My Face, Unshocked


I’ve let the Google story broken by Project Veritas percolated through the Interwebz for a day before commenting. I wanted to see how some of the usual suspects reacted. There’s only been one real surprise so far, and that was how long it took YouTube, a sister company to Google, to send the Project Veritas video down the memory hole. (BTW, if you haven’t seen the video, it’s available here. Go watch it, and come back. I’ll wait …)

Today’s TKPOTD deals with an effort back in 2015 to silence me. As part of that effort, my business and personal Twitter accounts were shut down. Twitter claimed that it was because of “targeted abuse” but could not cite a single example. I believe I was being punished for not following their approved narrative. However, I was one of the earliest victims of Twitter’s “safety” system, and my permanent suspension was only temporary. When the false criminal charge failed for lack of evidence, Twitter seemed to realize their potential liability. My business account was reinstated, but the lessons learned from that failure were used to refine their tactics.

Facebook, Google, YouTube, Pinterest, … the list goes on. They all seem to have the same sort of definition of fairness, one that wouldn’t survive the old Fairness Doctrine I worked under as a broadcaster in the ’60s and ’70s. These companies’ users aren’t customers. The users are the product being sold to advertisers, and as product, they are something to be moulded and controlled.

So why am I still on Twitter if I view it as an unfair platform and untrustworthy business partner? I can use it to promote blog posts at no real cost to me. Beyond that, it has no real appeal. I got on Gab when it was brand new, and I’ve made a small investment in the company because it really seems dedicated to free speech.

Except for Maps and Scholar, I’ll pretty much given up on Google. DuckDuckGo has been my default search engine for over a year. I’ll still link to YouTube content, put if I wanted to post a video, I’d use BitChute. I’ve deleted my Pinterest account. I no longer post to Facebook.

And I’m not the only person who has grown tired of online services who despise me.

Twenty years ago, as the Internet Bubble was bursting, Google survived because it was a robust company infrastructure with a viable business model. Coincidentally twenty years ago, Venezuela was one of the wealthiest countries in the Western Hemisphere with thriving petroleum industry. While I’m saddened, I’m not shocked by what Marxism has done to Venezuela. If I’m still around in 2039, I suspect that I’ll feel more schadenfreude than sadness for what a post-modern, neo-Marxist business model is likely to do for Google. Or Twitter. Or the rest of ’em. I certainly don’t expect to have use my shocked face.

First Amendment News


Congratulations to Project Veritas on its victory in court yesterday. They were being sued for defamation in a federal court in North Carolina, and Judge Martin K. Reidinger granted them a directed verdict when the plaintiff failed to produce enough evidence for the case to go to the jury. The judge said this in his ruling (beginning at the bottom of page 14 of the transcript below):

The law requires, and the Supreme Court has made clear under the Liberty Lobby case, that I not only have to look at this from the standpoint of whether or not there is the thinnest of thin reeds, that scintilla of evidence, but rather whether a jury could find by clear and convincing evidence that there was actual malice. And these very thin reeds, which I believe as to several of these are really no evidence of malice at all, are insufficient to meet that standard. Therefore, for that reason, the defendant’s motion — defendant’s motions pursuant to Rule 50 will be granted.

Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 50 deals with ruling on matters of law during a jury trial. Judge Reidinger continued:

Whenever I have something that is of particular difficulty, such as this case, it is my ordinary, knee-jerk reaction to tell the party that I’ve ruled against that I urge you to have the court of appeals go grade my paper. To that end, I will say that I will follow this up with a written order before I enter a judgment in this matter that will further elucidate what I’m talking about.

And I do have an inclination to say exactly that. I think that if I got this wrong I’d certainly like for somebody to tell me that I got it wrong. I have a little bit of hesitation in saying that this time. Because if I’ve gotten this wrong, and the Fourth Circuit says that this is not what the law is, I hesitate to think where the First Amendment is going in this country.

It’s always good First Amendment news when a frivolous defamation LOLsuit fails, and I have to admit that seeing one fail because the plaintiff couldn’t come up with a “scintilla” of evidence at trial has a certain resonance for me.