Authored by Mitchell Nemeth
The progressive initiative to purge dissenting voices from the public conversation has escalated beyond social media and cable news networks. The Associated Press, one of the more neutral news website (at least relative to the overall far-left atmosphere), has found one of the notorious “loopholes” in content moderation: podcasts.
According to the Associated Press, “podcasts made available by the two Big Tech companies ([Apple and Google]) let you tune into the world of QAnon conspiracy theory, wallow in President Donald Trump’s false claims of a stolen election and bask in other extremism.” In bolstering its argument, the Associated Press claims that Cumulus, a major talk radio company, “told its hosts to tone down rhetoric about stolen elections and violent uprisings or risk termination.” However, this has been debunked by Dan Bongino, who offered a $100,000 check to any journalist who can prove this. As of writing, no journalist has come forward.
In recent years, podcasting has become an incredible source of information covering topics from true crime, politics, and sports radio. After all, podcasts allow hosts to expound on various topics for large periods of time.
The power of podcasting became clear when UFC commentator and famed comedian Joe Rogan struck a $100 million licensing agreement with Spotify. Rogan, like other famous podcast hosts, was drawn to the world of podcast because of its independence from large media conglomerates. Often, Rogan notes how boring and scripted cable television is in comparison to podcasts. If you’re a frequent podcast listener then you likely understand how attractive it can be compared to the scripted talk show hosts on cable television. Where else can you watch Elon Musk talk to a UFC commentator for three hours or listen to a former Secret Service agent interview the President of the United States.
At the heart of The Associated Press’ article is a call for major podcasting platforms to be much more liberal in their enforcement of policies against “hate speech” or the “promotion of violence.” As of now, Spotify removes podcasts “that violate its policies against hate speech, copyright violations or break any laws,” while Apple’s guidelines “prohibit content that is illegal or promotes violence, graphic sex or drugs or is ‘otherwise considered obscene, objectionable, or in poor taste.’” Google claims to only remove podcasts “in very rare circumstances” – at least for now.
Podcasts are notoriously difficult to monitor in that they are audio or video and often lengthy. This specific set of circumstances makes it difficult for Big Tech to moderate, often resorting to opaque and inconsistently applied standards. While the podcasts that have been removed by these platforms so far may be labeled fringe, the greater progressive effort to target these platforms will inevitably result in mainstream podcasts being delisted too. The big question for conservatives is, where is the GOP on this?