Structural Bias: Facebook and Pervasive Ideological Bigotry - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
Structural Bias: Facebook and Pervasive Ideological Bigotry

We hear a lot about “structural racism” infecting every aspect of American culture. People and institutions, the theory goes, don’t even intend to be biased against people of different races and ethnicities, but they are because “the system” is set up to protect and build the power of white people– specifically white males. “Check your privilege” is the favorite refrain of the social justice warriors.

The idea of “structural racism” is not presented as an opinion or theory. It is presented as fact. From elementary school through college, young people are taught this premise in ways both overt and subtle.

Beyond the idea of structural racism, a particular knowledge set is just assumed now: Christians are bigoted, people should be able to love whomever they want, America is a bully, the environment is getting worse, the poor are getting poorer, women make 80 cents on the dollar, there’s a rampant “rape culture” on campuses, socialism is a caring form of governance, everyone has a right to “free” health care, it’s not the criminal’s fault, abortion helps women and is a right, there is no such thing as sexual promiscuity, no culture is better or worse than any other culture, and on and on.

By the time these mush headed young people enter the academy, media, or entertainment worlds, they wouldn’t even question the accepted wisdom. They live it. Everyone they know believes like them. That another person may disagree with their perspective seems absurd. If they stumble across one of these closed-minded bigots, well, whatever. No sensible people hold that position. No good people hold that position.

So that brings us to Facebook systematically culling conservative stories out of the Trending Topics. Many folks wrongly thought that the Trending Topics were algorithmically chosen. Actually, no. Like Google News and Twitter Trending topics, Facebook has human curators picking through the data cream and scooping off the top the stories they want seen. They discard the other stories.

A former Facebook curator said this in todays Guardian:

“There is no political bias that I know of and we were never told to suppress conservative news.”


This just proves the point: no one had to explicitly tell these curators to avoid conservative stories. They just did it naturally.

The bias is hardwired. One might even say that it’s structural. The curators have been supersaturated with leftist dogma to the point that another world view is not just foreign, it’s perceived as wicked. It is something to be shunned.

In the Leftist Cult, certain precepts are held inviolable. Certain words are not said. Certain ideas are not entertained. Certain people are not considered.

When, say, a Trending Topic, bubbles to the surface that is anathema to the sacred code, no one has to tell the gatekeepers to keep the riff-raff out. They just reflexively do it. Why wouldn’t they? Only horrible people consort with such as them and the curator will not be a horrible person. The curator is a good person. Sanctified by teachers and professors and Jon Stewart, the young all-powerful media editor makes editorial choices with the clear conscience of a true believer.

With the spate of social justice insanity on college campuses recently, some liberals have taken to writing shame-faced confessionals about the bias in the media and academy. Even President Obama has expressed mild dismay at the stifling of free speech and straight jacket of political correctness.

 Some college administrators and professors have reaped the wrath of seeds of social discontent they’ve sown. Now, it’s a race to see who can be most righteous.

You’re a horrible bigot if you disagree with a black president. You’re a horrible bigot if you disagree with a woman presidential candidate. You’re a horrible bigot if you wear an “Indian” costume–especially a slutty one. You’re a horrible bigot if you believe that marriage is between a man and woman. You’re a horrible bigot if you’re a parent who’d like her daughter to not have to get naked in the locker room in front of a boy. You’re a horrible bigot if you think people should buy their own health insurance and cell phones.

You get the picture. It’s firmly established that you’re a Bad Person. The culture is infected with structural bias. Indoctrinated children recoil and gasp at their small-minded parents, teachers, bosses, and audience. That’s insensitive! That’s inappropriate! I feel uncomfortable!

Why in the world would a Facebook curator dare be insensitive, inappropriate or make someone uncomfortable with a “bad” news story? No, she’ll choose the Kardashians and elevate the Very Good Planned Parenthood and every other vapid story, but she won’t do this:  She won’t choose a conservative Trending Topic and no one had to tell her not to.

(Photo by Flickr user Robert Scoble, used under a Creative Commons license)

Melissa Mackenzie
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Melissa Mackenzie is Publisher of The American Spectator. Melissa commentates for the BBC and has appeared on Fox. Her work has been featured at The Guardian, PJ Media, and was a front page contributor to RedState. Melissa commutes from Houston, Texas to Alexandria, VA. She lives in Houston with her two sons, one daughter, and two diva rescue cats. You can follow Ms. Mackenzie on Twitter: @MelissaTweets.
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