Free Speech Alliance: Facebook Oversight Board Is Packed With Liberals 

mrctvstaff | May 7, 2020
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On Thursday, Media Research Center President Brent Bozell and the members of the Free Speech Alliance (FSA) released a statement expressing deep concerns on Facebook’s new Oversight Board.

Here is the statement in full: 

 

While leftist organizations savaged him, we supported CEO Mark Zuckerberg when he talked about making Facebook a marketplace of ideas and spoke forcefully saying the company “must continue to stand for free expression.”

Yet leftist forces within and outside of Facebook have condemned him for this, agitating for the company to become an arbiter of what is, and isn’t truth; and therefore what should and should not be presented on Facebook. Facebook wants the public to believe that its new Oversight Board will help solve the problems “about what content to take down or leave up.” 

Conservatives warned from the start that any new oversight mechanism was fraught with danger. Our fears were well founded. This new board will damage Facebook more than it can imagine.  

We had cautioned that the oversight would be too international and unable or unwilling to embrace America’s 1st Amendment ideals of free speech, while embracing an internationalist construct pleasing to the radical left and likely to make Facebook’s restrictive content policies even worse.

And that’s precisely what the company delivered. The new Oversight Board announced itself with a New York Times op-ed from the four co-chairs. Only one of the four, Stanford Law School Prof. Michael McConnell, is at all conservative. And not as strong as many would like.

The other three are reliably liberal. Columbia Law Prof. Jamal Greene was an aide to Senator Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) during the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation hearings. Catalina Botero-Marino is the dean of the Universidad de los Andes Faculty of Law of Colombia. She is also a member of the board of directors of the Center for Reproductive Rights, a pro-abortion group. That is especially infuriating to pro-life groups that are regularly targeted on social media for their beliefs. No pro-life leader need apply to this board.

Then there’s the former prime minister of Denmark, Helle Thorning-Schmidt. She declared she “does not believe in eternal life, salvation or heaven and hell,” according to the publication Kristligt Dagblad.

Thorning-Schmidt is also one of at least six of the 15 international members of the board who openly espouse anti-Trump sentiments. She posted recently on Twitter over a photo of Obama endorsing presumptive Democrat presidential nominee Joe Biden: “The endorsement!! OMG, Miss the voice of decency and grace.” 

The board members picked by the co-chairs are as left-wing as you might expect. Former Guardian Editor Alan Rusbridger has gone from supporting a free press to endorsing censorship. He tweeted in late March that the press should shut down President Donald Trump’s press conferences. “Completely agree that media should stop live broadcasting Trump, especially since he rejects robust challenges from reporters.” This is Facebook’s new commitment to free speech.

Nobel Peace Prize laureate Tawakkol Karman explained in an interview with the Spanish daily El Pais that she did “not trust Trump because I do not trust racist people.” 

We find no one supportive of Trump.

It’s not just what the members oppose that is the problem. It’s what, and who, they support. At least three members have ties to leftist billionaire George Soros. One works directly for his Open Society organizations. Another was the founding dean at Central European University, which Soros founded and funded with nearly $1 billion. Even Oversight Board Executive Director Thomas Hughes comes from Article 19, which has received more than $2 million from Soros.

Some might argue that the right and Soros could find common ground supporting free speech. That’s not likely since Soros funds the very groups in the U.S. that are committed to banning conservatives from the open marketplace of ideas by branding them “haters” and the like. There are many wealthy donors on the right who also espouse free speech. Why aren’t they equally represented? One can only imagine how loudly the left would scream if three board members had ties to prominent conservative funders.

Sadly, Soros has far more influence with that board than the entire American right who are represented by one traditional conservative and one libertarian. Instead of supporting one another on rulings involving key social issues, they would likely cancel each other out.

It is too early to tell how such this board would rule. But it is terrifying to imagine how a powerful, leftist group like this might view and control conservative speech — speech that defends free enterprise, traditional marriage, religious freedom, the lives of the unborn, free speech and gun rights, to name but a few.

The answer in social media has often been to call such beliefs “hate speech,” the club the left has used to beat their opponents into submission on college campuses and online. And it has been a code word for anti-conservative censors like the Southern Poverty Law Center to shut down speech it doesn’t like.

The op-ed by the four co-chairs conveniently mentioned some form of the term “hate” three separate times. 

That’s not just scary, it’s dangerous. The board is dominated not by believers in the U.S. Constitution and its protections of rights; it is controlled overwhelmingly by members who live in nations in opposition to such protections. The global view of rights — even in countries we consider strong allies like the U.K. or Australia — is as far away from American beliefs as they are geographically. 

It is Orwellian. The international left is not open to free speech; it is intolerant of it. It has proclaimed that “climate change” is “settled science,” therefore any challenge based on science is untrue. The gay lifestyle is a moral right. Any challenge to it is an assault on the “dignity of man,” and therefore constitutes hate speech. Abortion “rights” are sacred; therefore the rights of the unborn are non-existent, and therefore their advocates are disingenuous. On and on it goes.

