“And Why Stop There?”: CNN Analyst Calls For Sweeping Regulation of Free Speech On The Internet [Updated]

We previously discussed the unrelenting drumbeat of censorship on the Internet from Democratic leaders, including President-elect Joe Biden. Those calls are growing as anti-free speech advocates see an opportunity in the Biden Administration to crackdown on opposing views. One vocal advocate of censorship and speech controls has been CNN media analyst Oliver Darcy who just ratcheted up his call for de-platforming opposing views. Like many anti-free speech advocates, Darcy simply labels those with opposing views as spreading “disinformation” and demands that they be labeled or barred from social media. In a recent newsletter, Darcy calls for every tweet by Trump to be labeled as disinformation while asking “and why stop there?” Precisely. Once you cross the Rubicon of speech regulation, there is little reason or inclination to stop.  Just look at Europe.

Darcy wrote:

“Nearly every tweet from the president at this point is labeled for misinfo. Which had me thinking. Why doesn’t Twitter just take the step of labeling his entire account as a known source of election disinfo? And why stop there? Why not label accounts that repeatedly spread claims the platform has to fact-check?”

There was a time from the very touchstone of American journalism was the rejection of such calls for censorship, including at CNN.

What is chilling about Darcy’s writings is that they reflect the view of many now in Congress and in the Democratic Party.  Indeed, they reflect many in the Biden campaign. Once a party that fought for free speech, it has become the party demanding Internet censorship and hate speech laws. President-Elect Joe Biden has called for speech controls and recently appointed a transition head for agency media issues that is one of the most pronounced anti-free speech figures in the United States. It is a trend that seems now to be find support in the media, which celebrated the speech of French President Emmanuel Macron before Congress where he called on the United States to follow the model of Europe on hate speech.

Darcy is calling for more active and extensive regulation of speech to protect users from thoughts or views that he considers false or dangerous: “Think of it as a version of NewsGuard for Twitter.”

“NewsGuard” has a lovely Orwellian sound to be added to other codes for censorship like Sen. Richard Blumenthal recently calling for “robust content modification” on the internet. Who can object to a NewsGuard, which Darcy describes like some beneficent St. Bernard watching over our news and social postings?  Of course, what Darcy considers “disinformation” or what Blumenthal considers “robust content modification” is left dangerously undefined.

So put me down as preferring free speech without the helpful guards and content modification. Instead, I hold a novel idea that people can reach their own conclusions on such is disinformation just as Darcy does.


While not directly at issue, the posting quoted Darcy on the need for a version of NewsGuard.  I made reference to the term in the context of Darcy’s call for greater regulation of speech. After this posting ran, I was contacted by Eric Effron, Editorial Director, NewsGuard. In fairness to them, I wanted to include a statement from him and the company:

“I believe you are misconstruing NewsGuard’s role vis-à-vis censorship. Our ‘Nutrition Labels’ provide readers with insights and information about more than 6,000 news and information sites. When we write that a site does not run corrections, say, or that it obscures its true owner, we are not censoring, but rather, empowering citizens to make smarter decisions about the information they consume. That’s the opposite of censorship.”

129 thoughts on ““And Why Stop There?”: CNN Analyst Calls For Sweeping Regulation of Free Speech On The Internet [Updated]”

  1. By pointing out that most of what Trump say is a lie (which is the case)–that is not restricting freedom of speech. It is nothing more than a disclaimer, which is a public service, and not allowing a social media platform to be used for spreading misinformation or lies. So, no one is saying Trump and Fox aren’t allowed to continue lying. They just can’t do so with impunity, and they will and should be called out. Why should the host of any platform allow it to be used to spread lies or pretend that lies aren’t lies, which per se provides cover for such lies? Why should any politician get away with supporting an unmitigated pathological liar, instead of being a leader and telling the American people that no one stole the election from Trump and that it’s time to honor the will of the American people?

    Turley never seems to consider the scope of what is going on or the big picture. We have a narcissistic election cheater who has been wrongfully occupying our White House solely so that he can pretend to be a legitimate and important person, and who constantly lies, day after day. His lying and incompetence has cost American lives. He has a cadre of not well educated followers (and some cynics who are educated, but who agree with his racist rhetoric and/or just don’t want to pay their fair share of taxes and/or who want to roll back environmental and consumer protection regulations) who support this loser. No POTUS in US history has been as dishonest or narcissistic as Turley’s orange hero, and the majority of Americans are thoroughly sick of him and want him gone. We have an out of control pandemic, the worse economy since the Great Depression and historic unemployment. Trump needs to go before things get worse. But, he still keeps lying—he claims he won the election, and that he was fraudulently cheated out of his win, and accusing everyone of depriving him of his “victory”, including the DOJ and FBI, the heads of which he nominated. When he can’t bully Secretaries of State or Governors into helping him cheat again by appointing faithless electors to defeat the will of the voters of their states, he goes on the attack. This is shameful, and the product of mental illness. Trump and those Republicans who refuse to speak out against him are a disgrace, and deserve public scorn. Ignoring this aberrant and un-American behavior is abnormal.

