- The Washington Times - Monday, July 15, 2019

The event has been planned for weeks. On Tuesday, Sen. Ted Cruz takes on the escalating issue of online censorship of conservatives, via a hearing Tuesday before the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution titled “Google and Censorship through Search Engines.”

The Texas Republican says this is definitely not an obscure concern — and some new numbers back him up.

And extensive Pew Research Center poll of close to 11,000 people reveals that two-thirds of them say that the online companies such as Google are responsible for monitoring “offensive content” at their websites. Only 4% of the respondents, however, have a great deal of confidence that the companies can do this. See more numbers, including a partisan breakdown, in the Poll du Jour at column’s end.

Mr. Cruz, who is the subcommittee chairman, has already made an initial dent in the surface of the censorship issue, penning a letter to the Federal Trade Commission with fellow Republican Sen. Josh Haley of Missouri, advising the federal agency to investigate the potentially unsavory influence of a trio of the big online players.

“Big tech companies like Google, Facebook, and Twitter exercise enormous influence on speech. The vast majority of internet traffic flows through just a handful of these companies. They control the ads we see, the news we read, and the information we digest. And they actively censor some content and amplify other content based on algorithms and intentional decisions that are completely nontransparent,” the pair wrote.



The Tuesday hearing will offer a showcase to syndicated radio host Dennis Prager, who has personally documented his own experiences at being censored in the upcoming film, “No Safe Spaces,” which explores online suppression of conservative thought. Find a preview of the film here. Producer Mark Joseph says the film will be in theaters in September.

Mr. Prager explains that over 80 videos from PragerU.com — which features helpful content on economics, history, and religion — have been flagged by YouTube as offensive. The motto of the website itself is “a world of new perspectives, a few minutes at a time”; the site has 2.2 million subscribers and already has accrued 2.3 billion views.

Mr. Prager is quick to defend the content of his videos.

“Not a one has anything approaching violence or porn. Among those on the list — it boggles the mind — is an introduction to the Ten Commandments. You can’t think of something more innocent than that,” he told The Hollywood Reporter.

THE MONEY FACTOR

A preview from Donald J. Trump for President: “The campaign, authorized joint fundraising committees, and the Republican National Committee will show a massive total of $108 million raised in the 2nd quarter of 2019 in documents to be filed with the Federal Election Commission this evening. All told, the three Trump entities and the RNC will report a staggering $123.7 million combined in cash on hand. The RNC’s formal filing is due on Saturday.”

WOMEN FOR TRUMP

It’s ladies day. Lara Trump will launch Women for Trump on Tuesday, a coalition dedicated to recruiting and activating women in support of President Trump at a site in Pennsylvania. Among those in attendance along with Mrs. Trump: Republican National Committee chair Ronna McDaniel and RNC spokeswoman Kayleigh McEnany, White House advisers Mercedes Schlapp and Katrina Pierson, former Fox News host Kimberly Guilfoyle and campaign guru Brad Parscale.

“From public safety to economic opportunity, women have directly benefited from President Trump’s policies Unemployment for women is at its lowest level in over 65 years, and nearly 3.1 million new jobs have been added for women since January 2017. The strong support by women across the country will ensure a second term for the President,” advises Hannah Castillo, director of coalitions for the president’s campaign.

NOT THE FEMALE OBAMA

Interesting insight into Sen. Kamala D. Harris, former California attorney general and a Democratic presidential hopeful.

“When it became clear that Harris’s political trajectory was likely to take her beyond California, some in the media started referring to her as ‘the female Obama.’ Weren’t both of them accomplished, telegenic, and biracial, with names they had to teach people to pronounce? (She is ‘Comma-la.’) She and Barack Obama were close — she was among the first to endorse him in California — and he was the transcendent political figure of the new millennium,” writes Dana Goodyear, a contributor to The New Yorker.

“Harris wanted no part of it. ‘One thing that above all else drives her crazy is getting reduced to a demographic stereotype,’ Sean Clegg, a longtime adviser, says. ‘She was a prosecutor. They didn’t have the same life experience. She told us, ‘Don’t define me based on something a man did,’” Mr. Goodyear continues.

At the moment, an NBC/Wall Street Journal poll finds Ms. Harris tied for third place in the Democratic primary race with Sen. Bernard Sanders, with former Vice President Joseph R. Biden in the lead, and Sen. Elizabeth Warren at No. 2.

THE CHANGE THING

Looks like the “Hope and Change” — the mantra of the Obama years — has narrowed down to just change.

The aforementioned NBC/Wall Street Journal poll finds that 54% of Democratic voters now want “large scale change” — while 41% pine for “small scale change.”

POLL DU JOUR

66% of Americans say social media companies have a responsibility to remove offensive content from their sites; 52% of Republicans and 77% of Democrats agree.

4% overall have a great deal of confidence that the companies can determine what offensive content should be removed; 4% of Republicans and 4% of Democrats agree.

26% overall have a fair amount of confidence in the companies; 19% of Republicans and 32% of Democrats agree.

45% overall do not have too much confidence in the companies; 42% of Republicans and 47% of Democrats agree.

24% overall have no confidence at all in the companies; 34% of Republicans and 15% of Democrats agree.

Source: A Pew Research Center poll of 10,170 U.S. adults conducted April 29-May 13 and released Thursday.

• Kindly follow Jennifer Harper on Twitter @HarperBulletin.

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