Patterico's Pontifications

5/27/2021

Putting Government in Charge of Speech to Own the Libs

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:29 am



There are two recent examples of so-called “conservatives” suggesting that we grant power to the government to control speech. For the good of the people, you understand. We’re from the government and we’re here to help decide what you can and cannot say. Could any principle be more conservatismer?

Most obvious and perhaps more concerning is Ron DeSantis’s signing of a bill to regulate social media. I’ll hand the mic to Mike Masnick of TechDirt:

We’ve talked about a bunch of states pushing blatantly unconstitutional social media content moderation bills, with Florida leading the pack as the most eager to waste taxpayer money on something so obviously bogus. As you’ll recall, at the end of last month, Florida really added some unconstitutional icing on the unconstitutional cake by exempting Disney (and any other company that owned a theme park in Florida) from the bill’s social media requirements.

The bill has a few different unconstitutional provisions, but the one getting the most attention is that it bans non-theme park associated websites from removing content or accounts from people running for office. There are also the ridiculous transparency clauses that have become stupidly popular of late, and which really serve as a smokescreen to allow users to sue websites for being moderated.

And despite tons of experts explaining why this is unconstitutional, Governor Ron DeSantis — who made this bill a key plank in his “look at me, I’m a MAGA culture warrior” platform — has now signed the bill.

Absurd. You can recognize that many decisions made by Twitter and Facebook are stupid without reacting by wanting to put the censorious morons who run our government in charge of our speech.

Today we have Mr. Federalist, David “The President Of The United States Should Not Wear A Mask” Marcus, explaining why the government needs to be in charge of regulating fact-checkers:

The First Amendment rightly renders government powerless to regulate news outlets’ publishing content from their own in house fact checkers — they are protected by freedom of the press. But third party independent fact checkers are another story entirely. [Huh? WTF? — Ed.] These are entities such as Lead Stories, Politifact, and even the Associated Press that offer their fact checking expertise to social media platforms so the latter can claim they are not making editorial decisions. But that only works if third party fact checkers are operating objectively and without bias. It is quite obvious that this is not the case. 

Um, everyone has freedom of speech, dude. It’s not just the press.

So what can be done about this dangerous situation? A new bill before the Michigan House of Representatives is a move in the right direction. The bill would require fact checkers to register with the government and carry insurance to cover payment to those who suffer financial damages as a result of a bogus fact check.

Laws like this can establish simple, uniform practices that fact checkers must abide by to provide fairness in the service they provide. 

Regulating the fact checking industry would provide much needed accountability to the American people. Furthermore, regulations that insist uniform standards be applied by third party fact checkers should not be difficult to abide by. It is fact checking after all, not opinion checking, or tone checking, or social responsibility checking.  

Facts are supposed to be stubborn. Either an article or post is factual or it isn’t. At the point at which fact checkers are citing lack of context, or concerns about methodology they are no longer fact checking and should not be allowed to claim the service they are selling is doing so. 

Regulating the fact checking industry would not be any kind of government censorship of the media; it would not deprive any publishing entity from running a fact check. It would merely ensure that companies which sell their fact checking services are applying objective standards when evaluating material.

“Objective standards” . . . as determined by politicians who hate having their lies fact-checked. Yes, that sounds like such a great idea! And so conservative!

Once again, many of the complaints about fact-checkers are sound. I have made these complaints myself, and this is an excellent summary of the problem as it relates to the way fact-checkers have treated sites that have published about the lab leak theory for the coronavirus.

But the solution is not putting people like Donald Trump or Joe Biden in charge of what you can say.

An actual quote from this piece begins: “This may seem antithetical to traditional conservative values of small government, but …” LOL. Ya think?

A truthful end to that sentence would be: “… but let’s be honest: nobody gives a shit about that stuff anymore in the glorious Trump era.”

96 Responses to “Putting Government in Charge of Speech to Own the Libs”

  1. I heard NRO’s The Editor’s podcast make an interesting point: Facebook (and presumably Twitter, YouTube, and other social media platforms) desperately wants the government to regulate their content, because that excuses them from trying to figure out for themselves whether or not Donald Trump ought to have an account or if Tweets about COVID-19 being a potential Wuhan lab leak should be censored. Rather than court controversy themselves and continually have activists blasting them for their rather arbitrary decisions, they actually welcome government (though I am sure they want the Federal government and not 50 different state governments) setting the guidelines for them.

    JVW (ee64e4)

  2. Facts are simple and facts are straight
    Facts are lazy and facts are late
    Facts all come with points of view
    Facts don’t do what I want them to
    Facts just twist the truth around
    Facts are living turned inside out
    Facts are getting the best of them
    Facts are nothing on the face of things
    Facts don’t stain the furniture
    Facts go out and slam the door
    Facts are written all over your face
    Facts continue to change their shape

    Perhaps there should be government agencies tasked with determining what the facts are. We could call them the Ministry of Truth.

    Victor (4959fb)

  3. I’m leaning more towards a law that would require people running for office to carry insurance to cover payment to those who suffer financial damages as a result of their stupidity.

    john (cd2753)

  4. You should maybe check out Justice Thomas’ comments on this subject in a recent case.

    https://www.brookings.edu/blog/techtank/2021/04/09/justice-thomas-sends-a-message-on-social-media-regulation/

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  5. A situation where a small number of private actors control most or all effective communication in the USA is clearly destructive of the People’s right to speak in any meaningful manner. In such an event, only (a few)corporations would have the right of speech or the press and hold veto rights over individual speakers, with everyone else relegated to a soapbox in Speaker’s Corner.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  6. We could call them the Ministry of Truth

    Well, right now we have corporate Departments of Truth.

