Some might call it the final degradation of The Gray Lady. A print copy of The New York Times Sunday Edition features an article by Kevin Roose datelined Martinsburg, WV. It’s a tale of woe from a recovering conservative titled, “The Making of a YouTube Radical.” As a newspaper equivalent to Proust’s À la recherche du temps perdu in length, this above-the-fold front page stem-winder uses a confused young man’s anecdotal evidence to cast aspersions on the political right. If you closed your eyes and had someone read it, you’d swear they were narrating BuzzFeed’s latest scoop.
But that might disparage BuzzFeed.
Desperate “Times” call for Desperate Measures
It’s understood that print newspapers have fallen on hard times and that lay-offs are frequent and painful. However, stooping to such depths to remain relevant seems tawdry for what once was considered a national newspaper of record. Originally established as a penny paper in 1851, The Times set out to “avoid sensationalism and report the news in a restrained and objective fashion,” and was always designed for the “cultured, intellectual reader,” according to the Encyclopedia Britannica. Sunday’s front page provides forensic proof – beyond a shadow of a doubt – that The Times no longer eschews sensationalism, though it does still adhere to its target audience.
This brings us to poor Caleb Cain, who told the publication he “fell down the alt-right rabbit hole” and “was brainwashed.” He is “scarred” after having been “radicalized” by a “decentralized cult of the far-right.” And how, pray tell, did Mr. Cain become politically born again? Why, through a demonic algorithm on the internet platform YouTube.
As our hero tells it, he was aimlessly searching for video game content when – “Oh no, Mr. Bill!” – up popped a far-right video in the sidebar. YouTube’s algorithms are “responsible for more than 70 percent of all time spent on the site,” writes the author. As the saga continues, we discover that Mr. Cain was “seduced by a community of far-right creators.” Moreover, Roose asserts that “critics and independent researchers say YouTube has inadvertently created a dangerous on-ramp to extremism by combining two things: a business model that rewards provocative videos and exposure and advertising dollars, and an algorithm that guides users down personalized paths meant to keep them glued to their screens.”
Our hero had no choice. His brain had a meltdown. He was powerless against the mighty and nefarious forces of YouTube. Such manipulation and trickery “sucked [him] into a vortex of far-right politics,” writes Roose. The Times even goes so far as to print a timeline of Mr. Cain’s psychotic journey into the world of the alt-right. Then, praise the Lord, our hero found the light. “Mr. Cain, 26, recently swore off the alt-right nearly five years after discovering it and has become a vocal critic of the movement,” according to the article.
One could say our hero was born again – again.
Extremism Rules the Internet
As social media platforms across the internet wrestle with this so-called “growth of extremism,” they have responded by banning and demonetizing those they consider to be “far-right influencers.” Thus, Alex Jones‘ Infowars and most recently, Steven Crowder have been given the heave-ho. But the powers that be at YouTube claim that Crowder could be reinstated if he cleans up his act. In other words, Mr. Crowder, toe the line, or you’ll be treated to the jackboot of the YouTube Stasi. YouTube commands, “Put that dunce cap on. Sit in the corner and think very hard about your behavior. But above all, do as we say, or else.” Gone is the First Amendment, which holds political speech in high regard. In its place are the rubrics of the leftist social media platforms whose edict is: Obey, or you will be shunned.
This latest move of demonetizing Crowder is particularly disturbing. It comes on the heels of an algorithm tweak that allows YouTube users to run ads alongside their videos for a portion of the take. Previously, only the big channels were afforded this luxury, and Crowder was one of the blessed. Thus, it comes down to more than “Sit down and shut up,” but rather,“Do as we say, or we will reach into your pockets and bankrupt you.”
In the ever-lengthening daisy chain of progressive rule, YouTube was created by three PayPal employees in 2006 but is now owned by Google. The Times article openly admits:
“Like many Silicon Valley companies, YouTube is outwardly liberal in its corporate politics. It sponsors floats at L.G.B.T. pride parades and celebrates diverse creators, and its chief executive endorsed Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election.”
As the monolithic leftism of internet platforms congeals into a mold that is brightly colored but tasteless, that wobbles and shakes at the slightest touch, but cannot truly be considered a food, Americans are increasingly being force-fed this bland diet of anecdotal journalism. Thus, it seems appropriate The New York Times is advancing its cause on page one – perhaps to signify its allegiance to the leftist ideology. Yes, the old Gray Lady ain’t what she used to be, and this front-page screed about the corruption of an innocent by diabolical conservatives officially moves her from palliative to hospice care.
As the first violinist stands to tune the string section, it is time to prepare for a Requiem. Please stand, as we begin with Requiem aeternam dona eis, Domine – Grant them eternal rest, O Lord.
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