National Review editor-in-chief Rich Lowry wrote a searing attack on the “right-left pincer” attacking big tech for Politico. The piece fails to mention Google CEO Sundar Pichai’s recent acknowledgment that the National Review Institute, of which National Review is a wholly owned subsidiary, received money from his company.
Last month, the Google CEO confirmed that his company donated money to the National Review Institute, the nonprofit behind National Review (although he offered a confused explanation as to why Google’s transparency report failed to mention the donation, which took place in 2017, until recently).
Yet the National Review’s editor fails to mention the donation is his piece for Politico, bluntly titled “Don’t Break up Big Tech.”
In the piece, Lowry complains that Democratic candidate Elizabeth Warren’s recent proposal to break up and regulate big tech did not receive the usual “knee-jerk Republican opposition.” Instead, writes Lowry, Warren attracted support from Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), usually diametrically opposed to arch-progressive Warren, after Facebook took down ads in favor of her tech regulation proposals.
First time I’ve ever retweeted @ewarren But she’s right—Big Tech has way too much power to silence Free Speech. They shouldn’t be censoring Warren, or anybody else. A serious threat to our democracy. https://t.co/VoesOKSqhA
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) March 12, 2019
“First time I’ve ever retweeted [Elizabeth Warren]” said Cruz. “But she’s right — Big Tech has way too much power to silence Free Speech. They shouldn’t be censoring Warren, or anybody else. A serious threat to our democracy.”
To the editor-in-chief of the Google-funded National Review, this bipartisan consensus about the unaccountable power of big tech is a major problem.
“Tech is caught in a right-left pincer, made all the more powerful by the populist spirit afoot in both parties,” complained Lowry.
“Conservatives don’t like these companies because they are owned and operated by sanctimonious Silicon Valley liberals subject to the worst sort of groupthink. Progressives don’t like them because they are colossal profit-making enterprises.”
Praising Silicon Valley behemoths as among “the most successful and iconic American companies” (the same might have once been said about Standard Oil), Lowry argues that Warren’s proposals for regulating big tech are “unworkable,” and even says that the 1990s antitrust lawsuit against Microsoft didn’t help its competitors in search and web browsing. The thought that Microsoft, absent antitrust action, might have forced its desktop and laptop users to use Internet Explorer and Bing does not seem to have occurred to Lowry.
The editor of the Google-funded National Review also reduces conservative concerns about big tech to the fact that they’re “operated by sanctimonious Silicon Valley liberals.” No mention is given to the real examples of tech giants deliberately warping their products and abusing their power to influence American and global politics. These include, in no particular order:
- Google executives declaring their intention to render the populist-nationalist movement represented by Donald Trump a “blip” in world history.
- Google-owned YouTube deliberately suppressing pro-life videos in its search results, an act that one Google employee called a “smoking gun.”
- Facebook “deboosting” right-wing and conservative content, including the covert suppression of video livestreams from conservative figures.
- Facebook mass-banning 800 anti-establishment pages before the U.S. midterms, 30,000 allegedly “fake” accounts before the French elections, thousands of so-called “fake news” accounts before the German elections, and Tommy Robinson and his supporters after the English critic of Islam released a documentary exposing bias at the state-run BBC.
- Google funding establishment conservatives (including the National Review Institute) to “steer” the conservative movement away from nationalism.
- Google’s research team admitting the company and its peers in Silicon Valley have “shifted towards censorship.”
Lowry goes on to specifically defends the company that donated to his publication’s institute, without disclosing the donation to readers:
[Warren] calls out Google for allegedly killing off its competitors by burying them in its searches. It’s not obvious that Google actually does this, although its search business inherently involves constantly making choices to try to best serve what people want to see. No government regulator is going to make Google’s searches better, or is qualified to even try.
“No government regulator is going to make Google’s searches better” is a bold claim, considering that Google regularly intervenes in its own search results to boost establishment media at the expense of user-generated content, often following complaints from left-wing and establishment journalists. Then again, as Lowry is establishment media himself, perhaps that doesn’t concern him very much.
A simple rule that stops search engines from manipulating results or developing special algorithms for politically charged search results would prevent Google from manually intervening to boost pro-abortion content on YouTube, but the editor of Google-funded National Review says it won’t work, so I guess that settles it.
Breitbart News has reached out to Rich Lowry and Politico for comment.