Cory Gardner Joins Silicon Valley Conspiracy Theory

Sen. Cory Gardner (R).

As Politico’s Ashley Gold reports, Republicans are pushing a not-really-new conspiracy theory among their more persuadable base members that major social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook are systemically biased against conservatives:

Republicans are turning their grievances about biased tech companies into a rallying message for a difficult election year.

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy and RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel are among the GOP leaders vocally complaining about a host of Silicon Valley slights against conservatives, ranging from Facebook’s stripping of ad revenue from the video-blogging duo Diamond and Silk to a Google search result that paired the California GOP with “Nazism.”

…Conservative complaints about Silicon Valley have sprouted in the past year, echoing the frequent GOP accusations that a liberal news media and a pervasive bureaucratic “deep state” are conspiring against Trump’s agenda. But the anti-tech message appears to be accelerating as Republicans fight to fire up their base and counter a feared Democratic “blue wave” in November.

Meanwhile, tech executives are scrambling to prove they don’t harbor anti-conservative prejudice. Facebook has held at least two previously unreported meetings with conservative groups and digital experts since April, and it launched an audit of potential bias with the assistance of former Arizona Republican Sen. Jon Kyl and the law firm Covington & Burling.

Ever since social media networks were exploited by actors foreign and domestic to spread disinformation intended to disrupt the 2016 elections and support Donald Trump’s scorched-earth bid for the presidency, the big social media players have taken steps to crack down on both blatantly false content circulating on their platforms and foreign nationals using social media advertising to post election messages. It’s important to note that both sides in politics at least nominally support this kind of action.

But of course, the other side of this coin is inevitably going to be distrust in the “Silicon Valley liberals” who run these companies, not coincidentally by the same low-information social media users who were most susceptible to “fake news” to begin with. That the flavor of disinformation being targeted is almost all conservative-leaning disinformation doesn’t sit well with conservatives who never stopped believing.

The problem is, those are the same voters Republicans desperately need at the polls in November! So every Republican, even the “smart” ones who “know better,” is obliged to pander to the conspiracy theories:

Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), chairman of the National Republican Senate Committee, said conservatives are concerned about any “Silicon Valley organization that’s using people in Silicon Valley to filter speech.” [Pols emphasis]

Sorry, did you really think Cory Gardner was above this? Recall how in Gardner’s 2014 campaign for the U.S. Senate, Gardner shamelessly exploited baseless fears of an Ebola outbreak in the United States, a lie later singled out by Politifact as 2014’s Lie of the Year. Despite Gardner’s carefully crafted image as a grownup Republican, he manages to subsidize the worst misinformation of any given election cycle–and somehow gets away with it.

Let us be the ones to assure Sen. Gardner and anyone else reading: Facebook is not out to get conservatives. Also, some of the stuff you believe is crazy stupid Russian propaganda and that is not Facebook’s fault.

We don’t expect to convince anybody, but for the record.

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11 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. taterheaptom says:

    What we need is Foxbook and @Twumper, so patriotic-snowflakes can find their social media safe space, free from non alternative-facts. 

    Let's all pause to reflect how right-on-target outlets like the Denver Post were in  being wilful recipient and happy regurgitator of cg's BS. 

    • notaskinnycooknotaskinnycook says:

      Just don't expect them to build it themselves. Technology is science and science has a liberal bias. All the best tech folks have at least a left-ish thought process.

  2. mamajama55mamajama55 says:

    The left is just better at using social media for organizing. The right uses it to spread (mis)information, but they can’t use it to get their people out to do anything.

    Social media is also now the main way to organize quickly for mass protests to “resist” the Trump agenda..  Progressive grassroots groups are popping up all the time, and most of them have a strong social media presence.

    For example, the "Families Belong Together" rallies, which brought out hundreds of thousands to protest in hundreds of cities and towns worldwide, and enlisted the support of many mainstream Democratic politicians, was mainly organized through its website and through social media networks.

    The right wing just isn't as good at getting its people out – We have millions of people connected through progressive networks – they have Trump TV,  Chaps and the PJIN youtube channel. They have many little batshit sites spreading batshit, but they’re not focused on getting people out in the streets for anything. The “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville was probably the last time that happened, and the fallout from that continues to shame them (I hope).

    There are still plenty of Russian and other foreign trolls with fake accounts spreading fake messages – but they're not really unified around one specific cause. That could change, and we need to be watching for it.

    • JohnInDenverJohnInDenver says:

      On the other hand, mamajama55, consider how many conservatives have their own social media designed to encourage people to come to church women's meetings, golf tournaments, "shooting weekends," private school fundraisers, and chamber of commerce and other networking opportunities.

      There may be slightly less overt political messages than calling for people to come to a protest march — but when a Catholic, Latter-Day Saint or Missouri Synod Lutheran leader urges members to "vote in the upcoming election," that's a nonpartisan message resulting in an 8 or 10 to 1 ratio for voting Republican over Democrat.

      When the US Chamber of Commerce decides to engage, Open Secrets says the "independent spending" breakdown in the 2017-2018 cycle is

      For Democrats:                  $0        Against Democrats: $1,000,100
      For Republicans: $5,697,509        Against Republicans: $375,000

  3. DavieDavie says:

    Cory's probably really pissed that his Russian bots are getting caught and identified:

    In what may be an early onslaught of Kremlin-linked Twitter attacks ahead of the U.S. midterm elections, Russia bots appear to be fueling a wave of criticism targeting Democrats over alleged intimidation in political confrontations and a lack of “civility,” according to bot trackers.

    Attacks with the hashtag #WalkAway purport to be from a “grassroots” wave of one-time Democrats who have left the party in part because they say they are so incensed by the hateful and divisive behavior of party members. The message is to “walk away” from ugly confrontations, “intolerance” and hate — and from the Democratic Party.

    But the hashtag has been connected to Russian bots. It has ranked as the third or fourth most popular Kremlin-linked hashtag for days, according to bot tracking by the Hamilton 68 site run by the bipartisan Alliance for Securing Democracy, which keeps tabs on Russian activity on the American internet.

    Arc Digital has made the same connection in the “strikingly similar” tweets pushing a “familiar narrative” of Democratic “bullying.” Arc traced the campaign from a Facebook group in May and subsequent tweets whose traffic suddenly began to explode late last month.

  4. ZappateroZappatero says:

    I can’t believe you wasted even 1 pixel on this. Trump has 53 MILLION followers on Twitter, many as stupid as Cory. 

  5. MichaelBowmanMichaelBowman says:

    If true, it would have been nice if the Silicon Valley boys would have been paying closer attention to the aspiring senator in 2010-2014 when he was running all over Dump huckistan with his hair on fire, fanning flames of hate for Obummer and promising to repeal health care (IIRC, proudly voting over 60+ times to repeal) without actually having something to replace it with.  But don't confuse my fellow DP's….the lingering hate for the black guy left in his wake is sickening.  BO is still openly referred to as "that n……” out in these parts.

    That he is now suddenly concerned about the Silicon Valley boys monitoring their stable of non-stop distortions is laughable. 

  6. PseudonymousPseudonymous says:

    Reality has a well-known liberal bias.
    – Stephen Colbert

  7. unnamed says:

    Cory Gardner: Passive-aggressive partisan.

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