    The solution is not to move the censorship to a different group, but to severely limit censorship to the narrow bands now available to the State.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  7. I note that Facebook is now allowing people to suggest that Covid had a human source, now that Biden suggests its possible. How would government censorship operate differently? [Answer: probably more even-handed.]

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  8. We have more diverse and open speech then at any time in our history. These laws are targeted entirely at assuaging conservatives hurt feelings.

    Time123 (7cca75)

  9. This is one of those issues that caused me to abandon Libertarianism, at least where it presumes that individuals will correct the excesses of concentrated power. Arguments that apply to the State should also be tested against concentrated private power. The “State” can take many forms, some of them by proxy.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  10. We have more diverse and open speech then at any time in our history

    Then why, until yesterday, could one not say that Covid began in a Wuhan lab? It seems that we also have more active censorship than any time in history, given that most speech today is concentrated on a few private platforms.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  11. Is please not to make predacious capitalism equivalent to libertarian individualism, Comrade Kevin.

    nk (1d9030)

  12. 10: Then why, until yesterday, could one not say that Covid began in a Wuhan lab?

    I must have missed something, who was going to throw you in jail for saying that on Tuesday? Who was censoring your phone calls, texts, letters, email, or commentary anywhere but FB?

    This is fascinating – the emergence of right-wing Marxism.

    john (cd2753)

  13. @10, No one was stopping you from saying anything you liked. Some people might have not let you use their property to spread your message. But you could for sure have made a YouTube video, or ticktok, or shared it in snapchat or Instagram or reddit, or created a blog or a substack. If you had wanted to discuss it with others and try to change their minds you were free to do so here.

    What golden age do you want to go back to? 1990’s when you didn’t have social media? 1980 when cable news was tiny? 1960’s when it was just broadcast? 1940’s when it was just radio? Before that when you needed to print your thoughts on paper and distribute them by hand?

    Time123 (d1bf33)

  14. I note that Facebook is now allowing people to suggest that Covid had a human source, now that Biden suggests its possible. How would government censorship operate differently? [Answer: probably more even-handed.]

    Kevin M (ab1c11) — 5/27/2021 @ 9:19 am

    You’re implying without proof that Facebook is acting at the direction of Biden.

    Time123 (d1bf33)

  15. @13 let’s go back before government interfered with section 230

    could any law be more conservatismer?

    JF (e1156d)

  16. @14 there’s also no proof that FB squashed the hunter laptop story at Biden’s direction, which we know now is true

    these mistakes go one way 100% of the time cuz it’s just random

    JF (e1156d)

  17. Fact checking would still be protected speech without section 230. Although it would make it easier for trolls to try and use lawsuits to stifle speech.

    Time123 (d1bf33)

  18. @16, Got evidence?

    Time123 (d1bf33)

  19. evidence that it’s random? no

    JF (e1156d)

  20. Facts are supposed to be stubborn. Either an article or post is factual or it isn’t.

    Marcus seems to be unaware of the practical reasons why people argue so much about what is factual.

    It’s primarily because the record of past events is never complete or perfectly objective. The people who record events in same fashion have to be selective about what details they record. They might make errors. They might deliberately or unconsciously skew the way they record things to favor their prejudices. Multiple records concerning the same event might have conflicting details. Video is certainly helpful–but do we know what was happening outside the frame, or before the video begins?

    Then we need to weigh differing accounts against each other, trying to figure out what might have been skewed or erroneous, what was omitted, what other contextual elements can add light concerning what preceded or caused the event, etc.

    When we start talking about precipitating events and causes, we’re moving from facts strictly speaking (did the person hit the police officer repeatedly with a flag pole?) to interpretation (what led that person to be there and do that?)

    And some people will insist that the part of the record that favors their own prejudices is much more dispositive than everything else.

    Radegunda (2ba443)

  21. Let’s see how happy Marcus is with the work of fact-check regulations when the regulators are all working under a Democratic administration.

    Radegunda (2ba443)

  22. It is exasperating, isn’t it, nk?

    DRJ (03cb91)

  23. @10.Then why, until yesterday, could one not say that Covid began in a Wuhan lab? It seems that we also have more active censorship than any time in history, given that most speech today is concentrated on a few private platforms.

    Freedom of speech does not guarantee freedom of reach, Kevin.

    “Miss Hobbs, we’re talking about 30 to 50 million people a shot. It’s a lot better than handing out mimeographed pamphlets on ghetto street corners.” – Diana Christensen [Faye Dunaway] ‘Network’ 1976

    DCSCA (f4c5e5)

  24. when platforms make decisions that can have major consequences for a political campaign, there’s a problem, whether anyone chooses to acknowledge it or not

    JF (e1156d)

  25. 5.A situation where a small number of private actors control most or all effective communication in the USA is clearly destructive of the People’s right to speak in any meaningful manner. In such an event, only (a few)corporations would have the right of speech or the press and hold veto rights over individual speakers, with everyone else relegated to a soapbox in Speaker’s Corner.

    ‘effective commnication??’

    You crave freedom of reach which is not freedom of speech.

    You know how Newt Gingrich ‘reached’ so many offices and households freely spewing his conservative speech stupidities? By cleverly speaking on the House floor to an empty chamber which C-SPAN is required to carry, live.

    DCSCA (f4c5e5)

  26. evidence that it’s random? no

    JF (e1156d) — 5/27/2021 @ 9:55 am

    Good point. It was possibly coordinated by MTG, Sidney Powel, and the lizard people so that they could use the controversy to raise money. No way to say it wasn’t.

    This will be my last reply to you. Of everyone that’s commented here over the years I think you have brought the least to the conversation in term of new information, insight, analysis or a clear and compelling POV.

    Time123 (d1bf33)

  27. @24. Nonsense.

    You have the most power; the kryptonite big media fears most: it’s called the on-off switch.

