PBS, Facebook Censored Jill Stein’s Criticism of Hillary Clinton-Truth! & Fiction!
Summary of eRumor:
PBS cut Jill Stein’s criticism of Hillary Clinton from a segment that appeared on Newshour in August.
Then, after a video drawing attention to PBS censoring Stein’s criticism of Clinton went viral on Facebook, the social media joined PBS in censoring Stein and removed the video.
It’s true that Jill Stein’s criticism of Hillary Clinton was cut from the Green Party’s August 23rd appearance on PBS Newshour.
First, we’ll start from the beginning.
Stein appeared in an eight-minute segment on the show in which she talked about a range of issues with host Judy Woodruff. The editing in question came from Stein’s response to Woodruff’s question, “So, are you saying literally that Hillary Clinton is every bit as bad for the country as Donald Trump, that there’s no difference?”
Stein offered a lengthy response in which she talked about Clinton’s support of the Trans-Pacific Partnership and shortcomings of Obamacare. However, those statements were cut from a segment that aired on PBS. In the segment, which can be viewed here, Stein appeared to respond:
I wouldn’t say there are no differences, but the differences are not enough to save your job … We feel that, in this election, we’re not just deciding what kind of a world we’re going to have, but whether we’re going to have a world or not going forward. And knowing that the majority of Americans is unhappy with those two party choices, this is the time for us to open up … So we’re pushing for opening up the debates. And then let’s see how the chips fall.
Critics quickly noted that an unedited version of the segment that appeared on Facebook, however, revealed that Stein was more critical of Clinton and Obamacare than PBS viewers would have been led to believe. A Facebook user and Stein supporter named Matt Orfalea posted a video that highlighted parts of Stein’s response that were edited out of the broadcast:
I wouldn’t say there are no differences, but the differences are not enough to save your job, because Hillary Clinton and now her transition director Ken Salazar, they’re big proponents of Trans-Pacific Partnership which is basically NAFTA on steroids, and most observers believe that it will send our jobs overseas as well as undermine American sovereignty by bringing in these international tribunals that get to pass judgment on our laws, on our public health protections, on our worker protections. So we can’t count on saving our jobs — saving our lives. One in three Americans now can’t afford healthcare under Obamacare. Or saving the planet because Hillary has been a big proponent of fracking as is Ken Salazar, her transition director. We feel that, in this election, we’re not just deciding what kind of a world we’re going to have, but whether we’re going to have a world or not going forward. And knowing that the majority of Americans is unhappy with those two party choices, this is the time for us to open up. Americans have not only a right to vote, but a right to know who we can vote for. So we’re pushing for opening up the debates. And then let’s see how the chips fall.
Nick Massella, Newshour’s director of audience engagement and communications, acknowledged that the interview had been edited in a statement, but he maintained that it was nothing more than standard industry practice to cut interviews for time:
“Sometimes when an interview is prerecorded, the producers must make some edits before air time as the rest of the pieces of our program come into place and timing is finalized. That is what happened here with our interview with Jill Stein and is commonplace in broadcasting. With the advent of Facebook Live, we can also offer viewers immediate access to the full interview, and in this case, the opportunity to pose questions to the guest. Judy Woodruff told the television audience that the full interview, including audience generated questions, was available online on Facebook at the end of the segment.”
Conservative media outlets have seized on Newshour’s editing of Stein’s interview as proof that PBS supports Democrats, and Clinton in particular. The producers of the show have denied that and noted that the full version was available online.
Then, Orfalea posted a blog at Medium under the headline, “Now I have been censored by Facebook” that said Facebook had removed the video without notice. Orfalea added, however, that people sharing screenshots of their posts of his original video received this explanation from Facebook:
“Your post was removed. It looks like the link you shared doesn’t follow our Community Standards. If you think your post shouldn’t have been removed, let us know by filing out this form.”
The idea that the video was removed because it violated “Community Standards” and might have offended some people sparked outrage. Some argued that far more offensive videos are allowed, some showing violence or cruelty toward animals.
However, Facebook Community Standards don’t just deal with offensive content. They also deal with intellectual property and copyright infringement, as the site explains:
Facebook is a place for you to share the things that are important to you. You own all of the content and information you post on Facebook, and you can control how it is shared through your privacy and application settings. However, before sharing content on Facebook, please be sure you have the right to do so. We ask that you respect copyrights, trademarks, and other legal rights. Learn more about intellectual property rights.
So, the Stein video could have easily been removed because of a copyright violation — not censorship. Facebook generally removes videos that are reported to them as copyright infringements. Because Orfalea edited Newshour’s original content in his video, a copyright infringement claim could have resulted in it being taken down.
Given all that, we’re calling the claim that PBS censored Stein “true,” but claims that Facebook joined in the censorship “fiction.”