Ricochet is the best place on the internet to discuss the issues of the day, either through commenting on posts or writing your own for our active and dynamic community in a fully moderated environment. In addition, the Ricochet Audio Network offers over 50 original podcasts with new episodes released every day.
When conservatives criticized Facebook for spiking right-leaning content, CEO Mark Zuckerberg did something odd for a liberal tech titan: he listened. The kajillionaire invited several leading conservative voices to fly out to the left coast and share their concerns in person. Despite Zuckerberg’s sickening oversight of not inviting yours truly, I was impressed that he was savvy enough to call a summit.
Sure, his motivation was probably more PR and business development than the robust exchange of ideas, but you don’t see the New York Times or NBC News reacting this way to a couple days of snarky blog posts about media bias. Do I think Facebook will shed its liberal worldview and use Trending Topics to promote “Trump Correctly Accuses Bill Clinton of Rape” above “Lena Dunham Inspires Millions by Eating Lasagna Naked?” Of course not. Facebook is a progressive company staffed by progressive professionals who swim in a progressive ecosystem. But by starting a dialogue with conservatives, he might tip off his staff that half of the company’s users don’t enthusiastically support Hillary or Bernie.
Glenn Beck (who, unlike yours truly, was actually invited to the confab) came away disappointed. Not with Facebook management, but by the behavior of his conservative confreres.
I sat through a meeting that, to me, felt like I was attending a Rainbow Coalition meeting, that people (not me) had come with a list of demands.
I looked around the room, I heard the complaints, I listened to the perspectives, and not a single person in the room shared evidence of any wrongdoing. Maybe they had some, but it wasn’t shared. They discussed how Facebook’s organic reach and changes in algorithms has impacted their business. While at the same time admitting that Huffington Post has been struggling with the same issues. I heard people discuss community standards, pages being shut down, posts being removed — and I do believe that happens and it’s something Facebook could do better, and I hope they will — but we were not there because of that. We were there because of this ONE accusation on Trending Topics.
I sat there looking around and heard things like:
- Facebook has a very liberal workforce. Has Facebook considered diversity in their hiring practice? The country is 2% Mormon. Maybe Facebook’s company should better reflect that reality.
- Maybe Facebook should consider a six-month training program to help their biased and liberal workforce understand and respect conservative opinions and values.
- We need to see strong and specific steps to right this wrong.
It was like affirmative action for conservatives. When did conservatives start demanding quotas AND diversity training AND less people from Ivy League Colleges?
Erick Erickson (who, unlike yours truly, was actually invited to the confab, but, like yours truly, did not attend said confab) had feelings similar to those of Beck:
I know most of those who went to the meeting. I know what was said at the meeting. I also know those who were invited and refused to go. One conservative organization invited to the meeting refused to go because, among other reasons, Facebook had refused to give money for an event held by that group.
Still other conservatives who did go to the meeting insisted Facebook should hire conservatives. They insisted Facebook should steer money toward conservative causes and candidates and join conservative fights. All those things may sound well and good, but when did the conservative movement decide to behave like Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton? Both those men are portrayed by the right as shakedown artists and here come a group of conservatives shaking down Facebook.
It seems a growing number of conservatives decided they must embrace the same tactics of the left and turn into professional grievance mongers and shake down artists. Just as Republicans fail to win elections by being Democrat-lite, conservatives are never going to beat liberals at their own game.
Ben Domenech of The Federalist did not like these critiques at all. He lit in to both conservative commentators with an intensity usually reserved for Vladimir Putin or the New England Patriots:
These are the complaints of useful idiots. They are stupid and both men should be ashamed at their dull-witted retromingency in making them. Facebook is not being shaken down in any capacity. It is being criticized not as a corporation, but in its chosen role as a media entity. Facebook curates the news; it is a news source for the vast majority of Americans. It put its trending algorithm forward as a source of news, with the false impression given that it accurately represented the trending topics of the Facebook community. Instead, it warped these results according to their ideological framework and their biases to falsely represent the top stories of the day. This is a serious accusation and one Facebook has admitted to as a problem. Yet Beck and Erickson are arguing against Mark Zuckerberg when they say that it doesn’t matter.
Glenn Beck walked into a room with them and loudly insisted he was uninterested in influencing their hiring decisions which leave out conservatives, because he wanted to out-conservative everyone in the room.
If you agree with Beck and Erickson, you must also throw out the entire realm of media bias reporting that has been a mark of the right for decades as nothing….
If they really believe this and aren’t just posturing, then Beck and Erickson can go to their rooms to play their hit song “Alone in My Principles” and leave the media criticism fray to those of us who believe it is important and valuable, and have the spine to do it.
After looking up the word “retromingency,” I want to know where our readers stand. Are too many conservatives buying into the odious grievance politics of the left or should we redouble our complaints about bias to force our way into the media conversation?Published in