WOOF! Watchdogs of Our Freedom

Zuckerberg, Facebook, and Fate

In "The Media are the Massage" forum on September 17, 2018 at 1:16 pm

Lionized and feted for decades by every media outlet and establishment personality worth cultivating, Mark Zuckerberg is suddenly on the skids. His spectacular decline surprised us in the WOOF cave. The young tycoon seemed destined to expand his global pursuits, enhance his wealth limitlessly, and age serenely into liberal sainthood, wherefrom he would occasionally favor admirers with an enlightened insight or two, appear now and again to confer benedictions (and substantial cash endowments) upon worthy young activists, and generally remain annoying well into in his dotage.

Zuckerberg’s conventional Ivy-League liberalism made his conformity to elitist mores effortless. Beyond that, his knack for fitting the relevant beau gest to the trendiest social issue, or showering millions of dollars upon whichever starving, uneducated, oppressed, or similarly afflicted group seemed most underprivileged during a particular news cycle, solidified his credentials. He knew, in other words, how to play the game, and he played it better than the average establishment bootlick because unexamined, sophomoric liberalism was one of the few attributes Mark Zuckerberg never needed to fake.

Learning the game….

Wall Street barons, “obscene profiteers,” and corporate bigwigs denounced routinely by thundering Leftists are almost without exception those who haven’t played the game, or haven’t played it well enough. The intuitively satisfying but factually absurd notion that all big-money scalawags are Republican results largely from the media’s reluctance to disparage—or even acknowledge–any blood-sucking capitalist pig smart enough to fund progressive causes and babble the requisite shibboleths. Fat cat capitalists wishing to retain the affection of the liberal establishment long ago realized that redistributing their own wealth (in politically correct and tax-deductible ways) without waiting for a totalitarian state to redistribute it for them, was the key to immunity. Like Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, Ben and Jerry, and every ridiculously wealthy celebrity in Hollywood, Zuckerberg played the game with an almost instinctual acumen. Was he not declared “person of the year” by Time in 2010? Was his name not widely circulated by Democrat strategists as a presidential contender in 2020? And hadn’t mainstream news anchors reacted to such speculation like jiggled bobble-dolls?

Immunized by The Game

The kindness of our hearts

Yes, those were heady times by even Zuckerberg’s standards, but times now rinsed down the memory hole by America’s mavens of misinformation. Suddenly, Mark Zuckerberg finds himself portrayed as an anathema to the people—a pariah so detestable that declaring him an “enemy of the state” seems entirely condign—except that Trump’s appropriation of the phrase rendered it radioactive to liberals.

What antic twist of fate swept Zuckerberg from his vertiginous pedestal? The liberal media will not provide an answer. Doing so would require a review of the timeline, whereas applied lacunar amnesia (a favorite media tactic) prohibits any recollection of the CEO’s previous good standing. In other words, Zuckerberg is currently portrayed by the establishment as a churl who was always a churl, and never anything but a churl. All evidence to the contrary is irretrievable–down the hole. Obviously, then, it falls to WOOF to analyze Mr. Zuckerberg’s riches-to-ridicule collapse; but we are generous by nature, beloved readers—we will not only undertake the analysis but also–solely out of the kindness of our hearts—end this screed by suggesting a way for Mr. Zuckerberg to recapture his former standing…sort of like the surprise at the bottom of a Cracker Jacks box.

Don’t worry, Zuck–help is on the way!

The most fundamental thing…

In March of 2018, Mark Zuckerberg gave an interview to BBC television during which he repeatedly assured viewers that Facebook would never sell any information derived from its users. Fresh-faced, boyish, and brimming with trustworthiness, the earnest CEO went to great lengths underscoring the sacred obligation he felt to protect every user’s information, insisting “This is their information—they own it!” And because “Zuck” was the Left’s most conspicuous superstar (besides Oprah) in the wake of Obama’s inglorious eight years, liberal journalists simply wrote down his remarks and reported them without a thought given their veracity.  When accusations piled up from the FCC, members of Congress, and a cluster of privacy groups, Zuckerberg doubled down, maintaining the  countenance of an angel as he averred, “We do not allow the applications to share personal information, plus, the advertisers can’t have access to it [and] if application runners share it with the advertisers, we disable their functioning on our website, we shut them down. We make sure that people have control over their privacy and it will become the most fundamental thing on the internet.”

Proving there’s fundamental, and then there’s horses’ fundaments.

Media talkers repeated the CEO’s remarks uncritically. After all, if “Zuck” was lying through his teeth, it was no more newsworthy than Obama lying through his, or Hillary or Loretta Lynch, or Susan Rice, or—well, when liars enjoy the establishment’s favor, the trick is simply to  “report” the words verbatim, and call it “the news.”

The Winklevoss Twins–guess how their mom tells them apart!

