If you’re familiar with the genesis of A Certain Point of View, Too, you may recall that this blog was the unexpected consequence of a grievous act of censorship on the part of both Facebook and a handful of Trump supporters back in March of 2020, just as the COVID-19 pandemic was being mishandled and turned into a political football by then-President Donald Trump and his devoted cult followers in the Make America Great Again (MAGA) movement.
While I cannot be 100% certain, and no one else who knows the backstory of why this WordPress blog got started in late March of 2020 can say for sure, I think I know the chief culprit behind the move to ban my original Blogger version of A Certain Point of View from Facebook. I won’t mention his name, because, in the end, it doesn’t matter, but I will point out that he is a retiree with extremely conservative and fanatically religious views who I “knew” as a fellow reviewer on the now-vanished Epinions.com, a website in which I was active from December 2003 till eBay, its corporate owner, shut it down in February 2014.
Not surprisingly, this guy is a Trump supporter, and because I share my blog posts on social media – just as any blogger who wants a larger audience would normally do – he could see them not just on my Facebook profile or his “newsfeed,” but also in a private Facebook group created by one of my “Epibuddies” for folks who had written reviews on Epinions.com and become a thriving, often chummy community.
Mr. Mega MAGA Strikes Back
“Mr. Mega MAGA” is, as I said, a Trump loyalist. So much so, in fact, that sometimes I imagine him attending “the former guy’s” rallies religiously if they are held within a 1,000-mile radius of his house, wearing the ubiquitous made-in-China red MAGA baseball cap, and sitting in rapture as Trump delivers his by-now cliched Greatest Hits speeches about how Democrats are evil destroyers of America and that they stole the 2020 Presidential election, which he swears he won “fairly and squarely” despite evidence to the contrary.
Mr. Mega MAGA – who is one of those insufferable holier-than-thou “pro-life,” “pro-small government,” and “free speech for conservatives” advocates – apparently took umbrage when, all of a sudden from his perspective, I began sharing blogs with headlines such as Life in the Time of Coronavirus: Texas’ GOP Lt. Governor Says ‘Getting Business Back Up Again Worth Sacrificing Our Grandparents!’ that had introductions like:
Naturally, this dude became incensed when my blog – which is in many ways similar to this one on WordPress – started “getting political,” especially once it became clear that Trump and his allies were not doing anything constructive – at least in public – about the novel coronavirus that was causing illnesses and deaths not just in the United States – where it was first reported in late January or early February 2020 – but throughout the world…and turning the pandemic into a political wedge issue against Democrats who were calling on Trump’s incompetent and craven Administration to use any and all measures to contain the spread of COVID-19 before it killed more people in the U.S.
Understand, before the pandemic which had spread throughout much of Eurasia and Africa made the inevitable jet- and ship-borne jump to Australia, New Zealand, and the Americas, A Certain Point of View was – as I said before, a lot like this blog: a venue where I could talk about “writing, film, and stuff.” It was not a “political blog,” just as its WordPress “sibling” is not one, but it was – and still is – my blog, and I felt that if I wanted to talk about current events, including politics, I could, and (moreover) I should.
Obviously, Trump supporters like Mr. Mega MAGA do not like it when I make pointed and fact-based observations about how “the best President ever” handled the coronavirus pandemic when it started wreaking havoc at a time when he was seeking re-election and gloating about being acquitted by the Republican-controlled Senate at his first impeachment trial in January of 2020.
You know, stuff like:
So now we’ve come to this.
As President Donald Trump questions the wisdom of putting into place medically necessary measures to protect Americans from the worldwide coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic because they’re “doing more harm than good” to the economy, his Republican acolytes are clamoring for an end to quarantines, closures of businesses, and a return to normal activities.
It’s no secret that the GOP has long had a reputation for being the party of Big Business. The alliance between the Republican Party and what we now call the “One Percenters” began sometime after Reconstruction and was solidified by the time of the 1912 Presidential election, the race that split the party’s pro-business wing (led by incumbent William Howard Taft) and its more progressive one (led by ex-President Theodore Roosevelt). In that intramural battle royale, TR and his adherents ended up forming a third party (the Bull Moose Party); as a result, a weakened Taft lost to Democratic candidate Woodrow Wilson, and the GOP closed ranks around the moneyed elite, a marriage of convenience that continues 108 years later.
Knowing Mr. Mega MAGA’s worldview – because he used his free speech rights to express his pro-Trump opinions on Facebook – he probably wasn’t too thrilled when I wrote:
A particularly cold and idiotic suggestion was put forward by Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick (R) on Monday night on Fox News’ Tucker Carlson: open businesses soon, even if elderly Americans have to die.
This is what Patrick had to say on the topic of social distancing:
“No one reached out to me and said, as a senior citizen, ‘Are you willing to take a chance on your survival in exchange for keeping the America that all America loves for your children and grandchildren?’ And if that’s the exchange, I’m all in … I just think there’s lots of grandparents out there in this country like me — I have six grandchildren — that what we all care about and what we love more than anything are those children. I want to live smart and see through this. But I don’t want the whole country to be sacrificed and that’s what I see.”
