While Mark Zuckerberg's much-publicized meeting with conservative leaders last week has drawn varied responses, from Glenn Beck's overly fawning account to others who were positive but circumspect, what seems clear is that Zuckerberg genuinely wants Facebook to be viewed as a neutral and fair platform for the entire world.
But does Zuckerberg have a massive blind spot in his thinking and worldview? And is he totally unaware of the many times conservatives (especially biblically-based conservatives) have been censored on Facebook while their opponents have not?
I have documented this several times in my own experience (see here and here and here), although thankfully, Facebook has ultimately treated me fairly when I reached out to the right contact person there and pursued the matter.
Other colleagues have not fared as well, having had their pages shut down for expressing biblically-based views on subjects like homosexuality.
There was also an Israeli group, Shurat HaDin, that conducted a fascinating experiment on Facebook in Hebrew and Arabic, simultaneously releasing posts on two different pages that could rightly be called anti-Israeli (Stop Israelis, in Arabic) and anti-Palestinian (Stop Palestinians, in Hebrew), with the posts becoming increasingly strident by the minute.
It was only the Hebrew page that was censored; the Arabic page was not.
Shurat HaDin was not impressed with Facebook's subsequent statement that their actions were a "mistake."
How can Zuckerberg's Facebook be so one-sided so often while Zuckerberg seemed to be utterly unaware of it?
I believe Rush Limbaugh's insights are correct.
As he explained on his May 19th show, "The point is, I was watching Chatsworth Osborne Jr. talk about it, and he said that he or somebody else pointed out to Zuckerberg, 'Do you have anybody that works here who is not born and raised in a left-wing culture? Because that's why your algorithms are the way they are. If you don't have any conservatives working for you, there's no way you can have a conservative algorithm.'"
He continued, "And Chatsworth pointed out to 'em that you're never gonna get this algorithm stuff fixed until you get some people working here, until you get some diversity, some ideological diversity. And he said that Zuckerberg agreed with that. He said that Zuckerberg is a little bothered that Fakebook [sic] has taken on such a political identity."
Simply stated, the problem is that in Zuckerberg's world, liberal causes are the causes — the valid causes; the right causes; the causes for equity and fairness; the causes of the masses — whereas conservative causes (again, especially biblically-based conservative causes) should often be resisted.
As more than one LGBT activist has said to me when I challenged their so-called tolerance, "I don't tolerate bigots any more than I tolerate the Nazis or the KKK."
Think for a moment about Facebook's well-known partnership with gay activist groups like GLAAD, originally the acronym for the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, but now simply GLAAD.
GLAAD helped Facebook introduce the "Custom" feature for gender identification, allowing users to pick from 50 different gender identities, including 10 simultaneously. (When this was not enough, Facebook, again with help from GLAAD, introduced the "fill in the blank" option.)
Who exactly is GLAAD?
Several years ago, I renamed them the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Disagreement, since they openly call for national media to censor conservative viewpoints on their shows, claiming that the conservative commentators on their list (which today number more than 100) "represent nothing but extreme animus towards the entire LGBT community."
Included on this list of people to be blacklisted by the media (as of May 22, 2016) are: Dr. Ben Carson; Rev. Franklin Graham; Dr. Ryan T. Anderson of the Heritage Foundation; Jim Daly of Focus on the Family; Princeton Professor Robert George; Tony Perkins of the FRC; national Hispanic leader Samuel Rodriguez; Southern Baptist leaders like Albert Mohler and Richard Land; journalists like Erick Erickson and Todd Starnes; Catholic leaders like Bill Donahue and Jennifer Roback Morse — just to name a few.
Yes, GLAAD wants ABC and CBS and NBC and CNN and FOX and others to block Dr. Carson and Rev. Graham from sharing their views on marriage and family on their networks because they "represent nothing but extreme animus towards the entire LGBT community."
This is the world in which Mark Zuckerberg lives, because of which it is totally understandable that he has such a massive blind spot when it comes to Facebook's political identity.
Of course it has an extremely liberal identity. What else could he expect?
All this reminds me of the kidnapping of Adolf Eichmann, the notorious Nazi mass murderer, who was apprehended by two Israeli agents while living quietly with his family in Argentina.
They had to wait for several weeks before smuggling him out of the country, during which time they spent many hours in private conversation with him, somehow managing to restrain themselves from taking the law into their own hands.
During one of the conversations, one of the agents realized that Eichmann had given the order to exterminate the village in which his wife's family lived, killing every single one of them.
When asked how he could do such a thing, Eichmann seemed perturbed, responding, "But they were Jews."
Of course he gave the order to kill them.
To be 1,000 percent clear, I am not equating Zuckerberg with a Nazi. God forbid!
My point is that, sometimes, people are so caught up in a particular worldview that they are entirely oblivious to other perspectives, and that seems to be what has happened to Zuckerberg and his liberal colleagues.
From my perspective, the LGBT activists whom I oppose genuinely believe they are fighting for equality, justice, and freedom, and I believe I can present their own talking points in a fair, persuasive, and even compelling manner. I simply disagree with those talking points for many reasons.
If Mark Zuckerberg and his colleagues could do the same with conservatives, explaining back to us what we value and why we value it, doing so in sympathetic and coherent terms, then he would be able to set Facebook on a path towards neutrality.
Mr. Zuckerberg, are you listening? I truly hope you are.