Correction: An earlier version of this article reported The New York Times allowed Hitler to write an op-ed. The “op-ed” was actually a collection of excerpts from “Mein Kampf” and mean as a warning. The Daily Wire regrets the error.
During a recent speech, actor Sacha Baron Cohen skewered Facebook, claiming it and other tech giants were “the greatest propaganda machine in history.”
Cohen made the remarks during his speech accepting the International Leadership Award presented by the Anti-Defamation League at their Never Is Now summit on Thursday. Cohen focused much of his speech on Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, claiming the billionaire is one of the most damaging Jewish-Americans in America today.
“Under this twisted logic, if Facebook were around in the 1930s, it would have allowed Hitler to post 30-second ads on his ‘solution’ to the ‘Jewish problem,’” Cohen said. “So, here’s a good standard and practice: Facebook, start fact-checking political ads before you run them, stop micro-targeted lies immediately, and when the ads are false, give back the money and don’t publish them.”
The problem, of course, is that fact-checkers have proven themselves to be partisan and mostly left-leaning. And Cohen seems not to realize that every politician pushes the boundaries of truth in their political ads — and that has occurred since the dawn of political ads. Propaganda and misleading ads didn’t start when Facebook was founded, and the same people who are decrying the ads now didn’t seem to have a problem when these same ads were on television or the radio.
Even beyond that, Cohen’s claim that Facebook would have allowed Hitler to post a 30-second ad “on his ‘solution’ to the ‘Jewish problem,’” is a perfect example of exactly what Cohen was condemning.
Cohen insists Facebook would have helped Adolf Hitler, completely ignoring the fact that mainstream media outlets — such as The New York Times, which Cohen no doubt considers a truthful and worthy outlet — helped support Hitler in the early half of the 20th century.
A 1922 Times article suggested Hitler’s anti-Semitism wasn’t genuine and shouldn’t concern readers.
The Times has also recently allowed Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to publish opinion pieces for the newspaper.
And let’s not forget that TIME Magazine chose Hitler as its Person of the Year in 1938. The magazine gets away with such choices by saying the designation is not an honor or award but simply recognizes the person or group of people that have “done the most to influence the events of the year” whether that influence was good or not.
TIME has also named Joseph Stalin the person of the year twice. The outlet also gave Nikita Khrushchev and Ayatollah Khomeini the distinction. The magazine very nearly named Osama bin Laden the person of the year in 2001 and Hitler “Person of the Century.”
Cohen may be able to get away with his claim by saying Facebook’s reach is bigger now than the Times’ or TIME Magazine’s was back then, but at the time, they did have large reaches for that era. Yes, Facebook may have given Hitler a platform back then (though the tech giant has banned certain people from the website, like Alex Jones and Louis Farrakhan), Cohen ignored the fact that major media outlets of the era also provided Hitler a platform.