Free Speech Inc.: How Democrats Have Found A New But Shaky Faith In Corporate Speech

Below is an updated version of my column in The Hill on Facebook’s decision to uphold the ban on former president Donald Trump. Notably, this weekend, Twitter took it upon itself to add a gratuitous response to an observation made by Donald Trump Jr. after he tweeted “Biden isn’t the next FDR [Franklin Delano Roosevelt] he’s the next Jimmy Carter.” Twitter took it upon itself to say that many are “confused” by the remark since Carter was a great humanitarian and noble prize winner. It was a telling moment. These companies now act as either censors as officious intermeddlers when it comes to comments made on the platforms. They view themselves as a party to any postings and that viewpoints must be corrected or clarified to advance the corporate position.

Here is the column:

After Facebook’s oversight board this week upheld the social media giant’s continuing ban of former President Trump, the response of Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) captured the visceral joy of many on the left: She posted a series of laughing emojis.

Welcome to Free Speech, Inc.: the Democratic incorporation of free speech built around the a presumption of corporate censorship (for some).

Of course, Democrats insist they are not attacking free speech, just combating “disinformation.” After all, they say, private companies have every right to control speech — unless you are, say, a bakery opposed to preparing a cake for a same-sex wedding, or a company contributing to political causes. The current mantra defending Facebook’s corporate speech rights seems strikingly out of sync with years of Democrats and political activists demanding the curtailment of such rights.

When Masterpiece Cakeshop in Colorado refused on religious grounds to make a cake for a same-sex wedding, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) denounced the bakery’s claim of free speech: “It was never about a cake — it’s about making sure no one has a license to discriminate against LGBTQ+ Americans.” When the Supreme Court ruled in the Citizens United case that corporations have free speech rights to participate in politics, Warren was appalled. She has long rejected the notion that corporations have the constitutional rights like individuals: “Corporations are not people. People have hearts. They have kids. They get jobs. They get sick. They cry. They dance. They live. They love. And they die.”

Notably, Warren felt that one company (Masterpiece Cakeshop) can be forced to speak while another corporation (Facebook) should be able to stop others from speaking. When Facebook barred Trump, Warren declared: “I’m glad that Donald Trump is not going to be on Facebook. Suits me.” House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) also celebrated and added: “Facebook must ban him. Which is to say, forever.”

When free speech concerns are raised over corporate censorship, Democrats often drop references to “free speech” violations and instead address “First Amendment” violations. Indeed, when Trump objected to the ban on Twitter as “banning free speech,” a host of media outlets ran stories like: “Fact Check: Did Twitter Violate President Trump’s First Amendment Rights?” Experts like Wayne State University law professor Jonathan Weinberg chimed in that, under the First Amendment, a company “gets to choose who it does business with and who it doesn’t.”

Likewise, when questioned about the Board’s decision and its impact on free speech, board member and Stanford Law Professor Michael McConnell dismissed such concerns by insisting that the First Amendment does not apply to Facebook and “no judge in the country would rule” in favor of the former president.”

The First Amendment is not the full or exclusive embodiment of free speech, however. It addresses just one of the dangers to free speech posed by government regulation. Many of us view free speech as a human right. Corporate censorship of social media clearly impacts free speech, and replacing Big Brother with a cadre of Little Brothers actually allows for far greater control of free expression.

This is even more concerning when politicians openly pressure companies to increase censorship. In one hearing last year, Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) actually warned Big Tech CEOs that he and his colleagues were watching to be sure there was no “backsliding or retrenching” from “robust content modification.”

Obviously, these politicians would insist that the Masterpiece Cakeshop case is about discrimination while the Facebook controversy is about disinformation. However, some of us have long viewed all of these controversies as about free speech. Indeed, taking a free speech approach avoids the hypocrisy on both sides.

Under a free speech approach, cakeshop owners have a right to refuse to prepare cakes that offend their deep-felt values, including religious, political or social values. Thus, a Jewish cakeshop owner should be able to decline to make a “Mein Kampf” cake for a local skinhead group, a Black owner to decline to make a white supremacist-themed cake, or a gay baker to decline to make a cake with anti-LGBT slogans. While these bakers cannot discriminate in selling prepared cakes, the act of decorating a cake is a form of expression, and requiring such preparation is a form of compelled speech.

In the same way, NFL teams have a free speech right to prevent kneeling or other political or social demonstrations by players during games, Citizen’s United has a right to support political causes — and, yes, Facebook has a right to censor speech on its platform.

Free speech also allows the rest of us to oppose these businesses over their policies. We have a right to refuse to subsidize or support companies that engage in racial or content discrimination. Thus, with social media companies, Congress should not afford these companies legal immunity or other protections when they engage in censorship.

These companies once were viewed as neutral platforms for people to exchange views — people who affirmatively “friend” or invite the views of others. If Big Tech wants to be treated like a telephone company, it must act like a telephone company. We wouldn’t tolerate AT&T interrupting calls to object to some misleading conversation, or cutting the line for those who misinform others.

As a neutral platform for communications, telephone companies receive special legal and economic status under our laws. Yet, it sometimes seems Facebook wants to be treated like AT&T but act like the DNC.

In defending Big Tech’s right to censor people, University of California at Irvine law professor Richard Hasen declared that “Twitter is a private company, and it is entitled to include or exclude people as it sees fit.” That is clearly true under the First Amendment. It also should be true of others who seek to speak (or not speak) as corporations, from bakeries to sports teams.

Yet, when the Supreme Court sent back the Masterpiece Cakeshop case in 2018 for further proceedings, an irate House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) declared: “Masterpiece Cakeshop is a commercial bakery open to the public, and such services clearly must be made available to the public on equal terms … No business or organization open to the public should hide their discriminatory practices behind the guise of religious liberty.” But Pelosi applauded when social media companies barred some members of the public based on viewpoint discrimination on subjects ranging from climate change to vaccines to elections.

The difference, of course, is that Masterpiece Cakeshop was willing to sell cakes to anyone but refused to express viewpoints that conflict with the owners’ religious beliefs. Conversely, social media companies like Twitter and Facebook are barring individuals, including a world leader like Trump, entirely from their “shop.” And, taking it one step further, Facebook has declared it will even ban the “voice of Donald Trump.”

Big Tech is allowed to be arbitrary and capricious in corporate censorship. However, our leaders should follow a principled approach to corporate speech that does not depend on what views are being silenced. Because Elizabeth Warren was right. This “never was about a cake” or a tweet or “likes” for that matter. It was always about free speech.

Jonathan Turley is the Shapiro Professor of Public Interest Law at George Washington University. You can find his updates online @JonathanTurley

276 thoughts on “Free Speech Inc.: How Democrats Have Found A New But Shaky Faith In Corporate Speech”

  1. Turley doesn’t seem to understand just what companies line Facebook and Twitter really are.

    “ If Big Tech wants to be treated like a telephone company, it must act like a telephone company. We wouldn’t tolerate AT&T interrupting calls to object to some misleading conversation, or cutting the line for those who misinform others.”

    They don’t want to be treated like telephone companies, they don’t act like telephone companies at all.

    You pay phone companies for access to their network to communicate. You don’t do that with Facebook. You don’t sign an agreement with phone companies that include clauses where they can dictate what you can say. They CAN shut off your phone if you don’t pay.

