Zuckerberg “Should Pay A Price”: Clinton Denounces Facebook For Refusing To Censor Political Ads

I recently published a column on the effort by Democrats to get Facebook and other companies to implement a system of censorship of political ads, which would be entirely unconstitutional if carried out by the government. Now, Hillary Clinton has declared that Mark Zuckerberg “should pay a price” for the damage that he is doing to democracy. It is a curious argument since, according to Clinton, Zuckerberg is apparently harming democracy by not curtailing free speech by censoring political speech. I have previously criticized President Donald Trump for his own anti-free speech and anti-free press rhetoric.

I will not repeat the prior arguments in my column on why private censorship is a far greater danger than misleading or inaccurate political statements. However, I have previously criticized Clinton for her poor record on free speech, including her support for a thinly veiled blasphemy resolution in the United Nations. Clinton has never been viewed as a strong ally to free speech.

Yet, the demand for corporate censorship of political ads has magnified this long-standing concern. Speaking in New York at a screening of The Great Hack, a Netflix documentary, Clinton lashed out at Facebook. She asked “When Facebook is the principal news source for more than half of the American people, and the only source of news that most of them pay any attention to, and if it announces that it has no responsibility for the airing of false ads … how are you supposed to get accurate information about anything, let alone candidates running for office?”

The answer is that you also have access to Facebook and you can rebut false or misleading statements. It is called free speech.

Clinton then strongly suggested that she believed that this was part of a scheme, though stopping short of her signature “vast right-wing conspiracy” allegation: “If I were of a conspiratorial mindset, I might suggest that there seems to be some connection.” She warned of continued “manipulation of information” by “incredibly wealthy people who believe they can do whatever they want to do”.

She insisted that “[Facebook founder] Mark Zuckerberg should pay a price for what he is doing to our democracy.”

What is striking is that Clinton still believes that it was all of these outside and unseen forces that cost her the election as opposed to her own problems in connecting with voters. After the election, Clinton alternatively blamed sexismracismself-hating womendomineering boyfriendsRussian hackersBernie Sanders, and of course, James Comey.  The most obvious reason is that Clinton remains a highly unpopular figure and was viewed as inauthentic on the campaign by many.  Many of us were critical when the Democratic establishment (and virtually every Democratic member of Congress) all but guaranteed the nomination of Clinton despite every poll showing her to be unpopular and the voters seeking an anti-establishment choice. Most recently, her accusation of long-time critic Tulsi Gabbard as a “Russian asset” has led to a chorus of denunciations. The fact is that Clinton was one of the few politicians that could have lost to Trump in 2016, who was the most unpopular Republican nominee in modern history. It was not Facebook’s refusal to engage in corporate censorship.

The continued call for a system of censorship is chilling for the free speech community. It is now becoming mainstream as free speech recedes into quagmire of our poisonous political environment.

61 thoughts on “Zuckerberg “Should Pay A Price”: Clinton Denounces Facebook For Refusing To Censor Political Ads”

  1. This is one time I publicly take a position in support of an idea implemented within Facebook by Mark Zuckerberg. And I will loudly oppose anyone that speaks out against the right to speak freely.

  2. I rarely comment but enjoy reading this blog. I find the comments both enlightening and entertaining. But for once, I’d love to have an election where I wasn’t choosing the lesser of two evils. It seems like this has been the case for a while now. I don’t want Hillary. I don’t want Donald. I don’t want at least half of the democratic hopefuls. Can we find someone with real ideas to bring this country back together (without starting a war or choosing which non white is our enemy)? Someone with vision to bring this great country into the 21 st century with inclusion without agreement. That is where I see us. Trying to choose whether to admit it’s 2019 or wishing it were still 1949. Free speech is one of our basic rights. It is sad any presidential person or hopeful would call for limiting it. Unless it’s out right slander, free speech should prevail.

    1. Cindy,

      I agree and it would be nice to have such an election. But as yesterday showed, even in our local election where I live the choices for town council and town supervisor were between a team that used fear mongering and bad science to promote themselves as the “clean air team” vs a new group with their leader having a checkered past. The “clean air team” lost, which I think is good, but I’m not over excited about what they were replaced with. I think your wish for a “bring this country together” politician will take years if not generations to happen. I write this because the indoctrination of our youth runs deep through our school system. Growing up in the 70’s, I truly believed that the U.S. was number one and to say otherwise, was fighting words. Do you honestly think there is a large percentage of our youth who thinks that today? One only needs to look at how a slogan like “Make America Great Again” enrages a group. You can not galvanize something which does not wish to be adhered too.

  3. If you turn FB into a publisher, rather than a hosting site, then they will simply select what they want to publish. It will become the voice of Facebook, rather than a platform that allows users to easily communicate with each other.

    How in the world could they expect a platform to vet, without bias, every comment, post, meme, and story uploaded? It’s impossible.

    1. At home we have never had accounts with any of these “social media” sites but it is bewildering that with all of the extracting of personal information, fishing of personal financial accounts, compromising of private data, rampant narcissism, and more, people would persist in them. Anyone who partakes of these venues has what they’ve got coming to them. People persist in them for the simple reason they are uncomfortable with themselves, uncomfortable alone with their thoughts and/or are bereft of interpersonal skills. No wonder America is collapsing when people shun each other

  4. The American empire is in decline—and we’re not ready for what comes next

    The condition of crisis has become so familiar in our politics, we forget what crisis really is and what it can do to us. Crippling polarization, climate catastrophe, military overreach, moral degeneracy—these and other threats to the American juggernaut are real. Are we ready for our crises to finally catch up to us?

