Some 46 Conservative parliamentarians have called on the Prime Minister to intervene against the ongoing advertiser “boycott” of media outlets. This is a subject dear to Guido’s heart and wallet. There is a concerted campaign by some smart people on the left to defund right-of-centre media. It first of all requires the delegitimisation of right-of-centre publications (and now broadcasters). This is why you hear the like of Owen Jones repeatedly describing the Spectator and Guido as “far right”. They cherry pick a provocative article, or below the line comment, or the late night ramblings of one presenter to paint the overall output as unacceptable and, crucially, dangerous for the brands of advertisers. They also try to frame the content as “disinformation”.
It works; Toby Young’s Daily Sceptic and the Conservative Woman website are defunded of advertising. Google, which dominates automated programmatic advertising, has effectively blacklisted their content – primarily for airing dissident views over Covid measures. Whatever your view of their content, this is unhealthy for democracy. During the pandemic, Guido’s YouTube account was locked by the algorithm when we featured content from Nadhim Zahawi – who was at the time the vaccines minister. Ditto when we featured an interview with Donald Trump by Nigel Farage where Trump disputed the presidential election outcome. Twitter deplatformed the New York Post during that same presidential election for breaking the story about Hunter Biden’s laptop. It was alleged – falsely – that it was a Russian intelligence operation. Hunter is now facing related charges evidenced by content found on the laptop. It can’t be good for democracy to have tech platforms censoring content in response to political pressure.