Former President Donald Trump batted clean-up at the recent Conservative Political Action Conference in Orlando, and by and large, he hit a home run.
Trump denounced President Joe Biden, the media, cancel culture, radical green-energy policies, and attempts to use transgender rights to undermine women’s sports, among other favored liberal nostrums.
He emerged from CPAC with 55 percent support for a return to presidential politics in 2024.
Trump also criticized the election process and the maneuvering that led to his defeat in November. At one point, he declared, “We have a very sick and corrupt electoral process that must be fixed immediately. This election was rigged, and the Supreme Court and other courts didn’t want to do anything about it.”
And for that, YouTube suspended – perhaps only temporarily – a conservative broadcaster.
According to The Federalist, Right Side Broadcasting Network, or RSBN, “announced on Thursday that its coverage of the speech was removed from YouTube and its account was subsequently suspended for two weeks.”
The Federalist reports: “The videos violate its supposedly ‘nonpartisan’ community guidelines unless they contain qualifiers about ‘misleading election claims.’”
A YouTube spokeswoman said, “We enforce our Community Guidelines consistently, regardless of the speaker or political leaning. In accordance with our established presidential election integrity policy, which prohibits content uploaded after the safe-harbor deadline claiming widespread fraud changed the outcome of the 2020 U.S. presidential election, we removed this video from Right Side Broadcasting Network.”
The “safe harbor” comment refers to the date when states were to have completed challenges to the election outcome, and certified their Electoral College results.
The Federalist further noted that YouTube held that “content featuring footage from CPAC 2021 that does not violate our policies or contains sufficient educational, documentary, scientific and artistic context remains on YouTube.”
Or as the company’s “presidential election integrity” policy itself states: Content posted after Dec. 9, 2020, the day after the safe-harbor date, “that advances false claims that widespread fraud, errors, or glitches changed the outcome of any past U.S. presidential election” will be trashed.
In other words, broadcasters like RSBN could edit out Trump’s comments about the election, or they could load up disclaimers essentially calling him a liar.
RSBN, which noted its video had nearly 4 million views, announced it would do neither.
In a Feb. 28 tweet, the RSBN said, “President Trump talked about election fraud. That’s a big no-no on some platforms we stream to. We try to play by the rules, but we will not censor President Trump. We’re not going to remove or edit this video. Just so we’re all clear- if it gets removed, we didn’t do it.”
And RSBN proved prophetic.
On March 4, a new tweet added, “Update: YouTube removed the CPAC Trump speech and suspended us for two weeks.”
Worth noting is that Newsweek unleashed its “fact-checkers” on conservatives who shared RSBN’s story. Newsweek maintained their claims were “false.”
Newsweek quoted YouTube’s Presidential Election Integrity policy: “We have begun issuing strikes for new content that violates the policy uploaded on or after January 7, 2021.” That refers to the day after the tragic riot at the U.S. Capitol.
YouTube spokeswoman Ivy Choi then told Newsweek: “This means that though the channel (RSBN) is still live, because it has received a strike, it’s temporarily prevented from uploading new videos or live streams. Content featuring footage from CPAC 2021 that does not violate our policies or contains sufficient educational, documentary, scientific and artistic context remains on YouTube.”
Newsweek also supported its position by highlighting a tweet that linked to a video of Trump’s speech at NewsNOW, Fox News’s YouTube channel. After Trump finishes speaking, an analyst comes on to recap his remarks, including noting that what Trump said about the election was unsubstantiated.
But here’s where YouTube’s Presidential Election Integrity policy is just bogus – because it actually does only apply to Trump.
Which is RSBN and other conservative broadcasters, and public figures, should take heed.
If the issue is election misinformation or disinformation, or trust in election integrity or the voting process, no one has made YouTube explain why misleading or false claims about Trump and Russian operatives regarding the 2016 election by Hillary Clinton or pundits like MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow are still posted on YouTube.
It seems that one answer, from YouTube’s perspective, is that some lies are acceptable, but it just depends on who’s doing the lying.
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