In an Op-ed for Las Vegas Review Journal, Trump Campaign Manager Brad Parscale blasted big tech for its political censorship of conservatives, making both the legal and tactical case for why conservatives can and should take action to fix the problem.
"Twitter has a proven record of shadowbanning conservatives, a sneaky way to ensure their content isn’t seen by others... the social media giant’s bias is far more evident in whom it bans outright — and whom it doesn’t ban at all.
Right-wing voices who have received temporary or permanent bans include Sheriff David Clarke, British activist Tommy Robinson, CTRV host Gavin McInnes, Turning Point USA activist Candace Owens and InfoWars host Alex Jones."
Brad illustrates the hypocritical nature of these bans however, in that while they ban conservatives for stating opinions they subjectively find "harmful" or "offensive," these same biased censors don't penalize people for, as the author states, "examples of the most vile, violent and hateful left-wing content imaginable."
He continues, "Owens’ ban was particularly noteworthy because all she did was satirically tweet the exact same thing as New York Times editor Sarah Jeong, who received no ban for the original racist tweet Owens mocked.
Last year, Twitter instituted a policy banning affiliations with 'organizations that … use or promote violence against civilians to further their causes.' The rule was promptly used to ban numerous far-right accounts. It wasn’t, however, used to ban numerous antifa accounts, which obviously promote violence against civilians to further their causes."
He then summarizes the entire problem in a nutshell by stating that "There is clearly an imbalance in the way Twitter applies its rules. The enforcer clearly needs an enforcer."
He then cites Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey's testimony when he stated that "Twitter is committed to … hold ourselves publicly accountable towards progress..." The issue here being that social "progress," the root idea of progressivism, is an inherently biased metric to judge articles by. Brad then connects the dots for readers by explaining how a media gatekeeper acting upon ideology will be prone to censorship, "To a progressive in a decision-making position at Twitter, normal conservative speech on almost every issue is 'hate speech.' So long as Twitter’s employees are permitted to project their own political biases into their work, Twitter will remain a place where only one side of the debate is allowed to speak freely."
Many more traditional conservatives would balk at this, saying that Twitter as a private company has the right to refuse service to anybody they like. However, there is both a mechanical and tactical argument against this reasoning that they should consider for the benefit of themselves and their country.
Parscale cites Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which ensures that Twitter is designated as a platform, not as a publisher. This designation is important because it frees companies like Twitter or Facebook from legal repercussions for illegal activity that happens on their platforms. The rationale for this ideas was that platforms like Twitter serve as a public square for debate, "[offering] a forum for a true diversity of political discourse." If Twitter is failing to live up to its role as a public forum of debate, and instead is acting as a publisher, it opens itself up to legal action by Congress.
He then cites social media's unprecedented level of influence and importance, stating that,"Dorsey noted that 'all 100 senators, 50 governors, and nearly every member of the House of Representatives … reach their constituents through Twitter' — the platform’s institutional bias puts the First Amendment at risk.
His case laid out, Parscale then makes his proposition, "If Twitter doesn’t fix its act but wishes to continue operating under Section 230 status, it may need to be overseen by an independent entity to ensure conservative voices with which Jack Dorsey and his company disagree aren’t being silenced... Otherwise it should lose its privileges — and be held legally responsible for every vile, hateful, racist tweet its legions of liberal users are allowed to publish every day."
Many establishment conservatives who are less acquainted with social media may struggle with this, but even Fox News hosts like Tucker Carlson have made the case that action needs to be taken:
“Now if you’re conservative, it might be difficult to get your head around what is happening in this country, so much has changed. But here’s the bottom line, the federal government is no longer the main threat to your privacy and to your freedoms, you’ve grown up thinking that, it’s no longer true. Big corporations are the main threat to your freedom and your privacy. The government doesn’t own your private emails — Google does... Federal employees can’t be fired for their political views, private sector employees are all the time. The Trump administration can’t end your ability to publicly communicate your ideas, Twitter and Facebook can do that and they do it all the time. The Orwellian future is increasingly the Orwellian present and tech barons are becoming our new commissars, liberals who once stood up for free expression and opposition to concentrations of corporate power have been thoroughly co-opted, they’re getting rich from it.”
To read the Media Research Center's report on this issue, 'Censored!: How Online Media Companies Are Suppressing Conservative Speech', click here.
There is a famous political cartoon by Sidney Harris that shows a handful of researchers at a chalkboard, where there is a series of equations. In the center of the board are the words "then a miracle occurs." The caption below the cartoon is dialogue, with one scientist saying to the other "I think you should be more explicit here in step two."
Conservatives, cannot afford to wait for a miracle. They should listen to what the grassroots and campaign officials on the front lines have to say, and work to protect their investments and their legacies. The Republican Party has altered its stances in the name of political expediency and viability before. Surely taking action to protect our most fundamental value of free speech is a worthy cause to fight for.