As a frequent watcher of independent media on YouTube (progressive, libertarian and conservative), there is more than likely going to be a segment about how YouTube, or Netflix, or the news are biased towards one side or the other.
The first occurrence of this that I viewed was the YouTube demonetization controversy. Louder with Crowder was the report where I first heard of YouTube’s supposed attack on conservative channels and the show made a good case by demonstrating how many more of The Young Turks’ videos would appear in restricted mode, even though the show uses more profanity and adult content than Crowder.
Having Roaming Millennial and Dave Rubin as guests to explain how some of their videos have been demonetized also made it seem as though YouTube was trying to control the amount of conservative content that their viewers would be able to see.
Then, I noticed that progressive channels like Secular Talk and The Humanist Report were making the same claims of YouTube censorship through demonetization. The conservative side claimed that they were being silenced for their stances on social issues, such as political correctness and Black Lives Matter, while the progressives claimed the economic elite were trying to censor them in fear of losing power.
Some of the shows I have mentioned have retracted their calls of censorship with this realization, and now attribute their frustration more to YouTube’s changing of the original deal of monetizing videos. Forbes suggests that the real issue may be that the company has now become more transparent with notifying content creators, so more people are noticing their videos being demonetized or making less money.
Television is another example of supposed media bias with regards to which shows are cancelled even though they are popular. Variety claims that shows like Rosewood and Sense8 are being cancelled because of their inclusivity:
“[…] there was always an undercurrent of worry when many of us celebrated the TV industry’s (very incomplete) progress, as it started the process of truly expanding its worldviews and creative rosters. That progress is non-existent or weak in some quarters, and inconsistent in others, for starters. Beyond that, for some time, many of us have been worried that, if Peak TV were ever to begin contracting, that the shows created by non-white, female and LGBTQ creators — especially the newer entrants into the mix — would be the first ones shown the door.”
On the conservative side, there was much outcry when Tim Allen’s Last Man Standing was cancelled even though it had great ratings. Newsmax reported:
“[…] Allen commented about it being difficult to be a conservative in Hollywood, and some are wondering if those comments got his TV show the axe.”
I’m lead to believe they the entirety of the media may not anti-right or anti-left, rather individual networks and organizations are biased in their own ways. While it is a gut reaction to see a trend and claim censorship, libertarians should always resort to researching any of these claims before also spouting off way may not be true silencing of voices.
It wouldn’t be out of line for libertarians to protest the biases of each individual media source and not fall into the trap of collectivism to claim that all media is against one side or the other. There will always be those on the left and right who scream censorship at any sign of contradiction or cancellation of something that promotes their biases. Libertarians should not encourage these crowds, but instead be the voice of reason to shine on the light on the validity of these claims.
Featured image: L.M. Glackens’ The Yellow Press
* Luke Henderson is a composer, economics enthusiast and educator in St. Louis, Missouri and a contributor to The Libertarian Vindicator. He is a budding libertarian and joined the party in 2016.