    DCSCA (f4c5e5)

  28. I was equally upset, maybe more, when that New York judge ruled that Trump could not block a heckler on his Twitter, DRJ.

    nk (1d9030)

  29. What is just as frightening is when you have government agencies like the US Postal Service and Commerce Department monitoring social media and conducting surreptitious searches against critics.

    Rip Murdock (d2a2a8)

  30. Another problem with redistributionism is that as a practical matter it goes to other apex or would-be apex predators. And when it’s sites like Gab or 8kun or the various other conspiracy and Russian disinformation sites, that’s especially distasteful.

    nk (1d9030)

  31. @26 hoo boy

    sorry you were so deeply offended, but your question made no sense

    JF (e1156d)

  32. when platforms make decisions that can have major consequences for a political campaign, there’s a problem, whether anyone chooses to acknowledge it or not

    But there’s no problem when Fox or Newsmax TV makes such decisions? Or when big talk-radio networks have a policy that none of their on-air people are to be critical of a particular candidate? It’s freedom of speech if the network fires everyone who doesn’t toe the line, right?
    It is, actually. And a certain political faction not only accepts that kind of cancellation but demands it.

    Radegunda (2ba443)

  33. @32 to the extent that fox, newsmax and talk radio have a social media presence with user content, which is minimal compared to fb, are you aware of any candidate that’s been banned?

    otherwise, they’re just another media outlet, of which there are hundreds with most having a solid left wing slant

    so, how is this in any way a comparable problem?

    JF (e1156d)

  34. Justice Clarence Thomas kicked off a new round of debate on the right way to regulate social media companies with a thoughtful and creative piece of legal scholarship.

    Creative, yes, thoughtful, not so much, constitutional, not even a little bit.

    Colonel Klink (Ret) (1367c0)

  35. it bans non-theme park associated websites from removing content or accounts from people running for office.

    Or else what? It’s a campaign contribution?

    But Citizens United already held that sort of thing to be unconstitutional

    Kevin M (ab1c11) — 5/27/2021 @ 9:25 am

    Then why, until yesterday, could one not say that Covid began in a Wuhan lab?

    No, you could say that, because the WHO never said it was impossible. It was contradicting the WHO or CDC in other ways that was a problem.

    Sammy Finkelman (51cd0c)

  36. It seems that we also have more active censorship than any time in history, given that most speech today is concentrated on a few private platforms.

    LOL no.

    Patterico (e349ce)

  37. I note that Facebook is now allowing people to suggest that Covid had a human source, now that Biden suggests its possible. How would government censorship operate differently? [Answer: probably more even-handed.]

    Kevin M (ab1c11) — 5/27/2021 @ 9:19 am

    When you’re advocating for government censorship of speech, you’ve lost your way. There’s nothing else to say.

    Patterico (e349ce)

  38. Try checking out who has the most widely shared posts on Facebook any given week, to see the Heavy Hand of Social Media Censorship at work. Report back what you find!!!

    The amount of whining from people living in the country with the most free speech in the world is mind-boggling.

    Patterico (e349ce)

  39. are you aware of any candidate that’s been banned?

    That particular “candidate” so called — actually, someone who might be a candidate years hence — was banned for violating policies that are supposed to apply to all users of the platform. Some people believe that the social media companies allowed that person to cross the line for far too long before finally having a discussion about whether it was time to apply the rules to him.

    The ban came only after it was observed that the words of the person in question had incited thousands of people to converge on D.C. in an effort to stop the certification of an election, and several hundred of them to invade the Capitol forcibly, some chanting “Hand Mike Pence” and looking for “traitors” to punish, and at the least hoping to intimidate legislators into changing the outcome of an election.

    If any Democratic politician had used social media in a similar manner and to a similar effect, every Trumper would be screaming that it was the patriotic duty of the platforms to ban that person forever — and the duty of the government to “Lock her up!”

    But they don’t accept the idea that rules should apply to their idol just like anyone else. (“Let Trump be Trump!!”)

    Radegunda (2ba443)

  40. It’s also very quaint how some of the people decrying “cancel culture” are no doubt the very same people who are outraged when anyone on their favorite TV or radio network or website utters a critical word about their idol. They want a steady diet of cult-worship untainted by any hint of a critical (or objective) viewpoint.

    Radegunda (2ba443)

  41. Justice Thomas in a concurrence to a Supreme Court decision vacating decision that had held that Donald Trump violated the First Amendment when he blocked Twitter users from following his account:

    https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/20pdf/20-197_5ie6.pdf

    The disparity between Twitter’s control and Mr. Trump’s control is stark, to say the least. Mr. Trump blocked several people from interacting with his messages. Twitter barred Mr. Trump not only from interacting with a few users, but removed him from the entire platform, thus barring all Twitter users from interacting with his messages.1 Under its terms of service, Twitter can remove any person from the platform—including the President of the United States—“at any time for any or no reason.” Twitter Inc., User Agreement (effective June 18, 2020).

    This is not the first or only case to raise issues about digital platforms. While this case involves a suit against a public official, the Court properly rejects today a separate petition alleging that digital platforms, not individuals on those platforms, violated public accommodations laws, the First Amendment, and antitrust laws. Pet. for Cert., O. T. 2020, No. 20–969. The petitions highlight two important facts. Today’s digital platforms provide avenues for historically unprecedented amounts of speech, including speech by government actors. Also unprecedented, however, is the concentrated control of so much speech in the hands of a few private parties. We will soon have no choice but to address how our legal doctrines apply to highly concentrated,privately owned information infrastructure such as digital platforms.….

    If part of the problem is private, concentrated control over online content and platforms available to the public, then part of the solution may be found in doctrines that limit the right of a private company to exclude. Historically, at least two legal doctrines limited a company’s right to exclude.

