During a congressional hearing on Wednesday, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez asked Mark Zuckerberg about his “ongoing dinner parties with far-right figures.”

This was terribly unfair to Mark, and Ocasio-Cortez owes him an apology. Yes, as Politico recently reported, he’s been holding lots of private get-togethers with prominent hard-right media figures. According to the article, these include Tucker Carlson of Fox News; talk show host Hugh Hewitt; Ben Shapiro; former Free Beacon editor Matt Continetti; and Brent Bozell, founder of the Media Research Center, which exists “to expose and neutralize the propaganda arm of the Left: the national news media.”

But this isn’t because Mark is cultivating right-wingers specifically. Rather, as he explained on Facebook, he just loves to have dinner with “lots of people across the spectrum on lots of different issues all the time.”


Screenshot: The Intercept

So obviously — given Mark’s thirst for meeting new people, hearing from a wide range of viewpoints, and the joy of learning — he’s also constantly hanging out with prominent leftists. All that remains now is to document it.

Asked to name some of these leftists, a Facebook spokesperson responded, “We don’t have anything further to share on this subject beyond what Mark posted.”

Asked to name some of these leftists, a Facebook spokesperson responded, “We don’t have anything further to share on this subject beyond what Mark posted.”

Well, OK. Mark is probably sensitive to the privacy of his left-wing dinner companions and doesn’t want to mention them without checking first.

But we can assume that Mark’s been getting together with people from The Nation, founded in 1865 and the flagship of America’s progressive news outlets. Strangely, however, the Nation’s editor, D. D. Guttenplan, says that while he’d love to share a meal with Mark “to discuss The Nation’s sharp takes on politics and culture — particularly those pointed at Facebook” — he’s never been asked.

It would also be natural for Mark to have dinner with the top brass at Mother Jones, especially since they’re right there in the San Francisco Bay Area with Facebook and have won many awards for their muckraking progressive journalism. However, that doesn’t seem to have happened either.

But The Nation and Mother Jones probably aren’t radical enough for Mark, and he wants to talk ideas with committed socialists with a comprehensive critique of the racialized history of American capitalism. Oddly, though, Margaret Kimberley, co-founder of Black Agenda Report, claims that she too has not attended dinner with him. Kimberley adds, “I’m not aware of any leftists being among the chosen few. Then again, we don’t get Atlantic Council seal of approval and that is the point.”

Seth Ackerman, executive editor of Jacobin, the energetic and much lauded socialist magazine, also asserts that he has not been sharing meals with Mark, but acknowledges that “I have watched clips of his hypnotic ‘smoking some meats’ livestream.”

Will Menaker, co-host of the popular podcast Chapo Trap House, says he’s never received an invitation from Mark — although when pressed, he admits, “I don’t check the email very often.”

Then there’s Current Affairs, a young leftist magazine based in New Orleans. “In a strange coincidence,” states its editor Nathan Robinson, “all of the socialists I have spoken with have failed to receive our invitations. I blame the post office.” (Robinson predictably does not note that the post office, the organization that has failed him, is a socialist institution.)

Finally, Jim Naureckas of Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting — something of a left-wing, reality-based counterpart to Bozell’s Media Research Center — says that they have never gotten an invite, even though they’ve checked their spam filter.

Then again, Amy Goodman, co-host of lefty mainstay “Democracy Now!,” did not respond to a request for comment. Suspicious!

“All of the socialists I have spoken with have failed to receive our invitations.”

What can we say about this?

Cynics might tell you that Zuckerberg, the fifth-richest person on Earth and head of a giant international conglomerate, is largely sympathetic to the corporate right. According to a Bloomberg News analysis, the 2017 GOP tax bill saved Facebook $8.3 billion in just one year.

The same cynics might mention that Facebook’s first outside investor was Peter Thiel, who now serves on the company’s board — and is one of just two members of its compensation and governance committee. Thiel, an outspoken supporter of President Donald Trump, secretly funded a lawsuit that destroyed the news outlet Gawker.

These cynical cynics would point out that, despite constant accusations from the right-wing media that Facebook “silences” conservatives, the right-wing media is wildly popular on Facebook. They’d say this is no surprise, since Facebook’s vice president for U.S. public policy is Joel Kaplan, a former aide to George W. Bush and current member of the board of Bush’s presidential museum. According to the Wall Street Journal, Kaplan has “wielded his influence to postpone or kill projects that risk upsetting conservatives.”

But the most likely explanation here is that Mark, with his intense quest for knowledge, did in fact share invigorating meals with these leftist individuals and organizations, and they’ve all just forgotten. They’re pretty busy; it’s easy to see how that would happen.

Another plausible explanation is that Mark accidentally sent his invitations to different people with the same names. E.g., he may have been relentlessly dining with and learning from Katrina vanden Heuvel of Tempe, Arizona.

The only alternative is to believe, as Naureckas says, that large media corporations like Facebook hate being attacked from the left, but “do not mind being attacked from the right, because the right is fundamentally in favor of the kind of corporate power they represent.” It would also mean believing that Zuckerberg, one of the most powerful people on this planet, is an absolutely shameless liar.