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Google Says It ‘Mistakenly Disapproved’ A Conservative Think Tank’s Video About Climate Change

  • Google said it mistakenly disapproved a video advertisement about radical climate-change ideals by Capital Research Center.
  • “This ad was mistakenly disapproved because it linked to an article about the terrorist Ted Kacyzinski,” a Google spokesperson told the Daily Caller News Foundation.
  • CRC President Scott Walter told the DCNF that a Google representative originally told him a video that is critical of “any person” gets disapproved by Google, even — in this case – the Unabomber. 

Google said it “mistakenly disapproved” a video advertisement about radical climate-change ideology by Capital Research Center (CRC), a conservative think tank.

CRC President Scott Walter told the Daily Caller News Foundation that on Oct. 3, Google disapproved CRC’s request for its video, uploaded Sept. 23, to be advertised on the platform.

Google initially labeled the video titled “How Far Should We Go To Stop Climate Change?” as “disapproved” for “dangerous or derogatory content” because of a link attached to the video that leads to a CRC article criticizing Ted Kaczynski, or the “Unabomber” who killed three people and injured 23 others.

CRC eventually decided to remove its article link from the video so it could be advertised. Google told the DCNF the video was “mistakenly disapproved” as an advertisement because of the Unabomber link.

“This ad was mistakenly disapproved because it linked to an article about the terrorist Ted Kacyzinski. The ad is now approved, and an ad using the same video but linking to a different site has been running for several weeks without issue,” a Google spokesperson said in a statement.

Google defines “dangerous or derogatory content” as content that incites hatred against, promotes discrimination of, disparages, harasses, intimidates, bullies, threatens, exploits or advocates for physical or mental harm of certain individuals or groups of people, according to its advertisement policies.

Content that falls under the “physical or mental harm” category includes videos “made by or in support of terrorist groups, or content that promotes terrorist acts, including recruitment, or that celebrates terrorist attacks.”

While the article linked to the CRC video is critical of Kaczynski’s ideals, it states, “Kaczynski is many unpleasant things, but insane isn’t one of them.” It adds, however, that radical climate activists like Kaczynski “preach non-violence, but their mostly identical desire to vandalize and ultimately obliterate the global economy is no less sincere.”

The video also mentions the Unabomber, though Google did not take issue with what was said in the video.

“The Unabomber Ted Kaczynski argued that industry is destroying humanity and only a return to a pre-industrial state of nature will save us. Today’s activists aren’t mailing bombs the way Kaczynski did, but they seem to believe the same far-fetched idea,” the video states.

After requesting that Google review its decision to disapprove of the video, CRC’s video producer, Jake Klein, spoke with a Google representative who said Google objected to the linked article’s use of the term “eco-radical” and its criticism of Kaczynski.

The Google representative specifically pointed out the “eco-radicals” phrase and a summary description of the article during the phone call.

“The word that is ‘eco radicals’ … plus an image on the landing page which has a sub-headline that says, ‘Industrial capitalism is destroying humanity,’ and that ‘only a return to a pre-industrial state will save us.’ This content has been highlighted as the reason for [the ‘dangerous’ label],” the spokesperson explained.

“So it’s not the video itself. It’s the article it links to and the summary section [of that article]. … That’s the part that is the problem?” Klein asked.

The representative confirmed that the article was the reason behind Google’s label and added that “any person that you’re criticizing would be falling under this category — any person — even if it’s about a criminal or something like that.”

“So, even if they’re a serial killer, we can’t criticize their views. That’s your position?” Klein asked, which the representative confirmed.

Google’s history of advertisements, however, appears to confirm that advertisements can be critical of “any person,” even if that person is “a criminal or something.”

“It’s not exactly a consistent policy,” Walter told the DCNF. “You certainly can advertise criticisms [of people] on YouTube.”

Google has taken over $2.5 million in ad dollars from Priorities USA Action & Senate Majority PAC (SMP) to attack various GOP candidates. While several video ads by Priorities USA Actions & SMP were also taken down by Google, one ad attacking Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley is still up and running.

“Josh Hawley works so little, he got caught buying wine and working out in the middle of the day,” the ad begins. “Records show he’s only scheduled to work a few hours a week. His office was even fined by a judge for failing to do its job. Politician Josh Hawley only cares about himself, but we get stuck with the bill.”

In an attempt to see if any other nonprofit companies published advertisements with linked articles that were critical of people, CRC created a new Google profile under the identity of a 60-year-old woman who visited the websites of 2020 Democratic presidential candidates Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. She also searched the term “climate justice” in her YouTube search bar.

By using this profile, CRC discovered an advertisement that linked to a POLITICO article about how the left-leaning immigration group America’s Voice is pressuring conservative donor Fred Stanbeck not to send money to right-leaning immigration groups.

He also added that “of course,” criticisms of Republicans or Republican ideals should not be censored, either, just as criticisms of left-leaning “eco-radicals” should not be censored.

He also said YouTube automatically adds the Wikipedia definition of climate change beneath every video even slightly related to climate change.

“Global warming is the long-term rise in the average temperature of the Earth’s climate system. It is a major aspect of current climate change, and has been demonstrated by direct temperature measurements and by measurements of various effects of the warming,” the Wikipedia definition reads.

Walter said CRC has “certainly” had other occasional issues with getting video advertisements published on YouTube.

“They’ll put it in restricted format, or they won’t let us advertise a video because it had … violence in it. We had a video on Antifa, and we showed violent Antifa stuff, and that was a problem. Another time, we showed someone being criticized by the left, and we included Twitter screenshots of those criticisms against this person from the left, and that’s bad language even though they were only screenshots, not actual language being spoken in the video,” he explained.

“In some of those cases, if we took it to a journalist at Fox News or something, five or ten minutes later, the problem disappeared,” Walter added.

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