Of course, Zuck’s difficulties began long before 2016, but the youthful entrepreneur finessed them effortlessly. Early on, critics accused him of building a simple knockoff of his university’s social network, Harvardconnectins.com.  Compounding the issue, the Winklevoss twins (creators of the Harvard site and erstwhile collaborators with Zuckerberg), filed suit claiming Zuck sabotaged their project, made off with their design, and awarded himself sole credit for its development. No big deal, Zuck prevailed and prospered despite the Winklevoss annoyance and a variety of similarly Lilliputian assaults. When an unflattering biopic came to theaters, Zuckerberg upstaged it by appearing on Oprah to announce unprecedented charitable contributions, while complaining to journalists that the filmmakers “just kind of made up a bunch of stuff that I found kind of hurtful.”

Young Mark Zuckerberg, expressing his pain.

Rumblings on the right

Sure, Zuck had problems with conservatives from the beginning, but these amounted to pinpricks. All the truly important people reminded the sultan of social networking that conservatives complain about all sorts of media ad nauseum. Complaints kept coming, nevertheless.

Posts like this one from Gatewaypundit typify conservatives’ paranoid reactions to Facebook’s efforts to thwart fake news and biased commentary!

Brian Amerige , former Facebook technology wiz, called Zuck’s enterprise “a political monoculture that’s intolerant of different views.” But it was the rogues all along!

In May 2016, a former employee accused Facebook of cutting conservative topics from its “trending bar.” On June 13, the outspoken anti-jihadist Pamela Geller found two of her pages deleted. Fox hosts Sean Hannity and Tucker Carlson, as well as the Gateway Pundit site, not to mention hosts of conservatives in private life, complained of similar censorship. The indefatigable Diamond and Silk raised a ruckus when their page was labeled “unsafe,” prompting Facebook to call the labeling “an enforcement error.”  Zuckerberg justified much of what the Right called censorship as Facebook’s effort to cut down on “fake news and conspiracy theories,” which Media Matters helpfully—if ironically–explained “are more prevalent in conservative circles than in others.” Even more hilariously, Zuck dealt with the sudden exodus of rogue employees exposing his censorship of conservatives by claiming that all censorship of conservatives was the work of rogue employees–most of whom seemed to have just quit. The rest, he promised, would be ferreted out and lectured sternly.

Attempting to further smooth the waters, Zuck hosted a meet-and-greet for a dozen influential conservatives, assuring them, “Donald Trump has more fans on Facebook than any other presidential candidate and Fox News drives more interactions on its Facebook page than any other news outlet in the world. It’s not even close.” True, no doubt, but also irrelevant.–the group’s overall concerns were never meaningfully addressed.

Censoring conservatives? Nobody in the mainstream could believe such nonsense.

But no amount of caviling from starboard could seriously threaten the CEO’s status with the in-crowd. That would require a starkly different event–and a frenzy so indiscriminate even a cosseted godlet like young Zuckerberg might be sucked into its vortex.

The New Inquisition

Repent!

Epidemiologists often observe the speed with which newly imposed bacilli devastate previously unexposed populations. Similarly, the Left succumbed to Russo-phobia—an affliction so novel to that culture, the outbreak remains uncontained to this day. It was Zuckerberg’s bad luck to be caught up, first in the delirium itself, but more significantly by the reaction it spawned.  And just as the plague inspired 14th Century Europe to purge itself of heretics and witches in hopes of placating God, so the Great Liberal Russo-phobia of 2016, (although almost entirely psychotic), inspired an inquest of similar intensity: the New Inquisition, with Robert Mueller in the role of Torquemada, the furious Clintons playing Ferdinand and Isabella, and the uniformly hysteric media as the Holy Office for the Propagation of the Faith.

“Nobody expects The Deep State… to lose an election!”

Zuckerberg’s downfall was occasioned by one of those desultory acts of egalitarianism that dot his career–but not the kind of egalitarianism liberals prefer– like granting the vote to illegal aliens, opening school lavatories to anyone inclined to drop in, or making college educations free for the asking–no, this time Zuckerberg exhibited the wrong kind of egalitarianism. It wasn’t the first time. For instance, he’d once taken a flukish notion to host a fundraiser for Chris Christie back in 2013, but when shrieks from the Left awakened him to his foolishness, he promptly shifted gears, hosting a still-bigger fundraiser for Corey Booker before flying to San Francisco to march in a timely Gay Pride parade.  The stench blew over quickly.

Sure! Almost definitely! So forget about Chris Christie–think about Utopia, and stuff! Right?

Who killed Mark Zuckerberg?  

But magnanimity was about to run dry. Once Team Hillary wrested the nomination from Bernie Sanders by—well—rigging the vote, an almost supernal calm swept over the establishment. The smugness was almost palpable. The elites had seen the future, and it wore a fuchsia Mao jacket and fell down a lot. But something went hideously wrong on the way to the West Wing.

Falling short of expectations….

Without warning, the very election process every liberal panjandrum including President Obama repeatedly touted as unbreachable by any means, and which the self-same panjandrums agreed only a raving ignoramus [read: Donald Trump] would dream of impugning on any basis, lurched incomprehensibly off course.  As of midnight, November 9th, 2016, it became obvious to all the panjandrums that the election process nobody could possibly rig had been riggedso rigged, in fact, that the wrong candidate won.

