Like clockwork, leftist mainstream media and blue checkmarks on social media started lambasting President Trump’s executive order about social media censorship while he was in the middle of the press conference discussing it. Their Trump Derangement Syndrome is so strong, even a sensible call for fairness on social media platforms is worth opposing, in their unhinged view.
Here are some of the arguments being made against his executive order, followed by the reality of it all. Everything the President discussed today aligns perfectly with what we predicted yesterday, so we’ve had some time to prepare these thorough debunkings…
“This will destroy free speech!”
.@realDonaldTrump, you can't lash out at social media companies just because they fact-check you when you deliberately spread mistruths. This executive order isn't a defense of free speech: it's an effort to intimidate so that you can continue to lie.https://t.co/3JyahQvzqf
— (((Rep. Nadler))) (@RepJerryNadler) May 28, 2020
This particular argument has been levied against the executive order since before there was an executive order. It’s absolutely incorrect. The President’s executive order is designed to make sure speech on social media is not edited or suppressed for political reasons. That means those who hold a view that runs contrary to Twitter’s accepted political worldview should not have to fear reprisal for “Tweeting while conservative.”
The argument that this destroys free speech centers around the fact that Twitter is a private company and should be allowed to express their opinions, even if that means tagging the President’s Tweets about mail-in ballots with “fact checks.” Here’s the problem with that argument. Twitter receives protections from Section 230 that shield it from lawsuits. As a content platform, they are not to be held responsible for content on their site. But since they’ve taken many steps towards becoming content publishers, such as tagging the President’s Tweets with editorial fact checks, they are disavowing those protections.
It’s not that the President’s executive order says they can’t have free speech. It’s that they can’t be protected as a platform if they’re going to act like publishers.
“This will destroy Section 230!”
I think Trump would be on solid ground if he were to argue that Twitter's incredibly stupid decision to append "fact-checks" to his tweets does constitute traditional "publisher" activity, and therefore deprives Twitter of Section 230 protections https://t.co/xtArutw4sB
— Michael Tracey (@mtracey) May 28, 2020
As Attorney General William Barr noted in his portion of today’s announcement, the intention of this executive order is to bring Section 230 back to its original intent. It has been “stretched,” as he put it multiple times, to include protections for actions that should never have been protected in the first place. By making this executive order specify a set of rules in order for platforms to maintain their Section 230 protections, both free speech and the code itself will be better maintained, not destroyed or weakened.
“This is a distraction from 100,000 people dying of COVID-19!”
Don’t mind the more than 100,000 Americans who have died from Coronavirus, nope, Predator trump is the real and only victim because Twitter attacked his lies with truth. Crybaby criminal lying asshole.
— Ricky Davila (@TheRickyDavila) May 28, 2020
This is laughable. The White House and the President are doing everything they can to fight the coronavirus. That doesn’t mean time cannot be spent on other pressing matters. This is a disingenuous argument that claims the President is distracting from the truth when in reality these arguments are using the coronavirus to distract from the facts about social media censorship.
It is tragic that so many Americans have died from the coronavirus. But just as it cannot be used as an excuse to shut down the nation, so too should it not be an excuse to shut down all other conversations relevant to the function of this nation. As Democrats often say, the White House can walk and chew gum at the same time.
“The President is trying to shut down Twitter!”
In the same event where the president said Twitter is inappropriately cracking down on free speech, he says he would be willing to shut Twitter down if he could.
— Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) May 28, 2020
First, the accuracy of this Tweet is off. The President said he would leave Twitter “in a heartbeat” if it weren’t for the fake news mainstream media. He said social media in general is his way of debunking fake news reports and therefore is a crucial part of his communication with the American people.
The part where he said he would shut Twitter down wasn’t intended as a threat nor even a wish. As he has said many times in the past, he wants them to be an unbiased platform, not one that actively attempts to sway the perspectives of Americans through propaganda and lies. If he were to “shut down” anything, it would be the biased activism from Twitter, not the site itself.
“He doesn’t have the power to do this!” or “This will get shot down in courts!”
Basic civics teaches us that the legislative branch writes the laws and the executive branch enforces them. What this executive order does is define how the executive branch will be enforcing laws pertaining to protections for platforms as well as how those platforms can qualify for the protections. That is perfectly within the purview of the presidency.
It’s true that a court will likely delay it. The left can always find an activist judge to do their bidding. But many constitutional “experts” are declaring that the Supreme Court will not side with the executive order because it hampers free speech. As Judge Andrew Napolitano told Fox News anchor Neil Cavuto today, this is the most 1st-Amendment-friendly Supreme Court in history. But what Napolitano gets wrong is this is somehow an attack on free speech. It is not.
Either way, legislation is necessary to codify this. The executive order may be stalled and may end up surviving, but legislation is necessary to make it permanent. This can and should be an election issue as we need more conservatives in Congress to protect it.
“President Trump is ______ and Twitter is ______ and ARRGGGHHHH!”
This is an unambiguously positive move for all Americans. Those on the left may see it as a bad thing because it will take away their social media advantages, but in the whole scheme of things this should be viewed as a win for all Americans.
If Joe Biden or Nancy Pelosi had proposed this, there would be no griping from the left. It’s all about President Trump’s signature on the bottom of the executive order that makes it so heinous in their eyes. #TDS is real, folks.
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