February 9, 2020
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 6, 2020
Nancy Pelosi has become a leading figure in the aggressive fight to shut down free speech on the internet.
The last time she made a call for a meme to be shut down, it was a slowed down video of her talking that made her look dumb. She claimed that this was some kind of election-hacking conspiracy attack on the very heart of democracy, and the video was banned by Twitter and YouTube, with these companies basically agreeing that parody videos of Democrat politicians are a conspiracy to subvert democracy, and that it is their moral duty as gatekeepers of speech to thwart such evil plots.
Now, she’s tried to pull the same trick again, calling for a second meme video to be removed from the internet because it makes fun of her. However, this time her demand is considered too extreme for the censors.
Facebook and Twitter have refused to take down a video posted by President Donald Trump that was edited to make it appear that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi ripped up his speech when the president was saluting a Tuskegee airman during the State of the Union rather than at the end of his address.
Pelosi’s office had demanded the video, titled “Powerful American stories ripped to shreds by Nancy Pelosi,” be removed from both platforms. Trump tweeted the video Thursday evening to his more than 72 million followers.
The spat became public Friday when Pelosi’s deputy chief of staff Drew Hammill tweeted: “The latest fake video of Speaker Pelosi is deliberately designed to mislead and lie to the American people, and every day that these platforms refuse to take it down is another reminder that they care more about their shareholders’ interests than the public’s interests.”
“The American people know that the president has no qualms about lying to them – but it is a shame to see Twitter and Facebook, sources of news for millions, do the same,” he continued.
It is frankly astonishing that we are at the point where we are having these kinds of conversations.
Up until Pelosi got involved and began making censorship demands, the media and the tech monopolies argued that they could censor whatever they want because private companies are allowed to take away the First Amendment rights of private individuals. However, politicians lobbying private companies to censor political speech takes the whole “but it’s a private company” line of reasoning out of the equation. Obviously, there are all kinds of implications associated with politicians demanding censorship, as a politician is a representative of the government.
Given that these companies have already acted on Pelosi’s demands before, I suspect that they didn’t do it a second time in order to give the impression that they will take censorship demands from the government under advisement but won’t always follow them, and thus this is still all Constitutional somehow. But clearly, when you have government officials demanding censorship, you have the implication that state power could be used to intervene in the supposed free market capitalist utopia of the monopolistic tech oligarchs, and we are certainly left wondering where exactly the line is between the government censoring you and the government demanding that private companies censor you.
The clip that Trump posted was clearly political commentary meant to illustrate the fact that Pelosi ripped up a speech which contained a salute to these honorees, and that she was dishonoring them by doing this. I don’t think that is a stretch, and it is certainly within the realm of acceptable political discourse. However, it doesn’t really matter if it is in the realm of acceptable political discourse. Whatever the topic, what right does the US Congress have to demand that the American people be restricted in their speech?
If Pelosi wants to make these kinds of demands, she first needs to have the Constitution changed and have the First Amendment repealed. Otherwise, I believe that she is committing a crime by using her position as a US Congressman to attempt to silence speech. In fact, I believe she could and should be impeached for this.
Donald Trump has claimed that Pelosi also broke the law by ripping the speech up in the first place.
I assume that is probably true, but it is certainly a much lesser crime than her conspiracy to shut down the First Amendment. This is a real issue. The continued process of the abolishing of free speech in this country is a clear and present danger. Ripping up a speech is just a dumb theatrical thing millennial staffers told Pelosi would make her go viral on Twitter and is not a threat to anything other than her own public image.