Armed with such starkly empirical evidence, the liberal panjandrums evolved in unison. They now chorused that presidential elections could not only be rigged, but were so easily rigged that almost anyone could rig one, adding that anyone clueless enough to dispute such an obvious fact was either a raving ignoramus [read: Donald Trump], or worse, duplicitous in rigging the election [read: Donald Trump]. Before long, the lacunar amnesiacs in mainstream media caught up, and the hunt for conspirators began. These events, seemingly absent any connection to Mark Zuckerberg, nonetheless presaged the tech titan’s discomfiture. Any hope of escape vanished once the Clintons, the media, and the leaderships of DOJ, the FBI, and the CIA, agreed on messaging.  The Russians did it!

The Zevon effect

As appalled by Clinton’s defeat as any other card-carrying progressive, Zuckerberg barely had time to blink before the Inquisition revealed irrefutable evidence of his involvement in the plot to usurp the throne. Suddenly the very news networks whose slobbering affinity Zuck always relied upon, united against him. They called him a menace to the democratic process. They accused him of shocking betrayals, none of which made sense objectively, but at CNN, MSNBC, and the dinosaur networks, objectivity was no object.

OMG, the man’s actually visited Moscow–all that’s missing is a dossier!

What on earth had Zuck done? Nothing he hadn’t done many times before in the normal course of helming his media monopoly, but now, everything was upside-down. Citizen Zuckerberg was charged with collusion. Worse, he was charged with colluding with Russians. Worse still, his collusion helped put Trump in the White House.           

Republicans!!”

Given the blizzard of calumnies, fakeries, nonsense, and false alarms mimicking news in our era, readers may be forgiven for failing to recall the precise nature of Zuckerberg’s offense. Soon, the media won’t be able to recall the details either, so allow us to supply specifics. Zuckerberg made information available to a data-mining organization called Cambridge Analytica. Less sophisticated readers may fail to immediately recognize the stark connection to Russian espionage, as well as the malicious and wanton destruction of the American electoral process, inherent in this revelation (no judgment). Any reasonable person might understandably request additional evidence—but unfortunately for Zuckerberg, it was quickly forthcoming. Cambridge Analytica (wait for it….) worked almost exclusively for Republicans.

Send the Envoy?

To be sure, Cambridge Analytica was a privately-held company, no different at first glance from myriad other firms specializing in data acquisition and analysis. It emerged in 2013 as an offshoot of its British parent company, SCL Group, tasked with serving the financially juicy American political market. In 2014 alone, it served clients in 44 American political races without a single complaint, but never mind! In the zany world of the New Russo-phobia, it only took a quick round of “six-degrees of separation,” and you were, as Warren Zevon once put it (albeit far less absurdly and much more entertainingly), “with the Russians too!”

When Zuckerberg helped Barack Obama’s campaign mine information in 2008, the operation was deemed praiseworthy. Steve Bannon, who is right almost as often as he isn’t, put it succinctly: “In 2008, it was Google and Facebook that went to Barack Obama and met him at San Francisco airport and told him all about the power of this personal data. Yet, the great opposition party — media — never went after the Obama campaign, never went after the progressive left as they’ve been doing this for years.”

Oddly, no one minded a bit when Zuck taught Obama the fine points of political data mining–it was as though Edison and Ford simple brainstormed a bit and everyone benefited!

Actually, Barack found even his cell phone baffling, but he was never short of tech support!

Götterdämmerung!

Indeed, Obama’s savvy, 21st century manipulation of cyberspace was gushed over by media pundits professing awe at their hero’s techy sophistication. In other words, the campaign’s use of data mining was depicted as genius—sheer genius.  But eight years later, on some freakishly bipartisan whim, Zuckerberg saw fit to allow Cambridge Analytica  similar access during the 2016 election, (probably for no reason more complicated than the soundness of their coin) but these people worked for Trump.  And nobody would have minded that either, had not vast armies of supremely confident pollsters, politicians, financiers, academicians, and media hacks, awakened on November 9th  to confront Götterdämmerung. Despite all predictions, the clownish boor from Queens somehow defeated the smartest woman in human history. And since that was known to be impossible, Trump obviously stole the election, and since Trump was too stupid to steal the election, it must have been the Russians!

At this point, every factoid, rumor, video byte, or moribund quotation that could be unearthed and weaponized (sorry), in hopes of destroying the president elect was reported as “news” by every reputable (meaning other than Fox) network, newspaper, whispering NPR sophisticate, and late-night comedian.

Breaking news!