    Facebook, does none of that, it doesn’t block you from your account if you don’t use it a certain amount or requires you to post a certain amount of content. I DOES require you to abide by certain rules that nobody is forced to agree to. It’s all voluntary consent to be censored or punished if rules are violated. Turley’s “analysis” is so stupidly crackled with poor equivalencies and “wishes” that it’s just pointless.

    1. Go to Amazon IMDb. Payment is decided based on whether you want advertising or not.

      It provides you with a new meaning to the word, “pay’.

      SM

      1. Anonymous SM, your point is irrelevant.

        Amazon doesn’t allow posting of comments like Twitter or Facebook. It’s a retailer, not a social media platform that is free to join, provided you agree to their terms and conditions.

        You pay phone company money to access their network. Since making a phone call involves a PRIVATE connection to someone else it doesn’t have any limitations on what you can say. You could go on an epic racist diatribe or conspire to murder someone with complete confidence without worrying about being censored or reported to the authorities.

        Facebook or Twitter are PUBLIC platforms where you allow anyone to see your thoughts, ideas, pictures, and opinions. Those have limitations on the platforms. Not like a phone call on a phone company’s network.

        1. “Amazon doesn’t allow posting of comments like Twitter or Facebook. “

          Are you that ignorant that you can’t keep track of what the discussion is all about? “ I tried to demonstrate to you the different forms of “pay” to expand your horizons. You are dull. You need to get a sharpener to sharpen your mind.

          Here is the quote that tells you everything.

          “It provides you with a new meaning to the word, “pay’.

          It had nothing to do with platforms, TV or the like. It had to do with the word “Pay” and how differently one can be paid.

      2. IMDb, a data base for movies and tv, previous to being owned by Amazon, offered two levels of data…, the most basic, which was free. And then IMDb pro which with a membership you could get production contacts, theoretical access to contact info for agents, lit managers, actors, etc…

        You could contribute to your own profile on IMDb pro but not on the basic level. And you could absolutely be censored because any contribution to your own bio had to be approved before it was even posted. So it amounted to being an industry necessity where you post your email as something like info@productioncompany.com. And your posted phone number goes right to the secretary who goes to war with cold callers all day. It’s an industry mirage on one level, a quick way to find out the inside data on who is involved with what project and on what level.

        It’s really not a good comparison to FB & Twitter because it is comparable to being a wikipedia site for the tv and film industry rather than being similar to social media. Pretty much apples and oranges there, Allan.

        EB

        1. “Pretty much apples and oranges there, Allan.”

          Bug, I guess you are as dull as Svelaz. The element under discussion was the various ways one can be paid by the customer without exchanging cash. I am continuously amazed at your comments that make one believe the education system was destroyed decades ago and not so recently.

          Here is the operative sentence.

          “It provides you with a new meaning to the word, “pay’.

          If you were a horse and I brought you to water, you would die of thirst.

          SM

    2. Svelaz,

      Good points. I wish I had made them. Turley’s legal analyses have degenerated into polemics. It is as if he is being groomed to host his own legal commentary program on Fox News! God forbid that he replaces Jeanine Pirro who has become a modern day People’s Court Judge Roland Freisler!

    3. You are making distinctions which are irrelevant to what Turley is saying about democratic arguments. Democrats are saying that 1st Am does not apply to a private business that has voluntary agreements with users and has terms and conditions a user must follow. A phone company is a private business that enters into a voluntary agreement with its users that are subject to terms and conditions. The 1st amendment doesn’t apply to a phone company any more than it does to social media. He has made a very good point. I challenge you to make a better argument as to why the phone company and social media are different. Both are private businesses and the 1st Am applies to neither. Give us your legal analyses not just you conclusionary remarks.

      1. Kunstlerghost, “ I challenge you to make a better argument as to why the phone company and social media are different. Both are private businesses and the 1st Am applies to neither. ”

        Challenge accepted.

        A phone company is primarily about facilitating communications thru a dedicated network which you pay to access it. The same concept applies to ISP’s (Internet service providers) which many phone companies are as well.

        They have no control over what is created in the internet because they don’t own it. They just provide access to it for a fee.

        Social media is the equivalent of a private club created WITHIN the internet. They don’t control access to the internet. They only control access to their platforms by means of an agreement. They create unique features or benefits that you can only get if you join because it’s a private “club” that anyone can join and there are rules that you agree to be subjected to. You’re not forced to join and you’re not forced to sign an agreement.

        It’s all entirely voluntary.

        Some rural areas don’t have many choices or none at all if they want phone service. Which makes them a necessity because it’s for communication rather than a “perk” like Facebook or Twitter by having access to the internet. It’s not a necessity to have Twitter or Facebook.

        A phone company can’t censor your call because you don’t have an agreement with them that dictates their right to listen in on your conversations. Your posts on Facebook or Twitter are public. A big distinction.

    4. So could Twitter decide to ban all Christians, or all women, or all people of color as a private business. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 only applies to employment discrimination and public accommodation discrimination. Court have ruled that Twitter is not a place of public accommodation because it is virtual and not a place. So Twitter could do those things. There is no law to stop them. Does that mean it is ok if Twitter decided to do that?

      1. “ So could Twitter decide to ban all Christians, or all women, or all people of color as a private business. ”

        Yeah they could. Provided they make it clear that’s what they intend.

        But to have the best possible audience they won’t do that.

        How popular do you think Twitter would be if it catered only to Christians, what about white people only?

  2. Turley’s “analysis” seems to be a poor attempt to justify punishing these companies for what he thinks is an unjustified censorship. But he hesitantly recognizes the limitations of his complaints when he states, “ In the same way, NFL teams have a free speech right to prevent kneeling or other political or social demonstrations by players during games, Citizen’s United has a right to support political causes — and, yes, Facebook has a right to censor speech on its platform.”

    Here he admits that censoring by private companies is perfectly legal and their right.

    But then he tries to justify the need to remove the liability protections that Facebook and Twitter have, so people can sue over being legally censored? That still doesn’t stop companies from censoring speech on their platforms. In fact it will make it more commonplace because any company will protect itself by removing messages that are a liability risk. Meaning they will censor more. That’s pretty stupid. Even Turley’s own blog would be subject to lawsuits as well.

    1. Svelaz,

      I also was struck that Turley FINALLY conceded publicly that censoring by private companies is perfectly legal.

      And I will also note his disingenuous attempt to conflate unpopular *opinion* or *viewpoints” with demonstrably false statements or *lies*, which could be harmful if believed. He writes: “our leaders should follow a principled approach to corporate speech that does not depend on what views are being silenced.” What about Trump’s statement that people can cleanse themselves of the Covid virus with bleach? Should Facebook not censor such a falsehood as a responsible corporation? Turley will not address such a discrete hypothetical in his free speech analysis. Furthermore, he will not go out on a limb and inform us what kinds of speech should be censored.

