The New York Times insinuated that YouTube content creators like Philip DeFranco, Nobel Prize-winning economist Milton Friedman, and Jewish political commentator Ben Shapiro as “far right” when the published Kevin Roose’s “The Making of a YouTube Radical”.
The NYT felt so confident with this story they published it on their front page for everyone to see. The article takes the story of ONE YouTube user that just so happened to watch people of a certain political persuasion as if there is a link between YouTube and ‘far right’ radicalization. Every time I hear this, I can’t help but to think back to the 90’s when people were trying to link Pokemon to Satanism or violence in games to violence in real life. While I could go far out into the woods to argue how flimsy those premises are, I actually don’t have to. Because Kevin Roose went out on the deep end by claiming Philip DeFranco, a vanilla, middle of the road commentator, as “far right”, all I have to ask is does that make a lick of sense to you.
No, of course not!
The NYT saw what happened between Vox and YouTube, and wanted to jump into the beat down. Vox pressured YouTube to change their policies when one of their “journalists” Carlos Maza cried foul after being made fun of on the internet. When you present yourself as someone that knows a lot and then makes a lot of dumb arguments, then people will call you out, and even make fun of you.
Long story short, YouTube first told Vox that they wouldn’t do anything to amend the journalist’s hurt feelings, but then changed their mind when Carlos Maza began signaling that YouTube hate LGBTQ to other blue check marks on Twitter. YouTube caved to the pressure and bend the knee.
The NYT saw this moment of weakness and published Kevin Roose’s story on the front page. I speculate that the NYT already had the story ready to go and was waiting for the right moment, but I do not have definite proof of that.
While I’m amazed at how far mainstream news outlets like the NYT are willing to push the narrative that YouTube is some how evil, I’m glad that they did. I believe that one can only push a lie so far until it has to crash against reality. I’m hoping that this lie, lumping Philip DeFranco in a news article that labeled him as ‘far right’, will be that moment.
I’m not aware of any legal filings as of yet, but from what I’ve read it looks like the NYT could face libel claims after publishing the front page story. Outlets like the NYT know they can generate a bunch of clicks if they enrage people, which means more money through ad revenue, but can they also handle a bunch of lawsuits on their plate?
What do you think about this?