The far left has social media company Parler in its crosshairs. The company, which touts itself as a free-speech alternative to platforms like Twitter and Facebook, has experienced a rapid upswing in its user base over the past year as mainstream sites have stepped up their efforts to censor conservative views. Naturally, this free-market solution doesn’t sit well with progressives.
The establishment media has been taking aim at the company, complaining that it has become an echo chamber for conservatives. But if they are genuinely concerned about the existence of echo chambers, perhaps they should point the finger at their own, instead of their political opposition.
Corporate Media Targets Parler
Several left-leaning corporate media outlets have published hit pieces targeting Parler. In these articles, the authors savaged the company, claiming without evidence that it was becoming a safe haven for white nationalists and other hate groups. But one of the central claims they make about the social media site is that it has become an echo chamber in which conservatives only interact with Americans who share their right-leaning views.
Author Tina Nguyen penned a piece for Politico in which she lamented the fact that conservatives could use Parler to express their objections to how the presidential election turned out. “The rapidly expanding social-media site has given Trump backers a platform to simply dismiss the post-election reality and reinforce baseless voter-fraud conspiracies,” she wrote.
Of course, people like her never complained about their comrades’ penchant for spreading the Russia collusion hoax using Twitter and Facebook, did they? She also took issue with the fact that conservatives could discuss their opinions without being flagged or censored:
“Hashtags on Parler denoting Trump’s favorite conspiracy theories — #Dominion, #Sharpiegate, #QAnon — trend freely, without the restrictions Twitter and Facebook have instituted to suppress them. Stories from fringe sites pushing baseless allegations of voter fraud are not flagged as disinformation, as they often are elsewhere.”
The author also repeated another frequently used trope: Parler is a conservative echo chamber. “There is now a robust, consequence-free echo chamber for them that confirms a worldview in which a rigged election system falsely gave Biden a victory, and leftist thugs are taking to the streets to ensure the outcome isn’t overturned,” she argued.
Writer Nathan Bomey wrote a piece for USA Today which echoed Nguyen’s arguments. He stated that the existence of a platform like Parler could cause the nation to become more divided. “Experts on political polarization say it’s a natural outgrowth of our divided culture for Americans to begin choosing their social media services based on the political identity of those platforms,” he wrote.
The author also asserted that “confirmation bias and groupthink can be harmless in the case of fairly innocuous issues. But it can be harmful in the case of dangerous conspiracy theories like QAnon.”
Progressives Should Look in the Mirror
Is Parler an echo chamber for conservatives? It certainly is, although the leadership of the company has tried to entice liberals and leftists to start using the platform as well. But right-leaning Americans didn’t just decide to congregate to this site on a whim.
Indeed, it was people on the far left who made this action necessary in the first place. Companies like Facebook and Twitter are staffed predominantly by leftists. This means that those in charge of content moderation and censorship have more in common with Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez than President Trump or Ted Cruz.
It is no secret that these workers use their positions to disproportionately target conservative voices for suppression. Twitter brazenly tried to influence the election by preventing the sharing of a New York Post story that could have been damaging to former Vice President Joe Biden. They routinely deplatform conservatives for expressing views that run contrary to the leftist agenda. YouTube recently announced that they would take down any video disputing the results of the presidential election.
In light of their overwhelming bias against conservatives, is it any wonder that those who lean to the right would seek out an online environment where they don’t have to worry about being banned for expressing their views? The left complaining about echo chambers is like McDonald’s complaining about obesity.
Of course, progressives don’t actually care about the existence of echo chambers; they prefer it. The issue isn’t about conservatives having a space where they can communicate, it is about right-leaning Americans expressing their views on a platform that the left does not control.
Read more from Jeff Charles.