      1. Hiding a lie and acting like it never existed if folly. It is better to shine light on a lie or disinformation. Especially when you have 20 year-old coders deciding what medical study is true and what is not. The people making these decisions are often not qualified to make such decisions. We now know that the CDC’s concern over outdoor transmission was not justified. The fact that you cannot question science with other research and discovery is completely insane. Doctors who challenged the CDC were blocked from Twitter and Facebook. It turns out that the disinformation came from the CDC. The problem with disinformation censorship is that often the designation of something being “disinformation” is loaded with the opinions and biases of the one labeling something as disinformation. Too often disinformation is the label attached to what is really just a difference in opinions. “All lives matter” is not disinformation, but people posting that have been cancelled and suspended by social media. How is that disinformation. That is an opinion. And worse yet is that only a few users who said “all lives matter” were penalized. The penalties were not enforced evenly. Before social media, we heard and read things that weren’t true, and the world did not collapse. Our country seems to be collapsing now, however, since only one side gets to say what is true and what is not. That is the problem. False information in itself is not the problem. I have heard of no one who injected bleach or stuck a UV light bulb up their ass, but let me know if you are aware of people who did that. Knowing what a politician lies about is as important as the truths they tell. Dont hide the lies, we need to know who lied and about what. More speech and proof of a falsehood is what is best. A paternalistic attitude taken by a private company is ridiculous, especially when the people deciding what is true or not are not as smart or as experienced than many of the users. That is why I am not on twitter of facebook anymore.

        1. Kunstlersghost,

          “The problem with disinformation censorship is that often the designation of something being “disinformation” is loaded with the opinions and biases of the one labeling something as disinformation. Too often disinformation is the label attached to what is really just a difference in opinions.”

          I don’t believe opinions should be censored by Facebook unless they are undeniably hate speech. I do believe that Facebook should censor abject falsehoods which may be harmful to its subscribers. We will undoubtedly disagree in particular cases on what constitutes hate speech and what is a demonstrable lie. But where there can be no *reasonable* doubt about the matter, Facebook should remove it. I do not suggest all falsehoods or conspiracy theories should be banned, e.g., beliefs in extraterrestrials, since such nonsense is not harmful if believed. On the other hand, presidential recommendations to cleanse the Covid virus with bleach should be censored, for it is an extremely dangerous lie.

      2. Jeff, he tacitly admitted what he should have clearly expressed from the very beginning.

        He wants to have his cake and eat it too. To be a “internet originalist” as he often states. He would be required to acknowledge the basic fact that the prohibitions spelled out in the wording of the 1st amendment have no bearing on private companies.

        He has every right to disagree with the immorality of censorship by private companies. But he has to equally acknowledge that all he can do is disagree. He can mope, hand wring, or whine about it. But that’s it. That seems to me the gist of all the frustration emanating from conservatives and poorly educated who have this idea that the these companies are bound by the 1st amendment prohibitions on infringement on speech.

    2. At least in that case they will have to censor in a more neutral fashion. That would be better than what we have now. Better yet, give them common carrier status like a phone company. That means they can’t discriminate and yet they are still protected from liability. That is the direction Justice Thomas has suggested. He is the only justice to have made any remark on that issue.

  3. “It’s not amazing that you attribute beliefs to me that aren’t mine. That behavior is common among trolls.”

    How can one help but do so based on the comments you write and the way you try to conceal your comments by not using a name.

    Your type of behavior is common among trolls and Anonymous the Stupid.

    1. Ah, yes — said by the guy whose alter ego is Allan/Anonymous the Stupid.

      He’s lobs insults all the time, but criticizes others when they respond in kind.

      1. Correction:

        He lobs insults all the time, but criticizes others when they respond in kind.

        Said about the guy whose alter ego is Allan/Anonymous the Stupid.

      2. Anonymous the Stupid, if you stopped complaining and told us what you believe is not true then maybe we could resolve the problems you seem to have.

  4. >>”Incorrect assumptions and comparisons.

    >Think whatever you want.”

    It is not a matter of thinking what one wants rather what is correct. Your assumptions and comparisons are incorrect.

  5. Freedom v Enslavement
    ___________________

    George Washington et al. chose freedom.

    Those who oppose freedom are the enemies of freedom.

    All those direct and mortal enemies of freedom, including those who feed from the freedom-derived success of others, should have never come or been given entrance to this country, and must be summarily deported with extreme prejudice, for the sake of the survival of the genius of the Constitution and America.

  6. If free speech is not defended for all it will be defended for no one. Those celebrating the restrictions are doomed to have them inflicted upon themselves.

  7. Troubling occurrences that lead to the need of corrections in our system of voting.
    ——
    We conclude that the Dominion Voting System is intentionally and purposefully designed with inherent errors to create systemic fraud and influence election results. The system intentionally generates an enormously high number of ballot errors. The electronic ballots are then transferred for adjudication. The intentional errors lead to bulk adjudication of ballots with no oversight, no transparency, and no audit trail. This leads to voter or election fraud. Based on our study, we conclude that The Dominion Voting System should not be used in Michigan. We further conclude that the results of Antrim County should not have been certified.

    https://www.depernolaw.com/uploads/2/7/0/2/27029178/%5B9%5D_ex_7_antrim_michigan_forensics_report_%5B121320%5D_v2_%5Bredacted%5D.pdf

      1. Young, it looks like honest elections in Britain may be taking center stage. Photo ID might become mandatory.

        1. S. Meyer– Yes, it seems the confusion and corruption in our last ‘election’ awakened them to significant risks in the UK. The Queen’s Speech will touch on it as well. As usual, those likely to benefit from fraud argue having an honest election will hurt minorities. Yet, in some Caribbean nations, mostly black, they have photo ID for voting and are proud of it. Seems Third World countries, some of them, do better than the Democrat/Progressive gangs want us to do in election honesty.

          1. You need to stop claiming there was “confusion and corruption”. The only “corruption” was Trump’s refusal to accept that he lost the election.

            If you have proof to the contrary, produce it or shut up about it.

          1. I might read that but what I am really waiting for is Charle’s Murray’s book Facing Reality: Two Truths about Race in America to be released in June.

            Amazon description:

            “The charges of white privilege and systemic racism that are tearing the country apart fIoat free of reality. Two known facts, long since documented beyond reasonable doubt, need to be brought into the open and incorporated into the way we think about public policy: American whites, blacks, Hispanics, and Asians have different violent crime rates and different means and distributions of cognitive ability. The allegations of racism in policing, college admissions, segregation in housing, and hiring and promotions in the workplace ignore the ways in which the problems that prompt the allegations of systemic racism are driven by these two realities.

            What good can come of bringing them into the open? America’s most precious ideal is what used to be known as the American Creed: People are not to be judged by where they came from, what social class they come from, or by race, color, or creed. They must be judged as individuals. The prevailing Progressive ideology repudiates that ideal, demanding instead that the state should judge people by their race, social origins, religion, sex, and sexual orientation.

            We on the center left and center right who are the American Creed’s natural defenders have painted ourselves into a corner. We have been unwilling to say openly that different groups have significant group differences. Since we have not been willing to say that, we have been left defenseless against the claims that racism is to blame. What else could it be? We have been afraid to answer. We must. Facing Reality is a step in that direction.”

            1. Thanks for mentioning Murray’s book. It sounds like a ‘must read’. He is always good..

              Lately there has been a push for apartheid from blacks–black dorms, black classes, black neighborhoods. More and more I am hearing whites, Asians and Hispanics saying ” good. Go for it.”
              The Democrats/Progressives are tearing the country in shreds with their constant push for racial grievances.