As if it weren’t bad enough that Cambridge focused on Republican candidacies (obvious Russian surrogates or “fellow travelers,” as Joe McCarthy used to say in a more enlightened era), the bearers of breaking-news were soon gasping (with that amazing synchrony typical of mainstream reportage), that Steve Bannon founded the company! Of course, that would mean Bannon founded it three years before Trump ran for office, and okay, he didn’t exactly found it, but he was listed on the board, and hadn’t that very same board once received a letter from Rudy Giuliani? Yes! The Washington Post quoted one of its burgeoning population of unnamed sources to the effect that Giuliani’s letter was all about “the participation of Cambridge Analytica,…a foreign corporation…in connection with United States elections for federal, state and local government office.”  Okay, the Post didn’t have the letter, exactly, or even a copy, but they definitely had a source who said he knew someone who’d seen it!

“And some of our new unnamed sources will live on Mars by 2050–and be AI entities, and wear Patagonia jackets!” (The WaPo marches on!)

FILE PHOTO: Steve Bannon creates Cambridge Analytica

Once the fantasy that Bannon conjured Cambridge Analytica during a Black Mass wore thin, the lacunar amnesiacs effortlessly shifted to a new scoop (with that amazing synchrony typical of mainstream reportage). The new scoop correctly identified British subject Alexander Nix as the actual top dog at CA, but before anyone could say “so what?” videos serendipitously emerged featuring Nix blathering about hiring prostitutes to carry out sting operations, and insisting his company “ran all of (Donald Trump’s) digital campaign.” Perhaps so, but it provided almost identical services to Ted Cruz, whose campaign strove to defeat Trump and seize the nomination. Media  commentators ignored such discrepancies, fixating instead on Nix’s use of the words “prostitute,” “sting operation,” and “Donald Trump” in a single sentence. To them, this clearly indicated Nix’s (and therefore Cambridge Analytica’s) connection to Trump’s ensnarement in the Russian honey-trap operation detailed in the infamous “golden showers dossier,” which was everywhere regarded as bombshell news at the time. Then as now, the  dossier’s manifest fraudulence did nothing to reduce the media’s enthusiasm for publicizing it, all the while substituting euphemisms like “yet to be fully authenticated” or “never fully disproven” for the more exact term, “fake.”

Torquemada had his rough days, too!

Robert Mueller ostentatiously demanded a list of Cambridge Analytica’s foreign associations, but just as quickly dropped the subject—probably because the list revealed operations in Kenya, Mexico, and Malta—with Russia conspicuous by its absence. Meanwhile, Time reported Congress was investigating CA “in connection with Russian attempts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election,” boldly concluding: “the firm may have coordinated the spread of Russian propaganda.” (Read: “Then again, it may not have, but we don’t care.”)

Unwilling to let Cambridge Analytica off the hook while the media remained adamantly accusatory, Mueller next issued a demand to review all emails sent or received by all the company’s employees who at any point worked on the Trump project, justifying the mass invasion of privacy as necessary to the furtherance of his “investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 elections.” Naturally, Mueller’s demands were headlined with the same panting anticipation accorded each of his investigatory miscues, but no subsequent headlines emerged, meaning nothing pertinent to the story got leaked—meaning, of course,  that nothing even implicitly incriminating was found.

A less sustainable Hiss…

The Left gave Alger the benefit of the doubt long after all doubt had vanished–poor Zuck got nothing but grief–and unlike Hiss, he didn’t even mean to do anything!

And poor Mark Zuckerberg! As if by some cruel whim of the furies, the uber-liberal formerly favored to challenge and unseat Trump in 2020 found himself recast as a modern-day Alger Hiss—except that Hiss was guilty, and except, of course, that Hiss enjoyed the full-throated support of American liberals. It’s not that Zuckerberg hadn’t lied, covered up, excused, or boyishly dissembled scores of more deliberate and far nastier misdeeds over the decades—it just never mattered. Like Hiss before him, the youthful CEO’s status as a progressive wunderkind immunized him against every grievance. But no more! The billionaire’s longstanding writ of fiscal immunity was now also revoked. This meant Zuckerberg was not only culpable of helping Russia manipulate election results—which was suddenly bad–he was also fair game as a heartless fat-cat capitalist pig motivated entirely by greed, which was very very bad!.

Yes, billions! And mostly in rubles, probably! 

Facebook itself was suddenly targeted by legions of former supporters, many of them high-profile liberals with considerable influence—the kind of influence Zuckerberg always relied on to mute his critics and extol his virtues. But now he was the Bizarro Alger Hiss, a traitor, who—for reasons no rational person could presume to identify—sold out to Putin and robbed Hillary of her throne.

Seriously?!

Shady pro-Kremlin Russian propaganda!

