I’m old enough to remember the days when a large audience ensured large revenues.
That was before the internet.
I found out the hard way by being the first independent media entrepreneur some 26 years ago. That’s right. WND was the first to carve out a place for a conservative, Christian, professional news site. We were, by some standards, the most popular destination around – other than the site of my friend Matt Drudge.
It was no problem for WorldNetDaily.com, as we were known back then, establishing an immense audience. We were different from anything out there in attitude, perspective, worldview, news judgment. We emphasized exposing government waste, fraud, abuse and corruption as well as a champion of constitutionally limited government.
But did it translate into meaningful advertising revenues?
No. Not for a long time.
Back then, virtually all of the limited dollars spent on digital advertising went to dominant mainstream search engines – the biggest of which was Yahoo! Google was not even on the radar.
Today, even though the digital advertising pie is much, much larger, even eclipsing television, companies like Facebook and Google dominate in revenues – so much so the U.S. government needs to go after them on anti-trust actions. They’ve become too big to fail. They’ve become arrogant monopolies. They’ve become the tail that wags the dog. They’ve become dangerous for the health of the free press and the role it plays in the future of America.
While I believe in limited government, I also believe there are good reasons for anti-trust actions – especially those necessary to preserve free speech in the new digital public square.
Google and Facebook inhibit free speech through their ever-changing algorithms designed to give extreme preference to publishers they like and penalize those they don’t. Of course, what they like is super woke.
I’ve been screaming about this for eight years – longer than anyone. This has affected my life in staggering ways. It seemed that the moment we at WND started celebrating some success, Big Tech roared.
I can pinpoint the moment that happened. It was 2016 – when our support for candidate Donald Trump was noticed. Yes, we LOVE him – we make no bones about it.
First Google, the search engine, began to shadow-ban us. Then they started openly and cruelly highlighting competitors’ complaints. I had a stroke – five actually – from the stress. A year ago, they hit us with the works – total and permanent DEMONITAZATION by Google and YouTube, the equivalence of a death sentence.
Because Google and Facebook are monopolies truly under the spell of left-wing sensibilities. There’s no other way to say it. They penalize those entities producing content they don’t like – no matter how large their audiences might be.
One could argue these monster corporations have a “right” to do that, but only if you support monopoly capitalism, ironically an idea so-called “progressives” find theoretically repulsive.
One of the highest ideals both Google and Facebook say they uphold is “diversity.” But the diversity genie seems to take a backseat when it comes to the most important kind of diversity in a free society – diversity of viewpoints.
Maybe this sounds like sour grapes coming from the pioneer of independent digital news-gathering.
Maybe it is.
Yet what Big Tech is doing is patently unfair.
This is the beginning of a Dark Age for the free press.
What’s the answer?
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This article was originally published by the WND News Center.