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The Babylon Bee: Too Bold for Big Tech to Bully
By Jonathan JakubowskiThursday, 31 March 2022 12:35 PMCurrent | Bio | Archive
“Truth is not hate speech. If the cost of telling the truth is the loss of our Twitter account, then so be it.”
— Seth Dillon, CEO Babylon Bee
The Babylon Bee’s Twitter account was suspended after the Bee awarded Rachel Levine, a transgender Biden administration official, with their Man of the Year title. The award was given in response to USA Today’s naming of Levine to one of its women of the year titles.
Apparently in Twitter’s world, non-threatening speech from a satire company is far more dangerous than fire-breathing threats from corrupt dictators.
To get a deeper perspective, I reached out to a friend who happens to be Babylon Bee’s Managing Editor, Joel Berry.
JJ: Was it inevitable that the Bee get cancelled by Big Tech?
JB – Yes, I think it was inevitable. Considering their position on gender identity, I’m shocked we were not shut down earlier. But, apparently satire aimed at a public official was the straw that broke the camel’s back.
JJ: How has the broader Bee subscriber base responded to the cancellation?
JB: Traffic has gone up and subscribers and paying members have increased. Those who hated us still hate us. However, there are those in the middle who, although not Bee fans, are concerned about the growing threat of Big Tech censorship. Examples include people like Joe Rogan, who is a professional comedian himself, and who responded very forcefully saying it is bad and dangerous that a very small minority of persons have the power to place their thumb on the scale and affect everything from elections to livelihoods.
JJ: Should we just quit using Big Tech platforms?
JB: Yes and no. Our mindset going back to the beginning of the Bee is that we would have to create the infrastructure (see here, here, and here) necessary to support us when we inevitably got kicked off. At the same time, I think it’s important to be on Facebook and on Twitter, this isn’t about just winning a social media battle, it’s about contending for the truth with people who may disagree with us.
JJ: Should Big Tech be regulated?
JB: Name one sector of the economy not being regulated? From the way companies treat workers, to antitrust laws, to contract laws, to monopoly regulations, there are well established precedents which are necessary to keep the economy free. If we remove these, we remove our ability to be free. Monopolies are problematic and dangerous to the freedom of a society. Facebook is already using a news ecosystem quality score defined by Facebook which defines which content is good or bad for the world. I could envision at minimum Facebook being required to disclose the news ecosystem quality score to users rather than operating in darkness. Some basic transparency could go a long way to making these Big Tech platforms reform themselves. One example of web transparency is cookies. Consumers have the choice to accept or reject cookies for every website. Why should the tech giants not have similar transparency requirements?
JJ: Why should consumer First Amendment rights trump Big Tech’s First Amendment rights?
JB: We must be able to distinguish between crony capitalism and free capitalism. Big Tech functions with monopoly-like power while they are in bed with the ruling class, which gives them extraordinary competitive advantages. Google, for example, is on the record saying that they would prevent someone like Trump from winning after the 2016 election. This ideology coupled with the ruling class ideology has led to Big Tech becoming a de facto arm of the government where the White House can call upon Big Tech to censor those with whom they disagree. It’s a form of Censorship Laundering.
JJ: What’s next for the Bee?
JB: Keeping the main thing the main thing. We need to be funny and make people laugh through this. We’re looking to expand into TV, movie scripts and other areas of culture. We get pitches and scripts that could never be made in Hollywood because good comedy is inherently politically incorrect, and Hollywood is too afraid to be politically incorrect. There’s a huge opportunity to make a good comedy movie or TV show. All of this is very early, but I would love to see some of this happen.
JJ: How should we respond to the madness of this present moment?
JB: At the risk of sounding discouraging, we each need to do soul-searching and ask ourselves, “What am I willing to give up for the truth?” We’re at a point where everyday people are going to have to decide where to draw their line in the sand. It is far better to act now, when the costs are far less, than to act too late when the gun is pointed at your head.
Jonathan Jakubowski is the author of a newly-released book that has gained national attention, “Bellwether Blues, A Conservative Awakening of the Millennial Soul.” More information about Jonathan may be found here. Read Jonathan Jakubowski’s Reports