“The mother of all bad ideas”
The Trump administration is drafting an executive order that would regulate the largest social media platforms and “Big Tech” companies in the country, from Google to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and even Pinterest. President Trump’s goal apparently is to make these critical platforms extra-friendly to conservatives, who falsely have been claiming there’s an anti-conservative bias in the way Silicon Valley operates in the public realm.
While multiple reports say the executive order is not finalized, TechCrunch and CNN on Friday report the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) would be charged with regulating Big Tech and social media platforms. The FCC is headed by a Trump loyalist who opposes net neutrality,
The executive order, currently titled “Protecting Americans from Online Censorship,” is a direct response to both right wing activists’ false claims of censorship and left-wing bias among social media platform operators, and an invitation-only White House meeting last month, labeled a “social media summit” that included mostly just “right wing extremists.”
On Friday, CNN reported the draft Trump executive order “could lead to a significant reinterpretation of a law that, its authors have insisted, was meant to give tech companies broad freedom to handle content as they see fit.”
It would “significantly narrow the protections afforded to companies under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, a part of the Telecommunications Act of 1996.”
It also “would reflect a significant escalation by President Trump in his frequent attacks against social media companies over an alleged but unproven systemic bias against conservatives by technology platforms.”
Justice staff writer Melissa Gira Grant at The New Republic tweeted, “if this reporting is accurate, Trump has decided to chip away at Section 230 by executive order.”
The Legal Director for Public Knowledge, a D.C.-based nonprofit that says it “promotes freedom of expression, an open internet, and access to affordable communications tools and creative works,” offered this push-back:
obviously the FCC has no authority to do this, even if the White House told it to, for about a dozen reasons. but even if it did, it would at most open up platforms to more claims from aggrieved users but would do zero to narrow 230(c)(1) https://t.co/CPTSiZqaXq pic.twitter.com/MTqfZQrVzP
— John Bergmayer (@bergmayer) August 9, 2019
NYC-based nonprofit PEN America, which works “to protect free expression,” including press freedom and safety, blasted the proposed order, calling it “an anti-American edict that would empower FCC & FTC to be viewpoint-based arbiters of online speech.”
“Thankfully, 1st Amendment forbids that,” the group adds. “It’s regrettable that this Administration doesn’t seem to know that.”
The Editor-in-Chief of the tech site Lifewire calls it “The mother of all bad ideas.”
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Justice Clarence Thomas Believes Media Criticism of Decisions ‘Jeopardizes Any Faith’ in the Supreme Court
Justice Clarence Thomas complained about the harsh criticism the Supreme Court has received since allowing a controversial anti-abortion law to go into effect in Texas.
Thomas delivered the 2021 Tocqueville Lecture at the University of Notre Dame on Thursday, where he complained about media criticism, The Washington Post reported.
“I think the media makes it sound as though you are just always going right to your personal preference. So if they think you are anti-abortion or something personally, they think that’s the way you always will come out. They think you’re for this or for that. They think you become like a politician,” Thomas said.
“That’s a problem. You’re going to jeopardize any faith in the legal institutions,” he said.
A second Post report on the speech noted Thomas’ remarks on the ongoing mistrust of the court.
“The court was thought to be the least dangerous branch and we may have become the most dangerous,” Thomas said. “And I think that’s problematic.”
The newspaper noted the lecture was interrupted by protesters who yelled, “I still believe Anita Hill.”
Four Cops ‘Drag’ Man From McCarthy Press Conference for Asking Question About Jan. 6 Committee
Four law enforcement officers reportedly removed a man from House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s (R-CA) press conference on Thursday when he tried to ask a question about the Jan. 6 committee.
“I tried to ask @GOPLeader McCarthy a question after he decried Cuban police pickup up people in the streets,” Grant Stern explained in a tweet. “Why does he oppose the bipartisan #January6thCommission?”
“A Congressional staffer had four cops pick me up and drag me from the room,” he explained.
Stern’s bio indicates that he is an editor for the OccupyDemocrats organization.
Watch the video below
I tried to ask @GOPLeader McCarthy a question after he decried Cuban police pickup up people in the streets.
