- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 3, 2019

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Rep. Devin Nunes, the ranking Republican on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, said he’s “very concerned” about the “tech oligarchs” and the influence these left-leaning social media execs will have on the upcoming election — on the whole state and fate of free speech, of conservative speech.

And how right he is.

America is a free-market system, and the government should not step in and control companies operated in the manner of free markets. But Twitter, Facebook, Google — these companies have gone beyond the confines of their content moderation platforms, well into the field of content and news creation.

Regulation is inevitable.

But with Democrats in charge of the House, and with social media favoring Democrats, it’s going to be later, rather than sooner, that regulation comes.



“Congress has actually carved out a special provision in law for them because they were supposed to be an open square — an open public square,” Nunes said in an exclusive interview with Breitbart. “They’re the internet. So they’re not treated like someone, say, some other kind of product would be treated, like a car, for example, or a kitchen appliance. They’ve had this special carveout for 20 years.”

And then the censorship began.

Then the stifling of free thought started.

Then the crackdown on conservatives commenced.

One of the latest? Lila Rose’s anti-abortion Live Action group, which has the “largest and most engaged online following in the pro-life movement,” as Newsweek described it, was booted from Pinterest after one employee labeled the organization a pornography site. That led to Live Action’s automatic block. Live Action was also prevented on Twitter from running advertisements — paid advertisements. And Live Action was also swept into Google’s reconfiguring of “health care” topics so that searches on “abortion” wouldn’t bring up Rose’s group.

Yet these same social media sites insist they’re politically neutral. Still. To this day.

Government regulation is the most talked-about idea. But oh what a web that would weave.

Conservatives, after all, aren’t supposed to be in the business of regulating free markets.

Better would be this: Amend Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 so that it adds “political beliefs” or “political ideology” to the list — so that the law would prevent employers from discriminating against employees on the basis of “sex, race, color, national origin and religion” and political beliefs.

Not only would that lead to more conservatives actually working at these social media outlets — balancing out the business, balancing out the business of censoring — but it would also cast a black shadow over political censorship.

It would stick a stigma onto political censorship, and soon enough, after a court challenge or two — after a conservative Google employee, say, sued for discriminatory treatment by fellow liberal Google employees, or by a liberal Google boss — these social media companies would learn to control their anti-conservative impulses.

Soon enough, the public would learn that condemning conservative ideas on social media is a no-no.

What’s better about this approach is that it’s not a government crackdown on free speech. It’s not government censorship.

It’s free-market persuasion based on law, and it lets conservatives have their social media cake without having to eat their capitalist principles.

• Cheryl Chumley can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter, @ckchumley.

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