By: Victoria Marshall, a staff writer at The Federalist. | Follow her on Twitter @vemrshll
Independent YouTuber Matt Orfalea does not align with Democrats or Republicans. He eschews any type of label because labels are dangerous, he tells The Federalist.
“A lot of people identify with their politics. I just identify as a video creator.”
Perhaps this is why Orfalea’s videos are so effective. Amassing hundreds of thousands of views, and in some cases, millions, the filmmaker’s work consists of crisply edited mash-ups of politicians and corporate media figures making complete fools of themselves — without any commentary from Orfalea himself. One such mashup shows politicians and media decrying the Wuhan lab leak theory as a baseless conspiracy, despite all evidence pointing to the contrary. Another shows the media’s hypocrisy surrounding the Hunter Biden laptop (and their quest to characterize the story as Russian disinformation — an actually baseless claim).
While Orfalea’s videos do not explicitly criticize the politicians or talking heads they represent, this has not stopped YouTube from demonetizing certain videos it deems hostile to the establishment-backed narrative of the day.
In the comment section of the Wuhan lab leak video, Orfalea tells viewers, “This video is of course demonetized without explanation. Follow me on Rumble!”
But Orfalea is no stranger to censorship. During the 2016 election, he created a video that revealed PBS News’s selective editing of an interview with then-Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein. Of particular note was PBS’s censoring of Stein’s entire criticism of Democratic Party candidate Hillary Clinton and Clinton’s support of the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Within 24 hours of publishing his video on Facebook, Orfalea said, it was deleted with no explanation. The YouTuber also said last year that he has been censored for publishing the same content as corporate media outlets as well as drawing attention to the comments of a disgruntled Netflix employee.
But in the wake of the 2022 midterms and YouTube’s recent crackdown on election-related “misinformation,” Orfalea has once again found himself in the popular video platform’s crosshairs.
In September, Orfalea published a montage of Democrat politicians and media figures questioning the results of the 2016 election and characterizing it as “illegitimate,” “rigged,” and “hacked.”
He then released a second montage comparing the statements of then-President Trump questioning the 2020 election results to Democrats — most notably, Hillary Clinton — questioning the results of the 2016 contest.
“I wanted to show that Trump and the Republicans are not the only ones to challenge or question the integrity of an election,” Orfalea said. “It was literally just the last election cycle. And people have already forgotten.”
YouTube immediately tried demonetizing both videos, as journalist Matt Taibbi reported, but then reversed the demonetization of the first video after Orfalea pushed back. But that didn’t stop the video-sharing platform from deleting the second video and giving Orfalea a strike (if a YouTuber receives three strikes, his entire channel will be deleted), imperiling his livelihood. Orfalea is currently banned from posting to YouTube for a week.
YouTube rationalized its decision by arguing Orfalea’s second montage “contains claims that past US presidential elections were rigged or stolen, and our election integrity policy prohibits content that advances false claims that widespread fraud, errors, or glitches occurred in US presidential elections.”
If YouTube’s “‘election integrity policy’ prohibits content that advances false claims that ‘past US presidential elections were rigged or stolen,’” Taibbi noted, then it should have removed Orfalea’s first video as well. After all, the first montage features politicians ranging from President Joe Biden to Vice President Kamala Harris — and even former President Jimmy Carter — all claiming the 2016 election was rigged and that Trump was an illegitimate president.
But of course, Democrats can get away with election “denialism” (whatever that means) when Republicans can’t. Orfalea’s censorship by YouTube just shows how hypocritical leftist politicians, the corporate media, and other peddlers of the Official Narrative really are. And the best part? They don’t care.
No matter that the Russian collusion hoax and claims that Trump stole the 2016 election were dead on arrival. No matter that voter skepticism over the legitimacy of the 2020 election was indeed well-founded (and outlined in Federalist Editor-In-Chief Mollie Hemingway’s book, “Rigged: How the Media, Big Tech, and the Democrats Seized Our Elections“). Whatever (or whoever) poses a threat to the regime and its narrative must always be squelched – including inconvenient facts.
Despite finding himself once again under the boot of the left’s censorship regime, Orfalea remains undaunted. He’s still committed to creating videos that challenge propaganda from both the left and the right.
“It’s important for people to realize that we swallow the narratives the media feeds us without thinking about it,” Orfalea said.
Victoria Marshall is a staff writer at The Federalist. Her writing has been featured in the New York Post, National Review, and Townhall. She graduated from Hillsdale College in May 2021 with a major in politics and a minor in journalism. Follow Victoria Marshall on Twitter @vemrshll.
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