Yep. This public official who is one heartbeat away from being the governor of the largest state in the Lower 48 (Alaska is the largest state in the Union, but it’s separated from the rest of the Union by Canada) suggests ending social distancing during a pandemic even if many of our fellow citizens have to die.
What a horrible tradeoff.
Of course, if the President of the United States wasn’t so itchy-fingered about ending social distancing, I doubt this yahoo would even say something like this in a public forum. But because Trump considers the pre-COVID-19 economy to be his signature “achievement” as President, he is restive about doing what the medical community believes is paramount to deal with the pandemic and has said a few times already that he wants to get everything up and running again.
And…here we are, with Republicans having a cow because the COVID-19 pandemic is messing with their wealthy donors’ bottom line.
Not long after I shared this post in our Epinions.com former reviewer’s group on Facebook, as well as on my newsfeed, I started getting notifications from Facebook that said my blog posts were being removed from the Social Network because someone had flagged them as either “spam” or “offensive.”
This was bad enough, but sometime before March 31, 2020, I got an even worse notification from Facebook (now Meta).
I can’t quote it word-for-word because I was so angry that I deleted it, along with over 40 “this post was removed because it was reported as ‘spam” missives, as soon as I read it. But basically, it said, “We are banning your blog, A Certain Point of View, due to multiple violations of Facebook’s rules on spam and community standards. If you feel this decision was an error, feel free to file an appeal.”
Yeah. Right. Like that’s going to work, I thought glumly, knowing well that the appeal process was – and still is – like something out of a Franz Kafka story and hampered by Facebook’s overreliance on automation rather than human interactions with, you know, actual Facebook/Meta employees.
The Muzzled Blog Gets the Last Laugh….
I won’t bore you with a long narrative about how I tried to appeal Facebook’s decision to ban A Certain Point of View. Suffice it to say, Dear Reader, that Facebook/Meta does not make it easy for the average user to appeal any of its “community standards” decisions, and that to this very day, my original blog is so thoroughly banned there that if I add a link from Blogger in this or any WordPress post, Facebook will not allow me to share it on its precious digital space, even though the main article is from WordPress.com and not Google’s Blogger platform.
The upshots – there are several – of this are:
- My pageviews on Blogger immediately nosedived
- My AdSense revenue also dipped downward
- I signed up for a Premium account on WordPress, which costs almost $100 per annum
- I’ve tried – and failed, for the most part – to find a balance of time and work to keep not just two blogs up and running and full of content, but also to write scripts and other literary projects
Ah, but I also got the last laugh.
Oh, Mr. Mega MAGA probably won’t notice or care, but over the past month and a half, A Certain Point of View has rebounded and suddenly, it has been getting hundreds of thousands of pageviews.
Even though the blog lost thousands of potential readers when Facebook issued its draconian ban decision in March of 2020, A Certain Point of View still got hits. Every. Single. Day. Not as many as before the ban, natch, and certainly not with daily averages of between 5,000 and 7,000 pageviews, but certainly not in the single digits range, either. Before the ban, I already had well over 1,000 posts up on Blogger, and since most of them were not political but about pop culture, film, books, and other popular topics, they still have an audience.
But starting in late August, (when the blog’s total pageviews were nearing the 750K mark), one of my political posts – Talking About Conservative Propaganda: Explaining Why Trump Is Not Universally Supported –from 2019 somehow went viral, and from then on it has accumulated over 190,000 pageviews.
Other posts, most of them not political in content or tone, have similarly gotten a lot of hits lately. They were not as spectacularly “viral” as the Trump-related post, but far more hits than they had received since I published them several years ago.
The upshot, and this is why I say I got the last laugh, is two-fold:
- First, I passed the 1 million-pageviews mark earlier this week. I was nearing the 750,000-pageviews mark early in September and I thought that I’d reach the million-views milestone sometime in 2023. Then, the Trump post blew up and, here we are
- Second, my AdSense revenue – accordingly – also increased, and I was able to cash out for the first time since I started A Certain Point of View in 2011 when I still lived in Miami and was taking care of my mother
So, yeah, Mr. Mega MAGA. You managed to muzzle me on Facebook, caused me to start a new blog and pay for a website and domain name on WordPress, and reduced, for a while anyway, my audience and my modest revenue stream. But you did not “cancel” me as thoroughly as you wanted, what with your cowardly, underhanded reports of my Blogger blog to Facebook at a time when you knew it was hard to get humans on Facebook to assess any complaints about what people shared, and you did not crush my resolve to speak my mind as I see fit.
You lost, dude. Just like your narcissistic and authoritarian Mango Mussolini, aka Donald Trump, lost his bid for re-election in November 2020, your bid to gag my blog failed. I got my million – and still climbing – page views and my first $100 cash-out was electronically deposited into my bank account.
Ah, yes. Victory is sweet.
 Not his real nickname.
 A Certain Point of View, March 14, 2022