AMAC Exclusive – By Aaron Flanigan
As Republicans in Congress continue to investigate various left-wing schemes to reshape American society, from election interference to collusion between the Deep State and Big Tech on censorship operations, one powerful force with growing influence over our culture which conservatives should not overlook is online news aggregators.
Over the course of the last few years, cable news viewership has plummeted, with overall viewership numbers down 50 percent across all networks since 2014. Subscriptions to newspapers and magazines (including digital subscriptions) have also steadily declined. Instead, Americans are increasingly turning to online news aggregators to get their information.
Unlike traditional news outlets which share their own content, news aggregation sites like Apple News, Microsoft’s MSN, and Firefox’s Pocket curate pieces from other news sites to share with readers. As more Americans rely on these online news aggregators as their sources of information, it is becoming increasingly clear that supposedly neutral aggregation sites—some of which use artificial intelligence to pull stories from across the web—are just another channel for Big Tech and media companies to impose their left-wing prejudices on the American people.
While news aggregators are supposed to focus on providing users with stories from a wide spectrum of sources, the aggregators appear to have assembled teams of editors, sometimes complemented by AI software, that funnel an endless stream of left-wing hit pieces and ideological propaganda onto the screens of millions of Americans.
In 2019, for instance, The Guardian reported how millions of voters in Britain received a notification straight to their iPhone from Apple News encouraging them to watch three videos highlighting a “difficult start to election week for the Tories,” Britain’s conservative faction. The content was clearly intended to embarrass conservative politicians in Britain at a crucial time as voters cast their ballots.
The decision to send the notification directly to every iPhone in Britain was made by Apple News’s five-member U.K. editorial team—effectively making them one of the most powerful media entities in the country. Despite the immense influence they wield over the electorate, however, few Britons had ever even heard of them.
Companies like Apple, Google, Microsoft, and Mozilla often hide behind their algorithms as an excuse to continue their politically biased content curation. They insist that users merely see stories like ones that they have engaged with in the past, or that other users are sharing widely, rather than stories motivated by a partisan agenda.
But as the incident in Britain shows, that is not always the case. On issues of great importance, a shadowy group of human editors has the ability and the propensity to step in and push content to users that favors their own liberal ideological convictions.
Meanwhile, as AMAC Newsline has previously noted, aggregators such as Microsoft’s MSN and Firefox’s Pocket routinely push content like a Rolling Stone list hailing the “50 most inspirational LGBTQ songs of all time,” a Vanity Fair piece disparaging the “sheer stupidity of Republican politics,” an NPR piece speculating on how climate change will “cause a home insurance meltdown,” and a BBC article praising what is described as “the Communist leader who led an Indian state through COVID.”
Other promoted content from these aggregators has included a story from USA Today asserting that former president Trump is “an unprecedented danger to democracy,” MSNBC coverage stating that Trump poses a “threat” of “authoritarian government,” a Washington Post analysis warning of “a looming Trump dictatorship,” a Mediaite article puffing up Mitt Romney’s claim that a second Trump term is a “dangerous course to go down,” and a State of the Union piece validating Liz Cheney’s statement that the Republican Party is on track for an “existential crisis” in 2024. The list goes on.
Though the left is of course represented in great numbers within the online media landscape, news curators regularly fail to promote any content generated by popular conservative platforms like The Federalist, The Daily Wire, The Washington Examiner, Breitbart, and The Washington Free Beacon—each of which produces insightful content that could help aggregators present a more balanced array of news stories and analyses.
As this left-wing bias becomes more obvious, news aggregation services may soon find themselves facing the same collapse in trust now befalling traditional media outlets. However, the question remains: will conservatives hold aggregators accountable similar to how they have the legacy media?
Though many liberal corporate actors often go out of their way to ignore it, the fact remains that Americans are paying attention—and when their values are under assault, they will fight back and ensure that woke companies pay the price. They should hope that the Republican establishment will take their side before it’s too late.
Aaron Flanigan is the pen name of a writer in Washington, D.C.