For many years there have been repulsive hate mongers littering the social media platforms used by millions of Americans. They spread their ludicrous rumors and lies in order to divide the nation, advance their ultra-conservative agendas, and pad their wallets. On Thursday some of these miscreants suffered a setback that, while welcome, was long overdue.
The reigning shrine of social media, Facebook, announced that it is removing the accounts of several of the worst offenders in the hierarchy of hatred. While this doesn’t completely prevent them from continuing to infect our society with their loathsome ideas, at least it denies them one of the most popular vehicles for promoting themselves and recruiting followers. Consequently, this is good news:
“In an effort to contain misinformation and extremism that have spread across the platforms, Instagram and its parent company, Facebook, have banned Alex Jones, Infowars, Milo Yiannopoulos, Paul Joseph Watson, Laura Loomer, and Paul Nehlen under their policies against dangerous individuals and organizations. They also banned the Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, who has repeatedly made anti-Semitic statements.”
Good riddance. The online world will be better for their absence in it. But this round of exclusions won’t entirely solve the problem. There are many others online who trafic in the same despicable and dangerous activities. In fact, one of them is considered by many to be a legitimate news enterprise.
Fox News has proven itself to be just as careless with facts as people like Alex Jones, and just as devoted to intolerance as Farrakhan. It was Fox News host Sean Hannity who promoted the absurd and debunked conspiracy theory that Seth Rich was murdered by agents of Hillary Clinton. Although Fox News removed some of that content from their website, Hannity never retracted his slanderous lies nor apologized. But that’s not all.
- Fox News contributor Wayne Allyn Root called for the GOP to hire “attack dogs … that have killed people” to counter liberals and Democrats.
- Steve Doocy of Fox and Friends accused former FBI director James Comey of releasing top secret materials. Doocy later retracted that charge because it wasn’t true.
- Fox News contributor Gen. Tony Thomas accused the New York Times of allowing a terrorist leader to escape. Fox’s Pete Hegseth later elaborated on the accusation. The Times responding by proving that the charge was false.
- Many of Fox’s hosts and guests have peddled the lie that Hillary Clinton sold U.S. uranium to Russia. That nonsense was utterly demolished by everyone with knowledge of the facts, including Shepard Smith of Fox News.
It’s often hard to tell the difference between the crackpottery of Infowars and the nearly identical conspiracies fostered by Fox News. Fox News has actually cited Infowars as a source in their reporting of a Clinton smear alleging that Google was suppressing stories about the “Clinton body count.”
But there’s another culprit whose presence on Facebook should be questioned for violating their terms of service. Donald Trump is the indisputable leader in hate speech. His relentless references to the media in Stalinist terms as “the enemy of the people” puts the safety and lives of journalists at risk. His frequent use of incendiary and racist language incites hate crimes around the country. The same is true for his characterization of Latino asylum seekers as “rapists,” “murders,” and “invaders.”
It certainly doesn’t help matters when Trump validates white nationalists as “very fine people.” Especially when he does so while talking about the one who committed murder in Charlottesville. What’s more, Trump has appeared on Jones’ Infowars program praising his “amazing” reputation. And an Infowars “correspondent” was actually granted a press pass by Trump’s White House.
How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.
None of this is new for Trump. He has been using dangerously inflammatory rhetoric since the beginning of his campaign for the presidency. That includes how he has spoken reverentially about murderous dictators like Vladimir Putin, Kim Jong Un, and others. And it even goes back further to his birther attacks on President Obama’s citizenship. So it seems fair to question whether Trump and Fox News should be considered “dangerous figures” by Facebook’s standards, and warrant being banned as well. How are they different than the cretins that Facebook just cut loose?