We believe Mark Zuckerberg was and continues to be committed to the free marketplace of ideas with Facebook as a platform and not a publisher. But Facebook has created yet another layer of control over that market, now dominated almost exclusively by non-American leftists.

Unlike its Silicon Valley cousins, Facebook has made a good faith effort to reach out to conservatives for their opinion, and we recognize that.

And so we offer this opinion of the proposed Oversight Board: When you announce your next 20 members, ensure that they will balance out the aggressively leftist tilt of this new venture your company has taken. Better yet: Get rid of the whole thing.

Members of the Free Speech Alliance (FSA) include:

  • L. Brent Bozell III

Founder and President

Media Research Center

  • Saulius Anuzis            

President            

60 Plus Association

  • Brigitte Gabriel            

President            

ACT for America

  • Lori Roman            

President            

American Civil Rights Union

  • Phil Kerpen            

President            

American Commitment

  • Tim Wildmon

President            

American Family Association

  • Terry            Schilling            

Executive Director            

American Principles Project

  • R. Emmett Tyrrell            

Founder and Editor-In-Chief            

American Spectator

  • Mark Fitzgibbons            

President of Corporate Affairs            

American Target Advertising

  • Gary Bauer            

President            

American Values

  • Richard Manning            

President            

Americans for Limited Government

  • Tricia  Erickson            

President            

Angel Pictures & Publicity

  • Bill Donohue            

President            

Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights

  • Jeff Hunt            

Director            

Centennial Institute

  • Austin Ruse            

President            

Center for Family and Human Rights

  • Elaine Donnelly            

Founder and President            

Center for Military Readiness

  • Frank Gaffney            

President            

Center for Security Policy

  • John Hinderaker            

President            

Center of the American Experiment

  • Robert Allman            

News Director            

Christian Broadcasting Network

  • Theodore Baehr            

Publisher, Founder            

Christian Film & Television Commission

  • David Bossie            

President and Chairman            

Citizens United

  • Michelle Easton            

Board President            

Clare Boothe Luce Center for Conservative Women

 

MRCTV is a division of the Media Research Center.

  • Ryan Williams 

President            

Claremont Institute

  • Penny Nance            

President            

Concerned Women for America

  • Allen  West            

Senior Fellow            

Media Research Fellow

  • George Rasley            

Managing Editor            

Conservative HQ

  • Ed Corrigan            

Executive Director            

Conservative Partnership Institute

  • James Nolan            

President            

Crossroads Pro-Life Walks Across America

  • Eunie Smith            

President            

Eagle Forum

  • Sharon Slater            

President and Founder            

Family Watch International

  • Christie Lee McNally            

President 

Raven Strategies

  • Adam Brandon            

President and CEO            

FreedomWorks

  • Will Chamberlain            

Editor-in-Chief and Publisher            

Human Events

  • Carrie Lukas            

President

Independent Women's Forum

  • Charles Copeland            

President

Intercollegiate Studies Institute

  • Mat Staver            

Founder and Chairman            

Liberty Counsel

  • John-Henry Westen            

Editor-in-Chief, Co-Founder            

Life Site News

  • Steven Ertelt            

Editor            

LifeNews.com

  • Kassy Dillon            

Founder and President            

Lone Conservative

  • Gene Mills            

President            

Louisiana Family Forum

  • Justin Danhof            

General Counsel            

National Center for Public Policy Research

  • Brian Brown            

President            

National Organization for Marriage

  • Gavin Wax            

Editor in Chief            

The Spiel

  • Kevin Freeman            

Founder and Chairman            

NSIC Institute

  • Craig Strazzeri            

Chief Marketing Officer            

PragerU

  • James O'Keefe            

President            

Project Veritas

  • Tom Spence            

President and Publisher            

Regnery Publishing

  • Craig Shirley            

Founder, Chairman & CEO            

Shirley & Banister

  • Kristan Hawkins            

President            

Students for Life

  • Marjorie Dannenfelser            

President            

Susan B. Anthony List

  • Jenny Beth Martin            

Chairman            

Tea Party Patriots, Inc.

  • C. Preston Noell III           

President            

The American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property

  • Jim Lakely            

Vice President and Director of Communications            

The Heartland Institute

  • Morton Blackwell            

President            

The Leadership Institute

  • Rod Martin            

Founder and CEO            

The Martin Organization

  • Ryan            Bomberger            

Chief Creative Officer            

The Radiance Foundation

  • Paul Gessing            

President            

The Rio Grande Foundation

  • Floyd Brown            

Publisher            

Western Journal

  • David Kupelian

Vice President and Managing Editor

WND 

  • Amy Kremer            

Co-founder & Chairman            

Women for Trump

  • Jessica Jensen            

Vice President & Chief of Staff            

Young America's Foundation

  • Alfonso Aguilar

President

Latino Partnership for Conservative Principles

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