Help City Pages understand this conspiracy theory about Facebook, Google, and us

Tom Barnard's wife (NOT pictured) has a very interesting theory about Facebook, Google, City Pages, and ... other things.

Tom Barnard's wife (NOT pictured) has a very interesting theory about Facebook, Google, City Pages, and ... other things. Carlos Gonzales, Star Tribune

Last week, City Pages brought you a story about Tom Barnard, long-time radio show host at KQRS, who used a recent show to recite the foreign-sounding names of KFAI hosts so his associates and listeners could have a chuckle.

Barnard's response on a subsequent podcast was to say this publication has been going after him for three decades, and that, effectively, nothing we did could hurt him.

Oh yeah, Tom? What if Facebook and Google have our backs? Would that scare you?

Stay with us here. This is going to get weird. 

On Monday's podcast, Barnard started a segment discussing Facebook, whose founder Mark Zuckerberg is set to be hauled in front of Congress later today to answer questions about the harvesting of up to 87 million users' data for use in the 2016 election campaign.

"Gimme a break, Zuckerberg," Barnard began, interrupting his own news read. "This guy. 'Oh, sorry that we shoved stuff down your throat,' basically."

Barnard then returned to his news report, which, though he didn't bother mentioning it to listeners,was actually just his word-for-word recitation of a Washington Post story. If you want real news about the enormous questions at stake involving Zuckerberg's testimony, stop reading this story and start reading that one.

Barnard then repeated his not-subtly homoerotic contention that a "major, major problem" is that Zuckerberg was using Facebook to "shove [his] ideas down everyone's throat."

Of course, this is not at all the problem. Facebook wasn't manipulating its users to think like Mark Zuckerberg; it was letting them be manipulated, specifically by Russian and other political operatives. This is the sort of thing Tom Barnard might know if he read past the third sentence of stories he's lifting from the Washington Post.

As it happened, the Tom Barnard Show swiftly moved on from this topic, immediately shifting to Alaska, the national debt, socialism, Norway, and criminal justice. (Barnard, 66, asked a co-host if it was "absolutely a fact" that poor people fare worse in trials than people who've "got a few bucks to defend themselves." He seemed aghast to learn that it was.) 

The segment on Facebook lasted less than a minute. This, however, was more than enough to put Tom Barnard on the social media giant's radar as an enemy. At least according to Kathryn Brandt, Barnard's wife and frequent co-host on the podcast, who tweeted her suspicions last night.


Let's follow the steps here: 

1.) Tom Barnard says mean things about Facebook, whose employees are loyal listeners of the podcast.

2.) Facebook, fearful about negative media coverage, specifically podcasts based out of Tom Barnard's home, attempts to discredit Barnard by contacting fellow young-person-company Google.

3.) After one or more meetings of high-ranking Google executives, the most powerful corporation in the world decides to punish Barnard (on Facebook's behalf) the only way it knows how: By placing a recent City Pages story on its local news page.

4.) "Big Brother and China" get involved.

5.) Everyone plays a game of Twister.

6.) ????

7.) World domination.

Is that how this works?

Help City Pages figure out what Kathryn Brandt is alleging here. We at City Pages would very much like to know how to directly influence Google -- and Facebook, while we're on the subject -- to do exactly what we want. Kathryn seems to have figured it out, but we're having trouble putting some of the pieces together.

Reporting from Planet Me Me Me Look at Me, this is City Pages signing off.

Previously, in Help City Pages understand: