Live from Music Row Thursday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. – host Leahy welcomed guest host and Nashville Tea Party founder Ben Cunningham to the show.
During the second hour, Cunningham discussed how he personally and the Nashville Tea Party had been blocked on LinkedIn with no warnings or explanations and added that the same thing is happening to conservatives across other social media platforms.
Leahy: As we have done every day Monday through Friday throughout this pandemic we have shown up. And on the day or two that I haven’t been here the official guest host of The Tennessee Star Report, Ben Cunningham has been here manning the forts for us.
Cunningham: (Chuckles) Michael good morning. Good morning. Boy exciting times to live in.
Leahy: Is that the right word? (Laughs)
Cunningham: Well, everybody’s emotions are kind of like a wave. You’re just up and down and up and down
Cunningham: It really is. I mean, you know, can you trust the polls? I don’t think so.
Cunningham: I don’t think you can trust them anymore. They didn’t do 2016 right.
Leahy: I think this whole phenomenon they called about the shy Trump voter it’s greater this time because of the cancel culture. I think a lot of Trump voters are don’t want to answer a pollster on the phone.
Cunningham: Well, but like I said early voting in Sumner County yesterday, which is obviously Trump central and as any of the collar counties are around Nashville, the parking lot literally was it looked like Opry Mills on a Saturday afternoon. It was crazy.
Leahy: Now we were talking in the five o’clock hour with Doug Kellett about social media censorship of conservative outlets, news outlets, groups, etc. And when you think of social media, you think obviously of Facebook. they censor. They are censoring this New York Post story that’s very unfavorable towards Joe Biden. Twitter, they’re censoring it as well. But they are not the only left-wing liberal social media outlets that are censoring conservatives. LinkedIn, which is sort of the business connection group out there. Reid Hoffman I think founded it. A far lefty. I read Hoffman. I think the guy’s name founded it. A far lefty a billionaire
Cunningham: Owned by Microsoft.
Leahy: Owned by Microsoft now. You have a tale to tell about how they have basically censored the group you founded the Nashville Tea Party. Tell us that story.
Cunningham: Censored is not really quite the right word. Totally blocked without explanation is really a better term. (Leahy laughs) Totally blocked without explanation.
Leahy: Welcome to 1984/2020.
Cunningham: It’s even more Orwellian than that. I’ll get into it. We have always been on Facebook and Twitter and Instagram the national team already has. We’ve got about 200,000 followers on Facebook. We recently kind of put an emphasis on LinkedIn too at the beginning of the year. We started out with 10,000 followers approximately think was a little over 10,000.
Before this last block before would they just took us away like they have four times this year. They literally just took us off of their platform. No explanation. No warning. No nothing. They simply removed us from their platform. We’re into our seventh day right now of the current block. But basically what happens is I’ll log on well, let me go back. We had 10,000 followers. We have exploded, people on LinkedIn obviously love our site. We are now up to 40,000 users.
Leahy: On LinkedIn
Cunningham: On LinkedIn.
Leahy: But who wouldn’t love the Nashville Tea Party information.
Cunningham: Absolutely. We are very information-rich. We have the standard memes and everything but it’s good information. We link a lot of good articles. It’s mostly straight news and the response has been amazing. The last time I checked our 28-day organic reach which is means the number of times the posts were seen in 28 days was twelve point three million…
Leahy: Not bad.
Cunningham: on LinkedIn.
Leahy: So you caught their attention apparently.
Cunningham: Obviously people on the customers of LinkedIn enjoy our site. Well, we logged on seven days ago just like you know have every other morning and it was gone. But not only was the page for the Nashville Tea Party page gone but my personal account was blocked. And again, they feel no obligation to do anything.
The only thing we can do is log on to open up what’s called a tech support case. I couldn’t even do that this time because my personal account was blocked. They opened up one for me when I peeled through their Twitter help the tech support avenue where you do a direct message to their Twitter people. And even they, this is the part that is really Orwellian. There is what they call a ‘safety team.’ And doesn’t that sound pretty Orwellian?
Leahy: It sounds like the Mayor John Cooper welcoming committee on coronavirus advice (Cunningham laughs) to businesses in Nashville
Cunningham: This is the safety team. will who are you keeping safe? So the people that we contact through Twitter direct messaging, they act like they’re your friend. They say, okay, we’re going to advocate for you to the safety team. But the safety team is somewhere deep in LinkedIn. Nobody knows who they are. What they do. How they make these decisions.
And the four times we’ve been blocked, the safety team has been consulted and then all of a sudden nobody sends us a message and says your unblocked. Nobody sends us a message and say this is why we blocked you in the first place. This is why we don’t like you. That is never ever done. No transparency. No due process of any kind whatsoever. They are arrogant son of a guns. There is somebody somewhere that says okay we need to block these guys. We don’t like the content. They take you down. And then it’s up to you to grovel and beg and get back on the platform.
Leahy: Guilty until proven innocent.
Cunningham: Precisely. No transparency. No due process. And you were talking earlier about 230 the section 230 that gives them of
Leahy: The Communications Act in the 1990s.
Cunningham: That gives them this immunity. These people have absolutely no obligation whatsoever to tell you why they’re doing what they’re doing.
Leahy: Are you a customer? Do you pay for them? I mean are you do you have a free account or do you pay them?
Cuningham: I have had a paid account in the past? It’s free now. But we can do advertising but the fact is we have a page where 40,000 of their customers have signed on as followers. You would think that would get their attention.
Leahy: I think it has got their attention, Ben. I think they know who you are and they don’t like your message going to the 40,000 people.
Cunningham: And it’s the same way on Facebook. They feel no obligation to say this is why we blocked you. We have not once gotten any explanation from Facebook or LinkedIn about why.
Leahy: So I think that The Tennessee Star will conduct an investigation and make inquiries to LinkedIn who is owned by Microsoft and see what resolution we could get.
Cunningham: I sure I would love to have any allies any folks out there that are on LinkedIn that visit our page. send a message to the LinkedIn tech support and say where is Nashville Tea Party.
Leahy: Our intrepid reporter Chris Butler who’s breaking news left and right.
Cuningham: He is doing a superb didn’t he doing a great job absolutely. I’m telling you, Chris, he is the number one investigative reporter.
Leahy: And so we’re going to put him on this. And we’re going to follow it through to its resolution. Now our experience with Facebook and Twitter and LinkedIn and generally those social media oligopolists have not been good at all. And I think actually, you know, the tide of public opinion is turning. I think people are sick and tired of it.
Cunningham: I hope so. I don’t think people really understand how easy it is for a very very few dedicated liberal trolls on any of these platforms to get people thrown off. We know they’re a group of people on LinkedIn that are trying always trying to get the Nashville Tea Party thrown off. We had there’s a message that we saw where one of the young folks that were involved in this ongoing cabal to get us thrown off said that she was offered a job if she could get us thrown off of the of LinkedIn. We sent that to LinkedIn. They know that’s going on.
Leahy: I think the job may have been with LinkedIn, Ben.
Cunningham: But it’s so easy for these trolls to get people thrown off.
Leahy: And what they really they hate what you stand for been which is freedom, liberty and the American way. Let’s be honest about that.
Cunningham: They despise conservatives. It’s hatred. It is absolutely hatred.
Leahy: That’s where the United States is in 2020. Not a good place to be but that is exactly where we are.
Listen to the full second hour:
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