YouTube's Double Standard On Protests

DannyG | November 25, 2008
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By K. Daniel Glover YouTube is promoting as its "citizen news report of the day" a video of an alleged attack on Greenpeace activists at a coal plant in Poland. There are two problems with the news judgment behind this video selection. First, both the initial report on the video and YouTube's description of it overstate what actually happened. Watch the video for yourself and see. Aside from some unjustifiable shoving, kicking of snow and grabbing of signs, there is no attack. In one instance, the pushing is to get protesters out of the way of an oncoming bulldozer. Another clip appears to show a coal miner helping up a protester who fell, and the Greenpeace activists eventually are allowed to display their "Quit Coal" banners without interference -- presumably on private property where they had no right to be. But the bigger problem with the news judgment in this case is the blatant double standard at work. Why is YouTube helping to publicize an obscure, pro-environmental protest in Poland while ignoring citizen journalism reports of recent bad behavior by protesters that are far more noteworthy and much closer to home? Gay activists have wreaked havoc during a church service, threatened Armageddon against the Mormon church and forced Christians out of a gay neighborhood in San Franciso under a police escort. Footage of all of those incidents, including some by citizen journalists, is on YouTube but has been ignored even though gay outrage over California's Nov. 4 vote for traditional marriage has been big news. Instead of exposing its viewers to the hostility of gays toward religious people, YouTube has promoted a more positive message about gays standing up for their supposed civil rights. Since the election, two such videos have been promoted on the YouTube blog. One of them portrays gay marriage proponent and San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom "as a fighter for this cause, someone who is out in front of the media campaigning on the issue." The other promotes a citizen journalist's report about Nepal's Supreme Court upholding gay marriage. YouTube also featured both videos on the site's news and politics section. Just after the election, YouTube editors also promoted two other videos in favor of gay rights, one that cast protests in a positive light and another that features a Harvard University professor waxing eloquent about justice and fairness in marriage. If you want to get the other side of the story -- the side being told at -- you'll need the patience of a man looking for a needle in a haystack to find it at YouTube. The longer it is online, the more YouTube is looking like just a new-media arm of the liberally biased media of old we know all too well.
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