Conservative activist slams GOP 'war on Thanksgiving' claims as total nonsense: 'We are in the middle of a pandemic'

Photo via Gage Skidmore.

After years of pushing former Fox News pundit Bill O'Reilly's "War on Christmas" nonsense, far-right Republican culture warriors have a new meme: the so-called "War on Thanksgiving." Republicans and allies of outgoing President Donald Trump have been making the ludicrous claim that Democrats who are encouraging social distancing measures on Thanksgiving oppose the holiday. But Never Trump conservative Tim Miller, in an article published by The Bulwark on Thanksgiving, slams the "War on Thanksgiving" meme as total nonsense — stressing that trying to slow down the spread of COVID-19 on Thanksgiving is hardly the same as attacking Thanksgiving.

Miller has a very conservative background. He was active in the Republican National Committee, served as communications director for former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and supported the late Republican Sen. John McCain for president in 2008. But the Never Trumper, this week in his Bulwark newsletter, announced that he has finally decided to leave the GOP. And the "War on Thanksgiving" nonsense is a perfect example of why Miller decided that his former party was beyond salvation.

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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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