    First, our legal system and its British predecessor have long subjected certain businesses, known as common carriers, to special regulations, including a general requirement to serve all comers. Candeub, Bargaining for Free Speech: Common Carriage, Network Neutrality, and Section 230, 22 Yale J. L. & Tech. 391, 398–403 (2020) (Candeub); see also Burdick, The Origin of the Peculiar Duties of Public Service Companies, Pt. 1, 11 Colum. L. Rev. 514 (1911).

    Justifications for these regulations have varied. Some scholars have argued that common-carrier regulations are justified only when a carrier possesses substantial market power. Candeub 404. Others have said that no substantial market power is needed so long as the company holds itself out as open to the public. Ibid.; see also Ingate v. Christie, 3 Car. & K. 61, 63, 175 Eng. Rep. 463, 464 (N. P. 1850) (“[A] person [who] holds himself out to carry goods for everyone as a business . . . is a common carrier”). And this Court long ago suggested that regulations like those placed on common carriers may be justified, even for industries not historically recognized as common carriers, when “a business, by circumstances and its nature, . . . rise[s] from private to be of public concern.” See German Alliance Ins. Co. v. Lewis, 233 U. S. 389, 411 (1914) (affirming state regulation of fire insurance rates). At that point, a company’s “property is but its instrument, the means of rendering the service which has become of public interest.” Id., at 408.

    This latter definition of course is hardly helpful, for most things can be described as “of public interest.” But whatever may be said of other industries, there is clear historical precedent for regulating transportation and communications networks in a similar manner as traditional common carriers. Candeub 398–405. Telegraphs, for example, because they “resemble[d] railroad companies and other common carriers,” were “bound to serve all customers alike, without discrimination.” Primrose v. Western Union Telegraph Co., 154 U. S. 1, 14 (1894).2

    In exchange for regulating transportation and communication industries, governments—both State and Federal—have sometimes given common carriers special government favors. Candeub 402–407. For example, governments have tied restrictions on a carrier’s ability to reject clients to “immunity from certain types of suits”3 or to regulations that make it more difficult for other companies to compete with the carrier (such as franchise licenses). Ibid. By giving these companies special privileges, governments place them into a category distinct from other companies and closer to some functions, like the postal service, that the State has traditionally undertaken.

    Second, governments have limited a company’s right to exclude when that company is a public accommodation. This concept—related to common-carrier law—applies to companies that hold themselves out to the public but do not “carry” freight, passengers, or communications. See, e.g., Civil Rights Cases, 109 U. S. 3, 41–43 (1883) (Harlan, J., dissenting) (discussing places of public amusement). It also applies regardless of the company’s market power. See, e.g., 78 Stat. 243, 42 U. S. C. §2000a(a).

    Internet platforms of course have their own First Amendment interests, but regulations that might affect speech are valid if they would have been permissible at the time of the founding. See United States v. Stevens, 559 U. S. 460, 468 (2010). The long history in this country and in England of restricting the exclusion right of common carriers and places of public accommodation may save similar regulations today from triggering heightened scrutiny—especially where a restriction would not prohibit the company from speaking or force the company to endorse the speech. See Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. v. FCC, 512 U. S. 622, 684 (1994) (O’Connor, J., concurring in part and dissenting in part); PruneYard Shopping Center v. Robins, 447 U. S. 74, 88 (1980). There is a fair argument that some digital platforms are sufficiently akin to common carriers or places of accommodation to be regulated in this manner.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  42. Of course, maybe Justice Thomas is a commie.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  43. When you’re advocating for government censorship of speech, you’ve lost your way. There’s nothing else to say.

    Please find a single place where I have advocated that.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  44. What I advocate is restricting private censorship, which is NOT the same as imposing censorship, any more than giving everyone a megaphone is the same as gagging them.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)


  45. >>Then why, until yesterday, could one not say that Covid began in a Wuhan lab?

    No, you could say that, because the WHO never said it was impossible. It was contradicting the WHO or CDC in other ways that was a problem.

    Facebook said it’s no longer removing from its platforms claims that coronavirus was man-made.

    That announcement comes shortly after President Joe Biden announced he had directed the US intelligence community to redouble its efforts into the origin of Covid-19.

    https://www.cnn.com/2021/05/27/tech/facebook-covid-19-origin-claims-removal/index.html

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  46. Try checking out who has the most widely shared posts on Facebook any given week, to see the Heavy Hand of Social Media Censorship at work. Report back what you find!!!

    I’ve seen right-wingers try to explain away the top-ten list by arguing that it shows how a few conservatives get a lot of traffic because so many others are banned, whereas leftist traffic is more diffuse because the platforms allow more leftist voices. Or else they’ll say that those stats are disguising content censorship. Of course neither argument is backed up by evidence.

    Radegunda (2ba443)

  47. restricting private censorship, which is NOT the same as imposing censorship

    “restricting private censorship” = forcing private entities to amplify certain ideas against their wishes.

    Radegunda (2ba443)

  48. Freedom of speech does not guarantee freedom of reach, Kevin.

    Historically it does. See the common carrier discussion in 41.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  49. forcing private entities to amplify certain ideas against their wishes.

    When did “carry” (or indeed “not squelch”) become “amplify”? Ma Bell was required to carry all speech, equally. They cannot be forced to speak themselves, or to agree with any speech. They also can speak in rebuttal, if they so choose.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  50. I’ve seen right-wingers try to explain away the top-ten list by arguing that it shows how a few conservatives get a lot of traffic because so many others are banned, whereas leftist traffic is more diffuse because the platforms allow more leftist voices.

    Some people say some people are idiots, some people are right.

