbiters of decency.
My videos got hammered. But only my pro-Trump material. My interviews defending the Obama children or talking up Chelsea Clinton’s wedding went untouched.
A viral YouTube interview with me and Fox Anchor Neil Cavuto about why Hillary Clinton lost the election was penalized. The video had more than 861,000 views and was earning an average of 15,000 views a day when it suddenly went dark. On February 17, after the new censorship took hold, this video dropped to 50 views a day. That is where it has stayed ever since.
Likewise, a viral YouTube interview with me and “Fox and Friends” co-host Brian Kilmeade about the election, a video that had 961,000 views and was clicking off 20,000 views a day, suddenly dropped to 30. It all happened in one day. And it has stayed there ever since.
This made me curious. Was Google controlling the image and opinions of other, more powerful, higher-profile figures? Or was it just us little guys? I checked out Cavuto on YouTube and found a long list of anti-Trump titles on his search engine results pages: “Cavuto says Trump should stop blaming predecessors.” “Cavuto responds to backlash to his Trump criticism.” “Cavuto: Is Trump giving the media very real ammunition?” “That’s your stink Mr. President.”
Keep in mind, Cavuto is an endangered species. He is one of the last fair and balanced journalists on television. He giveth and he taketh away. But you will have to scroll deep into YouTube to find anything positive about Trump from Cavuto. Google hides those videos.
You can go 300 videos deep and still not find the interview with me that has the second-most views of any Cavuto video (see above). You will pass videos with 22 views and many that are nine years old. I have been censored out of the Cavuto stream.
So how does Google determine which videos come to the top of a search of Cavuto, Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity, or anybody else? Why did Google put my interview with Regan at the top of a “Doug Wead” search? It has nothing to do with the date, or count, or relevancy. And why would they punish me for trying to advertise a video that they promoted?
It took me months to figure this out. Here’s what they did. They created their own separate Doug Wead channel. It was buried deep and I only accidently found it. It is called “Doug Wead – topic.”
Now, this channel is separate from my own Doug Wead channel, that I created, which has 4,950 subscribers. Their channel had zero subscribers. That’s right. Not one single subscriber. When I challenged Google about this, they claimed it was auto-generated.
But here is the salient point: the videos that this “auto generated” channel chose, for whatever reason, are exactly the videos that populate a “Doug Wead” search. This is how they decide what people find when they come looking for me. Is this how they decide what people find when they search “Neil Cavuto,” “Tucker Carlson,” “Brian Kilmeade,” or “Sean Hannity”?
I couldn’t find a Google channel for any of them, but remember, I tracked 300 down the list of Cavuto videos and couldn’t even find my own, which had 861,000 views. Even if I type in the exact, complicated title of this particular YouTube video, they offer me something else. If there are Google-created Cavuto, Kilmeade, Carlson, or Hannity channels, they are surely buried deep. And they are not chosen based on popularity, relevancy, or date of publishing.
Check It Out for Yourself
Now, everything I just shared with you is either true or it isn’t. You can easily check it out yourself. Try to advertise a pro-Trump sentiment and see if Nurse Ratched appears. But be prepared to be hurt financially. A recent report claims that a Chicago pastor saw his podcast drop from the top 25 in iTunes to less than 200 only 24 hours after posting a Facebook message “to pray for Donald Trump.”
One of the sources I interviewed for this article found his business shadow-banned on Facebook after he expressed pro-Trump sentiments. He went through three businesses and thousands of dollars before finally realizing what was happening. He has since changed his online identity, IP address, and bank accounts, and after months of scrubbing he is up and running again. But of course, this time he will keep his mouth shut.
Is this the end of free speech? Or will Americans have the courage to break up an abusive monopoly? Will there be some neutral replacement for YouTube? An Internet version of Fox News, where both sides of an issue can be discussed? None of that will happen anytime soon, and probably not in time for the next presidential election.
We have entered the twilight of the American version of the Soviet Union. You can think what you want, but don’t you dare say it out loud, even to your children. Someone may hear it and quote you online.
Google Screens What Your Computer Can See
Don’t expect to get any objective help on this issue from the Internet. While writing this article, I got numerous calls to come in and do television. CNN was doing a documentary on the Bush presidency. Then I got a call to do another show with Regan at Fox Business. As a student of history and author of history books, they wanted my reaction to Trump’s latest tweet about media bias.
To prepare for the segment, I quickly googled “media bias.” What came up was a long list of articles telling me that there was no such thing as media bias. A Google-promoted chart ranked CNN somewhere in the middle, between liberal and conservative.
Particularly amusing was the title of one article. It said, “How biased is your news source? You probably won’t agree with this chart.” Now how would they know that unless they were listing something that was not organically popular? And if it was not popular, why was it at the top of their search engine?
Here’s how. Last month Facebook determined that my public page, with 184,000 followers, is a “political page.” None of my colleagues or other historians are so penalized. I suppose it’s because I post my Fox television appearances. My appearances on CNN should be okay, however. And my appearances on CBS? Well, the chart that Google promotes says CBS tacks slightly to the right but it is close enough to the middle to probably be safe.
Meanwhile, new membership on my Facebook page has stopped dead. My best YouTube videos cannot be found. All of that represents no loss of money for me. I had never tried to monetize them in the first place, having watched YouTube’s bitter and relentless attacks on Mark Dice.
Even as I research and write this article I’ve been told that Google has now agreed to work with communist censors in China. As long as the Chinese stay on the far left, they should get along fine.
So yes, I’ve come out of my foxhole. There’s nothing left to fear. They’ve taken it all away. I expect to be relocated somewhere online in a Google Ghetto, hidden from view. Hopefully, “death online” is as far as the technocracy will take this, at least for my generation. It’s the kids one has to worry about.