Edited image by Talha Khalil with various logos
YouTube is the enemy.
YouTube is a hovel, brainwashing our kids and our adults into consuming alt-right content, horrifying conspiracy theories, and turning them into all-round horrible people. A basket of deplorables, if you will.
Everywhere you click on YouTube, you will come across blatant propaganda, immediately transforming you into a misogynistic, homophobic, transphobic mess of a human being. Should you even be allowed to be called a human being? Because, if you watch YouTube, you’re barely a human being. A monster. A demon. A beast that wanders alleyways, looking for poor souls to consume and torture and brainwash.
At least that’s what the mainstream media wants you to think.
Over the past year, there has been a surge of former alt-Righters and other horrifying beasts of barely-humanity, telling their stories, and revealing they became that way because of YouTube.
Caleb Cain, also known as Faraday Speaks, emerged on far-Left corners of the internet, also known as BreadTube, revealing back in the day, he’d been brainwashed by the far-Right on YouTube, and only through BreadTubers such as ContraPoints and hbomberguy, had he seen the light. Debate erupted among BreadTubers whether Cain was a “grifter”, pretending to be transformed for the lulz, or if he was actually reformed. Once they were sure of his purity, fame ensued. He was interviewed by CNN, and the ultimate story was released by the New York Times. The legacy media jumped on Cain, excited to write hit pieces on their arch nemesis, YouTube.
Others who had been firmly in the Right-wing camp during tumultuous internet periods such as Gamergate, were shifting allegiances. People like Amazing Atheist and shoe0nhead were admitting embarrassment for supporting the Right, and switching sides. Far-Lefters such as NonCompete spoke about apolitical YouTubers like PewDiePie being a gateway to far-Right ideologies. NonCompete’s video spurred on legions of copycat videos, all with the same purpose: Watching seemingly innocuous videos on YouTube will lure you into “stochastic terrorism”, and the only solution is to watch Mainstream Media Approved™ content like BreadTubers. The far-Left will tell you again and again they are against the “status quo”, and mainstream media is capitalism-friendly, but won’t bat an eyelid when status quo sources like The New York Times tell them what they want to hear. The New York Times, whose hit piece on YouTube would destroy BreadTubers as well as non BreadTubers, is not on their side. The NYT want the mainstream—also known as the legacy—media to be the arbiter of all that is news, and no one else. These people are not on your side.
Just have a look at said article: The Making of a YouTube Radical.
Most people won’t even look beyond the headline and the picture collage that accompanies this piece. Why do they need to? According to studies, around 60-80 percent of people never read past the headline. Journalists are trained to write hard news in a style known as the “inverted pyramid”, whereupon all the important news is at the beginning of the article, and the filler is at the bottom. While this New York Times article is not hard news, the same rule still applies, because in this day and age of fast food news, NOBODY READS PAST THE HEADLINE. Probably not even you.
What does this mean? Mainstream media like the New York Times can put whatever they want in their headline and accompanying picture, and say the exact opposite in their actual article. For example, the photograph employed by the NYT shows Philip DeFranco, a YouTuber who reports the news with a moderate lens. One would assume, from looking at the headline, that DeFranco is one of those radical alt-righters who Caleb Cain watched, and transformed him into a bona fide member of the far-Right. DeFranco is pictured, after all, alongside Stefan Molyneux and Lauren Southern, who are featured prominently as some of Cain’s key propagandists. Except the article doesn’t mention DeFranco at all.
Not that there aren’t snippets of truth alongside the omissions in the New York Times article. However, the omission of truth is more telling than the actual truths. For example:
Soon, he was pulled into a far-right universe, watching thousands of videos filled with conspiracy theories, misogyny and racism
“I was brainwashed.”
As YouTuber Jimmy Dore points out, the term “conspiracy theory” is incredibly loaded. What does the New York Times consider a conspiracy theory? The news site themselves have seemingly believed in plenty of conspiracy theories, such as Saddam Hussein’s ‘Weapons of Mass Destruction’ and Russiagate. Should we consider the New York Times part of the “far-right universe”? Further along, reporter Kevin Roose tells us more about conspiracy theories:
YouTube’s recommendations system is not set in stone. The company makes many small changes every year, and has already introduced a version of its algorithm that is switched on after major news events to promote videos from “authoritative sources” over conspiracy theories and partisan content.