    Colonel Klink (Ret) (1367c0)

  51. I will note that there are more than two positions here, and I do NOT agree with the idea that we have a Government censor of any kind. That would be worse. I argue for a common-carrier type standard of carrying almost all speech, subject to well-defined exceptions (incitement, profanity, etc) that the carrier may regulate, should they choose to do so, coupled with a stronger version of the protection against libel, etc, that they currently enjoy.

    What we have now are private organizations that are justifyably worried about anti-trust, in the business of censoring speech. Their attentiveness to government pronouncements — such as Facebook and Covid’s origins — could be seen as government censorship-by-proxy. Note that Trump was left alone until it was too late for him to cause them a problem. Biden has made anti-trust noises, too, but will probably forebear action so long as they “behave.”

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  52. FWIW, I think the Florida bill is too much and hamfisted.

    I think we need to make some careful distinctions here, which that we’re really not addressing the problems.

    1) Do you consider the near-monopoly of tech giants like Facebook/Twitter to operate in the “public square”? If yes, where do you draw the line? If no, do you see it as a problem at all?

    2) Its indisputable that these tech giants lean left on the political sphere, and they operate as a left-leaning institution. Is it okay for these institutions to have that kind of power, especially when they act as a proxy-arm of the Democratic party?

    I don’t have the answer. I just know that the public hasn’t really addressed these points.

    I mean, you can’t question the last election…

    Hell, you’re not even allowed to question Jan 6th! (some regard it as a riot gone bad…others, consider it an actual armed insurrection)

    Until recently, you couldn’t question whether or not Covid was a lab-leaked or naturally occuring event…

    I’m seeing alot more of these heavy-handed efforts by tech giants to enforce progressive ideologies.

    I honestly don’t know how to fix these issues. I just know that, for the most part, we’re not recognizing the problems and folks are all too eager talking past each other.

    whembly (2e3fb6)

  53. 48. They’re two entirely different things, Kevin.

    Revisit Hearst. His media empire, which was substantial and with quite the ‘reach’ back in the day, quashed all advertising of a little RKO film titled ‘Citizen Kane’ for obvious reasons. It worked, too, in so far as Hearst outlets went. But RKO–and Welles- found a way around it and word got out- as well as advertising- via other media outlets.

    “Rosebud.” – Charles Foster Kane [Orson Welles] ‘Citizen Kane’ 1941

    DCSCA (f4c5e5)

  54. 46.Try checking out who has the most widely shared posts on Facebook any given week, to see the Heavy Hand of Social Media Censorship at work. Report back what you find!!!

    Don’t use Facebook nor Twitter– and miss neither–and nothing.

    Whereas the vast percentage who do not use NASASelect miss plenty. Any idea what’s up aboard your multi-billon dollar ISS these days or what’s cookin’ on Mars this month along with irradiated multi-million dollar rovers and a helicopter?

    DCSCA (f4c5e5)

  55. When did “carry” (or indeed “not squelch”) become “amplify”? Ma Bell was required to carry all speech, equally.

    Something is amplified when millions of people can hear or read it at the same time.
    And I’m pretty sure that virtually everyone who invokes “common carrier” and “public accommodation” to argue for a mandatory free-for-all on social media would find something they believe should be forbidden on the platforms.

    We have laws against using mail or telecommunications for fraudulent purposes — i.e. against certain forms of speech.

    Radegunda (2ba443)

  56. We have laws against using mail or telecommunications for fraudulent purposes — i.e. against certain forms of speech.

    Yes, we do, but none of those laws allows for prior restraint.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  57. I honestly don’t know how to fix these issues. I just know that, for the most part, we’re not recognizing the problems and folks are all too eager talking past each other.

    Indeed. Justice Thomas (@41) shows the way forward, I think. More speech, less censorship in general. The thing to avoid codifying is government censorship, either directly or by proxy.

    Question: If Facebook for some reason became a hotbed of opposition to Biden and progressives found their speech shut down like the Trumpies are seeing now, would that threatened anti-trust suit be far behind?

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  58. ….none of those laws allows for prior restraint.

    Robert Bork would be proud.

    Rip Murdock (d2a2a8)

  59. Kevin and Whembly, You’re both raising fairly good points. They don’t persuade me that government regulation is the answer. In part because they don’t lay out a solution that’s better then the current regime.

    The common carrier argument means all speech is treated the same way, including porn, violent threats, racist’s slurs etc. The way we draw that line now is to let platforms decide how they want to moderate. Which is why pronhub, facebook, and gab all have very different experiences.

    But if you have better regimes I’m interested in them.

    Time123 (7cca75)

  60. @42./43. ‘There is a fair argument that some digital platforms are sufficiently akin to common carriers or places of accommodation to be regulated in this manner.’

    No. Worse: a conservative— and wrong.

    ‘In the United States, a common carrier (or simply “carrier”) is an entity whose business transports people or goods from one place to another for a fee. Even amusement parks may be considered common carriers in some states, such as California. – source,findlaw.com

    You pay no “fee” to access Facebook or Twitter. Just fork over your personal data freely which is your choice– and a poor one. ‘Course if you had a Seinfeld marketing mind set, a la telephone sales callers and such, you’d realize your data is YOURS and insist they pay YOU for access to your time as well as any personal information you may foolishly and freely give to them.

    My favorite story about this mind set was back in ’82, at a bike race in Phoenix. My marketing boss then had noticed the race winner rode a Panasonic bicycle and was about to be interviewed by NBC Sports on national TV. My boss approached the guy and asked him to wear a Panasonic hat during 20 or 30 seconds on air– thinking ‘free commercial air on NBC.’ With seconds to go, the guy said, “Sure. $500, NOW, or no hat.” Loved it–the bicyclist controlled his own marketing, not the other way around. Boss peeled off the greenbacks– and the dude wore the cap.

