The headline at the New York Times, was promising: “For Political Cartoonists, the Irony Was That Facebook Didn’t Recognize Irony — As Facebook has become more active at moderating political speech, it has had trouble dealing with satire.” It appeared on the front of Saturday’s Business Day section as “Facebook Just Does Not Get Satire.”
Would it be a long-overdue defense of the Babylon Bee, which has suffered instances of “moderation” in the form of ham-handed censorship from Facebook, blocking a Babylon Bee story claiming a Democratic senator had accused Amy Coney Barrett of witchcraft during her Senate hearings?
Of course not. In fact, technology reporter Mike Isaac uncorked another Times attack on the satire site, again ludicrously attacking it as “misinformation,” an angle the paper would never consider with the leftist satire of The Onion.
Isaac flattered these crude cartoonists as sophisticated ironists, revealing that the only social media censorship the paper disapproves of is when left-wingers get clipped, although such squelching happens on a regular basis to the right.
Since 2013, Matt Bors has made a living as a left-leaning cartoonist on the internet. His site, The Nib, runs cartoons from him and other contributors that regularly skewer right-wing movements and conservatives with political commentary steeped in irony.
One cartoon in December took aim at the Proud Boys, a far-right extremist group. With tongue planted firmly in cheek, Mr. Bors titled it “Boys Will Be Boys” and depicted a recruitment where new Proud Boys were trained to be “stabby guys” and to “yell slurs at teenagers” while playing video games.
Days later, Facebook sent Mr. Bors a message saying that it had removed “Boys Will Be Boys” from his Facebook page for “advocating violence” and that he was on probation for violating its content policies.
Conveniently, each of the cartoonists Isaac sympathetically profiles are left-wing.
When Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in 2019 that he would bar two congresswomen — critics of Israel’s treatment of Palestinians — from visiting the country, [Ed] Hall drew a cartoon showing a sign affixed to barbed wire that read, in German, “Jews are not welcome here.” He added a line of text addressing Mr. Netanyahu: “Hey Bibi, did you forget something?”
Mr. Hall said his intent was to draw an analogy between how Mr. Netanyahu was treating the U.S. representatives and Nazi Germany. Facebook took the cartoon down shortly after it was posted, saying it violated its standards on hate speech.
….In 2019 and 2020, Facebook often dealt with far-right misinformation sites that used “satire” claims to protect their presence on the platform, [Atlantic Council resident fellow Emerson] Brooking said. For example, The Babylon Bee, a right-leaning site, frequently trafficked in misinformation under the guise of satire.
Wait, Isaac cites as a “far-right misinformation site” a “right-leaning site”? Some copy editor needs a stern e-mail.
It’s not the first time the paper has made the “misinformation” claim, as if the Babylon Bee was some kind of think tank. Liberal journalists quickly lose their sense of humor when their ox is gored. In October 2020, the Times’ Emma Goldberg profiled the website and quoted an even more humorless scholar Nicole Hemmer, who complained that the website’s comedic sensibility “maps really clearly with Trump’s conservatism, which is anti-liberalism more so than it is any kind of principled conservatism.”
Goldberg followed up with an interview with the paper’s tech reporter Kevin Roose: “The Babylon Bee’s habit of skirting the line between misinformation and satire, and how it capitalizes on its audience’s confusion.”
Put these articles together, and you can see that liberal reporters think conservatives are much dumber, much more easily confused.