RUSH: Now, here’s a story. I need to spend a little time on this. I don’t mean a long bit of time, but some developmental time. This is a post at Townhall, and it’s by John Hawkins. Does the name John Hawkins ring a bell to anybody in there? Who’s John Hawkins? Just between you and me. If you’re wrong, no big deal. He had a website called Right Wing News. And it is shutting down, he says, because of Facebook. Yeah.
But there’s some interesting things. He claims that the one time his website had 133 million visitors because of Facebook, but because Facebook has basically eliminated his site and others in their new withdrawal, that he’s having to shut it down. And I don’t know; if you have 133 million people, why would Facebook eliminating you mean the end of your website?
That’s not his primary point, just a question I had reading this. But the real point here is how social media is destroying any chance conservatism has in social media while conservatives are not aware of it. So we’ll deal with that upcoming.
First an obscene profit time-out. We’ll get back to the phones. Don’t go away.
RUSH: All right, let me read you a little portion here because what Hawkins is doing here is warning everybody about social media run by corrupt and dishonest liberals, which is starting to dawn on some people. To many of us it’s been well known for a long time. I’m shocked that this is a surprise to people, but that’s okay.
His pull quote here, “We’ve already lost the schools, Hollywood and the mainstream media. What happens when you can’t get out conservative opinion via social media because they block, shadow ban and demonetize everyone who gets any traction? What happens if they put rules in place that essentially make expressing conservative opinions something that gets you kicked off their service?”
“You’re pro-gun? Sorry, not allowed. You don’t like gay marriage? Get out of here. Criticizing Black Lives Matter? Out of bounds!” Not permitted. He talks about his website, Right Wing News, shutting down operations because it’s lost Facebook. This is where I have some problems understanding something, but it’s not my main point here.
“Remember the mainstream media liberals going out of their minds because the Russians reached almost 150 million people with their $100,000 Facebook ad buy? In July of 2015, in just a week, the Right Wing News Facebook page reached 133 million people. Because conservatives were sharing content they were interested in, Right Wing News … was driving the same amount of web traffic as some of the biggest newspapers in America. Barack Obama’s Facebook page was 36 times bigger than our page; yet we had 7 times as many people talking about our content.
“You see, what Facebook giveth, Facebook can take away. So, why would Facebook want to kill extremely successful Facebook pages that its users enjoyed? One of the reasons goes back to something I told multiple reporters during the 2016 election. I believe that all of the thriving right wing Facebook pages activated large numbers of what I like to think of as ‘instinctive conservatives.'”
People who’ve lived their lives as conservatives and maybe vote that way, but don’t know that they’re conservatives. And it’s his theory that this group of people is who elected Trump and that Facebook and Twitter and all that want to get rid of all these people, which we know is the case.
RUSH: Here’s what I think is going on here. At first, I didn’t understand this because I didn’t understand how this worked, because, you see, I’ve never used social media. I built my own platform. It’s called RushLimbaugh.com. We have a Facebook page, but it is incidental to what we do. We post things to Facebook last, not only. Our website is it. But I think what Mr. Hawkins here’s talking about and others is they ran their operation on their Facebook page.
Yeah, there was a Right Wing News website, but the platform for it was on Facebook. That’s where everybody accessed it, and that’s where it was monetized with ads on Facebook, and that’s how they made money. So if Facebook comes along now and it’s reducing pages… See, what Facebook is doing, Zuckerberg is saying he’s doing this to… (chuckling) This is so… He’s doing this to help people spend less time on Facebook. That’s not what they want! They want the exact opposite.
So what Zuckerberg has just announced is that Facebook is longer going to post content from the people who originate it. Meaning the New York Times, the Washington Post, or take any other place that originates and writes content. Instead, Facebook users are going to rely on their news feed, which is populated by other users! And that’s serving to demonetize websites who are now being kicked off!
And when I was explaining this to somebody, I said, “What I don’t understand here is if you’ve got 133 million people on your Facebook page knowing that your website’s there, okay. If Facebook bans you, why don’t these people just find your website if they like it?” The answer I got was, “It’s because the website’s not the base of operations; Facebook was.” That’s where they monetized and earned their money, essentially.
And so if their platform is Facebook and not their own website, then if Facebook cancels them then they’re outta luck. And Facebook is… Look, Facebook’s canceling conservatism and so is Twitter and they’ve been doing this a long time. But this latest Facebook move is also canceling the New York Times. Their new directive said that they are not going to post content from point of origin. They want it all to be your news feed that is populated by what other Facebook users see and put in their feeds to go back and forth.
And because of this, much conservative content that was being shared on these various sites hosted on Facebook are now not going to end up in news feeds. The Facebook pages of these websites aren’t gonna exist. So in Mr. Hawkins’ case, he’s writing here that he’s having to shut down his website, which is a shame if it was reaching, at some point, 133 million people.
But we know from O’Keefe and his work with the undercover videotaping of Twitter engineers, they are admitting that they’re writing algorithms and using human beings to look for and eliminate or “shadow ban” conservative comment. The left… By the way, there’s no counterpart for this on the right. The right doesn’t ban anything on the left and doesn’t want to. We, on the right, use what’s on the left to the point of exposing it as we make our points about it. They’re not interested.
