RUSH: Now, I’ve got this Uber story. I’ve been intending to do Uber for the past, what, week or past three days, and there have just been things that get in the way. Now, it actually… You know, Uber is the new car service. You get an app for your Android or your iPhone, your Android phone or your iPhone, and you order a car on the app. You have an account, and they know where you are because of your phone and the location services.
A car shows up and takes you where you’re gonna go and charges you for it. It’s just growing out the wazoo and it’s got traditional taxi companies all bent out of shape. All traditional livery transportation companies are all bent out of shape. There are a couple of others. Lyft is new Uber-like company, and there’s a third one. Any new startup like that that starts big and goes gangbusters has its share of enemies.
People want to shoot it down, chop it down, kill it off, make sure it doesn’t happen — and some of those people happen to be journalists. Now, one of the things that’s happened with Uber… It’s not exclusive to Uber, but there have been charges by women that their Uber drivers… They know who they are. I mean, if you use Uber, the company knows who you are, and they know where you live.
They take you there. They know your work. They take you there. So there have been some charges from women that male Uber drivers are harassing them and calling them later in the week, saying, “Hey, babe, would you like to go get a drink?” And Uber is having to deal with this. In some cases it’s made up and not true; other cases, I guess, it is. But it’s now being written about.
Some of those instances have been written about by female journalists who claim this has happened to them. Now, Uber doesn’t like it. Uber thinks that they’re being unfairly treated by journalists. Can you imagine that? Can you imagine anybody thinking that journalists are not being fair? Well, Uber, among many other companies — and I’ve really given you the CliffNotes version of this here.
Uber thinks that some journalists, tech journalists are being very unfair.
I guess it was BuzzFeed that had the scoop on this story. Apparently an Uber executive said to a closed group of friends, associates, or whatever at a cocktail party… I don’t know whether it’s a cocktail party or wherever, but it was in a private setting. The Uber executive suggested that it might be time for the company to investigate the private lives of these journalists who are out there writing all these hurtful, damaging things about the company.
The journalist community found out about this, and they are livid! They can’t believe anybody would even think this. They are beside themselves with rage. “How dare they! How dare any company investigate us? We’re just journalists. It doesn’t matter what we’ve done or haven’t done. That doesn’t affect our reporting of this story! This is intimidation. This is harassment!”
Journalists across the spectrum — news journalists, sports journalists, tech journalists, bloggers — are all writing about just how awful Uber is, how outrageous it is that anybody at Uber would even think of this. “We’ve gotta shut ’em down. How dare they even contemplate this.” Of course I, ladies and gentlemen, have actually done this, back during the days of the Rush Limbaugh Television Show.
It’s funny and entertaining to listen to the journalists act like they’re totally beyond and above investigation. “It’s nobody’s business who we are. How dare they investigate us! How dare they investigate our private lives!” Some of the reaction is so arrogant, it is comical in and of itself.
“The controversy stemmed from remarks by Uber Senior Vice President Emil Michael [last] Friday night,” a week ago today, “as he spoke of his desire to spend $1 million to dig up information on ‘your personal lives, your families,’ referring to journalists who write critically about [Uber], according to a report published Monday night by Buzzfeed.
“The same story said a different Uber executive once had examined the private travel records of a Buzzfeed reporter during an e-mail exchange about an article without seeking permission to access the data. That combination of vindictiveness and willingness to tap into user information provoked outrage Tuesday on social-media sites, spawning the hashtag ‘#ubergate’ on Twitter.
“Critics recounted a series of Uber privacy missteps, including a 2012 blog post in which a company official analyzed anonymous ridership data in Washington and several other cities in an attempt to determine the frequency of overnight sexual liaisons by customers — which Uber dubbed ‘Rides of Glory.’
“This week’s incident was the latest reminder about the potential for abuse as intimate information accumulates on the servers of tech companies that have widely varying approaches to user privacy and face few legal barriers in how they use personal data.” So an Uber exec wants to go after the Drive-Bys, and the Drive-Bys get all self-important and indignity and claim that this is just unseemly.
RUSH: Again, just one more little thing here on Uber because it really gets to the primary point that I wanted to illustrate with this. So the Uber guys are out there talking amongst themselves about spending a million bucks go out and get some background on these journalists that are writing pieces about ’em, and expose them. Who are these people ripping us to shreds? Who are they?
The journalist community is outraged. “How dare they! Who do they think we are?” A number of journalists have reacted to this by claiming that Uber may as well be run by Richard Nixon. Now, here’s the point: Most of these tech bloggers are good, loyal little liberals. Here they are in the midst of a liberal Democrat administration spying on them like never been spied on before.
Here they are living in a time with a Democrat administration targeting members of the media like James Rosen at Fox and like Sharyl Attkisson. Here we have a bunch of loyal liberal journalists upset with Uber and claiming that they are the modern incarnation of Richard Nixon, when the very administration they voted for is doing things Nixon never even dreamed of doing — and to them!
Obama’s spying on them, targeting them.
Many of these journalists are really upset that Obama didn’t do what they thought he promised to do on immigration last night. They thought it was gonna be more than just opening the Southern border to Central Americans and Mexicans. So to me, it’s a fascinating thing. We have an administration that is as unfriendly to journalists — despite their slavishness — as any in American history.
Nixon never even dreamed of doing this, and these people don’t even see it. While they acknowledge it! They acknowledge the NSA is spying on ’em, and that’s why they don’t like the Republicans assuming control in January. Who do they think’s spying on ’em now? It’s not the Republicans. It’s Obama and the NSA.