A real double standard
Many Americans are aware that Congress writes laws for the rest of us but often excludes itself as an institution and themselves as individuals from having to comply. The same goes for what is deemed politically correct.
Imagine how a member of Congress, Republican or Democrat, would reply if you demanded to know how many members of the LGBTQ+ community work on Capitol Hill. You would be accused of bigotry and reminded there are rules, written and unwritten, about discriminating against people on the basis of sexual preference.
How about asking a U.S. senator or representative how many of his or her campaign donors are African-Americans? Same reaction, we’d bet.
But it is perfectly all right, at least in the minds of some lawmakers, to ask Facebook CEO Mark Zuckberg such questions – then act shocked when he can’t provide answers.
Zuckerberg testified before the House Financial Services Committee a few days ago. He was supposed to be there to answer questions about his company’s proposal to create a new kind of cryptocurrency.
Reps. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., and Al Green, D-Texas, had something else in mind.
“Are there any members of the LGBTQ+ community associated with this (Facebook) association?” Green demanded to know.
Zuckerberg admitted he did not know the answer. Green and Waters leaped to the attack, accusing Zuckerberg of not promoting diversity adequately.
Then Rep. Joyce Beatty, D-Ohio, told Zuckerberg he had “ruined the lives of many people, discriminated against them. Do you know what percentage of African-Americans are on Facebook, in comparison to majority folks?”
Zuckerberg gave the reasonable answer that he didn’t know, because Facebook doesn’t ask users for racial information.
One can only wonder how vicious the attacks would have been had Zuckerberg said he did have information on LGBTQ+ employees and African-American users of Facebook.
It got better, or worse, depending on your point of view.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., lambasted Zuckerburg for permitting allegedly misleading advertisements to appear on Facebook. The social media site “is actively helping Trump spread lies and misinformation,” Ocasio-Cortez complained.
Yes, you read that correctly: A politician accused someone else of spreading lies and misinformation. Never mind that Ocasio-Cortez’s reputation for veracity is blemished. She recently cited “$21T in Pentagon accounting errors. Medicare for All costs (about) $32T. That means 66% of Medicare for All could have been funded already by the Pentagon.” Politifact checked her on that, reporting it simply isn’t true.
Or how about her claim that one Democrat candidate for Congress “was outspent 5-1” by a Republican rival? Also not true.
Zuckerberg and Facebook are far from flawless. But in this situation, you be the judge: Who comes out looking better? Zuckerberg or the politicians?
No wonder some Americans view federal government as a swamp.