The Federalist Publisher Ben Domenech joined Jason Chaffetz to talk about The Federalist’s inception, and the current campaign by Big Tech companies to shadow-ban outlets like it, on Fox News’s “Jason In The House” podcast Wednesday.
Noting how the “old guard” of conservative media was “not engaged in the culture war in a way that I felt they needed to be,” Domenech said that he, along with Mollie Hemingway, David Harsanyi, and Sean Davis “felt like there was a need for some new voices that could command some direction or come to represent a space of ideas that was being lost.”
“There was a need for some new blood, some new injection of an entity that would both report and analyze the news, be laser-focused on media bias and what we felt like was a truly organized combination of the left and the media working in tandem together, going beyond bias to really be propagandistic in a lot of ways,” Domenech added.
He also cited Andrew Breitbart’s influence in furthering the idea that politics is downstream of culture.
After The Federalist’s launch in 2013, “we pretty quickly added to our team, built a number of younger voices into it, and one of the things we particularly made an aspect of what we were trying to do was to get younger women involved in key positions from the beginning,” Domenech said. “That was not so much out of any kind of affirmative action attempt,” but “it was long past time that we had mastheads that actually resembled the people who are most important in terms of directing American culture.”
Since then, Big Tech companies including social media sites and search engines have targeted outlets like The Federalist to suppress their reach. “The point where really started to be noticeable was that we were pretty aggressive in calling for the investigation of the lab leak thesis from the beginning,” Domenech said.
While “a lot of right-wing sites took serious hits in the summer during George Floyd, we sort of started to get it earlier” in April or May, he added.
“Most of these tech giants, they don’t actually want to have a public story about anything, so instead what they try to do is essentially shadow-ban you, to diminish your sharing, to turn the knobs and flip the switches that basically prevent things that would have gone viral from going viral, and to particularly slow down the sharing of content from channels that they deem to be ones that they just dislike.”
The Federalist’s YouTube channel is “so shadow-banned that I can search for videos of myself and not find them,” Domenech added.
While “we shouldn’t treat these companies as good-faith actors anymore” and “we should do everything we can to eradicate the kind of corporate welfare that they enjoy,” he said, “I also don’t know that there’s a policy solution, and so that’s why I think that this whole thing is sliding more toward break-up and antitrust versus bureaucratic regulation.”
Listen to the full interview here.