We all know where Big Tech stands on conservatism. If we didn’t, we got a pretty good idea when the founder of one of the world’s most successful web browsers was hounded out of his own company by LGBT absolutists. Brendan Eich should have been the first indication that the internet, that supposed “safe space” where everyone’s ideas are welcome, wasn’t the open-armed web of old. Now, a half-decade later, it’s no longer a question of “if” there’s political bias, but how serious is it?
It’s the world’s worst-kept secret that companies like Google want to smother the conservative message under their big pillow of progressivism. We’ve seen the fallout of their algorithms, followed the money, or worse, been censored ourselves. For most fans of Trump, combatting bias is as natural as breathing, in this latest trench of political warfare. So when footage was leaked of the internal meeting Google held the Friday after Trump was elected, it wasn’t a surprise that most executives were upset. What was a surprise, at least to most people, is how deeply and openly disgusted they were by millions of Americans’ values.
Co-founder Sergey Brin talked about how “offen[ded]” he is by the election of Trump, pointing out that it “conflicts with many of [Google’s] values.” Eileen Naughton, the VP of Google’s version of HR, explained how the company would accommodate people who want to move out of the country during Trump’s presidency. There was talk of upping Google’s contributions to radical causes. But, in perhaps the most revealing part of the video, CFO Ruth Porat (who broke down in tears) vowed to use the “great strength and resources and reach we have to continue to advance really important values”– implying A) that the values of Trump supporters aren’t important and B) that Google plans to use its power to stop them.
If you haven’t watched the footage, you should. Reading the headlines or quotes isn’t nearly as insightful as hearing the emotion behind them. Just imagine, in a company of 88,000, sitting in a staff meeting where your boss calls you a “fascist and extremist.” “I challenge anyone to watch that video and say with a straight face that a Trump-supporting Google employee would be able to “freely express their opinions,” Fox News’s Adam Shaw tweeted. Of course, if Hillary Clinton had won, you can bet there’d be strong feelings from conservatives at FRC too. But the difference is, we aren’t a public company controlling internet messages under the auspice of neutrality.
Interestingly, when Breitbart leaked the tape, it rocked more than Google. Even the media was stunned at the pervasive and polarizing progressivism. Google executives went into full damage control mode, releasing a statement insisting that they they’re not nearly as intolerant as they sound. “Nothing was said at that meeting, or any other meeting, to suggest that any political bias ever influences the way we build or operate our products,” a statement read. Google is, they promise, “a trustworthy source… for everyone, without regard to political viewpoint.” But, Brent Bozell wonders, how on earth can we trust them?
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) isn’t sure Americans can — at least, not until they come before Congress and explain. “Google controls 90 percent of all internet searches,” he reminded me last night on “Washington Watch.” “They control what we’re seeing… and if they’re using their own personal beliefs when it comes to [political] philosophy to control some of that, it’s disturbing. And that’s why they should have to come before a [congressional] committee… The American public has the right to now. We need transparency in this. These are questions that need to be answered, and they should not be afraid to come and answer them.”
Google, like other online platforms, is a monopoly — a place where the ruling liberals do everything they can to consolidate power — including, as Kara Swisher points out in the New York Times, violating their own ethics. As far as she’s concerned, the real scandal at Google is the one nobody’s talking about.
“I’m talking about the fact that Google is considering re-entering the Chinese market after leaving it with a lot of righteous indignation less than a decade ago. Reports say it might once again offer a range of services, including a censored version of its flagship search engine.” In 2010, she explains, Google pulled out of Hong Kong, saying (at least publicly, “Our objection is to those forces of totalitarianism…Fast forward to today, when Google is being… accused of censoring speech in the United States, when what it is really doing is mulling a return to censorship in China…”
Google seems to have no problem climbing down off its high horse to grab the thing it needs in China. Remember, she says, what Brin said in 2010:
“Regardless of how you feel about digital ecosystems or about Google, please do not take the free and open internet for granted from government intervention. To the extent that free flow of information threatens the powerful, those in power will seek to suppress it.’
Well said, Mr. Brin. Say it again.”
Tony Perkins’ Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.