On Monday, March 22, 2021, The Heartland Institute and the Media Research Center held a Zoom webinar at 1:00 p.m. CST, on how to defeat Big Tech censorship, titled, Toe to Toe with Big Tech Titans: How states can protect freedom of speech. View the Zoom video here.
Featured were Heartland Institute experts James Taylor, President of The Heartland Institute and Cameron Sholty, Heartland’s Director of Government Relations, and Brent Bozell, founder and president of the Media Research Center. Jim Lakely, Vice President of Heartland and Director of Communications, fielded the question submitted during the Zoom webinar.
Opening remarks were made by Brent Bozell. As Bozell's remarks were quite lengthy, to do justice to them Thorner decided to present Heartland's Zoom presentation in two parts. To follow is Part 1 featuring Mr. Bozell's cogent remarks about the nature of the Big Tech Titans.
According to Mr. Bozell: "You can't have a functioning democracy if you can't have freedom of speech. What you're seeing is that the future of speech, not just in America, but in the world, is, through social media and the giants of social media, actively engaging in the censorship of that very speech."
"Although you can argue and we will argue that big media and social media together stole the 2020 election, it was from the standpoint of withholding information from the American people which had they known about would have dramatically changed the outcome. 36% of Biden's voters had no idea of Hunter Biden's scandal."
“Why is this important? Because 4.6% of Biden voters said they would not have voted for him had they know about the Hunter Biden scandal. If you took that 4.6 number and put it across the electoral landscape, Donald Trump would have won all five of the contested states and had won in a landslide against Joe Biden."
"The 2nd big takeaway is that the social media giants decided they were going to censor the president of the U.S. of America. If you can censor the former president, you can censor anyone. That is precisely what they [the Tech Titans] set out to do.”
Consider what these companies represent
As described by Mr. Bozell: "These are the largest corporations in the history of man worldwide; these are companies that dominate each one of their industries."
“They dominate, to the extent, that companies like Apple have got a trillion dollars in cash, so they can buy anything." “Amazon", said Bozell, "is now about to become a trillion-dollar corporation, as is Google, so against them whatever they want they get. They've taken the position that now they'll simply remove you if you don't like what they say. An organization like Parlor they'll simply destroy.”
Censoring of former President Trump
As to what they have done against former President Trump, "17 social media sites have now censored him, even a shopping network!"
"Between May 31st of 2018 and Jan. 4th of 2021, Twitter censored Trump a total of 625 times. How many times did they censor Joe Biden? Not once. So that's 625 times to zero. Even when Trump gave an interview to News Max as he did on Feb 20, 2021, youtube took him off because it was not quite in accordance with its presidential election integrity policy. In other words, what Donald Trump was saying was something youtube didn't agree with, so the interview was taken down."
“An interview Laura Trump posted on Instagram sitting across from her father-in-law, former President Trump, was removed with the warning that any content posted on Facebook and Instagram "in the voice of President Trump is not currently allowed on our platforms (including new posts with President Trump speaking).”
The same is happening across the board. Take for example Amazon. "Many people don't think of Amazon as one of the big social media sites. Amazon is if you're a book publisher or if you're an author of a book. It's either 85 or 90% of books that are now sold on Amazon, so Amazon has an almost complete dominance of the book market.”
“Amazon also has decided they are going to allow some books to be sold and some that cannot be sold. One book that cannot be sold is any quest book that questions Amazon's agenda on gender identification. Harry became Sallywas banned because it was against the narrative of the transgender moment, yet books by Adolf Hitler and Karl Marx are fine and available on Amazon. But don't question transgenderism!"
“There was a documentary that was released on Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas during black history month that was removed by Amazon Prime Videos. Yet Amazon was selling 204 different items promoting violence against conservatives, or Trump and Republican, including t-shirts that have "kill all Republicans" on them. That is ok on Amazon, but don't say anything about transgenderism.”
Youtube and Twitter
"The CEO of youtube has boasted that they have removed 500,000 videos dealing with Covid, if they went against the narrative that youtube wanted, which is to say the WHO (World Health Organization)."
“Donald trump couldn't have his own speech said that he gave at CPAC. It was taken down from two different sites that had carried his speech.”
“Twitter continues to be Twitter; it is banning one conservative after another. Some people are being banned, and they don't even know why.”
“Newt Gingrich was questioned when questioning Covid. Newt also talked about illegal immigration and was taken down by Twitter for that."
Conservatives are fighting back
According to Brent Bozell, conservatives are now fighting back. Bozell goes on to cite there different arenas that are being pursued.
1. “Section 230: How in the world can these massive companies have protection? None of them can be held liable for libeling people. They can destroy, yet nothing can be done because they've got this very sneaky protection."
2. “Anti-legislation: 18 different states are pursuing anti-trust legislation. They are saying quite simply these companies are too powerful. You can't compete against Amazon; you can't compete against Twitter; you can't compete against Facebook; you can't compete against youtube."
3. “What is happening at the state level? That may be the most exciting of them all because you've got 50 states. More and more of these states are coming forth with their own solutions and not waiting for Washington, D.C."
Bozell's final point
“Nothing is going to happen in the next 2 - 4 years or the next 4 years on the national level against the companies. The Biden administration is chock full of former employees of these companies that are now working for the Biden administration. These companies pour hundreds of millions of dollars into the process: They bought Washington D.C.; they own this Congress; they own the White House.”
“Nothing is going to happen until there really is an effort made by serious men and women to stop what is the greatest threat to freedom, I believe, in this nation's history.”
Part 2 will feature comments made by James Taylor about how state legislators are tackling the issue of big tech and Cameron Sholty, who will explain what Section 230 allow and doesn’t allow.