‘Death by algorithm’: Maddow inconsolable after YouTube recommends RT interview on Mueller report
The MSNBC host ascended her Twitter pulpit to share a shocking Washington Post article detailing how YouTube allegedly recommended an RT video “hundreds of thousands of times” to users seeking information about the recently released report by special counsel Robert Mueller.
Death by algorithm. “YouTube recommended Russia Today for understanding Mueller report.” https://t.co/q6McajcNo3— Rachel Maddow MSNBC (@maddow) April 27, 2019
“Death by algorithm,” a despondent Maddow commented.
The video in question – an episode of On Contact, which is hosted by Pulitzer prize-winning American journalist Chris Hedges – features an interview with Canadian journalist Aaron Mate. A fierce critic of the Trump-Russia collusion theory promoted by mainstream media, Mate recently received an Izzy Award for his contrarian reporting on Russiagate.
While Maddow was apparently horrified by the thought of impressionable Americans watching a video of two acclaimed journalists discussing current events, others were more perturbed by the MSNBC host’s melodramatic tweeting.
“This YouTube [video] is so much better than the war mongering conspiracy lunacy that comes from you. You should be ashamed to smear good people & good content in such a base & McCarthyite way,” replied one disappointed Twitter user.
Chris Hedges won a Pulitzer prize, Aaron Maté just won an Izzy. This YouTube is so much better than the war mongering conspiracy lunacy that comes from you. You should be ashamed to smear good people & good content in such a base & McCarthyite way.— patricia dowling (@ketchmeifucan) April 27, 2019
Others took issue with Maddow’s bizarre suggestion that YouTube’s algorithm could somehow bring about “death.”
“’Death?’ No one’s lives were threatened by a conversation between two award winning journalists about the massive disinformation campaign you’re waged on the minds of suggestible Democrats. But they are endangered by the Cold War you’ve helped to stir up,” Max Blumenthal, editor of the Grayzone Project, noted.
“Death?” No one’s lives were threatened by a conversation between two award winning journalists about the massive disinformation campaign you’re waged on the minds of suggestible Democrats. But they are endangered by the Cold War you’ve helped to stir up. https://t.co/Z0lQlGjHQS— Max Blumenthal (@MaxBlumenthal) April 28, 2019
Mate himself joined the chorus of criticism directed at Maddow.
“I was interviewed on RT by the Pulitzer-winning journalist Chris Hedges about Russiagate. YouTube recommended it. How fitting then that the leading Russiagate conspiracy theorist calls this ‘death by algorithm’ – to a propagandist, dissent from orthodoxy is ‘death’ indeed,” he wrote.
I was interviewed on RT by the Pulitzer-winning journalist Chris Hedges about Russiagate. YouTube recommended it. How fitting then that the leading Russiagate conspiracy theorist calls this "Death by algorithm" -- to a propagandist, dissent from orthodoxy is "Death" indeed: https://t.co/dFa8B815js— Aaron Maté (@aaronjmate) April 27, 2019
Actually, the entire premise of Maddow’s outrage is highly suspect. The Washington Post report quietly notes that the RT video in question has accumulated “only about 55,000 views,” and that the interview was by far from the most recommended Mueller-related video. “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert” was recommended more than five million times, WaPo reported, while other channels, such as Fox and PBS NewsHour, received hundreds of thousands of recommendations for their Russiagate videos.
To make matters even less scary, YouTube disputed the article’s core claims, which were originally made by media watchdog group AlgoTransparency. YouTube said it could not reproduce the group’s data allegedly showing that the RT video had been recommended hundreds of thousands of times by the site’s algorithm.
In fact, the Washington Post story was so shaky that it had to issue a clickbait-deflating correction: An earlier version of their report had erroneously claimed that YouTube had recommended RT’s take on the Mueller report more often than other networks’ programming.
WaPo runs with this fabricated imperial xenophobia — all while contradicting and correcting its own claims! Clearly WaPo's only problem here is that this RT broadcast — between two American journalists — simply exists and can be viewed on YouTube. https://t.co/BcvFjZge5bpic.twitter.com/yyG3ok5BPn— Yasha Levine (@yashalevine) April 26, 2019
As Blumenthal observed, the WaPo story appears to be yet another tired attempt to shame anyone who doesn’t regurgitate narratives promoted by US corporate media.
The real problems with the @aaronjmate interview are identified in the body of the article:1. It contains content that offends professional Cold Warriors and Russiagate hustlers2. It was not published by a "verified" (read: US-approved corporate or mainstream) news source pic.twitter.com/Sn87ZUUvkZ— Max Blumenthal (@MaxBlumenthal) April 26, 2019
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