Who Is ‘Radicalizing’ America?
Last week, corporate media outlets from the Daily Beast to Variety reported that YouTube is “radicalizing” America. The source was a report by Rebecca Lewis describing the “Alternative Influence Network (AIN).” The report defines the AIN as “an assortment of scholars, media pundits and Internet celebrities who use YouTube to promote a range of political positions, from mainstream versions of libertarianism and conservatism, all the way to overt white nationalism.” The report includes a fanciful chart tracing “AIN Network Paths” identifying “collaborative connections” that create “pathways to radicalization.”
Simply interviewing someone counts as a “connection,” which links people who would mutually deny any ideological connection. Some people identified on the map claim there are factual mistakes. Even if the chart were perfectly accurate, by this standard almost any newsworthy figure could be linked to almost anyone else. It would be akin to linking everyone at CBS to the Iraqi Ba’ath Party because Dan Rather interviewed Saddam Hussein. For example, because “Roaming Millennial” appeared on Ben Shapiro’s show and once interviewed Richard Spencer, Ben Shapiro is “connected” to Richard Spencer via Roaming Millennial.
Miss Lewis implies that the slightest exposure to race realism results in converts, and admits her goal is to remove all these targets from YouTube. As she notes, “The platform, and its parent company, have allowed racist, misogynist, and harassing content to remain online—and in many cases, to generate advertising revenue—as long as it does not explicitly include slurs.” Who defines “racist” and other loaded terms? Few on the AIN chart—probably none—would accept that label. “The term ‘platform’ itself has helped YouTube position itself as a neutral utility that helps facilitate ‘free speech’ and ‘openness,’” Miss Lewis writes, putting scare quotes around “free speech” and “openness” as if viewpoint neutrality were a crime.
“Platforms like YouTube have an imperative to govern content and behavior for explicit values, such as the rejection of content that promotes white supremacy, regardless of whether it includes slurs,” she writes. According to her, YouTube shouldn’t punish only those who talk about the wrong things; it should punish those who talk to the wrong people: “[T]he platform should not only assess what channels say in their content, but also who they host and what guests say.” Whatever your own opinions, links to certain figures (presumably as tenuous as those in the report’s “web” of connections) are grounds for muzzling.
In interviews, Miss Lewis is more explicit about her intentions. Here is an interview with Mother Jones:
MJ [Mother Jones]: One way these posters define themselves is by saying they are underdogs who are being attacked by mainstream society. Do you have any thoughts on how to de-platform or de-monetize these creators if they just turn around and point to those efforts as examples of the very discrimination they can use to bolster their claims?
BL [Becca Lewis]: That’s a fundamental question that has been plaguing academics and tech firms alike. My interpretation is that the framing of social underdog paranoia thrives when content moderation and platforming happens inconsistently and without a clear explanation. And the fact is that if [extremists] were being consistently de-platformed, they wouldn’t be able to make content about it.
In other words, the way to show these miscreants that they are not “underdogs who are being attacked by mainstream society” is to de-platform every one of them permanently so no one can hear their complaints. This somehow proves they are not actually opposed by the powerful.
Miss Lewis complains that Paul Joseph Watson enjoys “Partner” status with YouTube because he has one million subscribers. However, YouTube did not anoint Mr. Watson; he attracted his own audience. This is how the market is supposed to work: Those who fill a demand are rewarded. However, Paul Joseph Watson and Infowars generally are now being de-platformed. In contrast, YouTube rewarded the far-left “Young Turks” series by adding it to its subscribers-only “YouTube TV.”
Miss Lewis retweeted Olivia Solon of The Guardian, who argued that those in the AIN are seeking to “reinforce dominant cultural racial and gendered hierarchies.” Setting aside Miss Solon’s verified Twitter checkmark (while American Renaissance is denied an account), you can’t defend these supposedly “dominant” hierarchies without having you livelihood threatened, becoming a target of corporate media, having family members pressured to disown you, and perhaps even being attacked in the street.
