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Tony Perkins / Nov. 19, 2020

Senate Demands Techs and Balances

A whistleblower warned of a sweeping and coordinated campaign to silence conservatives across the internet.

“Smaller companies don’t have the resources” to “prevent the next Trump situation,” a Big Tech exec said to an undercover reporter last summer. Google, Twitter, and Facebook, she bragged, do. One year, thousands of censored posts, and a presidential election later, Americans are starting to understand just how far Big Tech will go to manipulate the democratic process. “Facebook and Twitter and Google have massive power,” Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) argued. “They have a monopoly on public discourse in the online arena.” And that monopoly, the GOP argued in a Senate hearing Tuesday, was hard at work — shutting down any speech that could hurt their radical cause.

One after another, Republicans took turns grilling Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Twitter chief Jack Dorsey. They took aim at their suppression of conservative ads, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris’s social record, the truth about voter fraud, and even the president of the United States himself. They “lure” users in, Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah) said, promising them “an unbiased experience.” “In practice what they’re doing is steadily putting their thumb on the left side of the scale. That’s a problem.”

It’s even more of a problem, Senator Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) insisted, if these platforms are coordinating their censorship behind the scenes — which, new evidence shows, is exactly what Facebook, Twitter, and Google are doing. A whistleblower who contacted Hawley warned him of a sweeping and coordinated campaign to silence conservatives across the internet. According to people inside Facebook, a program called “Tasks” lets the company communicate with its counterparts at Google and Twitter to make sure they’re all blocking the same people, websites, and hashtags. And what was Zuckerberg’s response to this bombshell? “[It’s] probably pretty normal for people to talk to their peers in the industry.” This is not “people talking to their peers.” This is an army of First Amendment suppressors with their finger on the mute button of your free speech rights.

Just as horrifying, Facebook’s CEO admitted later (though, conveniently, not under oath) that the company is spying on users all across the world without their knowledge. “We have evidence of Facebook tracking its own users all across the web,” Hawley said. And yet, “Mr. Zuckerberg won’t answer questions about it, can’t remember the name, isn’t sure if the tool’s deployed in this way and won’t commit to giving us basic information.” That amnesia miraculously cleared up after the hearing, when officials from Zuckerberg’s office confirmed that the program called Centra did exist after all.

Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) didn’t pull any punches either, drilling Dorsey over the phony labels Twitter keeps slapping on posts about voter fraud. Are you an expert in voter fraud?“ Cruz asked. "No I’m not,” replied Dorsey. “Why, then, is Twitter now putting purported warnings on virtually any statement about voter fraud?” the Texas senator demanded to know, pointing to entire groups that had been shut down because they questioned the election results. “We’re simply linking to a broader conversation so that people have more information,” the Twitter CEO tried to explain. “No you’re not,” Cruz fired back. “You put up a page saying, quote, ‘voter fraud of any kind is exceedingly rare in the United States.’ That’s not linking to a broader conversation, that’s taking a disputed policy position…” Which is yet another reason, he insisted, that these platforms need to be held liable.

What about before the election, Lee pressed? If Facebook is so unbiased, why did it pull down ads about Joe Biden and Kamala Harris’s abortion views? Those are actual facts, confirmed by their voting records and public statements. “Joe Biden has stated that he won’t accept any restrictions on abortion, and Senator Harris’ views are such that she voted against requiring care for a child born alive during a botched abortion.” And yet, he shook his head, it took two weeks for those ads to be reinstated — late into October, when most Americans had already early voted. Zuckerberg said it must have been a “mistake.” Funny, Lee said. Those “mistakes” only seem to happen on one side of the political spectrum.

If it were human error, Lee agreed, that’s one thing. “But… maybe some of it has to do with your employees — 92.8 percent of [whom] donated to… Democrats. At Twitter,” he cautioned, “it’s even more stark than that — as if it could get much [starker], but 99.3 percent of Twitter employees… gave to Democrats.” So is it really a coincidence that these issues only seem to affect Republicans, conservatives, and pro-life activists? Hardly.

Democrats, meanwhile, were just as upset with the CEOs — not because they censored Americans, but because they didn’t censor them enough. “One of the most chilling aspects of today’s hearing in the Judiciary Committee was Senate Democrat after Senate Democrat, their questions were essentially… ‘Why don’t you censor more? Why do you allow these views we don’t like to be heard or to exist?’ I think that is really, really dangerous. And I do think you’re going to see the abuses of power get worse in coming years with — aided and abetted by Democrats that want to silence someone who disagrees.”