Why does he oppose the bipartisan #January6thCommission?
A Congressional staffer had four cops pick me up and drag me from the room.
I still asked the question. pic.twitter.com/HDqrhvARaC
— Grant Stern is fully vaccinated (@grantstern) August 5, 2021
GOP Launches Witch Hunt Demanding Investigation Into Highly-Respected University Professor’s Tweets
Republicans in Virginia are demanding that University of Virginia President James E. Ryan open an investigation into tweets by Center for Politics founder Dr. Larry Sabato.
“A reasonable taxpaying citizen can readily conclude that Dr. Sabato is demonstrating the rankest form of bitter partisanship,” Virginia GOP Chair Rich Anderson wrote in a letter printed on Republican Party of Virginia letterhead.
“In order to have faith in our institutions, it is essential that Virginians hold accountable those public employees and officials who violate institutional values, codes of conduct, and other guidelines of professional behavior.”
A spokesperson for the university said Sabato has done nothing wrong.
“There is nothing in our Code of Conduct that limits University employees from engaging in expression that is protected under the First Amendment,” the spokesman said.
Anderson complained about eight tweets by Sabato. The first noted Donald Trump’s refusal to release his tax returns.
It is a disgrace that Trump became the first major-party presidential candidate since the 1970s to avoid releasing his tax returns. This critical information should have been available for voters to consider in 2016. Never again! #TrumpTaxReturns https://t.co/5liLizaGGw
— Larry Sabato (@LarrySabato) September 27, 2020
The second tweet concerned Trump’s fact-free approach to presidential debates.
CANCEL THE REMAINING PRESIDENTIAL DEBATES. It is impossible to have an orderly, productive exchange with Donald Trump. Stop pretending otherwise. #Debate2020
— Larry Sabato (@LarrySabato) September 30, 2020
The third tweet was in the context of Trump hoping to bring back executions by firing squad while facing accusations of extreme tax fraud. It was in the comments of a Daily Beast story.
It’s just amazing to me that I am reading this! Is there not a person that will find a law against this! @LarrySabato
— Wahoo UVA (@uvaseg) November 30, 2020
Extreme tax fraud deserves a firing squad.
— Larry Sabato (@LarrySabato) November 30, 2020
The fourth tweet questioned Trump’s sanity after he released a 46-minute video pushing his “Big Lie” of voter fraud.
Cuckoo, cuckoo! Does the plush presidential suite at Walter Reed offer psychiatric treatments? Maybe time to helicopter Trump over again. https://t.co/rpMkk2mVuE
— Larry Sabato (@LarrySabato) December 3, 2020
The fifth tweet praised a return to normalcy “after 4 years of the bizarre and disturbing.”
I’m watching President-elect @JoeBiden‘s press conference. It’s so refreshingly NORMAL. After 4 years of the bizarre and the disturbing, we really are going to have a return to normalcy.
— Larry Sabato (@LarrySabato) December 4, 2020
The sixth tweet returned to the question of Trump’s mental health in the context of the delusional conspiracy theory that he will be “reinstated” as president in August in violation of the Constitution.
Of course it’s true. Trump, who governed on the edge of insanity for four long years, has gone over the edge. Yet millions of people and 90%+ of GOP members of Congress, still genuflect before this false god. https://t.co/MQ6LarvR2F
— Larry Sabato (@LarrySabato) June 3, 2021
The seventh tweet concerned Glenn Youngkin, who is worth hundreds of millions after working as the co-CEO of the private-equity firm The Carlyle Group. Youngkin is now running for governor of Virginia.
I wonder if @GlennYoungkin is still “honored” to have received Trump’s enthusiastic endorsement for VA Governor?
Trump told chief of staff Hitler ‘did a lot of good things’, book says | Donald Trump | The Guardian https://t.co/EdnKiUIjyJ
— Larry Sabato (@LarrySabato) July 7, 2021
The final tweet the GOP believes should result in an investigation concerned Trump’s choice of music at his campaign-style rallies.
— Larry Sabato (@LarrySabato) June 27, 2021
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