Thursday, October 29, 2020

Day 234 Nat'l Emergency: Cruz Control of Twitter? No!

 “Mr. Dorsey, who the hell elected you and put you in charge of what the media are allowed to report and what the American people are allowed to hear? And why do you persist in behaving as a Democratic Super PAC silencing views to the contrary of your political beliefs?”


Them were fighting words from bloviator and Texas U.S. senator Ted Cruz during Wednesday’s Senate hearing on the publishing practices of social media companies. Like many conservatives, Cruz was irate that Twitter and Facebook have not published unfounded allegations of corruptions by former vice president Joe Biden and his son Hunter that Donald Trump and his Trumpian party are trying to dispense in a desperate move to tilt the November 3 election in their favor (https://apnews.com/article/Google-Twitter-Facebook-Zuckerberg-1246ed1fe238971bb2509e0a8f76b0a6).


Perhaps Cruz needs a primer on capitalism as it applies to the First Amendment.


In an Oscar-winning performance (okay, maybe just a Fox News star turn) attacking Jack Dorsey, CEO of Twitter, the Trumpian senator impassionately excoriated Dorsey’s provenance for deciding what the public should be able to read. Censorship is what it is, he argued, especially if it limits Trumpian thoughts.


Actually, senator, the capitalist system you so diligently revere provides Twitter, Facebook and other social media the economic wherewithal to publish.


As to what they publish and choose not to publish, that is a right ensconced in the Bill of Rights. First Amendment to the Constitution, you should know.


It’s not censorship to not publish unfounded accusations, just intelligent monitoring of political prose, no different than the decisions newspapers, magazines, radio and television stations perform every day to audiences that choose to patronize them. No one is forced to read or listen to any media. No media is forced to promote a political party’s agenda. 


Any suggestion otherwise would be a capitulation to a totalitarian system of government, be it fascism, communism, socialism, absolute monarchy or just plain dictatorship. It would be an abdication to the type of autocratic government whose leaders Trump likes. You know, people like Putin, Erdogan, Kim Jong-Un.  


As long as Twitter et al do not violate free speech safety standards, social media enjoy the latitude to publish, or not, anything they like. Americans have more than enough  social media choices if they do not like what Twitter provides.


It is troubling that Trumpians want to turn social media into a government mouthpiece.


Now, I know there are issues both Trumpians and Democrats have with practices of social media companies. But shearing off from them rights enjoyed by other forms of media—publicly and privately held—is not a solution anyone who believes in our Constitution should embrace. 

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