Mark Hemingway, husband to Federalist editor Mollie Hemingway, examines the censorship activist org “Sleeping Giants” and the statements of its founder Matt Rivitz — concluding that Rivitz has no clear guiding principles to his speech-chilling blacklist campaigns, regularly ignoring “more overtly bigoted” left-wing media content than what has spawned his crusades against Breitbart News, Tucker Carlson, and others.
[I]nsensitive or incendiary sentiments regularly repeated by left-wing media outlets seem to escape the same kind of scrutiny for offense that have been applied to Breitbart. It’s not a stretch to see why headlines such as “There’s No Hiring Bias Against Women in Tech, They Just Suck at Interviews” might cause corporate advertisers to back away from Breitbart. But you don’t see advertisers backing off of “mainstream” outlets such as the Huffington Post or The Guardian because they’ve run flattering articles on the #ShoutYourAbortion movement, which is the kind of abortion activism that can easily be shown to be offensive and off-putting.
At the same time that voices from the right are being targeted, the kinds of left-wing sentiments that can be published on major outlets has shifted dramatically, with no corresponding pushback or attempt at self-correction. “Can you admire Louis Farrakhan and still advance the cause of women? Maybe so. Life is full of contradictions,” is a real headline that ran over a January op-ed in the Los Angeles Times. Barely an eyebrow was raised over the paper publishing excuses for a virulent anti-Semite who in just the past year has called Jews “termites” and “Satanic” and said “the Jews have control over those agencies of government.” Certainly, there was no Sleeping Giants boycott campaign, even though that L.A. Times piece is arguably more overtly bigoted than anything published at Breitbart.
Sleeping Giants has complained that Twitter still allows Farrakhan a platform, but in searching its site it has done nothing to address Democratic politicians and left-wing groups such as the Women’s March that have cozied up to the Nation of Islam leader. According to its Facebook page, Sleeping Giants has even worked with “our friends” at the Women’s March on their boycott efforts, despite the fact that Women’s March leaders such as Linda Sarsour and Tamika Mallory have also been vocally anti-Semitic and supportive of Farrakhan.
Sleeping Giants has made no attempt to define its criteria for what is and is not acceptable as a matter of public discourse. The fact that Sleeping Giants has no established criteria for justifying a boycott is also troubling, because organizations with ill-defined goals are subject to mission creep. The organizers told GQ that the reason they are pushing a boycott of NRATV is because “the NRA pushes racially-charged programming and anti-media propaganda using these streaming services.” Aside from the fact that the NRA has been making conspicuous attempts at minority outreach for a long time now, complaining about media bias—which is an easily demonstrable problem when it comes to coverage of gun issues—is a very low bar for justifying a boycott.
To some extent, Sleeping Giants’ mission is explicitly about hamstringing a duly elected president of the United States. Now, it is perfectly fine to despise Donald Trump and campaign against him, but saying as much is a degree of basic transparency that Sleeping Giants hasn’t quite managed. If you’re are horrified by the fact 63 million Americans voted for a president you abhor and your first thought is to try and shut down a prominent media voice that supported him, then telling the New York Times you see your work as “apolitical” is either delusional or dishonest — or some combination of the two. But Sleeping Giants presenting itself as a group of concerned citizens, rather than political activists, makes its efforts more effective.
Read the rest of the article here.