Robert Mueller, ever shark-like in his knack for sensing wounded quarry, announced that Facebook was “now a central focus of the Justice Department probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election.” Laughable in the extreme, of course, not to say shamelessly fantastic–but suddenly headline news echoed by flabbergasted news anchors across the land. Bloomberg chimed in immediately, reporting that Mueller’s team would be “seeking additional evidence of Facebook’s role in spreading propaganda and fake-news stories.” The next news cycle was barely underway before the special counsel subpoenaed Facebook’s records and pronounced himself aghast by the discovery that Facebook sold “about $100,000 worth of ads” to what Bloomberg rushed to denounce as “a shady pro-Kremlin Russian propaganda company seeking to target U.S. voters” (Yes, they were trying to say, “Cambridge Analytica,” but the oft-confirmed absence of any evidence supporting Bloomberg’s or Muellers’s charges made naming the company too dangerous. After all, even the  staunchest defenders of democracy and our sacred individual franchise prefer to avoid liable suits.) Too, nobody bothered to mention that “about $100,000 worth of ads” was barely lunch money by Facebook standards, which also meant no one was required to explain how Russia orchestrated the biggest intelligence coup since the Rosenbergs handed Moscow the A-bomb –and pulled it all off for chump-change.

In fact, Mueller’s sleuths hadn’t unearthed anything at all. The story was old news, having first surfaced when Zuckerberg was still golden, meaning he had only to assure reporters the charges were “pretty crazy,” and wake up next day to find his dismissal accorded all the solemnity of a Supreme Court ruling.

But that was then. Once Mueller’s crew blundered upon the long-dormant story and pretended they’d dragged it from some quivering informant, the networks dutifully pronounced themselves “shocked” and rebooted the chestnut as yet another “bombshell.” The Daily Beast howled that Kremlin infiltrators “using false identities to create Facebook events” had managed to “inflame partisan divisions over immigration and Islam.” Over immigration and Islam?! Why? Apparently because the last thing Putin wanted was a United States weakened by unchecked mass immigration, slashed defense budgets, higher taxation, chronic recession, a disarmed citizenry and  flourishing crime. Bloomberg added that “multiple agencies including the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the F.B.I. [were] racing to prevent future hacking…including potential threats to the 2018 midterm elections.” Obviously, then, any Republican midterm wins would suffice as evidence of continued Russian interference…and all because that rotter Mark Zuckerberg sold Hillary down the river!

The victim

Zuckerberg played the apology card. He didn’t like it much, but apologies never failed him when circumstances precluded options. He’d been wrong, he admitted, in saying Facebook was free of perfidious influences, but he was the victim. And Facebook, Zuck explained, was now awakened and on guard. It would no longer tolerate “advertisements for news outlets publishing misinformation.” [Savor the drollery, gentle readers.] Beyond that, publishers wishing to run ads would now be required to demonstrate an “authentic, established presence on Facebook” as well as proof that “they are who they represent themselves to be, and have had a profile or page on Facebook for at least one month.” And if all that seemed suspiciously irrelevant, Zuckerberg pledged to shut down all “inauthentic accounts” and any pages “believed to be operated out of Russia.” Believed? But there was still more! For extra measure, Facebook would no longer tolerate “fake news,” and Zuckerberg announced new technologies enabling his vigilant analysts to pounce instantly on fake accounts, online harassment, and “false amplifiers,” whatever those were. As adroitly crafted oratory, Zuck’s effort was nothing short of masterful. But in the era of the New Inquisition, it wasn’t enough.

The Wild, Wild West…

In an unprecedented move, CBS anchors took turns on 60 Minutes and elsewhere rehashing montages featuring every one of Zuck’s past apologies all the while making certain to shake their heads ruefully, pantomime disbelief, and even to inject the occasional, ironic chuckle, so craven was the deplorable Zuck.

60index

“You mean, you still don’t love me any more?”

On Capitol Hill, trashing Facebook became the latest bipartisan sport. But never mind those paranoid Republicans, the intelligence committee’s top Democrat, Senator Mark Warner, suddenly realized, “the whole notion of social media and how it is used in political campaigns is the wild, wild west.” Summoning enough quavering solemnity to beggar Dan Rather and Harry Reid combined, Warner added that Zuckerberg’s duplicity “in the immediate aftermath of our elections” raised the obvious question of “what he knew, and when he knew it.” Watergate, get it? Only now, Zuck was Nixon—a casting decision better suited to a skit performed in Bedlam.

At a certain point, Zuck just wanted to be sure there was a door leading out of there.

The Daily Beast, meanwhile, uncovered and exposed  “the political firewall in Washington” that for too long kept Facebook “ensconced in a halo.” Finally! But, lest anyone finger them–or any equally culpable parties–as components of the firewall, the Beast blamed Zuckerberg’s free ride on “consumer goodwill.” Take that, consumerism!

HUAWEI’s logo. Suggested new slogan: “At least we’re not Russians!”

Next, the New York Times blasted Facebook for sharing user data with device manufacturers, confuting Zuckerberg’s prior statements to journalists and congress made back when sharing data with device manufacturers was of no concern to the Left.  Confronted with a phalanx of reporters and politicians who only months before adored him, Zuckerberg glumly confirmed that one of the device makers was Huawei, a Chinese company, which the Times learned “many policymakers in DC think is too cozy with the Chinese government” (as if the Times could find a Chinese company that wasn’t).

