The Tea Party is Getting Worse: Media May Want a New Narrative, but GOP is Still Nuts

It is a cardinal rule of horserace-style political journalism in the U.S. that no two elections can have the same narrative. That’s not to say certain tropes aren’t repeated ad nauseam. But it is to say that that the press corps’ desire to mitigate the unavoidable, soul-crushing monotony of a campaign often causes it to flip the script from one election to the next, despite politics in the real world changing much more slowly. If you look at the way the media’s covered the ongoing “invisible primary” to be the GOP’s next presidential nominee, you’ll see the narrative for 2016 is being pre-written already.

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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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