On Tuesday, multiple Republican congressmen ripped into Google for listing the far-Left Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) as a “trusted flagger” on its platform YouTube. Rep. Mike Johnson (R-La.) and Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) ripped into Google CEO Sundar Pichai for trusting an organization that brands conservative and Christian groups “hate groups” along with the Ku Klux Klan.
“You have a trusted flagger, you had indicated, called the Southern Poverty Law Center,” Gohmert told Pichai. “The Southern Poverty Law Center really has stirred up more hate than about any other group I know.”
Gohmert referenced the 2012 terrorist attack against the Family Research Council (FRC), in which a man used the SPLC’s “hate map” to target the FRC’s office in Washington, D.C. He showed up with semi-automatic weapons and a bag of Chick-fil-A chicken sandwiches to kill everyone in the building and place a sandwich by their heads.
The SPLC “stirred up one guy to the point that he went to the Family Research Council and I know those people,” the congressman said. “And they’re Christians. And they believe — and I believe — that Christianity is really more based on love than about any other religion in history. God so loved the world, He sent His Son, His Son so loved the world, He gave His life.”
“Yet [the SPLC] stirred up hate against the Family Research Center [sic] and a guy goes in shooting,” Gohmert added.
The congressman also referenced the case of Maajid Nawaz, a Muslim reformer the SPLC falsely branded an “anti-Islamic extremist.” The SPLC settled a defamation lawsuit from Nawaz, paying him and his Quilliam Foundation $3.375 million.
“Now, you consider them a trusted flagger, yet they keep creating problems for people that are not haters,” Gohmert said. “They had to pay out $3.375 million. My problem is, when you put your moniker on them of trusted flagger, why aren’t you paying $3.375 to Mr. Maajid Nawaz? That’s my problem.”
“You trust people that have stirred up a lot of hate,” the congressman alleged.
He further argued that Google’s leadership is blind to its own liberal bias. “You’re so surrounded by liberality that hates conservatism, hates people that really love our Constitution and the freedom it’s afforded people like you, that you don’t even recognize it,” Gohmert said. “It’s like a blind man not even knowing what light looks like, because you’re surrounded by darkness.”
The congressman concluded by referencing a video of Google’s leadership lamenting Donald Trump’s victory in the 2016 election. “Your cofounder, Mr. [Sergey Mikhaylovich] Brin said, quote, ‘Most people here are pretty upset and pretty sad.’ A lot of us have seen the video. We saw how upset the top people at Google were.”
“For you to come in here and say, ‘There is no political bias in Google’ tells us, you either are being dishonest, and I don’t want to think that, or you don’t have a clue how politically biased Google is,” Gohmert concluded.
Gohmert was not alone in condemning Google for trusting the SPLC. Rep. Johnson noted that the SPLC “has kind of an infamous reputation for being — I would say — a radical Left organization that opposes conservative viewpoints.” He asked Pichai, “What criteria does Google use when granting ‘trusted flagger’ status to third parties such as the SPLC?”
The Google CEO did not respond to the question, but he did insist that trusted flaggers “don’t remove content, they can flag content for us to review and we review flagged content.” Pichai noted that flagging “is mostly used by law enforcement, many non-profit agencies in areas, important areas like child safety, terrorism, and so on.”
Pichai admitted that the “Southern Poverty Law Center is a trusted flagger,” and suggested that Johnson point him to conservative organizations for Google to add to the list of “trusted flaggers.”
“Last we’ve checked, they’ve never flagged a single video on our platform,” Pichai said of the SPLC.
The SPLC has admitted that its “hate group” list is based on “opinion,” and an SPLC spokesman has declared that “our aim in life is to destroy these groups, completely destroy them.” After the Nawaz settlement, about 60 organizations attacked by the SPLC started looking into filing separate defamation lawsuits against the Left-wing smear factory.
The SPLC has not stopped at Google and YouTube. In October, it launched a new campaign called “Change the Terms,” attempting to kick conservative viewpoints off the Internet under the guise of fighting “hate.”
Perhaps the SPLC’s most revealing attack came against the small Roman Catholic non-profit the Ruth Institute. In designating the Ruth Institute a “hate group,” the SPLC cited the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which suggests that 1 billion people across the world belong to what the SPLC considers a hateful religion. Such an organization should never be accorded “trusted flagger” status, especially not from a company as large and powerful as Google.
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