    DCSCA (f4c5e5)

  61. DCSCA, Great story!

    Time123 (6e0727)

  62. “You pay no “fee” to access Facebook or Twitter. Just fork over your personal data freely which is your choice– and a poor one. ”

    I’ve made this argument before. You are not Facebook’s customer. You’re their product. Ad purchasers are their customers.

    Davethulhu (69e65f)

  63. @62. Actually, you are- in so far as you provide the data- a key ingredient to a pool which advertisers can then target- with ever increasing accuracy. Just as a A-B needs water to brew beer, without ‘you’- these platforms are useless.

    DCSCA (f4c5e5)

  64. Kevin M (ab1c11) — 5/27/2021 @ 1:35 pm

    I will note that there are more than two positions here

    What you’re seeing is the standard gaslighting. There are a number of options and all of them aren’t embracing government censorship. But if someone is in favor of the status quo, i.e. they like corporate censorship, discussion of alternatives are all going to be bad. You can’t flip between whatever Fauci’s current position is without it and the CCP are certainly in favor of it.

    The basic assumption now is if platforms can’t arbitrarily censor then that’s censorship and the entire internet will shutdown and all freedom will be lost. Yes, the ministry of truth crowd is projecting. There’s already a ministry of truth, they like it, and they’re going to pretend it doesn’t exist because that’s the easiest way to defend it. It’s ok precisely because you didn’t vote for it, it’s not transparent, and there’s no due process. It’s infinitely better than anything that would result from an open and democratic process.

    If you keep making the point you’re trying to make someone will tell you it will result in this very blog being shutdown because it’s just unreasonable that platforms can’t arbitrarily moderate content and all platforms are exactly the same.

    I’m also waiting on the “these things are not like these other things” because the definer of things is defining things.

    frosty (f27e97)

  65. Radegunda (2ba443) — 5/27/2021 @ 1:24 pm

    “restricting private censorship” = forcing private entities to amplify certain ideas against their wishes.

    “restricting rape” = forcing people to not have sex whenever and with whoever they want.
    “restricting murder” = forcing people to not kill whoever they want against their wishes.
    “restricting segregation” = forcing people to associate with certain people against their wishes.

    Yes, war is peace, freedom is slavery, ignorance is strength.

    frosty (f27e97)

  66. The common carrier argument means all speech is treated the same way, including porn, violent threats,

    Actually, there are some things even government can censor: violent threats, incitement, criminal conspiracies and, in some cases language and porn.

    Facebook forbids porn now, and it is not among the things that people complain about (there being plenty of avenues to obtain porn on the internet). Government criminalizes some porn, and no one has few have a problem with that.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  67. I’ve made this argument before. You are not Facebook’s customer. You’re their product. Ad purchasers are their customers.

    So, they could exclude Jews?

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  68. Frosty,
    1. That’s not what gaslighting means.
    2. What’s your proposed fix?

    I’m open to other regimes. But the conservative proposal seems to be “punish social media companies” and not something that might actually be better.

    Time123 (9f42ee)

  69. Kevin, yes they do, and they define what’s porn and what’s not. It’s their platform, they can use it as they please. Your proposal is to not let them decide what’s on their platform and host all content equally.

    Time123 (9f42ee)

  70. Well, comrades, since Apple has the monopoly on iPhones and Google the monopoly on Androids, they should give you a free phone that you can tweet and Facebook with. And since the corporations have priced private jets out of your reach, Tim Cook and Jack Dorsey should give you free use of theirs so you can fly to interesting places for interesting things to post. And if you’re ever walking by my house, just feel free to ring my doorbell and ask to use my car instead of calling for an Uber. Why should I be the only one with a monopoly to it?

    nk (1d9030)

  71. Here’s the deal, folks. Scratch a Trumpkin and you get a Communist, and that’s at their best. Normally, they’re whining panhandlers. They don’t have and they want. “Want! Want! Want! Waah!”

    nk (1d9030)

  72. Kevin, Facebook is free to the user. Its whole business model is premised on ad revenue and its ability to mix ads and speech at its discretion….meaning it must be able to exclude…because who wants their ad inadvertently placed next to hate speech or pornography? This is clearly and materially different from your favorite common carrier example, telephone lines…..where there is no public aspect to the speech or mixing of paid advertisements.

    The monopoly aspect of Thomas’ argument is also a bit over-stated. There are always new entries to the marketplace: Snapchat, Clubhouse, TikTok….and other media options exist via the internet…or even TV and radio. The future of social media is also wide open to new structures like de-centralization, which is in its infancy, but where users directly control content and moderation…and self promote via cryptocurrency. In terms of internet advertising, Facebook obviously competes with the other internet giant Google….which statistically is more effective with its ads. Facebook does not rule the internet advertising market in any way comparable to how AT&T ruled the telecom market. Thomas’ argument does not persuade me….

    AJ_Liberty (a4ff25)

  73. @72 nobody cares about the internet advertising market and whether fb or twitter or youtube dominates it

    the issue is their election meddling which these companies can and do

    government interference is not the solution, and it was government interference that gave us section 230 and the market distortions it created

    JF (e1156d)

  74. Remember the Florida Couple whom God told to have their wedding at another person’s home?

    God, Trump, watsa diff, eh, Ronnie D? Gotta be something in the water, I think.

    nk (1d9030)

  75. The monopoly aspect of Thomas’ argument is also a bit over-stated. There are always new entries to the marketplace

    So long as Amazon Web Services allows them access. They have kicked several of these competing services off their platform for not censoring enough.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  76. Time123 (9f42ee) — 5/28/2021 @ 3:19 am

    1. That’s not what gaslighting means.

    Feel free to use the most restrictive definition or change the term to suit. But whenever someone says “what you’re saying is” when that clearly isn’t what the person is saying they’re probably gaslighting. They’re doing other things too so there are other labels that can apply but that doesn’t mean they aren’t also gaslighting. The purpose of the comment I was referring to was to make Kevin M think, “maybe I am in favor of government censorship and I really don’t want that so I need to change my tune” instead of engaging in the actual argument.

