A conservative website, The Federalist, is crying about Google censorship because of a threat to “demonetize” the site. Excuse me if I don’t shed a tear. There are excellent conservative sites that don’t get one red cent of Google ad money but stay in business through donations from readers or other independent sources of revenue.
Mine is one. That’s America’s Survival, Inc.
The story demonstrates the power of Google, which owns YouTube, but also the failure of conservative politicians, including President Trump, to do anything about the power of Big Tech over the last three years. Trump ran on a platform of breaking up the Big Tech monopolies but only acted in a minor way recently when Twitter censored and silenced him. Trump simply issued an executive order noting that the monopolies are in that position because of a law passed by Congress, Section 230 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996.
The executive order is interesting but of no practical value. It’s also too late. But the ability of The Federalist to get attention from Fox News says a lot about the priorities of the conservative elite.
A more serious matter involves VDARE, a website that opposes unlimited immigration and favors the traditional racial and cultural identity of America. It is in danger of losing its domain name registrar because of left-wing pressure.
The Federalist came out of nowhere but quickly became the news and information go-to source for Fox News. Sean Davis of The Federalist was on Tucker Carlson’s show griping about the left-wing crybabies at NBC News working with a foreign entity that got Google to threaten to demonetize The Federalist’s platform. The Federalist publisher Ben Domenech was on “Fox and Friends” and then the Fox “Media Buzz” show on the same topic.
Clearly, The Federalist has friends in high places. Indeed, the publisher is married to Meghan McCain, daughter of Cindy McCain, who is worth a reported $200 million.
The Federalist can be a good source of news and information but the idea that missing out on a few crumbs from Google’s platform of monetary profits doesn’t seem like a big deal to those of us who have been struggling against left-wing censorship for many years. Both sides censor. Some of my recent columns criticizing the Trump presidency have been “censored” or published with disclaimers on some sites so as not to offend a pro-Trump audience. That’s just the way it goes.
Joy Pullman, executive editor of The Federalist, rejected a piece two years ago on the LGBTQ movement by writer Amy Contrada. “No real reason was given for the rejection,” Contrada told me. She had copied Domenech and Mollie Hemingway, a senior editor at The Federalist (and now Fox News contributor), at the time, asking for their take, but heard nothing back from them. It was then published at Salvo, a Christian magazine.
These days, however, Pullman is strongly critical of the recent Justice Neil Gorsuch ruling in favor of gay and trans rights, and even recommends Mass Resistance, where Amy Contrada works, as a resource.
It’s too bad The Federalist was late to the fight.
It was also wrong about Gorsuch, since it had run a piece claiming that he was a staunch defender of religious liberty. By contrast, I had published two columns about his spotty record, with one noting that the hearings on Gorsuch’s nomination did produce controversial comments suggesting that “he could turn out to be a member of the court’s liberal bloc on issues like gay marriage, abortion, and even gun rights.” That’s exactly what happened with the LGBTQ ruling.
I wrote, “The conservative media are not raising the questions that they should about this nominee. They seem to have accepted the notion that President Donald Trump has nominated a true conservative, backed by the Federalist Society and the Heritage Foundation, and that nothing more needs to be done or said, except to rubber-stamp his nomination.”
Davis co-founded The Federalist with Domenech, who married into McCain money through his wife Meghan McCain, a “moderate conservative” co-host of the left-wing women’s show “The View.” Meghan occasionally takes conservative positions but is known for her animus toward President Trump, never a fan of her father, the late Senator John McCain, a peddler of the Russia-gate fake news Steele dossier.
Ironically, Cindy McCain is in the middle of one of the biggest stories of all time, having said that “we all knew” about pedophile Jeffrey Epstein and his sex trafficking. Who’s “we?” We’d like to see The Federalist take on this story.
The funding of The Federalist, other than through Google ads, is unclear, but the co-founder of RealClearPolitics.com, has been listed on papers for the entity and is alleged to be a funder of some sort.
My own advice for Sean Davis and Ben Domenech is to man up and decouple themselves from Google’s ad revenue. Tucker Carlson’s former site, The Daily Caller, sends information to “Patriots” or “premium members” who pay to get ad-free news. The Federalist can do the same. Or it can tap into the McCain fortune.
The story of The Federalist’s rise to prominence is an interesting one.
I had never met, or even heard of, Ben Domenech, before a controversy erupted over the Washington Post hiring him as a blogger back in 2007. The Post, which hired him after supposedly checking his credentials and background, then fired him after discovering instances of his alleged plagiarism. In a strange display of affirmative action, he was supposed to be their token conservative voice. Today, that position is taken up by Jennifer Rubin, a faux conservative who despises Trump.
I didn’t know that Domenech had worked for Human Events, a publication I once served as a reporter and contributing editor, or was a book editor at Regnery Publishing, or wrote for an Internet site called redstate.com. His rise was rapid.
Domenech was hired and then fired as a conservative blogger for the Washington Post after first denying then admitting multiple cases of plagiarism. Later, he was among a group of conservatives accused of not disclosing secret payments to write opinion articles for the government of Malaysia. Today, he and his associates at The Federalist are regular guests on such Fox programs as “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” “Fox and Friends,” “Media Buzz,” and “Fox News Sunday.” Domenech’s past has been forgotten.
The McCain connection has proven to be helpful in getting Republican politicians to pay attention to Google’s censorship policies. Now, the Department of Justice is suggesting a possible anti-trust investigation of Big Tech. Much more is needed. Trump must carry out his promise to break up the Big Tech monopolies. They affect all of us, not just The Federalist.© Cliff Kincaid
The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.