              1. His books are among the best. I remember the Bell Curve. I had an argument with a professor who told me Murray lied and was a racist.

                Every item he mentioned I proved wrong and referred to a portion of the book. He made factual statements that were totally wrong. In the end I proved he never read the book or he would have known one thing about it which he didn’t. One of his colleagues tried to pull that on me saying I didn’t read a certain study and was just guessing so I provided him the page numbers and quotes since I couldn’t send the entire article.

                If people would stop with their politics and actually deal with what Murray wrote a lot of things could be done to help those most in need.

                1. Did the ‘proving him wrong’ process include calling security to have you removed from the building by any chance?

                  EB

                  1. No, it proved a lot of people are like you, Bug. They speak without knowledge.

                    SM

                    1. “They speak without knowledge.”

                      You’re describing yourself, S. Meyer.

                  2. It sounds like an online exchange of some sort.

                    They probably blocked him or decided not to continue engaging with him, which is what Jeff Silberman did.

                2. S. Meyer wrote:

                  “Every item he mentioned I proved wrong and referred to a portion of the book. He made factual statements that were totally wrong. In the end I proved he never read the book…”

                  “I proved…”

                  Sure you did, pal.

                  ROTFL

                  1. Anonymous the Stupid, I am used to dealing with your type of stupidity. It won’t change and you will continue to ROTFL like a hyena without much more intelligence.

                    1. The ‘stupidity’ is yours and yours alone, Allan/Anonymous the Stupid.

    1. The Dominion Voting System has a design with malicious or ignorant intent. Someone hacked the algorithm and demonstrated how the data can be corrupted, while a perception of integrity of the system is sustained. Another instance of aborting the baby, cannibalizing her profitable parts, sequestering her carbon pollutants, and having her, too.

      1. Agree.

        Machines shouldn’t determine an election. They are too open to fraud and very expensive. Paper ballots work well and can be hand counted as well as be counted by machines. There is little problem having a secure ballot being placed into a container for later counting by those known to have the right to vote.

  8. This is not a scholarly article. I realize that Turley’s writings on this blog are not intended to be published in the GW Law Review read by law students, academics and judges, but this anslysis is rather shoddy. The presentation is superficial and overly one-sided. It’s certainly not educational because Turley refuses to address any questions challenging his thesis and provide further explications. Thus, I have to wonder what is the purpose of this blog. It seems to me that it’s purpose is simply to boost his public profile and maintain a large following to be leveraged into securing employment at media companies as a legal commentator.

    Were I a student in his GW law class, I would ask him to defend his analogizing the *public* platforming of Facebook content to the *private* phone communication between 2 parties facilitated by AT&T. It is plainly obvious that the free speech implications of censoring the former is far different than it would be in the case of the latter.

    While I had his attention, I would take the opportunity to ask him what he thinks about the Republicans cancelling Liz Cheney for telling the truth about the election AND the fact that his network Fox News is behind this effort to punish her for speaking freely. Of course, I would not expect an answer. I’m sure he would tell me to sit down and resume his lecture.

    1. “but this anslysis is rather shoddy. “

      Another insulting article by Jeff.

      “superficial and overly one-sided.”

      Take note how in my prior discussions with Jeff I requested more information and proof. He couldn’t provide it and then refused to respond because Jeff was “superficial and overly one-sided”.

      ” It’s certainly not educational because Turley refuses to address any questions challenging his thesis and provide further explications. “

      Jeff wants a top-rated law professor to be his personal tutor. He doesn’t want to pay. However, on the blog, Jeff can’t seem to get his facts straight or provide the normal discussion that takes place. He just wants to diss the professor as an ego trip.

      “Thus, I have to wonder what is the purpose of this blog.”

      One has to wonder the purpose Jeff is on Turley’s blog dissing Turley every time Jeff responds. It has become comical.

      “Were I a student in his GW law class”

      You would not have the aptitude to be accepted and your thin skin would immediately disintegrate with one comment from the professor or any differing comments from the class.

      Jeff is a guy who can’t defend his position so he tries to drag down the people higher on the ladder. Originally I thought he was here for intelligent discussion but now everyone knows the truth. He is a rabid leftist who gets his jollies dissing Turley even though Jeff is ignorant of the subjects under discussion.

        1. To which I responded it wasn’t necessary to make such an announcement to Jeff.

          Jeff didn’t have to announce that. It would be obvious when you don’t reply. But, you did announce it, because you are trying to tell everyone you are choosing not to respond rather than accepting the fact that in every single discussion we have had you have been unable to satisfactorily respond.

          Don’t worry. You are a leftist who cannot defend what he says. That is pretty normal around here. I’ll make my comments but I will not be distressed when I get no answer. I have responded all this time to a lot of your answers that were the equivalent of no answers.

          Let me give you a piece of advice given by Richard Feynman. You should never be totally convinced of anything (including your leftist ideas). Once everyone is convinced they have the right answer they never progress to the next level. That is your problem. For years you have never asked yourself the simple questions you have been asked here. You are foolishly too sure of yourself. That is why your mind hasn’t advanced so that you can produce better and better answers. You are striving to prove yourself right and not striving to make yourself smarter.

          Anonymous the Stupid needs to improve his arguments.

    2. I smell a fart in here. Oh wait that is Jeff S who opened his mouth and emitted a noxious odor from thence

        1. To which I responded it wasn’t necessary to make such an announcement to Jeff.

          Jeff didn’t have to announce that. It would be obvious when you don’t reply. But, you did announce it, because you are trying to tell everyone you are choosing not to respond rather than accepting the fact that in every single discussion we have had you have been unable to satisfactorily respond.

          Don’t worry. You are a leftist who cannot defend what he says. That is pretty normal around here. I’ll make my comments but I will not be distressed when I get no answer. I have responded all this time to a lot of your answers that were the equivalent of no answers.

          Let me give you a piece of advice given by Richard Feynman. You should never be totally convinced of anything (including your leftist ideas). Once everyone is convinced they have the right answer they never progress to the next level. That is your problem. For years you have never asked yourself the simple questions you have been asked here. You are foolishly too sure of yourself. That is why your mind hasn’t advanced so that you can produce better and better answers. You are striving to prove yourself right and not striving to make yourself smarter.

            1. Anonymous the Stupid, you brought up the question. I provided my reply to Jeff. Were you too Stupid to remember or see it?

              You make yourself look like a fool and didn’t help Jeff’s reputation either.