    2. What’s your proposed fix?

    This has been asked and answered several times between the two of us. Before we try again do you know the difference between specific performance and damages as remedies in breach of contract situations? Do you know why specific performance is uncommon? Do you understand why it would be dishonest to pretend that specific performance is the only remedy for breach of contract and since that isn’t usually possible there is no remedy for breach of contract? I think it would be helpful to understand this before having a conversation about possible solutions to what’s going on with media.

    I’m open to other regimes. But the conservative proposal seems to be “punish social media companies” and not something that might actually be better.

    If you are open to other regimes do you at least agree that there are problems with what’s going on now?

    The first step to being open is to notice that starting from “punish social media companies” is a framing device meant to derail any talk of possible solutions. I’ve never given any indication that I’m interested in “punishing social media companies” and I’ve been very clear where I stand on individual rights vs corporate rights. I’ve also explained that I’m not a “conservative”.

    frosty (f27e97)

  77. There’s nothing to fix. The “problem” is that a corrupt criminal orange traitor used social media to promote a several months-long stolen election false narrative which finally incited a mob of his making to violently invade the Capitol while the Electoral Votes were being counted, and his bootlickers want him to be able to keep on doing that. By stealing the use of other people’s property. Stealing!

    nk (1d9030)

  78. “government interference is not the solution,”

    But isn’t Kevin arguing precisely for government interference…..based on Facebook being a monopoly….and needing to be treated like a common carrier?

    “nobody cares about the internet advertising market”

    Well, you don’t care….but Kevin’s and Justice Thomas’ argument is predicated on a market argument….and drawing an analogy to AT&T and the telecom market….I disagree with that argument.

    “the issue is their election meddling”

    It’s as if there are no other sources of Hunter Biden theories except for Facebook…if you don’t like their moderation, don’t use them….and promote a competitor….or host your own web site. You are not owed access to someone else’s private property…just because you feel entitled. Point out their bias…use your power as a consumer to force them to react…promote your politics in other ways. Facebook may be getting in over its head with trying to police the trafficking of false information…but it’s their product.

    AJ_Liberty (a4ff25)

  79. frosty, good questions and I owe you a response.

    Time123 (441f53)

  80. “When you’re advocating for government censorship of speech, you’ve lost your way. There’s nothing else to say.”

    Imagine pretending that massive social media monopolies aren’t practically arms of the government in their own right. “Revolving door lobbying?” “Corporate-state partnership?” “Shared interests?” “Plausible deniability?” “Big Government and Big Business being essentially the same and often working secretly with each other to cover each other’s weaknesses?” A libertarian knows not these concepts!

    “Try checking out who has the most widely shared posts on Facebook any given week, to see the Heavy Hand of Social Media Censorship at work. Report back what you find!!!”

    Imagine thinking that the people who ban accounts they don’t like won’t also promote absolute lunatic fringe accounts as substitutes, fudge trending numbers, or write their own marketing wholesale under the WHAT’S HOT subheading. “I can’t win the popularity contest, but the number contest that I also don’t control will PROVE ME RIGHT!”

    The absolute state of libertarian thought never ceases to amaze me.

    Glibertarian (08ab35)

  81. The straw men around here could be built into condos for every First Little Pig in the world. There’s all kinds of things I don’t want to tell you, and I’m not going to let you spray-paint it on the side of my garage neither. Get your own garage or a megaphone or start a chain mail.

    nk (1d9030)

  82. How NOT to play baseball: https://youtu.be/DO4h-fH_vu8

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  83. Patterico, you really owe me an apology for #37. I have said no such thing.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  84. @78 “promote a competitor”

    like parler i suppose which couldn’t be a competitor because amazon web services said nyet

    “or host your own web site”

    yes assuming aws like me and then npr will write a story about how my site can “make or break” a campaign

    you don’t get it really

    fb and twitter and youtube are very successful and powerful (thanks to section 230 government interference, but good for them) but it’s only a problem when they intentionally put their thumb on the scales in an election, which they have

    absent that, i don’t care how big and successful they are and don’t want a piece of it

    “it’s not as if there wasn’t alternative info to counter russian meddling” didn’t work for four years, but suddenly this is a compelling argument

    JF (e1156d)

  85. frosty @76.

    Do you know why specific performance is uncommon?

    If you tell an actor he has to perform in a play, he’s not likely to do a good job. So courts stopped doing that in the 1920s (or whenever)

    Sammy Finkelman (51cd0c)

  86. JF @ 84-
    fb and twitter and youtube are very successful and powerful (thanks to section 230 government interference, but good for them)

    Section 230 protects all websites, including this one. Without Section 230, DU, Patterico, Parler, Gab, Reddit, Free Republic, etc. could easily be sued out of existence for comments posted on their sites.

    Rip Murdock (d2a2a8)

  87. @86 thanks we’ve heard this horror story a million times

    JF (e1156d)

  88. Another fact-free post by JF.

    Rip Murdock (d2a2a8)

  89. Kevin M # 45.

    Facebook said it’s no longer removing from its platforms claims that coronavirus was man-made.

    That announcement comes shortly after President Joe Biden announced he had directed the US intelligence community to redouble its efforts into the origin of Covid-19.

    I didn’t get this right.

