This is the stupidest thing you’ll see all week … I hope

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg talks about the social network site's new privacy settings in Palo Alto, Calif., Wednesday, May 26, 2010. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

This is just big-league, industrial-strength, Trump-level stupid. It is one of the stupidest things I’ve seen recently, and as you know, that is truly saying something in these days of all-out Idiocracy.

The U.S. Senate Commerce Committee, under the leadership of Sen. John Thune of South Dakota, today announced that it is launching an investigation into allegations that news curators at Facebook “suppressed” news considered to be conservative in nature.

“Facebook must answer these serious allegations and hold those responsible to account if there has been political bias in the dissemination of trending news,” Thune said in a letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. “Any attempt by a neutral and inclusive social media platform to censor or manipulate political discussion is an abuse of trust and inconsistent with the values of an open Internet.”

Let’s begin with the basics: Really?

As in REALLY?

An arm of the U.S. government is demanding an explanation and justification for the editorial decisions of a private news aggregator, going so far as to demand answers from its CEO? If so — if that’s the game — then I can name a few other places that ought to be subject to hearings, investigations, etc.

Does Drudge tilt its front page? Gee, I don’t know. Let’s take a look:

drudge

Does Fox News tilt its coverage? Do they cover the news in such a way as to “suppress” liberal viewpoints? Maybe the U.S. Senate should conduct hearings and subpoena internal emails about the editorial decisions at such outlets and issue subpoenas to Matt Drudge and Rupert Murdoch to grill them about the “biased” nature of their editorial decisions. Because I’d love to get Murdoch under oath to defend his “Fair and Balanced” malarkey.

But wait: It gets even worse.

If you read the Gizmodo story that started all this nonsense, you find that the allegation about alleged Facebook suppression of conservative views — an allegation that has gotten the whole conservative aggrievement industry in an outrage — is based on the anonymous claim of one (1) person, described as a former journalist who has conservative leanings.

Furthermore, the allegation involved just one small part of the Facebook news aggregation process, its “trending” list.

As the Gizmodo story described this person’s allegation:

“Stories covered by conservative outlets (like Breitbart, Washington Examiner, and Newsmax) that were trending enough to be picked up by Facebook’s algorithm were excluded unless mainstream sites like the New York Times, the BBC, and CNN covered the same stories.”

Horrors!!! In other words, the “curators” at Facebook are accused of doing the bare minimum of due diligence as aggregators by avoiding reliance on websites that have a terrible record of accuracy and fairness in favor of professional news outlets with reputations for at least trying to get things right.

How dare they care whether something is true or not before broadcasting it to Facebook users? Begin the congressional hearings!!!

Here’s what else Gizmodo reported:

“Other former curators interviewed by Gizmodo denied consciously suppressing conservative news, and we were unable to determine if left-wing news topics or sources were similarly suppressed. The conservative curator described the omissions as a function of his colleagues’ judgements; there is no evidence that Facebook management mandated or was even aware of any political bias at work.”

Yet we’re going to have a Senate investigation?

It’s hard to imagine a better example of just how stupid this whole thing has gotten.  The U.S. Senate refuses to do its constitutional duty of advising on the nomination to fill a vacant Supreme Court seat, a vacancy that has left the court in a four-four standoff unable to come to a decision on important legal questions. Yet that same body is going to go off on a half-baked investigation of media decision-making clearly protected under the First Amendment just so some senator can pander to conservative delusions of persecution?

This is the best use of their time and our taxpayer resources?

Unbelievable.

Reader Comments 0

808 comments
Tony Brown
Tony Brown

AJC is so liberal that's why people outside of Atlanta don't get it... #MakeThisTrend is a very important issue to conservatives

John Smith
John Smith

A pic of zuckerburg may the the stupidest thing we see a week but reading jay's pathetic excuse for a story is definitely the stupidest thing we'll read all week.

Scarlett Lee
Scarlett Lee

Pretty sure you sign most rights away when you sign up for F/B .... Let the world beware. Most of the social media stuff is like hanging a sign or content on a telephone pole....it might stay up for weeks or be torn down in minutes...

Mary Ann Gardner
Mary Ann Gardner

Bookman is so liberal he never has a good thought about a conservative

Everett Washington
Everett Washington

And in other news a special Senate subcommittee will be formed to investigate Fox News. Stay tuned for the gory details.

Roger Pratesi
Roger Pratesi

If Facebook is using their platform to suppress political debate or to support certain views or candidates they need to register as a political lobbyist and make clear their bias else they are influencing public opinion in one of the most deceptive ways. This is true regardless of which party or position they influence. I suspected this when the Obama Folks were meeting with Mr Z during the election process in 2008 and 2012.

