Anti-war candidate Tulsi Gabbard and educational outfit PragerU say tech giant Google is a threat to democracy.
By S.T. Patrick
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) is suing Internet company Google for its increased ideological censorship. After the first Democratic Party debate aired on NBC, Gabbard was the most searched-for candidate on Google. At a time when interest in her decidedly anti-war campaign peaked, the tech goliath blocked her Google Ads account. Gabbard also charged that Google sent her campaign emails to Gmail spam folders at a “disproportionately high rate.”
The Gabbard campaign is seeking a legal injunction against Google so that the world’s largest search engine can no longer meddle in the 2020 elections, presidential or otherwise. The campaign is also seeking $50 million in damages. As stated in Gabbard’s legal complaint against Google, “For hours, as millions of Americans searched Google for information about Tulsi, and as Tulsi was trying, through Google, to speak to them, her Google Ads account was arbitrarily and forcibly taken offline. Throughout this period, the campaign worked frantically to gather more information about the suspension, to get through to someone at Google who could get the account back online, and to understand and remedy the restraint that had been placed on Tulsi’s speech—at precisely the moment when everyone wanted to hear from her.”
Google controls 88% of the Internet searches in the U.S., which means essentially that American access to information online goes through Google. Gabbard sees the dangers for U.S. elections if Google continues its censorship.
“Google’s discrimination against our campaign reveals the danger of their dominance and how the dominance of big tech over public discourse threatens core American values,” Gabbard tweeted on July 25. “They threaten our democracy.”
Google responded shortly thereafter, not surprisingly stating that there is no bias—political, ideological, or otherwise—in their decisions.
“In this case, our system triggered a suspension and the account was reinstated shortly thereafter,” said Google spokeswoman Riva Sciuto. “We are proud to offer ad products that help campaigns connect directly with voters, and we do so without bias toward any party or political ideology.”
There are other organizations that would vehemently disagree with Sciuto and agree with Gabbard. In 2018, rogue Google employees contacted the conservative “Breitbart” news to inform them that there was a culture within Google that was actively working against Breitbart’s Google Ads monetization plan. Leftist employees at Google had sent management an open letter stating that “Googlers hold a diverse set of political, social, and economic perspectives, but respect and openness bind us together. The hate and bullying Breitbart incites toward Muslims, LGBTQ people, and women is incompatible with those shared values.”
PragerU is a conservative educational video company created by Dennis Prager. It is now also suing Google and YouTube for censorship of its educational material. The suit cites over 50 videos that have been either demonetized or restricted by Google, which owns YouTube. The restricted or demonetized videos include “Why America Must Lead,” “The Ten Commandments: Do Not Murder,” “Why Did America Fight the Korean War?” and “The World’s Most Persecuted Minority: Christians.”
When PragerU inquired to Google and YouTube about the censorship, they were told that the videos had been restricted because they were deemed “inappropriate” for younger audiences. PragerU’s founder disagrees.
“Watch any one of our videos and you’ll immediately realize that Google/YouTube censorship is entirely ideologically driven,” stated Dennis Prager. “For the record, our videos are presented by some of the finest minds in the Western world, including four Pulitzer Prize winners, former prime ministers, and professors from the most prestigious universities in America.”
YouTube currently has 1.3 billion users worldwide. Restricting access to material on YouTube is restricting free speech globally.
YouTube has long been censoring alternative voices. Podcast hosts Brent Holland and Ed Opperman have both been demonetized down to a near-inoperable status, crippling their shows.
The censoring of Gabbard is new in that it is not usually Democrats or any left-leaning entities that are censored by Google. But Gabbard is a different kind of candidate than the rest of the field. She is the only candidate in the debates who is challenging the perpetual war state and the mainstream media lies on foreign policy. She has gone against the grain on the issues of war and peace, and now she is suing the largest gatekeeper in the world.
S.T. Patrick holds degrees in both journalism and social studies education. He spent 10 years as an educator and now hosts the “Midnight Writer News Show.” His email is [email protected]. He is also an occasional contributor to TBR history magazine and the current managing editor of Deep Truth Journal (DTJ), a new conspiracy-focused publication available from the AFP Online Store.