It’s time for Republicans to act and go Roman on social media censorship
WASHINGTON. Social media censorship shifted into high gear with the recent exposé by the New York Post centering on Hunter Biden’s corrupt dealings in Ukraine, which were aided and abetted by former Vice President Joe Biden.
Concealing Biden family corruption
Smoking-gun emails allegedly from the younger Biden’s laptop, show Hunter Biden arranged a meeting between Vadym Pozharskyi, an adviser to Ukrainian oil and gas company Burisma, and his then-vice president father. All this while Hunter sat on the governing board of Burisma, earning the tidy sum of $50,000 a month.
Proving that English is not exactly a second language to Pozharskyi, he wrote:
“Dear Hunter, thank you for inviting me to DC and giving an opportunity to meet your father and spent some time together. It’s realty an honor and pleasure.”
Can you help?
According to the Post, the email was sent to “Hunter Biden on April 17, 2015, about a year after Hunter joined the Burisma board.” In a follow-up email, Hunter was asked for “advice on how you could use your influence” to help Burisma.
As we all know (here’s the video), Joe Biden boasted about his pressuring Ukraine to fire its lead prosecutor, then investigating Burisma corruption, or forfeit a $1 billion US foreign aid package.
As we also know, President Trump’s inquiry into Joe Biden’s efforts to protect Burisma – and his son’s lucrative association with it – formed the basis of the Democrat’s impeachment of the president.
It centered over what the dissembling mainstream media called Trump’s “quid-pro-quo” telephone conversation with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy.
In that call, Zelenskiy seemed more anxious to glean information about the Bidens from Trump than the other way around:
“I would kindly ask you if you have any additional information that you can provide to us, it would be very helpful for the investigation to make sure that we administer justice in our country…”
Perhaps the New York Post exposé will help in that endeavor.
Their big, fat thumb on the scale
Here in the US, meanwhile, Big Tech giants Facebook and Twitter swung into action to block, censor, dissemination by its users of the New York Post’s Hunter Biden story via their platforms. (Twitter, Facebook censor Post over Hunter Biden exposé)
According to Twitter, their rules prohibit the “distribution of hacked material.” The US Supreme Court ruled in Bartnicki vs. Vopper (2001) that the publication of stolen materials by the press is protected under the First Amendment. (‘Essentially have me at gun point’: Kayleigh McEnany among heavy hitters locked out of Twitter accounts)
The majority opinion written by Justice John Stevens reads in part:
“Privacy concerns give way when balanced against the interest in publishing matters of public importance. One of the costs associated with participation in public affairs is an attendant loss of privacy.”
Social media has grown as powerful as government, thanks to a special provision enshrined in US law by Congress.
Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which protects them against criminal or civil liability that may arise from user content, was designed to encourage free speech. It was not to allow online media platforms, including social media, to censor any story.
This privilege is one not granted to traditional print or electronic media. Those same social media platforms have grown into multi-billion-dollar concerns profiting off our online activities… off our privacy. Just as they target ads to users based on their online searches, they now target conservatives based on their politics.
But the 2020 presidential election has pushed Big Tech’s selective shadow banning and outright censorship of conservative voices to a new level: banning the distribution of a legitimate news story concerning political corruption. One published by the newspaper founded by Federalist Papers co-author Alexander Hamilton in 1801.
The unavoidable conclusion is that they’ve done so to protect Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden in the closing days of a pivotal campaign.
But this brazen act nudged some timid Republican lawmakers from their slumber.
GOP Senator Josh Hawley of Missouri, for instance, shot off a letter to the Federal Election Commission, saying the actions of Facebook and Twitter…
“… constitute a clear violation of federal campaign-finance law. Federal law prohibits any corporation from making a contribution to a federal candidate for office… Twitter’ and Facebook’s active suppression of public speech about the New York Post article appears to constitute contributions under federal law.”
Enough with the talk
When The Federalist founder Ben Domenech tweeted that “Every Republican Lawmaker Must Condemn Big Tech’s Election Interference,” GOP Rep. Ken Buck shot-back,
“Condemnation is not enough. It’s time to reform Section 230. I’ve helped introduce legislation to do just that. Let’s get it done.”
It remains to be seen if Republican lawmakers can marshal the testosterone necessary to actually do something. Something other than engaging in useless posturing and high-pitch whining on Fox News.
It’s time GOP lawmakers formed a unified, clenched fist to drop on the head of Big Tech in the form of an ultimatum. Social media sites either end their coordinated program to censor news or lose their cozy Section 230 protection.
Remove that Congressionally-sanctioned perk and billions of dollars in revenue evaporate.
Republicans, please stop the meaningless chatter and act! End Section 230 protections and social media censors.
Top image: Photo illustration of censoring social media sites Twitter and Facebook.