As one Twitter engineer said (paraphrased), “If it mentions guns, it’s gone. If it’s critical of gay marriage, it’s gone. If it mentions America, odds are it’s a conservative and it’s gone.” And they’re in the process, literally, of eliminating any conservative content finding its way to Twitter. Facebook, it’s much the same thing. These are all doctrinaire, left-wing sites. However they describe what they’re doing, their abject purpose is to deny access to their platforms to conservatives. Now, some people, you know, emailed during the break, “Why isn’t this hurting you?”
‘Cause we’ve never used ’em! You know, I’ve been talking about Twitter being a sewer for I don’t know how long. Twitter’s been a thorn in the side. I never once looked at using Facebook as a base of operations for RushLimbaugh.com. It’s its own standalone. But, I’ll tell you what, folks. If I may get… What would be the word? If I may employ a little self-interest here. Given that this is happening — and I’m saying this in all intents and purposes because of the new features that we’ve built into the Rush Limbaugh Show app, which are also on the dot-com website.
Remember, it’s free. I keep emphasizing this because you can become a member if you want, and that will give you access to the Dittocam, the live video, and the audio streaming each day. But you don’t have to. On the free side of RushLimbaugh.com, the app, the transcripts of everything I say — 90% of it — is on the app and on the website every day, and now it’s sharable. Now, I know many people have listened to a show and they hear something that they think is right on point and they want to tell other people and they try.
“Yeah, I was listening to Rush and he said…” You know, when people start telling stories, by the time it gets to third or fourth person, it’s totally different. With this action, these social media outlets are taking, you can still, if you want, share the unbridled conservative comment that you hear on this program by simply sharing the transcript. You don’t have to remember anything. I mean, it’d be helpful if you did just for yourself, but you can now share.
If you hear what you think is a really on-point monologue and you think people love it, you can share it with anybody you want via email. You don’t have to share it to Twitter. You can. (They might end up banning it; who knows?) But you can share it with anybody. In fact, I would encourage you to do it, and that’s why we’ve built the share ability in via message, via email. You can even, in some cases, use AirPlay. If you’ve got some people in a room and you want to play a video clip on a TV, you can do that.
But as these social media outposts become monolithic and very exclusionary, Hawkins is right here. This headline: “How Conservatives Are Being Destroyed by Facebook, Twitter and Google Without Even Realizing It.” I think more and more conservatives are beginning to realize it.
But again, our source for what’s happening at Twitter is O’Keefe and Project Veritas, and I will guarantee you that the only time James O’Keefe has ever been reported on in the Drive-By Media is not for anything like this. It’s about what I charlatan and fake or phony they think he is as they do their best to discredit him or anybody else in conservatism who happens to be effective, especially at destabilizing and breaking down the phoniness and the arbitrary misarguments of the left.
You know, the Rush Limbaugh app now combines all forms of media into one app. It’s video, it’s audio, it’s transcripts, therefore text. And it’s all shareable. And this is how you can get around some of this restrictive behavior on these places that host content. If you’ve built your own base, if you built your own independent business, website or whatever, and you’ve not depended on Twitter or Facebook to monetize it, then what Facebook and Twitter are doing will not affect you or concern you.
But it is a problem for people who, “Hey, here’s Facebook, and they made their service available, and I’ve learned how to use it to get the word out and monetize and make money. Now they’re taking it all away.” Strictly on the basis of bias and prejudice, anti-conservatism. They are threatened by it. They wouldn’t say threatened. They would say it’s silly, it’s destructive, it’s mean-spirited, it’s extremist, it’s bigoted, you know, all the usual “isms” that they associate. But what really it is, they’re afraid of it. They all have these cocoons they live in, in their alternative universe, where they feel safe and protected from any opposing view.
All the snowflakes gather and they’re all protected. If anything gets into that, permeates the boundary, then Katie, bar the door. And that’s what we’re looking at now. They’ve got to stop it because they’re not interested in debate, they’re not interested in discussion or any of that. These people are pure — they would never think of themselves this way, but these are pure Stalinists. While they’re running around call Trump a Stalinist, they don’t even know what it really is.
These are people who think socialism is great because they think socialism is justice, being nice to people, being fair. They have no idea what it even is. They don’t realize it’s one step away from murderous communism.
RUSH: Okay. So here’s perhaps maybe the money paragraph of John Hawkins’ piece here. And again, this ran at Townhall. “We are now in a very oversaturated, corporation-dominated media environment. If you don’t already have a legacy website that captured traffic years ago and held onto it –” Meaning, if you don’t have a website with an audience that you can promise advertisers will see it.
If you don’t have “millions of dollars to spend, your chances of getting a political website off the ground today are infinitesimal. That gets to the heart of the biggest problem conservatives don’t realize that they have. Social media IS the new public square. It’s the place you go when you want to reach out and find an audience. Except Facebook has for all intents and purposes announced that it’s killing off pages,” and will take conservative voices with them.
And his point is that Facebook and Google and all these others have become so dominant that if you as a young entrepreneur just wanting to start a website, you’ve got a thousand dollars seed money, that nobody will ever find you because the big guys, if somebody does hear about you, they’ll find a way to bury you. How did it ever end up this way?
How did it ever end up that so many conservative sites ended up being dependent on — I don’t know, different operating philosophies. But, again, that’s for another way. I don’t want anybody going off — I’m not complete with my thought on that, so don’t anybody start saying I said anything about it ’cause I’m not through yet.