Stories of Zuckerberg’s resignation, or impending resignation, flooded Twitter, blogs, and even Facebook pages, provoking an avalanche of speculation across all lines, Fox News and Drudge being no more inclined to salvage Zuckerberg than more recently anathematized outlets like MSNBC and NPR.  It was all fake news, however. Facebook’s board changed  its certificate of incorporation, limiting Zuck’s majority voting control to his term as a company executive—but stopped short of expelling him. Still, the writing was on the wall. Further changes forbade Zuckerberg passing his majority control to his descendants in the event of his death.  Zuck, in other words, remained CEO, but he no longer commanded the awe-smitten fealty of his minions.

The Vengeance of Zuck?

“Hi! I’m–like–Facebook’s global head of news partnerships, and I’m–like–here to revitalize journalism!”

By August, press reports exposed a new face of Facebook—more remindful of Ares than Hermes. Had Zuck been pushed too far? Under headlines like WORK WITH US OR DIE, news accounts claimed Facebook had resorted to strong-arming media firms into working with it. In Australia, Reporter Natasha Clark cited “five confirmed sources” claiming that Facebook’s “global head of news partnerships” harangued roomfuls of media moguls, warning them, “Mark Zuckerberg doesn’t care about publishers!”(Gulp!)  Luckily for the publishers, however, Facebook’s global head of news partnerships pronounced herself less unsympathetic. “We are not interested in talking to you about your traffic and referrals anymore,” declared the emissary, “That is the old world and there is no going back!”  But good news was at hand. Those willing to enter the new world with Mark Zuckerberg would prosper. “We will help you revitalize journalism,” quoth the emissary. As for those who remained obdurate?  “… in a few years…looks like I’ll be holding your hands with your dying business–like–in a hospice.”

Untrue and out of context!

And who was this Delphic authority?  Why, Campbell Brown, who, although far from the worst anchor in CNN history, saw her best effort, Campbell Brown: No Bias, No Bull, evaporate because nobody watched it. Granted, low viewership is not a reliable gauge of quality in the news-and-opinion game, but it hardly enhances the resume of a lady promising to “revitalize journalism.” Unsurprisingly, when reports of Brown’s methods burst into print, Facebook denounced them as “untrue and taken out of context.” Obviously, neither rebuttal could obtain without rendering the other invalid, but never mind—Facebook’s spring offensive crashed to a halt just as psychology, qua psychology, (always eager to meet the progressive standard, though habitually slow on the uptake), unleashed a fusillade of peer-reviewed warnings about the newly discovered dangers of —social media!

The medium is the (wrong) message!

As if conjointly inspired by some memo from the collective unconscious, psychologists everywhere rushed to warn the laity about social media, and specifically Facebook. To kick things off, Baroness Susan Greenfield of Oxford University–“one of Britain’s most eminent brain scientists”–declared children particularly at risk. Her data revealed loss of empathy and poor interpersonal communication skills associated with Facebook patronage. “What I predict is that people are going to be like three-year-olds: emotional, risk-taking, poor social skills, weak self-identity and short attention spans,” she warned.

Oxford’s Greenfield–“eminent brain scientist” and obvious clothes horse.

Don’t drink the cortisol!

If only he’d had a Facebook account!

Hadn’t it been only yesterday that Psychology Today asked, “Is there something wrong with people who don’t use Facebook?” Hadn’t a widely cited German study correlated mass murder with the absence of Facebook accounts in the lives of killers like James Holmes, and Norway’s record-breaking Behring Breivik, suggesting the resultant lack of human interaction “could be the first sign that you are a mass murderer…” But wait! Out of nowhere, learned clinicians like Eric Vanman, senior lecturer at the University of Queensland’s School of Psychology, began publishing peer-reviewed studies citing Facebook as a major cause of excessive levels of the hormone cortisol. And too much cortisol not only creates stress and anti-social behavior–it promotes obesity, impaired cognition, decreased thyroid function, and even cardiovascular disease. Vanman and his colleagues made no bones about the solution, stating in the Journal of Social Psychology that “Taking a Facebook break for just 5 days reduces a person’s level of the stress hormone cortisol.” Draw your own conclusions, people!  Facebook not only wouldn’t mollify potential mass murderers– it was practically creating them!

It’s for our children’s brains!

Additional betrayals hit closer to home. Tell-all books? Insider confessions? Diatribes from the fashionably disenchanted? Every establishment luminary knows such misfortunes erupt only on the political Right. But here was Sean Parker, the wiz kid most responsible for transforming Facebook from a collegian fad into a billion-dollar monolith, confessing his role in popularizing a social blight “designed specifically to exploit a vulnerability in human psychology resulting in nothing short of a public addiction!” Worse, in what could pass as an audition for a Mueller interview, Parks named his co-conspirators, including Zuckerberg, telling interviewers they “understood this consciously and…did it anyway,” adding, “God only knows what it’s doing to our children’s brains.”

spindex

“If we save just one child’s brain…”

Zuck Redux?

