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Big Tech’s All-Consuming Reach Even Affects a Dinosaur Like Me

AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File

I was a YouTube Newsmax viewer. Until YouTube booted Newsmax off what in my day we used to call “the air.” Now I’m trying to get one of my kids to come over and show me where the app store is, so I can download the Newsmax app and watch Greg Kelly on some heretofore unknown channel like ROKU.

Boomer, I know. But there is something very serious going on here. YouTube is part of a private company, owned by Google, and can broadcast—actually the word is “stream”–anything it wants. Or not. When you get to the “not” part, you understand what tremendous power Big Tech wields over the culture.

I called my cable company and found out that in order to get Newsmax, I would have to upgrade to the X1 box. That’s the box you can talk to. I tried it for two weeks and absolutely loathed it. It is horribly complicated, and I couldn’t see the channel selection scroll. I had Comcast come out and switch me back to the old-school box. X1 is currently available on a special introductory deal for $95.00 a month. I know where that’s going.

Anyway, I’m one of those Republicans who became disaffected with Fox News on Election Night 2020. We needn’t go into it; the conservative media sea-change story has been done to death, and BTW, FNC still tops the ratings. This I can tell you: The Maricopa audit didn’t exactly resoundingly affirm the wisdom of FNC’s early Arizona call. I believe former President Trump won the state. It’s thinking like that that probably got Newsmax booted off YouTube.

Hannitys don’t grow on trees. Where was I going to go? A loyal Fox viewer, I never even considered any other conservative television network, because I did not know that any existed. But in 2020’s disastrous wake, Newsmax kept cropping up in the conversation. I checked it out, streamed free on YouTube, liked the product, and stuck around.

So, imagine my surprise when I get home from work a Friday or so ago and find that YouTube’s Newsmax live stream is MIA.  Adding insult to injury, the last Newsmax segment posted on what used to be the stream site features the mug of none other than Barack Obama, IMO the most insidiously anti-American president in history.Yeah, I know it’s worse under Biden, but I’m pretty sure we can chalk that up to the coup-style continuation of Obama’s transformative plan.

Here’s the deal: YouTube pulled the plug on Newsmax, and they can pull the plug on you. Big Tech can shadow-ban or outright ban anything they want. They own the platform, I get it. But with a flick of the switch, they can censor extremely important and legitimate political views they don’t like.

It’s as if the purge of Kelly, Stinchfield, Cortes, Pellegrino, and Schmitt occurred in a vacuum—a Google search of “YouTube drops Newsmax” yields nothing.

With Newsmax unstreamed, while waiting for Smart TV tech help, I was forced to improvise. I had heard of a conservative channel called The First after the election, and had watched Bill O’ Reilly’s web spots when they appeared on YouTube, so I checked it out. There I found three familiar personalities. Dana Loesch livestreams her radio show. Buck Sexton, who I remember opining on FNC back in the days when “Homeland Security: Necessary Measures or Government Intrusion?” was a hot topic. And of course, I found Papa Bear himself, holding forth much in the way he did during the glory days of “The O’Reilly Factor.” The First is still streaming on YouTube, but I haven’t watched enough to offer a fair appraisal. If you’re looking for FNC-style big sets, vertiginous camera angles, splashy graphics, and swooshing sound effects, The First will disappoint.

When Newsmax realized a mass exodus from Fox News was accruing in their favor, it seemed as if they took those increased ad revenues and upped the glitz factor.

In the wake of the Newsmax purge, after watching hundreds of hard rock, heavy metal, and country music videos, I turned back to the Fox News primetime for my political fix. Almost one full year had passed since Tucker, Sean, and Laura had appeared on my screen. It was okay. Hannity was talking about weak-spined Republicans like Mitch McConnell, so it was like the more things change the more they stay the same.  It was good to see the old crew, but I kept thinking of Chris Wallace, Biden flop-sweat on his upper lip, and the Fox hierarchy’s eleventh-hour abandonment of America’s best president since Reagan.

After almost one year, the Newsmax TV’s primetime is imbedded in my sense of what a political news channel ought to sound and look like. Some would say it “fits my biases.” Others would describe it as “comfort viewing.” That’s the way contemporary news media works in a divided country. I’ll go back to Newsmax once I figure out how to get there.

There’s a dark underbelly to this whole cluster. This is the first time that underbelly has ever affected me personally. I never had a Facebook page. An editor talked me into Twitter years ago, and in the interim Twitter has become a conservative embarrassment—I never go there. I have a flip-phone. It has no internet connectivity, and while there’s probably a texting function, I’ve never used it.

I am a dinosaur, the kind of extinct creature largely out of Big Tech’s all-consuming reach.  When YouTube kicked Newsmax off its platform, Big Tech finally reached into my life and took something away.

Welcome to the club.

Related: Did Mark Zuckerberg Steal the 2020 Election?