Numerous “news” organizations labeled Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan “far-right” on Thursday – most prominently the New York Times, the Washington Post, Politico, and Axios. The Washington Post issued a correction, while the New York Times and the Atlantic stealth edited their articles without issuing a correction.
Elizabeth Dwoskin and Craig Timberg’s Washington Post article was titled “Facebook bans far-right leaders including Louis Farrakhan, Alex Jones, Milo Yiannopoulos for being dangerous” before being changed to “Facebook bans extremist leaders including Louis Farrakhan, Alex Jones, Milo Yiannopoulos for being ‘dangerous.'”
The article originally began, “Facebook said on Thursday it has permanently banned several far-right figures and organizations including Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, Infowars host Alex Jones, Milo Yiannopoulos, and Laura Loomer, for being ‘dangerous’.”
It was edited to: “Facebook said on Thursday it has permanently banned several far-right and anti-Semitic figures and organizations, including Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, Infowars host Alex Jones, Milo Yiannopoulos and Laura Loomer, for being ‘dangerous,’ a sign that the social network is more aggressively enforcing its hate-speech policies at a moment when bigoted violence is on the rise around the world.”
To the Washington Post’s credit, they issued a correction both within the article itself and on Twitter. None of the other publications have to this point.
The New York Times article originally stated, “Facebook on Thursday said it had barred Alex Jones, the conspiracy theorist and founder of Infowars, and other right-wing personalities from its service.” Like the Washington Post, the New York Times changed their description of the banned users from “right-wing” to simply “extremists.”
“After years of wavering about how to handle the extreme voices populating its platform, Facebook on Thursday evicted seven of its most controversial users — many of whom are conservatives — immediately inflaming the debate about the power and accountability of large technology companies.
The social network said it had barred Alex Jones, the conspiracy theorist and founder of Infowars, from its platform, along with a handful of other extremists.”
Taylor Lorenz’s article in The Atlantic, a cultural commentary publication, was published under the title “Instagram and Facebook Ban Far-Right Extremists.” Lorenz wrote: “In an effort to contain misinformation and extremism that has increasingly spread across the platform, Instagram has banned several prominent right-wing extremists. Specifically, Instagram and its parent company, Facebook, have banned Alex Jones, Infowars, Milo Yiannopoulos, Paul Joseph Watson, Laura Loomer, Paul Nehlen, and Louis Farrakhan under their policies against dangerous individuals and organizations.”
The article was later edited to read: “In an effort to contain misinformation and extremism that have spread across the platform, Instagram and its parent company, Facebook, have banned several prominent right-wing extremists including Alex Jones, Infowars, Milo Yiannopoulos, Paul Joseph Watson, Laura Loomer, and Paul Nehlen under their policies against dangerous individuals and organizations. They also banned Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, who has repeatedly made anti-semitic statements.”
Think Progress columnist Ian Millhiser doubled down on the claim, disagreeing with the decisions to correct (in the Washington Post’s case) or stealth edit (in the New York Times and the Atlantic’s case).
No reasonable individual would make the claim that Farrakhan is conservative. It’s pure gaslighting. Women’s March co-chair Tamika Mallory called Farrakhan the “GOAT,” a common acronym for “greatest of all time.” Linda Sarsour, also of the Women’s March, said “God bless him” on Instagram, referring to Farrakhan.
The Congressional Black Caucus, a progressive caucus, has held multiple meetings with Farrakhan. Some of them took pictures with him, including then-Senator Barack Obama. Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib (D-MI13) wrote for Farrakhan’s publication Final Call in 2006.
Numerous other Democrats have met with Farrakhan over the years at Nation of Islam conventions, private meetings, and caucus events. Danny Davis (D-IL7) called Farrakhan an “outstanding human being” as recently as last year. Democrats only began denouncing Farrakhan last year, under heavy pressure from Republicans to do so.
The reason for the media’s gaslighting isn’t difficult to figure out. The left loves, and is skilled in, the manipulation of language. They’ve hidden far-left ideas within universally positive terms. Who could oppose social justice? What monster would stand on the other side of the aisle from progressives? Never mind that these terms are used as Trojan horses for full-blown Marxism – it’s social justice! It’s progress!
When the labels used to describe one side’s positions are objectively good, anything bad becomes, by definition, of the other side. If you’ve ever wondered why those advocating for the moral atrocities of abortion or socialism often have so much moral confidence, it’s because they’re progressives. In their minds, they can’t be immoral. It’s a logical impossibility to them. The matter isn’t murdering preborn human beings and seizing the means of production, it’s economic justice and reproductive justice – both of which are offshoots of social justice.
That media giants like the New York Times and the Washington Post are engaged in the far-left’s gaslighting of America is terrifying. It’s wearing, but we’ve got to express outrage every time they do this. That outrage is essentially the only thing preventing the mainstream media from going full Big Brother.