Monday on Fox News Channel’s “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” host Tucker Carlson made the case that government should regulate Google like a public utility.
Carlson made those remarks regarding Google’s dismissal of James Damore, a software engineer that authored a memo laying out his views on the political culture at his company.
Transcript as follows:
Two weeks ago a software engineer called James Damore wrote a memo assessing the political culture at Google where he then worked. At Google, Damore wrote, we talk so much about unconscious bias as it applies to race and gender but we rarely discuss our moral biases. Considering that the overwhelming majority of social sciences, media and Google lean left, we should critically examine these prejudices.
Well, over 10 pages, Damore examined those prejudices in some detail. Notable among them is the belief that for women, bigotry is the main impediment to professional advancement. There were fewer female engineers than male engineers liberals believe because men are biased against women. Now Damore suspected that was not the entire story. Quote, “We need to stop assuming that gender gaps imply sexism,” he wrote.
On average, men and women biologically differ in many ways. These differences aren’t just socially constructed. Now, Damore is a former childhood chess. He has a graduate degree in biology from Harvard. So, his essay was precise. It was non-polemical in his assertions. Damore repeatedly pointed out that biological differences pertain to groups and often do not apply to individuals. None of that mattered.
Danielle Brown Google’s vice president of Diversity released a statement charging Damore with having, quote, “Incorrect assumptions about gender.” Brown did not explain what those assumptions were or how they were incorrect. She didn’t need to because nobody in the media asked. Google’s CEO flew home from vacation to New York to respond to the growing crisis.
Many of Damore’s fellow employees meanwhile howled for his dismissal. Former Google executive Yonatan Zunger wrote an op-ed saying that Damore should be, quote, “Escorted from the building by security and told that your personal items will be mailed to you.” Others fantasized on social media about assaulting Damore. Nearly all news organizations described his essay as quote, “an anti-diversity memo when in fact Damore had around ingeniously to Google’s culture need more diversity.”
That was the whole point. It didn’t matter. Within days, Damore was fired and perhaps most Orwellian statement written since Orwell himself finished in 1984. Google explained the firing. Quote, “Part of building an open and inclusive environment means fostering a culture in which those with alternative views, including different political views, feel safe sharing their opinions.”
Okay. So in order to foster a culture in which those with alternative political views could feel safe sharing their opinions, Google fired James Damore for the crime of sharing his alternative political opinions. Huh! At no point, did Google rebut any of the points Damore made, the fact he made them was enough. Raising questions was his crime. Now, why does any of this matter?
Well, it matters because Google is the most powerful company in the history of the world. It’s the portal through which the bulk of our information flows. That means that if Google isn’t on the level, neither is our understanding of the world. To an unprecedented extend, Google controls reality. Now Google has already shown a disturbing willingness to distort reality for ideological ends.
Until they were sued for it in 2008, Google refused to allow anti-abortion advertisements on its platforms even though they freely allowed pro- abortion ones. On the flip side, Google often blacklist certain sites from hosting ads which denies them revenue. Recently Google owned YouTube has introduced procedures to cut off revenue to, quote, “offensive content.” What’s offensive? Who decides?
Well, it’s no opaque process controlled by employees of the company and the last two weeks have shown us conclusively what those employees are like. No surprise then that the offensive label is routinely being applied to right of center content creators they don’t like. Google has also appointed itself the online sheriff of fake news. Changing its search algorithms so that what it calls misleading or offensive news doesn’t even show up in searches. You will never know it existed.
It’s now obvious that Google cannot be trusted to do any of this. Why should a company that shuts down free speech for political reasons have the power to dictate what the world knows and thinks? Well, of course it shouldn’t have that power. Google’s long time motto was, don’t be evil. Today it uses do the right thing. We should have seen this coming. Those are super villain slogans if there was ever such a thing. None of this can continue.
In Europe, Google has already been hit with a nearly $3 billion fine for violating antitrust law. Congress here and the Trump administration should go further than that. Since it has the power to censor the internet, Google should be regulated like the public utility it is to make sure it doesn’t further distort the free flow of information. To the rest of us, that needs to happen immediately. Too bad it’s come to this. A lot of us trusted Google not to be evil. Silly us.
Follow Jeff Poor on Twitter @jeff_poor