              1. Sure, bud — aka ATS. Just keep running your mouth, as is your wont, Allan/Anonymous the Stupid.

    3. Why then do you read his blog? His blog brings to light news/events that are not covered anywhere else. This is the best nearly up to the minute coverage of first amendment and free speech issues and academic freedom. I would put the question to you: explain why a cell phone company’s censorship different than censorship by a social media platform? I think you have completely missed the point. What you should analogize is that both social media and a cell phone platforms are private businesses that have contracts and terms and conditions with its users. So why is one private business transaction different from the other? That analysis has nothing to do with who is speaking to whom. That does not factor into the legal analysis nor is it a distinction that democrats have made. I would like to see what their response to this analogy would be. Verizon, for instance, as a phone platform is not subject to the 1st Amendment just like Twitter. the 4th amendment does not apply to Verizon either. If it wanted to broadcast what was said in a phone conversation, the only remedy to the persons on the call is a civil suit for invasion of privacy–but even that would only occur if private type information was disclosed. Both platforms are protected from liability for anything a user says. I don’t see any logical difference. Once a platform reaches such control on the market, it can become a ‘common carrier’ and be regulated. Verizon is a common carrier for purposes of telephone service so the government can regulate it. As a common carrier you can’t discriminate. But take that out of the hypothetical, as does Turley, there is no difference in reasoning or logic as to why the two platforms be treated differently. Justice Thomas recently wrote about how he thinks social media needs to be regulated as a common carrier in order to stop the ad hoc, arbitrary decisions about who can and cannot speak. That is one way the government can force itself into a private business transaction. The other method would be through civil rights acts of the various states regarding non-discrimination in places of “public accommodation.” So far courts have ruled that social media is not a public accommodation so it can continue to discriminate. However, if a state would merely state in its civil rights acts that social media is a public accommodation, then social media becomes a place of public accommodation for that state. Then add as a protected class “political affiliation” and thenTwitter could not treat people differently based on their political views. About 20 states say that you cannot discriminate on the basis of political affiliation or beliefs when it comes to employment by private companies. However, none of those states have yet to make political affiliation as a protected class with regard to public accommodations. I believe that as soon as red state legislatures figure this out, we will begin to see this put into practice to limit discrimination. Less discrimination is a good thing. Do you agree or do you believe that some thoughts and speech should be subject to discrimination?

      I do not see how this blog is one-sided anymore than a Washington Post article, a FOXNEWS or CNN broadcast. Each presents their own version and analysis of a topic. It would be rare for a daily blog to take a deep dive and present every argument that might apply against the blogger’s opinion. Blogging is for opinions. What you are expecting is for law reviews. I’m not sure what you mean “It’s certainly not educational because Turley refuses to address any questions challenging his thesis and provide further explications.” It is educational because it presents one view of an issue. Yes there may be counter arguments, but in the proper forum I doubt he would refuse to address questions. He doesn’t respond to the comments, nor should one expect him to with such a large following and the number of comments made on his blog. Responding to comments is for the readers, not questions that Turley should be expected to answer.

      1. Kunstlersghost,

        “Why then do you read his blog?”

        For the same reason I watch Fox News. I keep my friends close, but my enemies closer.

        The difference between AT&T and Facebook is that AT&T has no right to eavesdrop on the private conversations. Therefore, it has no ability to make an argument that it is facilitating hate-speech or Trumpist lies. But Facebook postings are publicly made, and by remaining silent in the face of Trump lies, Facebook would be enabling the liars. It is for the very same reason, Liz Cheney is speaking out against Trumpism. Turley acknowledges that Facebook cannot be forced to broadcast harmful lies just like the cake maker should not be forced to make a cake which offends her conscience.

        You ask: “Do you agree or do you believe that some thoughts and speech should be subject to discrimination?”

        All speech is subject to discrimination. While one cannot discriminate against a religious person, one is perfectly free to ridicule their beliefs even though it offends them. No belief is sacrosanct.

        I understand the limitations of this blog. It is not a law school classroom. However, I stand by my criticism that Turley does not present the strongest counter argument to his arguments. Instead of repeating the same arguments time again in his posts, it would behoove him to write a column or two answering some of the questions which have been raised by some of us. I presume Turley is trying to persuade us to accept his views. I for one will not do so unless my questions are addressed.

        1. “The difference between AT&T and Facebook is that AT&T has no right to eavesdrop on the private conversations. Therefore, it has no ability to make an argument that it is facilitating hate-speech or Trumpist lies.”

          Specious argument. Without eavesdropping AT&T can know phone numbers of those passing what you call “hate speech”

          “Turley acknowledges that Facebook cannot be forced to broadcast harmful lies “

          Did Turley make such a statement? Turley didn’t even use the word hateful in his discussion nor did he use any derivative of the word hate. Unless I am wrong this demonstrates an inability of a person to accurately portray what another is saying.

          Is he creating a red herring so he has something to argue about? So far his arguments are empty.

          “Turley does not present the strongest counter argument to his arguments. Instead of repeating the same arguments time again in his posts, it would behoove him to write a column or two answering some of the questions which have been raised by some of us. “

          It appears that there is another rabid person that comes to the blog to hate. Did you bite Jeff or did Jeff bite you?

  9. This is analogous to a baker providing facilities to bake a cake, then either taking a knee in the cake (i.e. editorialize), denying baking a cake (i.e. censorship), or throwing the cake in the customer’s face (e.g. Some, Select Black Lives Matter, Antifa). That said, can they abort the baby, cannibalize her profitable parts, sequester her carbon pollutants, and have her, too?

  10. The organizing principle is that the Democrats and their leftist allies will take whatever position they believe will help them gain and consolidate power.

    1. The principle of political congruence (“=”), sometimes inclusive, other times exclusive. A Pro-Choice.

  11. “This is even more concerning when politicians openly pressure companies to increase censorship. In one hearing last year, Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) actually warned Big Tech CEOs that he and his colleagues were watching to be sure there was no “backsliding or retrenching” from “robust content modification.””

    Politicians, i.e., government officials, openly pressuring companies to censor is essentially government officials doing the censoring, especially considering the degree of corporatism we have going on.

  12. This is a story from 2007. The author could see the future.

    Can Verizon still do this or are they now considered a common carrier for text messaging?
    ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________

    Verizon refuses to carry activist text messages: Verizon has told NARAL that it will not allow the reproductive rights organization to use its wireless network to distribute it.

    Amy Tiemann
    Sept. 27, 2007 4:18 a.m. PT

    This news may hit CNET tomorrow as a New York Times cross-post, but I haven’t seen anything about it yet so I wanted to be sure it was reported here.

    According to the Times, Verizon, one of the nation’s two largest wireless carriers, told NARAL that it would not allow the reproductive rights organization to send text messages through a program using Verizon’s mobile network, on the grounds that Verizon has the right to block “controversial or unsavory” text messages.

    I am no expert on Net Neutrality, but the idea that a telecom carrier will refuse to carry messages based on content is incredibly scary. Could they decide to broadcast messages sent by the Democratic party, but not Republicans? Christian messages but not Jewish? Everybody has a point of view that could be viewed as “controversial or unsavory” to someone else. I thought that controversy and open dialogue were integral parts of our democratic process. Idealism dies hard even in this day and age.

    Apparently the First Amendment does not in itself prohibit such censorship, but we should not accept such an action, which has been likened to the mass censorship of political speech by the Chinese government, no matter whether the carrier agrees with the content or not.

    Laws that forbid common carriers from interfering with voice transmission on phone lines do not apply to text messages. It’s time to change that law to protect free speech, no matter how it is communicated.
    _________________________________________________________________________________________________________

    That is the entire story, but here is the link if you want to see for yourself.

    https://www.cnet.com/news/verizon-refuses-to-carry-activist-text-messages/

  13. The “neutral platforms”, including steering engines, exercising editorial control, with monopolistic leverage, spend millions, perhaps billions, to influence elections, culture, politics, Trial by press and presumed guilty until proven politically congruent (“=”) are progressive conditions: one step forward, two steps backward. They believe they can abort the baby, cannibalize her profitable parts, sequester her carbon pollutants, and have her, too.

