Scarborough Lambastes Facebook, Zuckerberg for Promoting Extremism
Written by James Murphy
In a Wednesday morning monologue on MSNBC, liberal news host and former Republican Representative from Florida Joe Scarborough accused social-media giant Facebook and its founder Mark Zuckerberg of promoting right-wing extremism. In a nearly seven minute temper tantrum, the mercurial talk-show host lambasted Zuckerberg for making money off of ad promotions which Scarborough claims have been used in the killing of a federal officer.
“You look at this site where there’s a right-wing extremist group that is literally targeting men and women who are dedicating their lives to protecting American citizens,” Scarborough said. “And, of course, they hatch their conspiracy theory by giving Mark Zuckerberg money, by going on Facebook. Now, that’s bad enough, right? But Mark Zuckerberg is promoting the extremism because Mark Zuckerberg is actually — his site, the Zuckerberg site — has actually set up ad promotions that actually push people toward extremist sites that kill federal officers.”
Scarborough was apparently referencing a report from the scandal-plagued Southern Poverty Law Center, which claimed that a so-called Boogaloo Boy — a member of a (possibly fake) right-wing extremist group — posted a Facebook Live video stating that he was going to ambush and kill a police officer.
In addition, Scarborough seems to be evoking the work of the Tech Transparency Project, an arm of the left-wing “ethics” group Campaign for Accountability. Tech Transparency Project reports that more than 60 percent of all so-called Boogaloo groups on Facebook have sprung up since January of this year and exploded in popularity soon after the COVID-19 lockdowns began.
Last week, Zuckerberg said he was “disgusted” by some remarks the president made on Twitter, which then migrated to his platform Facebook. Yet, Zuckerberg, perhaps spooked by President Trump’s assertions that Big Tech platforms were engaging in the censorship of conservatives, chose to allow the remarks to remain on Facebook, despite outrage by left-wing extremists. Scarborough referred to Zuckerberg’s remarks as “insincere” and “disingenuous.”
“I’ve seen a lot of insincere statements put out. Gonna say Mark Zuckerberg talking about how deeply saddened he was by the things he’s seen the president say is near the top of it considering that he makes billions of dollars off of spreading lies and letting people spread lies — hateful lies,” Scarborough said.
“Extremist groups and demagogic, authoritarian-type politicians here and across the world are now using these sites to promote hatred, kill federal officers and to undermine American democracy,” Scarborough raged. “Those people are becoming billionaires, and for Mark Zuckerberg to say he’s sad because he’s making billions of dollars over lies being spread off of hate groups germinating on Zuckerberg’s website and [Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl] Sandberg’s website — it is so disingenuous.”
Normally a frequent and ardent detractor of President Trump, Scarborough’s rage over Facebook puts him in the unusual position of agreeing with the president on one key issue — Big Tech’s protections under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996. This law essentially treats neutral Internet websites as utilities rather than publishers, thus they cannot be held liable for things posted on their websites by the public.
In a tweet on Wednesday, Scarborough wrote, “Politicians must stop protecting social media billionaires who are given a free pass while putting American democracy at risk. Facebook promotes extremist groups that KILL federal officers and fuels conspiracies that could spread COVID-19.”
In late May, President Trump signed an executive order targeting online platforms who engage in censorship of ideas that the companies don’t like.
Scarborough and the president were not always enemies. In the lead-up to the 2016 presidential campaign, Trump was a frequent and favored guest on Scarborough’s MSNBC show Morning Joe, co-hosted by his current wife, Mika Brezezinski. But cutting remarks made by both men ended that association, and Scarborough has been one of the president’s harshest critics for the past four years.
In turn, Trump has frequently referenced the mysterious death of former Scarborough staffer Lori Klausuitis, who died in Scarborough’s congressional office in 2001 under mysterious circumstances. Scarborough would later resign from office — a story that was pushed off the front page by the September 11 attacks that year.
Image: screenshot from YouTube video
James Murphy is a freelance journalist who writes on a variety of subjects, with a primary focus on the ongoing anthropogenic climate-change hoax and cultural issues. He can be reached a [email protected]
Courtesy of The New American