Poor Zuck—by now we’re feeling pretty sorry for him ourselves! So, in the spirit of Pandora, we decline to abandon this assemblage of glum tidings without appending a note of optimism. Can the Zuck regain his mojo? Despite the chorus of doomsayers, WOOF believes he can and will. And just in case you happen to peruse this screed, Mark, (perhaps in the process of deleting it from this or that Facebook page) we wish to offer some advice. We offer it freely, aware that in doing so we evoke the spirit of Machiavelli—whose name you probably recognize, being a Harvard man. We invite our learned readers to additionally view this evocation in the spirit of Strauss (Leo, not Johann) and Mansfield (Harvey, not Jayne), but you needn’t worry about that at all, Mark—just check out the following list of surefire solutions to your predicament!

Herewith, some advice to the Prince–in the spirit of Harvey, not Jayne!

____________________________________________________

Choose your enemy wisely!  Cease all counter attacks on the media immediately! Bad idea! You are understandably stung by the establishment’s treachery—but power-diving tactics of the sort Miss Brown employed in Australia will achieve only Pyrrhic victories. Your task is not to retaliate against the media, but rather to impel their renewed support. This is easily accomplished. Fortunately, a fresh burst of criticism erupted last week deploring your continued  suppression of conservative ideas, not only online, but also within your company, Increasingly, your associates and employees are going public about your hypocrisy in preaching diversity while—as one recently charged–maintaining a political “monoculture that is intolerant of different views.” This is marvelous luck. The media will initially report these complaints objectively in their eagerness to further sully your reputation, but they cannot do so for long without realizing they are advancing conservative arguments. At that point, they will hang a screeching one-eighty and return to broadcasting your PR bologna. Hasten this event!

Stop pretending to care about diversity! You’ve announced a new training protocol intended to teach employees respect for different political views. This is your typical application of faux repentance–one of your time-honored specialties, though much diminished by overuse. Let the media report this latest foray into affected contrition, and then drop the act. Instead, go on the offensive. Redouble your oppression! Mercilessly cut away conservative websites, delete pages offering right-of-center materials, and increase your efforts to demote, hamper, censor, or bowdlerize private pages that don’t serve Progressivism. You have nothing to fear. Your problem is not the Right; in fact, the more you abuse us, the more the establishment will defend you and the more accolades you will obtain from the media. They will not pause to recall bygone news cycles—believe us—it’s a simple matter of Pavlovian conditioning. Fit yourself to their template—use phrases like “abolishing hate speech,” “weeding out dog whistle racism,” and “neutralizing Russian interference.” The news talkers will salivate reflexively.

Stand up to Congress! Don’t grovel or equivocate in front of majority-led Republican committees–use a little Maoist lingual revisionism. Make semantical paradox your ally! For instance, play the Ayn Rand protagonist for the moment. (She was an author, by the way–you wouldn’t like her, but that’s not important now.) Remind congress you’re a free citizen answerable only to the free market. Say “free” as much as possible. Highlight their hypocrisy! Denounce their efforts to regulate private enterprise and nationalize your vision. Be sure your public relations people laud your courage under fire; advise anyone willing to speak on your behalf to say “the CEO is speaking truth to power” as often as possible. That one never gets old!

Name the enemy! Obviously, you can’t come out and say Facebook simply refuses to accommodate conservatives. Not yet, anyway. Instead, attack a straw man.  Luckily, the Left has already provided one. Make it all about battling “fascism.” Millennials have no idea what fascism is, but they equate it to anyone less socialist than Bernie Sanders. In fact, nowadays, even plenty of educated liberals believe it’s a synonym for conservatism. You didn’t debauch our language, Mark, but you can profit from the debauchery!

Exploit your monopoly! For the foreseeable future Facebook is the only game in town for anyone seeking the variety of services it provides. Never give away your power! If conservatives try to create alternatives, or libertarians switch to some other platform, let them go! Most will wander back as their efforts collapse from lack of financing, and stigmatization generated by the establishment’s informational hegemony. You are global. You cooperate with China. You cooperate with Islam. Why bother with a handful of neo-con cranks? Call them “Alt Right haters.” Let the media bludgeon them into insignificance as it reflexively rejoins your cause.

Make time your ally! Ignore the recent attacks from your liberal comrades. Sure, they sting, but trust us, they will melt away as your corporate brand increasingly correlates with Trump bashing, gun-grabbing, and a principled stand against right-wing (say “Alt Right”) bigotry and ignorance. Your salvation will come from the Left, Mark. Be sure to include an energetic purging of fundamentalist Christians opposed to LGBTQ-etc.-rights (cite hate speech), teamed with a seemingly paradoxical (but equally vital) defense of first-amendment rights for Muslim subscribers–no matter how noxiously radical. Stress Facebook’s unqualified support for women’s health issues (by which everyone will understand is meant infanticide), social justice (Sharia Law), open borders, and legitimate science (this last mandating removal of all content critical of global warming, Darwin, or the endless mutability of sexual identity). Strike without mercy, Mark!                                                       __________________________________________________

Follow these suggestions and let the proven inability of today’s media to retain anything in mind longer than it serves a specific propagandistic purpose resolve the rest. The establishment will take up your cause and declaim your integrity with greater enthusiasm than ever before. And it will take 90 days, tops.