Together, Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) insisted, they’re driving the cancel culture consuming America. And if they can’t find “the will, strength, and ability” to accept their responsibility and fix this, she warned, Congress will.

Originally published here.

Republican Officials: Sitting Dox in Mich. Election Fight

Can liberal party officials actually harass Republicans into certifying county election results? It looks that way in Michigan, where a sudden decision to formalize Wayne County’s tally has onlookers shaking their heads. For days, the two parties were at loggerheads, voting 2-2 to keep the results from being finalized. That all changed overnight — and now, we may know why: the GOP canvassers and their families were threatened, doxxed, and shamed.

Conservatives can be called racist for anything these days, including, it turns out, asking for a fair and honest election. In a shocking exchange, all caught on video, a Democratic state representative-elect used a public Zoom meeting Tuesday to unleash his fury at the chairwoman of the Wayne County Board of Elections, and even outing the woman’s daughter as a target.

“You, Ms. Monica Palmer from Grosse Pointe Woods, which has a history of racism, are deciding to enable and continue to perpetuate the racist history of this country, and I want you to think about what that means for your kids,” Abraham Aiyash said, telling the public where to find her children at school. The threat, hardly veiled, stunned people across the county. “You are standing here today, telling folks that black Detroit should not have their votes counted,” he went on. “You are certainly showing that you are a racist. You may say that you are not. You may claim that you are not. But let’s be very clear, your words today, and your actions today made it clear that you are okay with silencing the votes of an 80 percent African-American city.”

After the meeting ended, both Republican board members changed their votes. the Detroit News noted, the vote took place during a sudden “video outage.” When the stream came back on, Republican member William Hartmann said the certification had passed unanimously.

Yesterday, when the video started making its rounds, Aiyash tried to claim he hadn’t done anything wrong. “Folks spread a fake story that I threatened and ‘doxxed’ Monica Palmer. Y'all, I didn’t even know what doxxing was. Now the attacks won’t stop!” Of course, he knew exactly what he was doing, since Democrats across social media congratulated him for it. “Public pressure works!” tweeted an attorney on the Joe Biden side.

Nor was Aiyash the only one. A wild rant by another Wayne County official had an even more menacing message. “Just know that when you try to sleep tonight, that millions of people around the world now on Twitter know the name Monica Palmer and William Hartmann as two people completely racist and without an understanding of what integrity means or a shred of human decency… The Trump stink, the stain of racism [of] you, William Hartmann and Monica Palmer, will follow you throughout history.”

This is the same radical Left who wants Americans to believe this is a neutral process. Public bullying and jeopardizing people’s lives is about as undemocratic as it gets. Make no mistake: this is still a very political environment. And if this kind of pressure is happening in Michigan, I guarantee that it’s a strategy all across the country. Liberal activists will do anything to throw Republicans off the scent of fraud or corruption. But unfortunately for them, all they’ve done in the meantime is expose who they really are.

Originally published here.

Follow the GOP Leaders

In the House, where the Democrats lead is looking slimmer every day, a strong Republican leadership team will be crucial to keeping the Left in check these next two years. Fortunately, the party announced Tuesday that it had elected an all-star team, promoting some of our good friends and keeping other watchdogs of faith, family, and freedom in their posts.

Our congratulations and thanks go out to House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), who has steered the caucus in the right direction during some tough times under Speaker Nancy Pelosi (R-Calif.). He’s been an unwavering voice for our values, alongside our good friend Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.). As Steve said after his reappointment, “These next two years will be a battle for the future direction of America.” But, he assured us, “House Republicans will use every available opportunity to fight against the Democrats’ socialist agenda, while uniting the country behind a bold conservative vision that delivers results for hard-working families.”

It’s also great to see Louisiana Congressman Mike Johnson (R-La.), someone I’ve worked with since his days in law school, rise to the level of Vice Conference Chair in the House. Our pro-life, pro-freedom vision for this nation is in good hands with Mike at that helm. FRC looks forward to working with everyone in House leadership, as conservatives seek to reassert themselves with the overwhelming support of the American people. They were sent to Washington to send a message to Nancy Pelosi’s party about the direction of this country, and we feel confident with these leaders in charge, they will.

Originally published here.

This is a publication of the Family Research Council. Mr. Perkins is president of FRC.

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