Why Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen is drawing flak from the right

Despite the fact that Republican and Democratic senators praised her Senate testimony, there is a burgeoning effort — and this was probably inevitable — to discredit her.

The gist of the campaign, coming from the right, is that she is a liberal.

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As the Daily Wire, Free Beacon and others are pointing out, Haugen has contributed to AOC and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. She’s working with the PR firm of former Obama press aide Bill Burton, who also works with the Center for Humane Technology, which takes on Big Tech. She complained six years ago that Google was not inclusive enough of women.

And my reaction is: Is that all you’ve got?

Let’s assume Haugen is a dyed-in-the-wool lib. So what? What she’s been talking about is how Facebook spreads hateful content and damages teenage girls, among other things, in the name of maximizing profit. She says the buck stops with Mark Zuckerberg and is urging Congress to regulate the company. She hasn’t been mounting an ideological attack.

Frances Haugen, a former civic project manager for Facebook’s misinformation team who leaked internal corporate documents to the Wall Street Journal for a series of damning reports against the social media giant, told lawmakers Tuesday that she believes her former employer is a "national security issue."

Frances Haugen, a former civic project manager for Facebook’s misinformation team who leaked internal corporate documents to the Wall Street Journal for a series of damning reports against the social media giant, told lawmakers Tuesday that she believes her former employer is a “national security issue.” (Getty Images)

More important, while her insider’s perspective is invaluable, this isn’t about her opinions. She’s leaked tens of thousands of documents that show Facebook executives are well aware of the troubling impact of their site. That’s a road map for the Hill.

It’s also been reported that Haugen had a $ 44,000 federal lien placed against her for unpaid taxes, but it was lifted in May. She’s set up a website and a GoFundMe page, which has raised more than $ 38,000 toward a $ 100K goal, to help with her expenses.

I know many conservatives are concerned that Facebook, which banned Donald Trump, is biased against the right and liberals want the company to censor content that they deem unacceptable. That’s a battle worth having.

But I don’t see how beating up on Frances Haugen helps make that case.

ESPN double standard

During the Trump years, ESPN developed a liberal reputation, fueled by numerous run-ins with staffers who made disparaging remarks about the president.

Jemele Hill called Trump a White supremacist and, caused a huge stir, and nothing happened to her — even after she defended the comments on “The View.” ESPN later suspended the African-American host for two weeks, but that was for criticizing Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones. (Hill has since moved on to The Atlantic magazine.)

But the sports network quickly took another Black host, Sage Steele, off the air … for daring to criticize Barack Obama.

Steele’s case is complicated by the fact that she just tested positive for Covid-19, and said on a podcast that ESPN’s vaccine mandate — she felt forced to get inoculated — was “sick.” She also criticized female journalists who “dress like that.”

Sage Steele is seen in Austin, Texas, March 9, 2018.

Sage Steele is seen in Austin, Texas, March 9, 2018. (Getty Images)

Then the subject turned to Obama, who had written on a census form that he is “African-American.” That’s when Steele went off:

“I’m like, ‘Well, congratulations to the president. That’s his thing.’ I think that’s fascinating considering his Black dad was nowhere to be found, but his White mom and grandma raised him, but hey, you do you. I’m going to do me.”

But she wasn’t just doing her. What business is it of hers how the former president views his racial identity?

After ESPN said in a statement that opinions must be expressed “in a manner consistent with our values and in line with our internal policies,” Steele apologized.

Still, what she said is hardly in the same category as the trashing of Trump. And that raises questions about a double standard.

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Giuliani deal with OAN

Rudy Giuliani has testified that he made a deal with One America News network.

In a lawsuit deposition, the former mayor said that Charles Herring agreed to assign one of his reporters to work with the Trump legal team, and that Giuliani would have veto power over what she could report.

Christina Bobb, who hosts a weekly OAN show, has made something of a crusade of claiming widespread fraud against Trump in the 2020 election.

Rudy Giuliani speaks during a news conference in Washington, Nov. 19, 2020.

Rudy Giuliani speaks during a news conference in Washington, Nov. 19, 2020. (Getty Images)

As reported by The Daily Beast, the man who served as the former president’s lawyer said that “the rules that we made with Charles were that he would defer to us to whatever our needs were.” So for the next couple of months, Bobb “wouldn’t be working all that much for OAN, so the conflict thing wouldn’t come up all the time,” and would have an “extra edge” on other journalists.  

But — and here’s the big but — Giuliani says he told Herring that “you’re going to have to agree to something that I know our news networks won’t agree to, which is there may be things that you just can’t do and she’s got to separate her role as a lawyer and if she wants to share things with you, she will have to get my permission or one of my people.”

Just in case that wasn’t clear, if Bobb did develop a good story, “she would have to run it past us so it didn’t violate any of our rules or whatever.”

None of which was known by people who watch OAN.

This is a truly stunning admission that cries out for an explanation.

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