Thursday’s Google Doodle – that creative graphic that appears on the search engine giant’s home page – features Yuri Kochiyama, a Japanese-American activist whom, Google would have us believe, is worthy of admiration and recognition. Kochiyama, to say the least, is a bit of a controversial figure. So controversial in fact, that even The Washington Post‘s online headline blared, “Google commemorates a very controversial civil-rights figure, Yuri Kochiyama.”
Over at Vox.com – not a bastion of conservative or right-of-center thought – a headline noted:
“Yuri Kochiyama, today’s Google Doodle, fought for civil rights — and praised Osama bin Laden”
Yes, you read that correctly. Google is honoring an activist who praised Osama bin Laden, the terrorist who led al Qaeda to conspire and carry out the 9/11 attacks which, in turn, led to the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 and a massive manhunt that ultimately ended in the terrorist leader’s death on May 2, 2011.
Kochiyama’s praise for bin Laden came after the terrorist attacks – not before the attacks when one could dismiss bin Laden as an anti-Soviet fighter. According to Vox, Kochiyama praised the terror leader in a 2003 interview, saying:
“I’m glad that you are curious why I consider Osama bin Laden as one of the people that I admire. To me, he is in the category of Malcolm X, Che Guevara, Patrice Lumumba, Fidel Castro, all leaders that I admire. They had much in common. Besides being strong leaders who brought consciousness to their people, they all had severe dislike for the US government and those who held power in the US.”
Remarkably, Kochiyama also believed that the CIA or FBI was responsible for the assassination of the controversial civil rights leader Malcom X.
All of this comes on the heels of the news that Facebook routinely censored trending stories about conservative causes or politicians when deciding what to feature in its “Trending News” feature on user’s feed pages.
How should conservatives react to the promotion of anti-American individuals at Google (Alphabet) or the anti-conservative bias at Facebook? One thing is for sure: They shouldn’t imitate the Left and demand that the organizations face some sort of government investigation of their actions. Both Facebook and Google are private companies (albeit publicly traded) and they are – shock – totally free to censor, manipulate, promote, or hide whatever information they want.
Free speech is free speech and it doesn’t entitle you to have a private company give your message a fair hearing; it does entitle you and private companies the freedom to use your respective platforms without government interference.
Should conservatives express frustration when Silicon Valley decides to use its clout to promote not just a liberal agenda but an anti-America agenda? Yes, and conservatives can find new platforms – or invent their own – from which to preach. But it is impossible to be both for limited government and call for the censorship or investigation of private companies just because they disagree with your political views.