    1. Turley makes a false equivalence between bakeshop and social media platforms. If businesses are required to be willing to sell generic items to those they find objectionable or contrary to their beliefs, so too should social media platforms, which would be providing the same service to everyone. Conservatives aren’t asking for special promotions, just equal treatment.

      Worse, and probably more nefarious, these same “little brothers” are currently being exposed as having done the bidding by removing uncomfortable posts or those politically antithetical to government interests, for state governments, CA and IA so far. You can be sure more emails will leak from other state and federal government agencies.

      We know it’s wrong and so do the platforms themselves, or they wouldn’t lie about it, would just own up to their behavior, and wouldn’t have sworn up and down never to do this in exchange for their special legal carve out.

        1. This?

          “Video entitled ‘Hitler Gang’ center of police investigation in Grinnell”

          ‘Police say the 10-second clip included several boys doing a “goose step.” The father who reported the video told them he believes it was targeted at his daughter.’

          https://www.weareiowa.com/article/news/crime/grinnell-police-said-offensive-social-media-video-sent-to-teen-girl-iowa-goose-step-nazi-hitler-religion/524-7e8925af-811b-4db4-9c83-c22cc8e10dcd

          1. Terrible and rather surprising. Grinnell has a small liberal arts college in town. It was also a stop on the Underground Railroad.

            This may be a bullying issue. Also, it does not seem to connect to “removing uncomfortable posts or those politically antithetical to government interests, for state governments, CA and IA so far. You can be sure more emails will leak from other state and federal government agencies.”

            That video isn’t associated with Iowa’s state government, which is what the previous poster noted as a problem. Maybe I am reading the emphasis wrong.

  14. Nice column. What about those signs you see sometimes “We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone for any reason?” People need to grow up and go somewhere else to buy their cake. In my opinion, social media is the subcontractor of the public square which was once an actual physical place people went to express themselves. That physical space is now online but it’s the same thing- a public forum. It’s as if the national parks hired another company to manage, say, their website and that website ran ads for the DNC. A private company has the right to do whatever it wants as long as it’s not behaving as a public entity with the accompanying perks. Dalmatian poet Ivan Illyich said “All men were equal until the invention of the megaphone.” Social media is that megaphone.

  15. The 1st Amendment freedom of speech is not qualified by the Constitution and is, therefore, absolute.

    America is a nation of laws, not a nation of malevolent accusations and fanciful hypotheses.

    No court has any authority to legislate, “interpret” legislation, or to modify legislation or the “manifest tenor” thereof.

    The freedom of speech shall not be abridged.

    It may be a crime to speak a false claim of authority or to falsely endanger through speech.

    It may be actionable to defame through speech.

    The freedom of speech shall not be abridged.

    That any and all speech shall not be abridged is the “manifest tenor” of the Constitution, and any and all abridgement of speech must be declared void by the judicial branch.
    ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

    “[A] limited Constitution … can be preserved in practice no other way than through the medium of courts of justice, whose duty it must be to declare all acts contrary to the manifest tenor of the Constitution void. Without this, all the reservations of particular rights or privileges would amount to nothing … To deny this would be to affirm … that men acting by virtue of powers may do not only what their powers do not authorize, but what they forbid.”

    – Alexander Hamilton
    _________________

    1st Amendment

    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

  16. Jonathan: There are two glaring errors in your column. The first, less important, is your reference to president Carter as a “great humanitarian and noble prize winner”. Carter was both but for clarification he was the 1990 winner of the Nobel (not “noble”) Peace prize for his decades of work to find peaceful solutions to international conflicts. Second, and more egregious, is your false claim that the Supreme Court’s decision in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission (2018) was about the “free speech” rights of a baker. It wasn’t and you, as a constitutional law expert, should know better. It was about a baker who refused to bake a wedding cake for a gay couple based on his religious beliefs. The gay couple filed a complaint with the state’s Civil Rights Commission that found in favor of the gay couple indicating the owner of the bake shop had violated the state’s anti-discrimination law that bars public accomodations, like Masterpiece, from refusing service based on factors like race, sex, marital status or sexual orientation. The baker appealed and the Supreme Court ruled in his favor. Justice Kennedy wrote for the conservative majority and said the Commission’s decision evinced a “clear and impermissible hostility toward sincere religious beliefs”. So the decision was narrowly based on claims of religious animus not on “free speech” grounds. Many constitutional law experts criticized the Court’s decision. Erwin Chemerinsky wrote in the ABA journal that the decision was based on a tortured interpretation of statements made by Commission members and was inconsistent with earlier Court decisions on religious practices. Chemerinsky wrote that Colorado’s anti-discrimination law “was not motivated by a desire to interfere with religion, and it applies to all business establishments”. That is why Senator Warren and Speaker Pelosi, among many others, also criticized the Court’s decision.

    So you can criticize Facebook’s decision to ban Trump because he is a public figure but not because, as you say, he is a “world leader”. He’s an ordinary citizen who now is reviled around the world. Even while he was in office Trump was looked on with disdain by world leaders. Just ask Germany’s Angela Merkel. They considered Trump a bully, a fraud and unreliable! And you certainly can’t rely on the Masterpiece Cakeshop case for the proposition that Trump is being banned from Facebook because of his religious beliefs–mainly because Trump has no religious beliefs! So where does that leave your case? In tatters. If, as you say, “Facebook has a right to censor speech on its platform” where do your turn for support for Trump’s right to be on social media? We are all out here waiting for your response.

    1. Denis, since you brought up Angela Merkel both she and the leader of France stated that they thought it was wrong for Facebook to ban Trump. If they hated Trump so badly why would they come out on his side. Just another lollipop on the way to the land of make believe. The railroad magnates lowered the price to rent a railroad freight car to $1.00 to drive out their competition. They too were a private business that said they had a right to do whatever they wanted. Today Amazon will not allow server space to drive a competitor out of business. They also claim that they are a private business and can do whatever they want.

      1. “The railroad magnates lowered the price to rent a railroad freight car to $1.00 to drive out their competition.”

        Which raises yet another reason why the antitrust laws are nonobjective and unjust: If a company charges a lower price, it can be prosecuted for “intent to monopolize.” If it charges the same price, it can be prosecuted for “collusion.” If it charges a higher price, it can be found guilty of “successful intent to monopolize.”

    2. The baker prepared and served the cake. His transgression was that he didn’t endorse the trans couplet’s union. He was targeted initially and reactively for retributive change by special, peculiar, and Democrat interests. Ironically, he was compliant with the Pro-Choice religion, and upheld the spirit of the Rainbow of inclusion exclusion (i.e. black, brown, white).

      Carter started wars and transnational conflicts, and initiated the progress of energy deficits through denying reprocessing of nuclear fuels based on sociopolitical myths and phobic perceptions, which prompted the progress of low-density intermittent/renewables, ecological harm, and environmental blight.