    1. You have a lot to learn. Fortunately for the pace of your educational progress, we are living in interesting times.

      It is good that you’ve come to this (kind of) a place — that’s step one. The next is to take a step out of your bubble, and start actually learning how it is that 40-50% of the country can be, as you have been told, so “stupid”, or “mentally ill”, or “racist”.

      Cross-pollination is a good thing both in biology and politics. Free speech is how it happens in a democracy. Anyone who tells you otherwise doesn’t understand what democracy is and how it works … and for that matter, what science is and how it works. Or, is complicit in their current ongoing destruction.

      Signed, an ex-conservative ex-liberal

  2. Just another 5 gallon bucket of silicone grease added to the slippery slope.
    All this talk about the First Amendment is such a waste of time now that the left is poised to seize absolute power.
    Why doesn’t the media just get to the real point and call for the criminalization of Exercising Constitutional Rights and punishment of Citizens who do?
    After all it’s not as if power mad Senators and Congress persons aren’t already issuing death threats and demanding round up lists from the Floors of the Capitol.

  3. What is need is to wean fFacebook, Twitter, and … from usage.
    I have never used any of them and somehow remained a member of free speech.

  4. Thought Experiment:

    Keep everything about Twitter and Facebook the same, but switch the (overwhelmingly) predominant political ideology on each of these platforms from left to right. Consider how the state of academic, constitutional law scholarship might differ.

    Hint: Free speech is under attack!!! The internet needs more free speech!!!

  5. I Guess even God does not have a right to free speech anymore since His word clearly objects to the Democratic Platform that removed Him from the equation and they violate His Laws and Teachings as if they know better. Oh – well, I guess all the hard core democrats like this guy are going to find out what Eternal Damnation really means later on.

    1. Rabbi,
      I respectfully disagree that mere mortals could violate His speech. He spoke Being into existence.

      Have we adequately stood up to defend that which He has endowed us with? Such things are sacred.

  6. Unsurprisingly, Turley strongly defends Trump’s attorney Joe diGenova’s right to free speech for insisting Georgia’s Republican Secretary of State “should be drawn and quartered. Taken out at dawn and shot.”

    Turley is presumably unconcerned by the death threats against these lifelong Republicans who voted for Trump. JT applauds Trump & his attorneys’ ongoing attacks on Georgia’s Republican Governor & Secretary of State for being “hapless” & “the enemy of the people.”

    1. So, when exactly did “Turley strongly defend Trump’s attorney”? What proof do you have that “Turley is presumably unconcerned by the death threats”? He never said any of that. You are a master of the straw man argument, which means ya got nuttin’….

      1. I’m sure Race was doing his best. Some people have difficulty distinguishing between sarcasm, opinion and a valid death threat. I don’t think we should be chastising Race for his lack of ability to distinguish such differences. Some people weren’t born to be able to do so.

        He should take note that Kathie Griffin’s holding the mock-severed head of Trump wasn’t a threat either but I am sure he had a big laugh.

  7. Oh, my!

    Where are NeedsToBeCommitted and JokeFriedhay?

    Were they reassigned because they were impotent after being overwhelmed by facts and testimony?

    Where do bots go when they die?

  8. Free speech means just what it says. It means to right to offend and insult people. It must be defended at all costs the same way as the right to vote. I grew up with George Carlin and Lenny Bruce. They were censored in their time but are now revered as two of the greatest satirists of their generation. All of us are offended by many things. I am offended that Obama and Bob Dylan were given Nobel prizes they clearly did not deserve; but I wish them no harm. I am offended that Leonardo DiCaprio won an Oscar because I think he is a terrible actor; but again I have no desire to prevent him from making movies. I am offended that we do not have literacy before we allow people to vote. Literacy tests can test civic competence and make sure all of us have some knowledge of how our government works. We can not defend the right to express ourselves unless we defend the right of others to express their views. Justice Holmes understood that the first amendment is indispensable if we are to continue the experiment in self government. Having the information to be informed about what is going on in the world is essential to casting an informed and intelligent vote as well as being a productive and responsible citizen.

