The new “woke” in America may be a growing awareness of the dangers of partisan censorship by big tech and media oligarchs.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican, recently identified big tech censorship of conservatives as “probably the most important legislative issue that we’re going to have to get right this year.” He cited the suppression of evidence of influence peddling by GOP President Joe Biden’s family prior to the election and Amazon’s decision to kick Parler, a social media platform, off its cloud server.
Parler’s usage skyrocketed after Twitter ousted former GOP President Donald J. Trump and his supporters. Trump and friends also were kicked off Twitter, Facebook and Google’s YouTube.
Amanda Makki, a former GOP U.S. Congressional candidate, wrote in the Tampa Bay Times that big tech’s actions are “shockingly parallel” to those of oppressive regimes in Iran and Korea. She said her family fled Iran in 1979 to escape government control of the media and censorship. She warned that Amazon, Apple and Google are “banning speech” by conservatives and urged Congress to rein in the monopolies.
Conservative author David Harsanyi wrote in Wednesday’s The Detroit News: “Once dominant corporate and cultural elites — in this case, a group of Big Tech CEOs and employees who are highly susceptible to political pressure — collude to decide how people are allowed to interact, they engage, functionally, in censorship.” Though it won’t be easy, he said conservatives must build their own social media platforms.
Along those lines, Stewart Baker, a former high level official at the Department of Homeland Security, suggested in Reason the government impose a 40% tax on the gross revenue of gatekeeper social media companies to encourage them to “break themselves up.” He predicted this would result in a proliferation of social media companies and limit “their ability to enforce ideological conformity or pursue a unified business interest…”
Not Buying It…
Republicans are not buying big techs’ claim that it is removing content to avoid incitement to violence, citing their failure to remove inciting speech by liberals and oppressive foreign regimes.
U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-FL, told the New York Post that Facebook and Twitter “are not moral champions here.” He said they are currying favor from powerful leaders in the Democratic Party “to get on their good side to avoid restrictions or any sort of laws being passed that hurt them.”
In a somewhat related matter, Fox News this week laid off 16 veteran staffers in a restructuring after its post-election viewership plunged 20% when viewers moved to Newsmax and One America News. Fox fired political editor Chris Stirewalt who defended the network’s controversial projection of Arizona as a win for Democratic President Joe Biden in the recent election.