  17. Turley & the conservative media are notably laser-focused on Twitter’s “pro-Dem propaganda,” Facebook’s continuing ban on Trump & the reaction to a Don Jr. tweet. But let’s not forget that 70% of Trump supporters believe Trump won the 2020 election. Any guesses who the most trusted sources are of those 70% of Trump supporters? Definitely not Twitter, the national media, or Democrats. More like Fox News, Newsmax, OANN & the Federalist. No confusion here.

    If Turley genuinely wants to have an honest debate about free speech & telling moments, let’s start with this weekend when Donald J. Trump said he is being falsely labelled as a one term president because massive voter fraud allowed Democrats to steal the election. Trump supporter, Mike Lindell, tweeted that Dominion’s director of securities, Eric Coomer “should turn himself in to get a reduced prison sentence of 10 – 20 years.” Coomer has been receiving death threats for months after the pro-Trump media repeatedly pushed the propaganda about Dominion voting machines being manipulated to throw the election to Biden. But that’s merely collateral damage in the larger debate about free speech, right, JT?

    Let’s have an open & honest debate about free speech & telling moments, JT.

    1. No, let’s not change the subject. Let’s you get your own blog if you want to rant about Fox News.

      1. “Let’s you get your own blog if you want to rant about Fox News.” — Diogenes

        He has a perfect right to ‘rant about Fox News’ on JT’s blog.

        You might not want to hear it, but that’s your problem.

        1. “He has a perfect right to ‘rant about Fox News’ on JT’s blog.”

          True, he has more latitude on JT’s blog than I will ever get on FaceBook and Twitter, but JT gets precious little appreciation from your side for that curious asymmetry.

          1. Actually, you can talk about whatever you want on fb or twitter just as long as you don’t threaten violence or incite violence or post porn. In fact, you’d have more lattitude on those platforms for free speech than you do on JT’s blog…, well, wait, that’s not accurate. If you’re coming from a rightist POV it seems there’s great lattitude here to talk about and hint at how you’d like to use your guns. So there’s that.

            EB

            1. “Actually, you can talk about whatever you want on fb or twitter just as long as you don’t threaten violence or incite violence or post porn.”

              You need to change your name to Elvis Humbug.

          2. Appreciation of good things is not something the left is accustomed to doing. They look at good things and say, ‘How can I take it all’. They are inherently selfish.

              1. Anonymous the Stupid, did you learn the meaning of that word from your Psychiatrist?

                1. Yep — two kids with their rattles — Allan-The-Stupid (ATS) and his pal Diogenes.

                  The two of them: Tweedledumb and Tweedledumber.

    2. Well,

      Regardless of what Trump supporters do or do not believe, he had every right to follow every legal avenue open to him to challenge what he felt was a fraudulent election. He was proven wrong. That notwithstanding, he did not deserve to be removed, blocked, kicked off, (insert your term) or social media. His Democratic opponents have called him plenty of both pejoratives and outright lies over the last four years. If social media is banning him fraudulent statement, then why not them too?

      If they are banning Trump for calls of violence, then why not the Mullahs calling for death to America? If they are banning Trump for fake news, then why is India working with them to push down then COVID numbers?

      They want their cake and eat it too. They want the cover of the law and they want to be able to dictate what is allowed. You cannot have it both ways.

      BTW, I am no Trump fan.

      1. “what he felt was a fraudulent election”. OK, WHY did he feel the election was fraudulent? Did polls predict he would win? No. How about approval ratings? He set a low record. How about job performance? Record unemployment. The worst COVID numbers of any first-world country. The economy in free-fall. No matter how many recounts, re-recounts, signature match inspections, no matter how much security and bipartisan oversight from voter check-in to ballot security and counting and Republican election officials and Secretaries of State certifiying Biden’s win, the massive ego of Trump refused to accept the truth. He cannot and never will accept the truth that the majority of the American people never wanted him in the first place, never approved of him and wanted him gone. So, we have the Big Lie, the “Stop the Steal” campaign, bullying of election officials to convert Biden votes for him, bullying of Pence to reject certified vote results, and finally, an insurrection. He continues to claim that he not only won, but won by a landslide. Does that even make sense, given the polls, the low approval ratings and his abject failure to lead? He has not, and cannot, produce any facts to back him up. He even got Republicans in Arizona to hire some hack to try to prove that mail in ballots really came from China by putting them under UV light to “prove” there’s bamboo in the paper. Anything for that ego to “win”. To accuse Democrats of lying on the scale of Trump is disingenuous.

        You say he was “proven wrong”, which I agree with, but why does he keep repeating the Big Lie? We know he’s mentally ill, but what about Republicans? 70% believe Trump over the overwhelming and undisputed evidence, based on nothing more than Trump’s big mouth, driven by his malignant narcissism. Worse than that, Republican office holders go along with it. They do know better. Reasonable and honest Republicans like Mitt Romney and Liz Cheney are being attacked and driven from leadership. What the hell is wrong with these people? Are they so desperate to get and hold onto power that they will go along with the Big Lie? Don’t they care that causing Americans to fear that elections are not honest or fair will tear apart this country? Republicans are so afraid of Democrats keeping power that they are curtailing measures to make it safe and convenient to vote, like cutting hours, cutting early voting, cutting weekend voting (no more “souls to the polls” for black churches) poll watchers, limiting mail balloting and drop boxes. All this despite the fact that the 2020 election was the most-secure in US history. They have created a solution to a nonexistent problem, other than the “problem” that Democrats won the Senate and White House in 2020.

        As to social media, these are private companies, not public utilities. Does the Constitution require them to allow their service to be used to spread lies, and if so, why? Private companies are not the government. They have “terms and conditions” as part of the contract with their subscribers. These “terms and conditions” do not include use of their platform to spread conspiracy theories and lies. By enforcing its agreement with Trump, Facebook and Twitter have done nothing wrong, and no amount of Turley’s haranguing about freedom of speech changes the fundamental nature of Facebook and Twitter as private companies with the right to set and enforce their terms of service. Trump agreed to the “terms of service”. If Trump and the Republicans don’t like it, they can start their own social media companies. They’ve already got their alternative reality news sources like Fox, OAN, NewsMax and Breitbart.

        1. “what he felt was a fraudulent election”. OK, WHY did he feel the election was fraudulent?

          I have no idea. You are going to have to ask him yourself. He felt it and I am not going to second guess his motivations.

          You say he was “proven wrong”, which I agree with, but why does he keep repeating the Big Lie?

          Is it a big lie if he believes it is true? it is only a lie if he knows it is a falsehood. No where I have i read that he thought it was anything other than a stolen election.

          Don’t they care that causing Americans to fear that elections are not honest or fair will tear apart this country?

          You should apply that to both Republican and Democrats. One in three Democrats refused to attend the inauguration in 2016 because they stated publicly that Trump was an illegitimate President. Hillary Clinton along with other Democrats accused the Russians of interfering and placing Trump into the Presidency. They claimed the election was stolen.

          As to social media, these are private companies, not public utilities. Does the Constitution require them to allow their service to be used to spread lies, and if so, why? Private companies are not the government. They have “terms and conditions” as part of the contract with their subscribers.