    Here’s an excerpt from a Wall Street Journal editorial about this today:

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/facebooks-lab-leak-about-face-11622154198

    Facebook acted in lockstep with the government: “In light of ongoing investigations into the origin of COVID-19 and in consultation with public health experts, we will no longer remove the claim that COVID-19 is man-made or manufactured from our apps,” it said Wednesday.

    The shift is better late than never, but note the apparent implication: While a political or scientific claim is disfavored by government authorities, Facebook will limit its reach. When government reduces its hostility toward an idea, so will Facebook.

    YouTube’s Covid-19 policy similarly forbids contradicting “health authorities.” The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is run by a political appointee and its evolving guidance is clearly influenced by political considerations. YouTube, owned by Google, used this policy to remove a roundtable on virus response with scientists and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.

    Perhaps the social-media giants think their censorship carries more legitimacy if they can appeal to government. In fact such coordination makes censorship even more suspect. Free speech protects the right to challenge government. But instead of acting as private actors with their own speech rights, the companies are mandating conformity with existing government views.

    In 2019 a wiser Mark Zuckerberg, the Facebook CEO, said “I don’t think it’s right for a private company to censor politicians or the news in a democracy.” If he’d stuck to that spirit instead of bending to pressure, he’d have avoided this embarrassment, and the more like it that are sure to come.

    Because it was potentially a matter of life and death, they didn’t want false medical information circulating. Because they didn’t want to be the truth police, they deferred to official health authorities. But that doesn’t get you the truth. And also it’s when what the authorities say can be argued against, what they say that is wrong gets more readily corrected.

    Sammy Finkelman (51cd0c)

  90. 39. Radegunda (2ba443) — 5/27/2021 @ 12:34 pm

    [Trump] was banned for violating policies that are supposed to apply to all users of the platform.

    That is disputable.

    Trump was banned, from Twitter at least, because what he said might supposedly lead to violence. In reality because what he said was being interpreted by third persons that way. An announcement on January 8 that he would not attend the inauguration was being interpreted as a call to disrupt it.

    The ban came only after it was observed that the words of the person in question had incited thousands of people to converge on D.C. in an effort to stop the certification of an election,

    That was coming at people from all over, not just online. Radio, indepedent web sites. and podcasts also.

    and several hundred of them to invade the Capitol forcibly, some chanting “Hand Mike Pence” and looking for “traitors” to punish,

    Nothing Trump said called for that. and certainly nothing he said online

    and at the least hoping to intimidate legislators into changing the outcome of an election.

    He was certainly trying to put political pressure on them and many Republicans complied, up to the point where it came to violating their oaths of office, which many would not do. The motion would not carry. Because every single Democrat would vote against it, you needed only a small fraction of Republicans to stop it. and they weren’t coming even close in the Senate. Mtch McConnell tried to prevent a vote altogether.

    Sammy Finkelman (51cd0c)

  91. RIP Walter Kissinger (96). The younger and less famous of the Kissinger brothers.

    Mr. Kissinger ….. was the president and chief executive of the Allen Group, a multinational conglomerate based in Melville, N.Y., that under his leadership concentrated on manufacturing automotive parts as well as on mobile communications technology.

    Even as a captain of industry, Walter Kissinger was not above poking fun at his famous statesman brother, Henry. Once at a White House reception, according to Walter’s son William, Walter told President Richard M. Nixon in a mock grave tone that Nixon had done something unforgivable by appointing Henry secretary of state. Nixon stiffened with dread. Then Walter deadpanned that this meant he would forever be known as Henry’s brother. (Nixon, William Kissinger said, sighed with relief.)
    …….
    ……. Walter shed his Bavarian accent, while Henry notably retained his. When asked why this was the case, Walter would tell interviewers, “Because I am the Kissinger who listens.”
    …….
    When World War II broke out….. Walter (joined the US Army and went) to the Pacific, where he served in the infantry and participated in the invasion of Okinawa.
    ……

    s

    Rip Murdock (d2a2a8)

  92. 71.’Here’s the deal, folks. Scratch a Trumpkin and you get a Communist, and that’s at their best.

    No. More like Carl Spackler w/a pitchfork at your neck.

    Or perhaps you’ve never seen ‘Caddyshack.’

    DCSCA (f4c5e5)

  93. Kevin M @82. I don’t quite understand what happened, even though the broadcaster tries to explain it starting about 2:25 into that YouTube video.

    So – the batter hit a ground ball to near 3rd base, which wasn’t an automatic out, so that the batter or first base needed to be tagged – the runner tries to get to first base, fails, get chased back almost to home plate – meanwhile, the Cub player at 2nd base, runs to 3rd – and then home, while they’re not looking – in the confusion the Pirates sort of try to tag him, too late, and then lose hold of the ball for a while, so the Cub player who was running back to Home plate, runs to first base, is safe – and then steals second!

    Is that right?

    Sammy Finkelman (51cd0c)

  94. So long as Amazon Web Services allows them access. They have kicked several of these competing services off their platform for not censoring enough.

    Then it’s lucky there are many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many other options.

    Colonel Klink (Ret) (1367c0)

  95. 82.How NOT to play baseball: https://youtu.be/DO4h-fH_vu8

    Perhaps the finest demonstration of Reaganomics in action ever seen.

    DCSCA (f4c5e5)

  96. DCSCA @ 95. Is everything Reaganomics? Or is Reaganomics now a word meaning incompetence?

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Humpty_Dumpty

    “I don’t know what you mean by ‘glory,’ ” Alice said.

    Humpty Dumpty smiled contemptuously. “Of course you don’t—till I tell you. I meant ‘there’s a nice knock-down argument for you!'”

    “But ‘glory’ doesn’t mean ‘a nice knock-down argument’,” Alice objected.

    “When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.”

    “The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.”

    “The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master—that’s all.”

    Sammy Finkelman (51cd0c)


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