The Vast Right Wing Hypocrisy: Deplorables on NFL vs. Social Media

(Photo: Oakland Raiders take a knee during the playing of the National Anthem. Original photo by: Keith Allison, Wikimedia Commons)

For a period of time now, Donald Trump and his cadre of deplorables have been calling on NFL teams to fire black players for kneeling during the playing of the National Anthem. They argue the gesture is disrespectful to the flag and the anthem, symbols of the entire United States, despite the fact kneeling on one knee is how our own veterans pay respect to their fallen brethren. Trump and his racist supporters tell us that while the players - like anyone else in America - have a right to express their right to free speech any way they choose, their employers have a right to regulate their behavior on company dime and that fans have a right to vote with their dollars.

In other words, prima facie, they are arguing what we at TPV have said for long as we have asserted our right to regulate the comments here: free speech is the right to be free of repercussions from the government, not the right to avoid consequence from private entities and individuals.

Were it only though that the right wing chaos artists actually believed what they are saying, as opposed to using it as a cudgel against people whose political opinions and skin colors they don't like. You see, recently, the same table - that private entities and individuals are not obligated to keep you free of consequence for your exercise of constitutional rights - has begun to be turned on them. As the Special Counsel's Trump-Russia investigations and some intrepid reporting have exposed the vulnerability of social media - Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and the like - to be manipulated into spreading hate speech and propaganda, the companies (private companies) have belatedly begun to crack down on spendings and earnings on their own platforms.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has expressed regrets for being skeptical earlier that the manipulation of Facebook may have created Cyclone Trump. Twitter is beginning to shut down bot accounts and ban white supremacists. In the latest news, YouTube has now begun to throw religious and racist supremacist hate videos into a kind of purgatory: not completely removing them but making them harder to find, putting a warning on them, and finally, demonetizing them by making them ineligible for ad revenue on YouTube. Google owned YouTube says that it is making these moves because advertisers were starting to pull out of the entire platform to prevent their ads from appearing alongside hate messages.

As you can imagine, the online deplorables are having a fit over this. I mean, they are a ball of inconsolable rage. They are outraged that YouTube dares to change the terms on who can earn ad revenue - even though their unilateral right to make such changes is in the original terms of service. They are just so, so sad that their ability to make money by spreading hate is being limited by a private company. Why, that is censorship! You can't penalize someone for exercising their first amendment rights!

Suddenly, all of their grandstanding over private companies' and individuals' rights to curb speech on their platforms that they feel so strongly about when they claim that NFL team owners should fire their players or call for boycotts of those teams evaporates when actions of private companies affect their own pocketbooks. They could not be more disturbed by YouTube's and other social media channel's censorship and consequences (still so inadequate that it doesn't even begin to scratch the surface of the problem) - the same censorship and consequences they have been calling for NFL players to face from the private entities that they earn their livings from.

To paraphrase the orange typhoon in the White House, get these hypocritical racists outta here!


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