Katie Pavlich: Liberals should celebrate Zuckerberg's efforts at tolerance

Katie Pavlich: Liberals should celebrate Zuckerberg's efforts at tolerance
© Greg Nash

Earlier this month, news broke that Facebook CEO Mark ZuckerbergMark Elliot ZuckerbergHillicon Valley: Apple approves Parler's return to App Store | White House scales back response to SolarWinds, Microsoft incidents | Pressure mounts on DHS over relationship with Clearview AI Facebook unveils new audio features Hillicon Valley: Biden administration sanctions Russia for SolarWinds hack, election interference MORE has been hosting “secret” dinner meetings with conservative media figures and activists, among other individuals, at his home in California. Silicon Valley is a bubble of leftist thought, Zuckerberg acknowledges this fact and wanted to do something about perceived and real bias carried out by his company. 

“Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has been hosting informal talks and small, off-the-record dinners with conservative journalists, commentators and at least one Republican lawmaker in recent months to talk about issues like free speech and discuss partnerships,” Politico reported. 


“The dinners, which began in July, are part of Zuckerberg’s broader effort to cultivate friends on the right amid outrage by President Donald TrumpDonald TrumpUS gives examples of possible sanctions relief to Iran GOP lawmaker demands review over FBI saying baseball shooting was 'suicide by cop' House passes bill aimed at stopping future Trump travel ban MORE and his allies over alleged ‘bias’ against conservatives at Facebook and other major social media companies. ‘I’m under no illusions that he’s a conservative but I think he does care about some of our concerns,’ said one person familiar with the gatherings, which multiple sources have confirmed,” they wrote.

As someone who has worked in conservative circles for nearly a decade, I knew these dinner parties were taking place. While I’ve never been invited to attend, many of my right-leaning colleagues and friends have dined inside Zuckerberg’s Palo Alto home. The gatherings were and are intended to promote intellectual diversity and a better understanding of Americans who exist outside of the elitist and leftist dominated coasts. This effort has been applauded by those who quietly knew about them and served as a way for the tech giant to better serve large swaths of its online community and audience.

But when these dinner meetings were exposed by the press, which painted the meetings as sinister and inappropriate given the invitees were, gasp, conservative, the left in Washington went ballistic. Online cancel culture, another bubble, immediately kicked in with “#DeleteFacebook” trending among leftists on Twitter.

As the outrage continued to grow, Zuckerberg released a statement encouraging dialogue and understanding, rather than groveling to leftist intolerance of differing ideas or ideologies.

“There’s some press today discussing dinners I’ve had with conservative politicians, media and thinkers. To be clear, I have dinners with lots of people across the spectrum on lots of different issues all the time. Meeting new people and hearing from a wide range of viewpoints is part of learning. If you haven’t tried it, I suggest you do!” Zuckerberg released in a statement.

Zuckerberg’s efforts to promote healthy conversations with people who have different points of view fell on deaf ears, again among the left.

During congressional testimony in front of the House Financial Services Committee last week, democratic socialist Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezKerry: China described climate change as 'crisis' for the first time Left feels empowered after Biden backtracks on refugees Ocasio-Cortez: Chauvin 'verdict is not a substitute for policy change' MORE (D-N.Y.), infamously known as a member of the leftist “squad,” vilified Zuckerberg and demanded to know what he discussed with private citizens inside of his home.

“In your ongoing dinner parties with far-right figures, some of who advanced the conspiracy theory that white supremacy is a hoax, did you discuss so-called social media bias against conservatives and do you believe there is a bias?” Ocasio-Cortez asked.

She then smeared conservative news outlet The Daily Caller, without evidence, as “tied to white supremacists.” She then argued that because the outlet had been used as an outside fact checker, Facebook is also associated with white supremacists. 

The correct answer to the congresswoman’s first question about what was discussed at the dinners is, “None of your damn business.” 

Elected officials have no right to know who private citizens are having dinner with inside of an individual’s home, not to mention what was discussed.

There are serious questions about Facebook’s power, how it operates as a potential monopoly, the role the tech giant plays in promoting certain types of information during elections, how pieces are “fact-checked” by outside “news” sources and how they handle the data of individuals who use the platform. 

These are issues Republicans and Democrats can work together to address in a calm, thoughtful and tolerant way that actually protects American consumers. But the berating of Zuckerberg by the intolerant left, which ironically and falsely preaches “tolerance” as a principle, is highly alarming. 

Zuckerberg, and powerful people like him, should actively reach out to those they disagree with. Not because they ultimately have to agree on everything, but because it fosters understanding and respect, which leads to a truer culture of real tolerance. 

According to their own standards, these kinds of conversations, no matter how disagreeable, are exactly the  discussions the left should be promoting rather than condemning.

Pavlich is the editor for Townhall.com and a Fox News contributor.