Roger Pratesi
Roger Pratesi

Buddy Glenn Chewning no, they are an opinion network and everyone knows what they're getting, just like MSNBC

Roger Pratesi
Roger Pratesi

Buddy Glenn Chewning because there is Fox News and Fox News network. The two channels are quite different yet most people just say fox and don't make the distinction.

Buddy Glenn Chewning
Buddy Glenn Chewning

Then why do they insist that they are a "News" station? Opinion Network is not a term I am familiar with.

Mark Cosby
Mark Cosby

No. The comments on this thread by conservatives are sure to be even stupider.

Allan Campbell
Allan Campbell

I get it. Make conservatives feel victimized and outraged, whether it's fake censorship or fake bathroom threats. Gets them to the polls every time.

Tammy Brookover Jay
Tammy Brookover Jay

Oh but if liberal viewpoints and news stories were selectively removed from feed....there would be riots in the streets.

Don Simpson Jr.
Don Simpson Jr.

Wow. There's a lot of people on here with hate in their hearts. That's really sad.

Maria Dayley
Maria Dayley

Facebook is a FREE forum for ALL preople. If you don't like the particular orientstion of a post, don't read it. If you think the group of a particular ideology is not sufficiently present, POST about it and STFU!

Mark Urbano
Mark Urbano

Do you people not realize Bookman's piece is more of a conservative opinion?

Scott Lang
Scott Lang

Why do liberals always try to cover things up AJC?

John Cheek
John Cheek

Right to free speech, as long as it doen't offend liberals or other supposed "entitled" people. If you don't like what someone is writing or publishing "DON'T READ IT, if you don' like what someone is broadcasting. "TURN IT OFF". Sheeezzz go run to your "safe place"

Brian Peters
Brian Peters

When are these guys gonna acomplish something of substance?

Chris Bridges
Chris Bridges

If it's a private company, it doesn't matter if they are doing this or not.

John Washington
John Washington

The hypocrisy is overwhelming. They scream about Facebook, yet are okay with Fox news?

Mary Ann Gardner
Mary Ann Gardner

Lol I get a kick out of people saying Fox News - what about ALL the other stations that are liberal leaning - and I'm a Democrat - people need to be a little more fair - everyone doesn't think alike

Scott Wrighter
Scott Wrighter

This writer is an idiot to believe this is a "stupid" story. In 2008, Facebook did a study on 150k users. They suppressed GOP favorable items and tracked the users. They found they had tremendous influence. If Facebook is attempting to push an election either way, it's their right, however, as a user I want a disclosure.

Wascatlady
Wascatlady

You should not need a disclosure.  You should be smart enough on your own to not let any one "source" decide things for you!

WilSmith
WilSmith

Simple solution - stop using

Lou Harrisn
Lou Harrisn

Bookman why not talk about real news. You know the Prez's press liars that lied about Obamacare, Iran Deal and on and on and on. The are your real liars

Lou Harrisn
Lou Harrisn

Dan Williams Screw you Libtard, this is not school

Rubin Wiley
Rubin Wiley

Seems like conservatives like the Fairness Doctrine, but only when it helps them.

James Wells
James Wells

What Fairness Doctrine? That hasn't been administrative law since 2011...it no longer applies to ANY company or organization.

Rubin Wiley
Rubin Wiley

Sounds like conservatives want it to apply to Facebook.

Daniel Bloodworth
Daniel Bloodworth

Censoring something that you don't agree with is a sign of weakness... every media outlet is guilty of this ... based on the beliefs of those in charge... all news is filtered to attract a certain demographic

Mattlock Dubay
Mattlock Dubay

trump the dixiecract just like George wallace and GOP after 1964 going full racist alot of times Ah yes, the Republican Party. The party whose candidate, Ronald Reagan, kicked off his campaign with an appeal to "states' rights" in Philadelphia, Mississippi -- a town famous for a single thing, the murder of civil rights workers. by the cops and the kkk The party that proudly flies and defends the Confederate flag. The party that thrives on resentment against Mexican immigrants. The party that campaigns against fictional black "welfare queens" who drive Cadillacs and being racist to arabs and hate gays https://youtu.be/djSICSCd2_w

Nick_Danger
Nick_Danger

Jay, can we do something about the Facebook posters?  They were funny for a while, but now they just make me sad...

ByteMe
ByteMe

@Nick_Danger At the very least, post something new so that we don't have to sit here and be dumped on in an old thread!

Nick_Danger
Nick_Danger

I have friends that cannot understand why I am not on Facebook. 

ByteMe
ByteMe

@Nick_Danger I finally signed up a month ago, but I refuse to post anything to it or friend anyone.  I consider that my contribution to society.