Zuckerberg’s ‘listening tour’ stops in DC
Published 10:16 am Tuesday, April 17, 2018
By Michael Shannon
It’s ironic that privacy vulture Mark Zuckerberg’s first day of Senate testimony so closely resembled the action in a first-person shooter game: 44 waves of poorly programmed, time-limited attackers that didn’t come close to doing any real damage.
It was like Zuckerberg was shooting tunnel rats in Fallout.
The Senate questioning was so ineffective Zuckerberg could have gone all Microsoft on the ancient incumbents and just repeated “re-install the system from the original disks” and most couldn’t have told the difference. As Breitbart pointed out, Facebook’s stock price increased the longer the questioning continued.
What do you expect when there’re 44 camera-hogs on the committee and each wants a chance to utter the soundbite heard ‘round the world? There’s only so much time available when chained to Curator of the Senate Mitch McConnell’s grueling half-day schedule.
The Opposition Media was filled with breathless accounts of Zuckerberg’s unstinting preparation for the high-stakes event. He hired media consultants, message consultants and crisis consultants. It was almost as if the nation’s eavesdropper was preparing to convince Kim Jong-Un to add an extra helping of sawdust to the menu for North Korea’s Juche Day celebration.
What he should have hired was a Trump voter.
The question Zuckerberg was totally unprepared to answer explains everything. I tell clients to read the newspaper on the way to a news event. That’s because, regardless of what the session is supposed to be about, a splashy headline will render all the ground rules irrelevant.
The Zuckerberg bubble appears to be impervious to any information from conservatives. He was taken completely aback by Ted Cruz’ (R-Presidential Aspirations) question regarding the banning of black Trump supporters Diamond & Silk.
(Okay, maybe I’m exaggerating. Zuckerberg claims Facebook AI is already screening terror-related information, but judging from the national peeping-tom’s robotic answers, I’ll wager the AI has also seized the Zuckerbrain. How can one tell when a vape store wooden Indian is expressing emotion?)
Cruz: “There are a great many Americans… deeply concerned that Facebook engaged in a pervasive pattern of bias and political censorship…Facebook has initially shut down the ‘Chick-fil-A appreciation day page,’ has blocked the post of a Fox News reporter and most recently has blocked the Trump supporters Diamond & Silk’s page after determining that their content and brand were ‘unsafe for the community’.”
Zuckerberg looked like Cruz had accused him of being a member of the Tea Party.
His response was pure insincerity, “I understand where that concern is coming from…This is actually a concern that I have…I think it’s a fair concern…”
Cruz then followed up, “Are you aware of any ad or page that has been taken down from Planned Parenthood? How about MoveOn.org? How about any Democrat candidate?”
Zuckerberg: “I’m not specifically aware…”
That means no.
Another disturbing development was how Zuckerberg got away with dodging questions. He carried a briefing book into the hearing room that was almost as thick as the booster seat placed on his chair to make him look taller. Evidently the book only contained buzzwords, not answers.
Repeatedly the all-seeing Zuckerberg was able to get away with telling senators, “my team will get back with you.” This is the 21st Century equivalent of taking the 5th. Instead of using that unpleasant “tend to incriminate me” language, modern dissemblers refer the question to the “team.”
The problems with this are legion. There’s no guarantee his people will get back with the senator’s people. There’s no deadline. There’s no assurance the answer will be true. And worst of all the answer will be given in private, not in public, defeating the purpose of a senate hearing.
Senate and House hearings should extend for two days minimum. The first day politicians attempt to pin down slippery witnesses and the second day the witness has to provide detailed answers to the questions dodged on day one.
This won’t happen for a number of reasons, mainly because it would require effort on the part of Curator McConnell and he’s too busy planning the “long game” for when his feckless ‘leadership’ returns him to the minority.
Trump 2020 campaign manager (at least for this week) Brad Parscale has an excellent, conservative solution to remedying Facebook’s conservative censorship. Zuckerberg boasts about providing “an opportunity to connect with people.” As long as people don’t wish to connect with Facebook.
Parscale suggests Facebook should be required, encouraged, bribed or coerced into publicly posting a daily, cumulative listing of all pages, posts and users that have been banned or blocked or otherwise stifled.
“Connect” the public with Facebook’s content decisions so they can judge for themselves if Zuckerberg’s censorship leans left. Sunshine is a great disinfectant, let’s see if it will clear up Facebook’s rash of conservative bans.
Michael Shannon is a commentator and public relations consultant, and is the author of “A Conservative Christian’s Guidebook for Living in Secular Times.” He can be reached at email@example.com.