One of the most interesting aspects is how this group of influencers try to position themselves as social underdogs/part of a counterculture, but the
actual content of their arguments seeks to reinforce dominant cultural racial and
— Olivia Solon (@oliviasolon) September 18, 2018
Most corporate media praised the report, undermining the pretense that it was a dispatch from the rebellious underground. This widespread approval shows that journalists generally favor muzzling us. It is no exaggeration to say that the greatest danger to the First Amendment, which guarantees freedom of speech and freedom of the press, is the so-called “free press.”
But is the AIN “radicalizing” America? Overt declarations of racial hatred against whites are commonplace on Twitter, even among verified users. The New York Times’s new editorial board member Sarah Jeong has insulted whites in crude terms, yet she enjoys a position of influence and power. The mere existence of white men in certain positions is valid grounds for mainstream criticism. Anti-white rhetoric is so mainstream, it can actually help your career.
This kind of talk has consequences. The media, notably CNN, promoted “hands up, don’t shoot” after Michael Brown’s death. It turned out that Brown did not have his hands up and was attacking Officer Darren Wilson. However, “hands up” helped inspire the Ferguson riots, from which the city may never recover. Worse, the “Black Lives Matter” movement the media and social networking companies promote inspired violence against police, most notably the murder of five Dallas police officers.
Anti-white sentiment inspires violence against white people generally. The black murderer of a white woman named Brittney Watts cited colonialism’s legacy as the reason for killing her. “I was trying to spread the message of making white people mend,” Nkosi Thandiwe said. He explained that he was just acting on what learned at the University of West Georgia, where he majored in anthropology.
In 2016, the FBI identified anti-white hate crimes as the fastest growing racial hate crime in America. Despite all the shouting about the danger white supremacy poses to “black bodies,” blacks are 27 times more likely to attack a white person than vice versa. Given the reluctance of the legal system to identify anti-white hate crimes, it’s likely that anti-white hatred motivates a great deal of crime.
Judging from her Twitter account, Miss Lewis seems to have deep-seated resentments. She complains about the “white male hero complex” and says that Donald Trump, has been “openly racist from the get go.” This suggests she is probably not the best person to determine what is “racist” or “extreme.”
There’s also a deeper problem with the report’s premise. Assuming a neutral platform, channels will grow depending on their ability to attract an audience. Unlike most competitive markets, growth in subscribers for one channel will not come at another channel’s expense. If more people begin watching American Renaissance videos, this does not mean The Young Turks will lose subscribers—unless American Renaissance videos change their minds.
This was the original promise of the internet. In response to the jibe that “freedom of the press is guaranteed only to those who own one,” the internet promised to make everyone an owner. As President Donald Trump recently said at a West Virginia rally, “Every one of us is sort of like a newspaper.” The corporate media obviously don’t like that. If free speech online can be silenced, professional journalists become a true Fourth Estate with the power to determine what is or is not news.
If free speech is throttled, power and prestige will come to those with the ability to censor, not those who uncover the truth. Online, this is already how many platforms operate. You may have a large audience and a professional reputation, but if a sufficiently large mob claims to be offended, your livelihood can be destroyed. Some people think the AIN report was written to identify targets for such a mob.
This is especially dangerous when it comes to racial issues. All white advocates want—all we need—is an open debate. The biological reality of race has wide-ranging effects, regardless of how desperately policymakers and journalists try to conceal them. Thus, because there will always be differences in outcomes, ever more elaborate explanations have to be cooked up to explain them. Ignoring racial reality guarantees racial conflict because it means “white supremacy” becomes the only possible explanation for racial inequality. The definition of “racism” expands endlessly and the panicked hunt for more “far-right” scapegoats continues indefinitely. Such a process can only culminate in violence—as seen with the thuggish behavior of antifa, whose censorious agenda so many journalists share.
Who is really radicalizing America? It’s the corporate media. It’s academia. It’s many of those in national politics. It’s everyone who can’t think of any explanation for inequality other than white “racism.” The ferocious calls by academics, activists, and even celebrities to “destroy,” “end,” or “abolish” whiteness are an invitation to violence. Those on YouTube who are willing to confront this libel, be they classical liberals or white advocates, aren’t leading Americans to radicalism. They are leading them back to common sense.