          You are of course correct. Except that these very same companies want to be treated like a utility to protect them from lawsuits. That is the phone company argument. The phone company provides the service, but not the content. They also do not interfere with the content on their lines. This protects them from lawsuits because they do not have any responsibility of what flows across their equipment. The problem with Big Tech and Social Media is that they are actively engaged in determining what will be censored. That places them with interfering with the flow of product across their lines. If they want to do this and give up the protection from lawsuits, then we are in agreement. However, they want their cake and eat it too. They want to choose sides and be protected from lawsuits. It cannot be both. It has to be one or the other. This is not about the truth or fake news or even who won the election. This is about giving one side an unfair advantage over the other. It is about determining winners and losers due to personal preference.

          so let me ask you. if the shoe was on the other foot, would you be OKAY if Big Tech and Social Media blocked Democrats? If Big Tech suddenly decided that the Democrats were not good for America and they were saying things unAmerican or lies, would you defend them then? My argument would not change one iota.

          1. But why would I want cake if I cannot eat it. That is a joke that someone else came up with. I agree with what you are saying

          2. Trump WAS illegitimate. Russia helped him cheat. This was the conclusion of the American Intelligence Community, and resulted in multiple felony convictions and guilty pleas. Dan Coats, lifelong Republican and Trump appointee, was fired for refusing to back down on the truth that Russia helped Trump cheat. He lost the popular vote in 2016. Those are facts. He did not, and never will, command the respect of the Office of President because he is a cheater. He deprived the American people of their choice of leader solely because of his massive ego which requires praise, glory and affirmation.

            Trump’s “feelings” about being cheated are based on serious mental illness, not facts and despite mountains of evidence to the contrary, including the conclusions of Bill Barr, after the DOJ investigated Trump’s claims about election fraud and found no widespread fraud, and the conclusion of Chris Krebs, appointed by Trump to helm cybersecurity. Krebs was fired for saying that 2020 was the most-secure in US history.

            Trump will never admit the truth. No amount of manual and machine recounts, rechecks, signature matches or other review of the ballots will ever convince him, because he is mentally ill. Expecting him to admit he lost is expecting the impossible. So, he should just keep on lying and social media companies should allow their platforms, founded on certain values, such as not being used to spread lies and conspiracy theories that can hurt people, to be abused? Trump can start his own media company and continue lying his ass off, just like he can and should start his own political party. Trump’s narcissism is well-known, but what about Republicans that not only go along with it, but, mimicking his lead, purge those who won’t lie for Trump and who insist upon the truth, like Liz Cheney and Mitt Romney? That’s the scary part of all of this. The Republican party has allowed itself to become the Cult of Trump, an unfit cheater, narcissist and liar.

            Big Tech and Social Media have every right to enforce the “terms and conditions of service”, which is why Trump was blocked. If Democrats violated their “terms and conditions of service”, they, too, would get blocked. It’s not censorship and there is no equality of conduct here. You must be a Hate Network fan, because they keep harping on the alleged unfairness about Trump not being able to bully his way back onto Facebook and Twitter.

        2. Nothing says confidence in winning an election like extorting the Ukrainians to come up with false information on your most likely opponent in the general…

          +10

          EB

      2. ” He was proven wrong. “

        He was not proven wrong. In fact evidence about the election is still coming in and investigations are being hampered by politicians who might have broken the law.

        Where one might want to say he is wrong is that in his opinion he won. The evidence we have does not prove that to be a fact. However, the evidence we have today does suggest a lot of irregularities in the election which, if we hope to maintain a democracy, need to be corrected. That requires investigation and discussion as to how to prevent fraud.

        You make tremendous sense in trying to extend the rule of law and the shoe on the other foot to this discussion. It makes little difference who you support in discussion when you are making sense.

        1. Yes, this election is NOT over. In fact, I do detect a hint of Chinese collusion with the Biden crime family.

          1. You’re supposed to click your heels together three times and adjust the tin foil hat when you say that.

            EB

        2. There have always been “irregularities”, but are there enough of them to conclude that there was widespread fraud that deprived Trump of the “landslide” he claims he earned? How blind do you have to be to ignore the facts: 1. lost the popular vote in 2016; 2. impeached twice; 3. set a record for low approval ratings, never reaching 50%; 4. predicted by every poll to lose; 5. economy in tatters, and was on a downward trajectory before the pandemic, mainly because of his tariffs to punish China after he couldn’t bully them; 6. mishandled the pandemic by lying, downplaying the risk, criticizing CDC doctors he couldn’t bully, promoting unproven and dangerous things like Hydroxychloroquine. Setting aside all of the harping on OAN, News Max, Brietbart and Fox about unproven allegations of fraud, ask yourself: how likely is it that such a person could win re-election, much less by a landslide?

          The “evidence we have” is that 2020 was the most heavily-watched in a bipartisan way and was the most-secure in US history, including bipartisan oversight at the polls, beginning with checking of voter IDs, securing completed paper ballots, oversight during ballot counting, oversight of ballot security, certification of the results by all Secretaries of State, manual and machine recounts, re-recounts, and signature matches. Trump still lost. There was a record turnout because most Americans feared for the future of America if Trump got back into office. In my state, people waited in line for as long as 8 hours or more, that’s how passionately they wanted to send the message that the lying and failures of leadership had to end. How do you know that the irregularities that were found all went for Biden, anyway? In fact, in 4 instances, the questionable votes were for Trump. When you have tens of millions of votes, there are bound to be errors and issues because no one is perfect, but there were not enough of them to affect the outcome. Trump was not going to win. Over 60 courts considered his claims of fraud and found them baseless. Republican Secretaries of State certified the results. As Liz Cheney said: “the election is over”. Get over it.

          1. “There have always been “irregularities”, but are there enough of them to conclude that there was widespread fraud that deprived Trump of the “landslide” he claims he earned? How blind do you have to be to ignore the facts: “

            I don’t need to read further, so I will comment only on this. I don’t know what the real vote would show. There were too many irregularities to deal with and some of those irregularities that changed the law put in place by the legislatures I believe were illegal. A judge cannot change the law.

            You spout the same nonsense and sometimes by error you include something that is true. There is no use debating with someone whose word salads are legion and repeats the same things over and over again. I have enough useless interactions with Anonymous the Stupid. I don’t need his replacement batter to hit more foul balls all over the place.

            SM

    3. I don’t see why you have a problem. If you believe in free speech, you counter with a Tweet or your own blog. This whole idea we must keep the platforms fee of disinformation is ridiculous. Do you have someone who stands by you and determines what mail you can or cannot read? Do you believe everything you read before twitter was invented? I doubt it. It seems very relevant politically to see what it is candidates are lying about because they all do. The fact that Trump said if he didn’t win, it meant there was fraud, is the main reason why I did not vote for him in 2016 or 2020. Eggs raise cholesterol. Is that true or false? It used to be true according to doctors, now most think it does not raise bad cholesterol. Biden lied when he said that the situation at the border is not a crisis. Is that a lie. Many “facts” come with opinion loaded in it. There should be unrestricted free speech on the internet, especially if these platform don’t face any liability for what is said. What Mike Lindel said is his opinion, why is his less important than yours? Even science evolves and academics debate things. “Facts” of science and medicine should be open to challenge. How can you be on the side of censorship?

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