A few days ago the New York Times released a piece titled “The Making of a YouTube Radical.”
This interactive article opens up with the sentences ‘Caleb Cain was a college dropout looking for direction’ and ‘He turned to YouTube’ overlaying various images. These images include such personalities as Ben Shapiro, Dave Rubin, Philip DeFranco, Alex Jones, and… and friggin’ The Big Man TyroneA few days ago the New York Times released a piece titled “The Making of a YouTube Radical.”
This interactive article opens up with the sentences ‘Caleb Cain was a college dropout looking for direction’ and ‘He turned to YouTube’ overlaying various images. These images include such personalities as Ben Shapiro, Dave Rubin, Philip DeFranco, Alex Jones, and… and friggin’ The Big Man Tyrone.
Seeing Tyrone included in the radical side of YouTube is so funny I laughed so hard I nearly fell out of my chair. Tyrone is more or less a meme creator who can be paid to create videos where he says what you want him to say, as YourMovieSucksDotOrg got him to do for a video about the ‘Top Ten Movies of 1996.’
The biggest reason Tyrone is included here is likely his sale of ‘Kekistani’ themed shirts. Kekistan is a parody of political movements that are obsessed with race. It is literally a meme created to MOCK the idea of a white ethnostate… that doesn’t sound particularly radical to me. People who unironically believe in the establishment of a racial ethnostate absolutely deserve to be mocked in this way. Tyrone isn’t supporting a white ethnostate by any means. Tyrone isn’t even white.
When it comes to the other people included, Philip DeFranco and Dave Rubin are both liberals. Philip DeFranco runs one of the best news shows on YouTube that puts sites like the New York Times to shame. DeFranco has spoken out against right wing extremism and for his liberal beliefs many times. Insinuating he of all people belongs to some sort of radical right wing culture is absolutely ludicrous. Dave Rubin is a married gay man who considers himself a ‘Classical Liberal.’ He may not entirely agree with modern left wing thought but the guy is nowhere near casting his 2020 vote for Donald Trump. The entire point of his show is to have people from different political spheres on his show to discuss why they believe what they believe. Has this allowed some controversial figures to be on his show? Yes. Does he somehow only provide a platform for the right wing? No. Both Rubin and Shapiro have given 2020 democratic candidate Andrew Yang a platform, while extending the invitation to other democratic candidates.
While on the subject of Ben Shapiro, let it be said once again that he was the most popular target of the alt-right in 2016. He has received threats from both sides of the political aisle. This is the guy who spoke out against Charlottesville, was the biggest figure of the #NeverTrump movement, and the most mainstream voice of conservatism in the US. He is not even close to being a radical.
The article goes on to talk about how Caleb Cain was “pulled into a far-right universe… filled with conspiracy theories, misogyny, and racism.”
Are there people who push bad ideas on YouTube? Yes. Most of these creators are not those people. Caleb Cain talks about receiving death threats from right-wing radicals. Throughout the article, the writer talks about directionless white men being seduced by a YouTube algorithm leading them to bigoted personalities. This article coming in the wake of the recent #VoxAdpocalypse comes as no surprise.
This entire article suggests that simply watching right-wing content will brainwash someone, as if this thought doesn’t also make the inverse true. Yes, I agree that it is unhealthy to consume the content of just one side of the argument. The New York Times doesn’t think of the possible ramifications of one only watching content from CNN, Buzzfeed, the Young Turks, and more. They act as if there aren’t conspiracy theories and bad ideas anywhere near that side. Forget about the Young Turks Armenian genocide denial or CNN’s insistence of using language such as “house negro” to describe African American people whom they disagree with. Forget about radical Antifa members, social Darwinists, or others radicalized by more left-wing schools of thought. The monsters only hide on one side of the political aisle as far as the New York Times are concerned.
I recommend reading the full piece for yourself and thinking about it critically. Think about any kind of content you consume critically. How I see it, the reason this article was published now is to further justify the censorship occurring on YouTube. YouTube will become stricter and stricter on guidelines and content even a little edgy will not survive. As long as we demonize people who thinking differently, these people will be pushed closer and closer to the extremes that we fear on both sides.