    This is a very un-American question, but it is a reasonable one. Every empire comes and goes, even fabulously wealthy ones with armies stationed all over the world, even ones whose language and pop culture has become a universal tongue, that hold such dominion and then demand of themselves even more greatness. Every period of alleged greatness is also a precursor to decline.

    Recall the most shocking political lesson that Jesus taught his Jewish followers, who craved liberation from foreign rule: Rather than being a revolutionary leader, he died on a cross. Rather than bringing the troubled Roman Empire renewed glory, Christianity helped usher in its collapse.

    What if our political culture were to ask not just how we will cling to some version of greatness but how this country will enter its eventual post-great future?

    This lesson is the social version of that medieval reminder, memento mori—remember that you will die. And from such remembering comes ars moriendi, the art of dying. At a time of plague and brutal wars, when decline was the general condition, handbooks spread across Europe for how a person can make the best of death, through the example and guidance of Christ. They instructed not just patients but their families and loved ones. The art of dying is not just personal; it is social.

    Is there an art of dying for empires, too? What if our political culture were to ask not just how we will cling to some version of greatness or be even greater, but how this country will enter its eventual post-great future? Will we go down with guns blazing and nukes bursting, burning the planet to a crisp and locking ourselves in behind impenetrable walls? Or will America’s decline bring about a more peaceful and equitable world, where more people can have opportunity and voice regardless of where they are born?

    This is an unspeakable subject for our politicians, whose profession requires bowing to the idolatry of our greatness. Their range of motion extends only from whether America is already great or should be great again. But we can read between the lines to notice who among them is and is not able to imagine a universe not eternally subject to American might. Do they have a theory of graceful decline?

    The work of ars moriendi requires a humility and self-giving that American politics is not presently capable of—and never has been, I suspect.
    So far, the Democratic presidential nominees have been asked little about their foreign policy visions. This should change since presidents have more power over war and peace than any domestic legislation. For his part, President Trump has danced a perplexing dance with decline—withdrawing troops from the most sensitive conflicts while escalating military spending and testing out several new conflict opportunities, like with Iran and China. He seems to enjoy living in a tinderbox, while President Obama and Hillary Clinton preferred more calculated forms of world domination through secret drone strikes and sweeping trade pacts.

    Decline is not only pertinent abroad, however. We tolerate our crises of poverty and inequality on the assumption that with the next round of greatness there will be riches enough to drown them. A memento mori culture would have no such dream to suffer toward; it would accept that the present abundance might be all we get and take on the hard questions of how to distribute that abundance more equitably. Rather than forestalling basic justice until greatness, what if we were to let ourselves experience more justice now?

    I wonder what a politics would look like that could tolerate discussing the inevitability of decline. What would politicians say if we had a debate on what should follow the Pax Americana? What would their constituents expect them to say? Like the Iroquois Confederacy, what if our Constitution required that leaders plan for seven generations after our own?

    The work of ars moriendi requires a humility and self-giving that American politics is not presently capable of—and never has been, I suspect. But that does not have to stop us from trying to practice the art of dying, in politics as well as in our lives. Can we help bring about a world that has grown out of the need for a superpower? Do we trust God to reign or only ourselves?


      1. Olly and TIA,
        Remember when the government had to reduce or eliminate information-sharing barriers between the intelligence agencies? That action seems to have made them even stronger. Perhaps I am too cynical to think we were willing dupes to support such an action.

        1. PR,
          I believe that was done in the waning days of the Obama administration. I’m not sure there was anything we could have done about it.

          1. Olly,
            Ironically, from a paper in support of decreasing the barriers between intelligence agencies:

            “The CIA and FBI are two agencies which were initially created with specific and
            separate missions. This separation is to prevent a scenario of an all-powerful government
            agency which would have the powers of both domestic and foreign intelligence agencies.”


  5. Facebook, Youtube, GOOGLE, Twitter…they are all sharply leaning Left. Conservative content creators are openly discriminated against. Search engines on GOOGLE now provide Democratic leaning results. If you watch a conservative Youtube video on climate change, you are guaranteed to see a commercial about the existential threat of climate change.

    But the Clinton machine wants more. Deplatform conservatives so that voters may not hear their information.

    The time is ripe for competition. This is difficult to do since FB goes Genghis Kahn on the competition, as well as copies any technology as closely as they can.

  6. “Take,” under eminent domain, all social media that do not have effective competition and place them under the purview and supervision of a public utilities commission as state regulated monopolies.

    1. That sounds like an abuse of eminent domain. And, it would grow government even more. And, social media companies would be backed by the power and strong arm of government, very probably increasing what surveillance they already have, and, if goodness knows what else they’d like to control.

  7. Establishment Democrats and those who amplify them continue to project blame for the public’s doubt in the U.S. election process onto outside influence, despite the clear history of the party’s subversion of election integrity. The total inability of the Democratic Party establishment’s willingness to address even one of these critical failures does not give reason to hope that the nomination process in 2020 will be any less pre-ordained.

  8. Zuckerberg “Should Pay A Price”: Clinton Denounces Facebook For Refusing To Censor Political Ads

    If Hillary Clinton was truly interested in serving the nation she would clamp her gaping maw shut as the putrid hot air that escapes her lips espouses her vile defective/divisive ideology 24/7/365.

    A leader would seek to bring all persons – regardless of their political ideology – together across the mile wide chasm between political parties that has purposely been created by those seeking elective office at he expense of the nations most vulnerable (ie those that have been rendered politically emasculated by the two party system currently in place).

    When politicians are more concerned with scoring political points against their ideological nemeses than working together to solve the myriad of self-inflicted problems (eg homelessness, access to preventive medical care, full employment at a solid blue/white/pink collar job, forever wars based upon lies, etc) that confront the nation they expose themselves for what they truly are: self-serving SOB’s.

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