Twitter’s Ban on “Political” Ads Is Just More Censorship of Conservatives
Nov 1, 2019
RUSH: Have you heard that — what is it? — Twitter or Facebook has made the decision to cancel all political advertising? Yeah. Jack Dorsey, Twitter’s canceling all political advertising. This is being done in response to a bunch of leftists upset that conservatives and Republicans have been buying political ads on Twitter. And they’re doing it on the basis that money is not speech. It isn’t fair! And Twitter is being used. And so Jack Dorsey: Okay, we’re gonna cancel all political ads on the basis that it’s unfair because money isn’t speech.
Now, Facebook has not made the decision. Facebook is gonna continue to take ads. Zuckerberg is under intense pressure. The same tech bloggers that I read and the leftist power structure are now ganging up on Zuckerberg and accusing him of being a closet conservative because he will not ban advertising.
My point is this. The left has been attempting to ban conservative, Republican political advertising for as long as I’ve been paying attention. And every court where every one of these cases has ended up has said, “You can’t. The First Amendment. Money equals speech. It doesn’t matter who has money and who doesn’t. It doesn’t matter where the people who have it, where they get it. It doesn’t matter if they get it from donations. It doesn’t matter if they get it from their back pocket. Money equals speech.”
It does. And just because some people don’t have as much as others doesn’t mean the people who have money cannot use it to get the word out. How else are you gonna compete with the Drive-By Media, for example? Well, where is this gonna end up, since now Twitter and Jack Dorsey have effectively announced the end of political advertising — and let me tell you, it’s not gonna end liberalism on Twitter. Liberalism is gonna live and thrive. It just won’t look like advertising, but it’s gonna be nothing but liberal opinion, leftist opinion.
And any attempt to counter it, since Twitter is biased against conservative content, the only way to challenge it has been to buy ads on Twitter. Now that they’re gonna cancel it, guess what? That’s gonna be used as a precedent to start banning conservative political ads everywhere, not just Twitter, in an effort to deny all of us our access to the free speech clause of the First Amendment in the form of paid advertising.
These people cannot deal with opposition. They cannot and will not deal with opposing point of view. They have no desire to enter the arena of ideas and get into a debate. I watched Steve Bannon. Steve Bannon showed up on CNN today. Or maybe it was last night. Maybe it was tape. Steve Bannon showed up with Anderson Cooper to try to defend Trump on this whole impeachment thing.
Anderson Cooper would not let him speak! Anderson Cooper asked a question, Steve Bannon, within two words Cooper is answering it himself! Bannon’s trying to answer. Bannon’s trying to explain. Anderson Cooper won’t shut up! It was a microcosm for how the left wants to deal with any political opposition. Just blanket oppose it. Just deny it. Just don’t allow it to be spoken, written, or said, or published.
And the question, “Wouldn’t you agree, wouldn’t you agree? Well, let’s talk about the hypothetical. What about a hypothetical? If the president had –” Okay, now we’re down to hypotheticals? In order to prove your point you gotta ask me a hypothetical about what the president had done? Bannon remained polite. He remained very reserved, but Anderson Cooper wouldn’t even let the questions he was asking be answered.
I mean, literally Bannon would get one or two words out and here comes the next question or Cooper answering it himself or expressing incredulity that anybody would disagree with the premises he was asking about. Classic, classic illustration of why it’s a waste of time to show up on liberal networks and shows.
RUSH: Columbus, Ohio. This is Elizabeth, and it’s great to have you with us. Hi.
CALLER: Hey, Rush. How are you?
RUSH: I’m good. Thank you.
CALLER: I wanted to comment on Twitter’s ban on political ads.
CALLER: I think it could be successfully argued that Twitter is an internet broadcaster, because they disseminate and they have algorithms to prioritize the news and information on their site. Not only that, but their business model clearly includes advertising whether it’s, like, specified ads or preferential treatment in their search algorithms. And the reason that matters is the FCC under the Communications Act requires broadcasters to make ad time available to candidates for political office.
RUSH: Right. But, see, now, normally people would expect an expert opinion on this, but I don’t think Twitter falls under federal regulations of the FCC because that deals with public airwaves. Like cable chances, cable news, cable networks, TV —
CALLER: But FCC has already claimed jurisdiction over the internet in the net neutrality, their involvement was net neutrality.
RUSH: Yeah, but net neutrality went “Poof!”
CALLER: But it clearly said that they feel they have the jurisdiction over the internet.
RUSH: The FCC has, yes, but they got rid of net neutrality. But is it a regulatory thing? You know, the political money that Twitter makes from ad sales, politics, is really chump change. That’s one of the reasons why they can ban it. It’s not a primary source of income for them. They made their money in selling other kinds of ads. Political ads don’t make all that much money on Twitter. It’s a dirty little secret.
CALLER: Well, but it’s not a matter of how much money they make. The original intent of the Communications Act was because, you know, when radio started, they quickly realized that the moderators of public information have an immense ability to sway public opinion — whether intentionally or unintentionally — by not providing equal time to information so that the voters can make informed public decisions. I think that original intent for the Communications Act makes sites like Twitter and Facebook fall under the broadcasting regulations and would subject them to the FCC regulations for —
RUSH: Wait a minute. Are you advocating that this be done, or are you of the opinion it is being done now?
CALLER: No. I’m saying that I think it could be successfully argued that they should, and I’m curious whether or not this is gonna end up in court to be resolved. You know, it’s kind of a gray area right now, and the points that you were making about Twitter, you know, having control over the public conversation by their search algorithm and what they choose to promote and not promote is exactly the reason why the Communications Act’s ad requirement was originally put in effect for radio and TV. So I wonder, you know —
RUSH: Yeah, but those things like the equal-time doctrine, they’re not even enforced anymore. It depends… I don’t know how in the weeds you want to get, but the Fairness Doctrine is often confused with the equal-time doctrine. They’re two totally different things, and equal time does not mean that if for… Let’s say this show was governed by the equal-time doctrine. Pretend I’m Twitter, okay?
Let’s say between now and 2 o’clock there are 10 tweets by high-profile libs that really excoriate conservatives. It does not mean that in the next five minutes the only tweets can be Republican tweets. That’s not how it’s done. A radio station under the dictates of the equal-time doctrine could say, “We did six hours of community programming Saturday morning between 3 a.m. and 9 a.m. We’re covered,” and the FCC would say, “Good.” That’s how we used to do it.
Put stuff on that nobody wants to listen to from 3 a.m. to 9 a.m. on Sunday, and we could say we provided equal time. It doesn’t mean back-to-back. It doesn’t mean that somebody says something and somebody gets to respond. It’s never been that, and I don’t know of anybody who has ever attempted to regulate Twitter or Facebook as they regulate broadcasters, because Twitter and Facebook do not have to get licenses in order to operate, and that’s what the regulations for the FCC broadcast properties are literally all about.