Mighty Tim Russert Wields His Clout

It seems that Arianna Huffington has run up against the impenetrable wall that is Tim Russert's ego. Huffington, who is currently on tour for her new book "Right Is Wrong: How The Lunatic Fringe Hijacked America, Shredded The Constitution, and Made Us All Less Safe, will be appearing on CNN, ABC, and CBS. She had been booked on Morning Joe and Countdown with Keith Olbermann as well, but those bookings were suddenly and inexplicably cancelled.

NBC confirmed that Huffington wouldn't be booked on any NBC-affiliated show to promote her book, but refused to explain why. Huffington's people say that this is Tim Russert's doing, that Russert is out for revenge because Huffington called him a "conventional wisdom zombie" in her book and devoted seven pages to faulting Russert for allowing his Meet the Press guests to go unchallenged (not to mention HuffPo's RussertWatch).

If Huffington's claim is true and Russert has been pulling rank with NBC, then this whole affair smacks of immature middle-school antics. Is Russert really that sensitive that he can't take criticism from Huffington? And if he truly thinks his show hasn't become an outlet for Bush administration figures to push their message uncontested (as Huffington suggests), then shouldn't he bring Huffington on and challenge her assertions? Or, at the very least, allow Huffington to go on another NBC show?

Probably not, since that would mean Russert would have to ask tough questions for a change.

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Imagine you've forgotten once again the difference between a gorilla and a chimpanzee, so you do a quick Google image search of “gorilla." But instead of finding images of adorable animals, photos of a Black couple pop up.

Is this just a glitch in the algorithm? Or, is Google an ad company, not an information company, that's replicating the discrimination of the world it operates in? How can this discrimination be addressed and who is accountable for it?

“These platforms are encoded with racism," says UCLA professor and best-selling author of Algorithms of Oppression, Dr. Safiya Noble. “The logic is racist and sexist because it would allow for these kinds of false, misleading, kinds of results to come to the fore…There are unfortunately thousands of examples now of harm that comes from algorithmic discrimination."

On At Liberty this week, Dr. Noble joined us to discuss what she calls “algorithmic oppression," and what needs to be done to end this kind of bias and dismantle systemic racism in software, predictive analytics, search platforms, surveillance systems, and other technologies.

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