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That said, we were surprised by the framing of the suspension by the NBC article, which disturbingly appears to be another attempt at activist targeting of inconvenient media outlets, especially since the core argument presented by the NBC employee is different than what Google actually has said. In fact, half the NBC article just happens to be dead wrong.
The Federalist was never demonetized.
— Google Communications (@Google_Comms) June 16, 2020
It is also notable, the two articles that are referenced in the NBC article - which in turn is based on a complaint by some self-appointed arbiter of free speech, the UK-based liberal Center for Countering Digital Hate - were not ours, but were contributor op-eds by third parties (here and here) one of which is from 2016. Do we now live in a time when ad platforms will suspend, say, the New York Times for publishing highly controversial Op-Eds?
We were also surprised that the NBC journalist activist who wrote the inaccurate article, Adele-Momoko Fraser, deleted a tweet in which she admits to actively collaborating with "Stop Funding Fake News" and the Center for Countering Digital Hate.
Neither NBC News nor Google offered a single example backing up their contention that the Federalist has peddled racist sentiments about Black Lives Matter. As far as I can ascertain, their problem is with one piece:
The Federalist published an article claiming the media had been lying about looting and violence during the protests, which were both included in the report sent to Google.
There is plenty of justification for the offending argument. Major networks have consistently downplayed the rioting and looting that have taken place over the past few weeks because such activity undermines the notion that Black Lives Matter is wholly peaceful. You may disagree with the characterization, but it’s certainly not bigoted. Black Lives Matter shouldn’t be shielded from criticism. No one should be.
As it turns out, a Google spokesperson told Ad Week that NBC News got the story wrong, and that Google only notified the Federalist they “could” be demonetized, and that it was the site’s comments section that was in violation. Then Google told Ad Week that the site would be demonetized, but that the Federalist could rectify the situation. Both comments contradict the initial statement made by the Google spokesperson, not to mention the entire NBC story.
Would Google really demonetize sites over their comment sections? Has such a standard ever been used for a political website?
Legacy media is the lion in winter. Coughing and cursing, it feverishly plots the demise of its competition even as the power to do so slips from its withered grasp.
Former juggernauts such as NBC are not dead yet, so they wield what power they still have recklessly. All it took was an accusation. Not even from peacock brass, but an activist/journalist who supports Black Lives Matter…and Google demonetized both Zero Hedge and the Federalist. The allegation? Racism, of course.
To anyone who regularly reads the content of either site, the charge is patently false. One could fairly accuse ZeroHedge of overly gloomy financial predictions, or of stirring the American political pot. Racism? No. The Federalist is even more buttoned-down, rarely straying from the straight and narrow of conservative reporting on culture, politics, and religion.
At least demonetization was the original claim. Conservative Twitter exploded, then the backpedaling began. The narrative gained focused as yesterday afternoon wore on. The specific charge emerged: the comment sections of the two sites traffic in racist thought.
This is the equivalent of charging the owners of a building for graffiti scrawled upon its walls by vandals.