    1. ok boomer nice speech. lenny bruce was a pervert and a potty mouth. but carlin was actually funny. they dont belong in same sentence

      crush the billionaires and forget all these bromides. free speech is a strategic tool of global capital and little more.

      Saloth Sar

      1. (That was the garbage troll comment of the night. Please crawl back under your bridge…)
        Free speech is essential to the survival of our Republic, which is why “progressives”, who never saw an opposing opinion they could tolerate, seek so avidly to curtail it. Control speech, and you can control the country.

        1. You are right Allen. Control speech and you control the country

          That’s what the billionaires have done. They control speech on their private property twitter, google, youtube, FB, etc,. which are actually the operative public squares of our day, and hide behind “property rights’ to avoid censorship, and promote those ideas they like which enslave us

          And they give spare hundreds of millions of dollars to “charities’ like universities to promote more leftist claptrap going on decades now, which we are usually too stupid to understand, does not serve the interests of the workers, it serves the interest of the billinoaires.

          In short yes we need control to strip them of their excess billions and restore sovereignty to the people.

          If need be through the ultimate political tool called war

          Saloth Sar

      2. Your ignorance is tough to fathom. Free speech predates those things as you know them. Judging by your opener, I can only surmise you are of the millennial cohort, and I regret to inform you that the world did spring into existence the day you were born, neither did our systems do likewise the day you first noticed them. You are tolerated in these comments out of the same fairness you wish to dismantle.

        1. I am Gen Z boomer James. The generation you and millenials forgot

          I am tolerated by Turley here but he is no billionaire. My posts would be deleted on the billionaire controlled platforms Twitter, FB, etc. And sent into oblivion by google if they were searched

          You liberals, liberterians, Republicans and conservatives need to wake up and understand., the First Amendment is not your friend. You have been fooled if you think so. You go figure it out, It took me decades to undo all my own conditioning on that account. Time for you to get started, before the billionaires use their money power to exterminate us. They’re underway already.


          Saloth Sar

  9. Don’t worry sweet tolerant lefties, the US will adopt “hate speech” laws soon enough. Just wait until the 1st amendment is interpreted using “critical legal theory”.


  10. Turley says Darcy’s call to label every Trump tweet as “disinformation” reflects the view of many now in Congress and in the Democratic Party. JT deliberately avoids mentioning it also reflects the view of rock solid conservatives at the National Review. The editors said “It’s hard to find much that is remotely true in the president’s Twitter feed these days. It is full of already-debunked claims and crackpot conspiracy theories about Dominion voting systems… Flawed and dishonest assertions like this pollute the public discourse and mislead good people who make the mistake of believing things said by the president of the United States.”

    Looks like National Review editors are about to be thrown under the bus by Turley’s faithful readers.

    1. it also reflects the view of rock solid conservatives at the National Review.

      Whether it does or does not reflect their view, National Review is a passable example of Eric Hoffer’s dictum that what starts as a cause decays into a business and then decays into a racket. They have a few satisfactory contributors, but collectively no actual rapport with Republican voters. A number of them are paid quite handsome salaries with their donors’ money. (In Richard Lowry’s case, his cash compensation alone is over $200,000 a year for supervising a two-digit staff).

        1. I gather your contact at Correct-the-Record told you to salt your commentary with obnoxious and clueless pronouncements.

    2. What an uneducated comment. Claiming that the Dominion vote machines are a debunked conspiracy theory IS disinformation.

      Perhaps your speech should be curtailed.

        1. This guy doesn’t read or comprehend what his citations say. Forget about any real analysis from this guy.

          8 counties refused to reply to the inquiry
          5 of the six that replied were satisfied. But they are the same election officials that didn’t notice anything wrong.
          The sixth said there was some confusion in the use of the machines.
          Experts acknowledged glitches occur.

      1. Speaking of “Dominion vote machines:”

        On Sunday, Federal judge Timothy Batten ordered that the voting machines used in three Georgia counties *not* be wiped clean. His order prohibits the “altering, destroying, or erasing, or allowing the alteration, destruction, or erasure of, any software or data on any *Dominion* voting machine in Cobb, Gwinnett, and Cherokee Counties.” (emphasis added)

        That order, a prelude to a forensic analysis of the machines, is the result of the Georgia lawsuit filed by Sidney Powell. According to her report, as the judge was issuing his order, one of the computer servers mysteriously “disappeared.” Some working on those fraud suits have been harassed and assaulted.

        With their last breath, the blind will claim: “There’s no evidence.” “Conspiracy theories.” “There’s nothing to see here, move along.”

    3. Race, you don’t know much about National Review, conservatives or anything else based on what you write. A lot of never Trumpers came from National Review.

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