This past week, the company announced that it would expand that approach, so that a person who had watched a series of conspiracy theory videos would be nudged toward videos from more authoritative news sources. It also said that a January change to its algorithm to reduce the spread of so-called “borderline” videos had resulted in significantly less traffic to those videos.
This section heavily implies the New York Times itself is an “authoritative source”, and its enemies, such as DeFranco and even alt-Righters like Stefan Molyneux, count as “conspiracy theories and partisan content”. Even if they aren’t outwardly alt-right, people like DeFranco will be labeled as the vaguest-of-vagueness, “borderline”. This is also a hint to YouTube to improve their content: telling YouTube that if they promote more authoritative content, whatever that is defined as, then New York Times and other mainstream media sources will lay off with the hit pieces.
The New York Times is not the only legacy media criticizing YouTube and hoping to turn people away from its rival. Around the same time as the Caleb Cain article, another controversy erupted around Right-wing YouTuber Steven Crowder, and Vox journalist Carlos Maza. Crowder was under fire for calling Maza “a lispy qu**r”, among other insults, on his YouTube program Louder with Crowder. Australian YouTuber friendlyjordies summarizes the controversy as such:
Because of Crowder’s comments, Maza and his supporters have turned this into a new Gamergate (as if we need another one) and a new Adpocalypse; trying to leverage support in order to turn users and advertisers away from YouTube. Why? Because one YouTuber said some mean words to him. It’s starting to sound a lot like the PewDiePie controversy: two people do some awful things while referencing PewDiePie’s name, and suddenly all 94 million of PewDiePie’s subscribers are evil and brainwashed alt-righters. These anti-YouTube activists must have done horribly with mathematics in high school.
It doesn’t matter whether Crowder or Maza are correct. What we should be focusing on is that there are members of the mainstream media—from New York Times, Vox, etc—who are stirring up controversy in order to turn people away from their major rival: YouTube.
YouTube is not free of issues. It is owned by Google, which is another can of worms. This is the company whose slogan has been “Don’t be evil“. Google Chrome has been under controversy for attempting to remove plugins. In order to create a Google (and therefore YouTube) account, one must give YouTube a phone number, which Google will do goodness knows what with. Google hasn’t been the best company in regards to privacy and safety.
However, unlike the legacy media, there is no viable alternative to YouTube. Fellow video-sharing sites like PeerTube, Dailymotion or even Pornhub, have nowhere near the viewership and legitimacy as YouTube.
But this should not affect content creators on YouTube, who are not indicative of the parent creator of their platform of choice. YouTubers spawn a wide spectrum of opinions, from far-Left (BreadTube), to moderate, to far-Right, and the sheer majority are apolitical, never touching on politics in their videos.
These people should not be punished because the legacy media is dying. That’s the crux of this issue. Mainstream media like the New York Times and Vox know YouTube is replacing them—much like video killed the radio star—and they’re trying to delay the inevitable. To them, YouTube is the oppressor, YouTubers the villains. They will do all they can to stop their replacements. While there are plenty of alt-right YouTubers who brainwashed people like Caleb Cain seemingly was, these are in no way the majority, and it’s disingenuous of the New York Times to imply otherwise:
BreadTube is still small. [Contra Points], the most prominent figure in the movement, has 615,000 subscribers, a small fraction of the audience drawn by the largest right-wing creators.
BreadTube refers to the far-Left. There are plenty of non-far-Left YouTubers who draw in similar crowds to the largest right-wing creators. This is simply problematic, to draw on an overused term, to imply BreadTube is all of Left-wing YouTube. Even to insinuate that the far-Left is the only way to lure people out of the far-Right, is inherently ridiculous. What makes the far-Left’s values inherently more correct than, say, a non-radical Leftist? Why is Left-wing brainwashing more correct? Why are those at the New York Times the arbiters of all that is correct and true? Cain says he was persuaded to the Left by “research and citations”. But these can be used by anyone of any political persuasion. Some truly horrible people in history have used “research and citations” to back up their beliefs.
These current controversies are simply propaganda and drama stirred up by a legacy media afraid you’ll forget about them. And the best way to say “screw you” to these drama seekers: Leave their platforms. Do exactly what they want you to do to YouTube: deplatform them. Deprive them of clicks and ad revenue. End of story.