[No need to thank us, Mark, and absolutely no need to remunerate us financially for salvaging your empire–we here at WOOF believe in the way of give, not get. But if you feel some sort of gesture is warranted, you might consider banning Watchdogs of Our Freedom in some particularly outspoken way—really hold us up to derision—spread it around we’re the worst of the worst. Granted, this may prove difficult since we’ve never had a Facebook account, but you could say we’re so despicable you decided to ban us prophylactically—you know, before we even had a chance to spread our reactionary Billingsgate over your medium.  A few words from you could really put us on the map! But don’t waste any time—we’ve already emailed Robert Mueller telling him we refuse to reveal what we know about peeing prostitutes and Russian collusion in general, and you don’t want to look like a Johnny-come-lately, right?

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  1. WOOFERS, what can I say, other than that your wood-chopping of the Zuckster is a tour de force! Spreading it around, and, ironically, on FB too. Alas, it is anyone’s guess how long it will remain alive and unBANNED!
    Adina Kutnicki, Israel

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you for the kind words, Adina–we always enjoy hearing from our favorite patriotic American/Lioness of Zion /journalistic goddess…and we appreciate the support! Speaking of irony, we have more Facebook shares of this particular article than any other in our archives–and we suspect some Kabbalah-style Adina magic may be contributory! As you probably noticed, we used your definitive book on this topic as our closing “splash,” because letting you have the last word on this topic seemed fitting, and besides, a whole bunch of people still need to buy a copy!—Your fans in the WOOF cave.

    Like

  3. In reviewing certain of your submissions on Reddit, I was offended to see your senior editor taken to task for his vocabulary and rather derisorily advised to “put down the thesaurus” (or words to that effect). I want to go on record as one who appreciates the love of language his writing, and WOOF’s writing in general, consistently demonstrates. I suppose–therefore–I qualify as part of “your audience,” so please continue writing for me, regardless of what certain Reddit mods have to say on such matters. That said, I wonder at the pluralization of panjandrum as “panjandrums.” Is this a bow to the unsophisticated reader who might be baffled by the more appropriate “panjandra?” Not indicative of a trend, I hope! .

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  4. Always pleasurable to hear from you, GG. Whereas we have often yielded to your lexicographical recommendations over the years, we feel obliged to resist this time, sticking rather to our use of “panjandrums.” The explanation is best given by Ian McCall in his book “All Youse That Want Pies, and Other Pieces,” in which the author correctly identifies “panjandrum” as “not of Latin derivation, but…the name given to the top man in a string of nonsense made up by Samuel Foote, an 18th century actor and wit. The plural of panjandrum is panjandrums and not panjandra as it might be if it were a word coming from Latin.”

    Granted, almost all dictionaries allow the Latinized plural as an option, but we contend they ought not to. Feel free to avail us of any alternative rationale we’ve overlooked. In the meantime, rest assured we would pass your kind words of support on to our Senior Editor, but so far none of us has summoned the guts to tell him what the above-referenced Reddit mod said, and if we did, he wouldn’t know what a Reddit mod is anyway! Best regards–Ed..

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  5. After lengthy investigation I confess I have no legitimate rejoinder to your enlightening defense of “panjandrums” and admit my error. As I would very much prefer to get back to pointing out the errors you WOOFers commit in your articles, or “screeds” as you prefer to call them–please publish something new for me to criticize, all right?. Also, why doesn’t my Samuel Johnson icon transfer to these comments? I look like a Minecraft character! As ever,– GG

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  6. Happy to have your non-rejoinder, G.G.. We will have something fresh for you to pick apart soon. Tech Elf Noah is away at college, thus we have no help to offer regarding cyber issues except to say that your commendable image of Dr. Johnson comes through just fine in your emails, but for some reason obviously eludes the WordPress system. But we think your assigned icon is rather soothing–don’t you? All turquoise and taupe–why not relax into it?

    What, by the way, is this “Minecraft” of which you speak? –Ed.

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  7. I like what you guys are up also. Such intelligent work and reporting! Carry on the excellent works guys I have incorporated you guys to my blogroll. I think it’ll improve the value of my website

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  8. We appreciate your kind words, Elfreda– and we are proud to be included in your blogroll. We would reciprocate, but on visiting your site we discovered it is written entirely in what our Chief Multicultural Elf (Bob) identified as Hindi, rendered in what he says is Devanagari script. This means that while we admire its elegance, we are unable to decipher its meaning. Elf Bob probably could, given time, but we don’t want to overwork him–he might start demanding a salary.

    Thus, without any immediate means of confirming that your blog is sufficiently right-of-center and provocatively extreme in all the properly reactionary ways we demand in a WOOF LINK, we must regretfully withhold its inclusion pending an opportunity to review an English-language version. In the meantime, thank you for acknowledging our “intelligent” and “excellent” work. You’d be surprised how often readers fail to notice! –cordially, Ed.

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