BRETT: One of the great threats it to our freedom and liberty — without a doubt in my mind, especially after what we just saw in 2020 — is Big Tech monopolies. Oh, these tech companies! They love you when you’re coming on and posting silly cat pictures, when you’re involved in something they’re selling. But this is a very, very dangerous group of corporations.
None less than Clarence Thomas, in a concurrence this week, argued that the time is coming to regulate these Big Tech operations — Facebook, Twitter, Google, you name it. Now, the case that he was concurring the decision to vacate a lower court’s ruling on a case involving President Donald Trump and whether or not he had violated First Amendment of users he’d blocked on Twitter.
But in the context of that case that was in front of the Supreme Court, you had something written by Clarence Thomas that is just spectacular, absolutely spectacular. Justice Thomas wrote, “As Twitter made clear, the right to cut off speech lies most powerfully in the hands of private digital platforms. The extent to which that power matters for purposes of the First Amendment and the extent to which that power could lawfully be modified raise interesting and important questions.”
One of the analogies he used in this piece was a reference to the ability to avoid certain restrictions. But at the end of the day, what Thomas was talking about was saying, essentially these folks are operating like utilities. They’re operating like utilities, and the idea that you can cut that off?
The idea that you can modify that, the idea that you can do those things that do not protect the First Amendment right of the folks? It’s no good. He “argued some tech platforms are ‘sufficiently akin’ to carriers such as telephone companies. If tech platforms were regulated like utilities, they could be forced to do away with moderation standards they currently use.
“‘A traditional telephone company laid physical wires to create a network connecting people,’ Thomas wrote. ‘Digital platforms lay information infrastructure that can be controlled in much the same way.’ He went on to explain the scope of tech companies’ power, citing Facebook’s roughly 3 billion users.” Here’s the money thing that he talked about that I thought was how long ago.
“‘It changes nothing that these platforms are not the sole means for distributing speech or information. A person always could choose to avoid the toll bridge or train and instead swim the Charles River or hike the Oregon Trail,’ Thomas wrote. ‘But in assessing whether a company exercises substantial market power, what matters is whether the alternatives are comparable. For many of today’s digital platforms, nothing is.'”
Huge point. Rush talked about this. He talked about the new big three reviving the news monopoly that Rush busted.
RUSH: When this all started Google was fair or more fair than they are now. But to expect a bunch of leftists — this would be like expecting the Democrat Party to give us access and to have the Democrat Party promote our point of view for 40 or 50% of the day. We would never expect that to happen.
And yet there is this expectation that Google should. “Well, but it’s the only search engine.” No, it’s not the only search engine. There’s all kinds of search engines out there. There’s DuckDuckGo. There’s Bing, which is Microsoft. Look, I don’t want to appear to be insensitive. Because I understand. I understand the problem. Google is the search engine of search engines. And they ought to be playing fair since they have so much power.
And that’s what this hearing is about today. The monopolistic power that these tech companies have — and there’s always the threat of antitrust legislation unless they straighten up. But the Democrats are not gonna do anything to harm Google. The Democrats are not gonna do anything to harm Facebook. The Democrats aren’t gonna do anything to harm Twitter. And the Democrats run the House. So the idea that the Democrats are going to do anything to damage their political partners?
Google is gonna remain a monopoly on search. Google, Facebook, whatever, is gonna remain a monopoly on whatever it is. Twitter is gonna remain the sewer that it is. And they’re all going to remain tied to the hip of the Democrat Party. Now, here’s Zuckerberg’s answer. Question he was asked by Sensenbrenner:
“It was reported that Donald Trump Jr, got taken down (from Twitter) for a period of time, because he put something up of the efficacy of hydroxychloroquine. There still is a debate on whether it is effective. Wouldn’t that be up to somebody else to say, okay, what somebody posted on this really isn’t true, here’s what the facts are, rather than having a Twitter or Facebook take it down?”
It’s a great question. It’s what I raised yesterday. Who is the medical expert at Twitter or Facebook that can, on the fly and within minutes, claim that the Nigerian doctor doesn’t know what she’s talking about? Nor does anybody in her doctor’s group know what they’re talking about. Who is it at Facebook that knows these things? Who is it at Twitter? Here’s Zuckerberg’s answer.
ZUCKERBERG: We do not want to become the arbiters of — of truth. I think that that would be a bad position for us to be in and not — not what we should be doing. But on specific claims, if someone is gonna go out and say that hydroxychloroquine is proven to cure COVID, when in fact it has not been proven to cure COVID and that that statement could lead people to take a drug that in some cases some of the data suggests that it might be harmful to people, we think that we should take that down. That could cause imminent risk of harm.
RUSH: Yeah, but we don’t want to be arbiters of truth. See, we don’t want to be arbiters of truth except on hydroxychloroquine, and then we will be arbiters of truth. This business of research that suggests it might be harmful to people is bogus.
Folks, I got a theory here about what’s going on. And the theory might irritate some people, but let me share it with. Okay, 24 and 8, Mike. Have them standing by. Go back to 1988. In 1988, there were the big three — ABC, CBS, NBC — and then you had the New York Times, the Washington Post. That was the media. They owned it.
There were only three TV networks and the two big papers, and that was a monopoly. They owned it. They owned what to report, what not to report. They owned commentary. Then this show kicked off in August of ’88, and we busted their monopoly. For the first time, for the first time in generations — maybe first time ever — there was an alternative to the liberal dominance in news and information controlled by CBS, NBC, ABC, and the newspapers.
So this show begins, then Rush Limbaugh the TV Show, then a number of other conservative radio talk shows, nationally and locally, then Fox News. And pretty soon the blogosphere and websites. And pretty soon there is this massive, right-wing, alternative media that busts up the mainstream media’s monopoly — and they still haven’t gotten over it!
They are still trying to recapture the days of glory when they were able to get rid of anybody they wanted to with one of two stories. They’d get rid of Nixon, get rid of any Republican they wanted to because they had. That all ended in August of 1988. I think that even though it’s taken them 30 years, they have now begun to reestablish their control of the flow of news and information and there’s a new big three now.
It’s not ABC, CBS, NBC anymore. It’s Google, Facebook, and Twitter. I think the Democrat Party and Big Media have gone ahead and conceded that if they’re to get their dominance and their monopoly in news back, it’s gonna have to be with Google and Twitter and Facebook. I think those are the new big three replacing ABC, CBS, NBC from all the way back in 1988 and years before.
Now, it took them 30 years to recover from what started in 1988. But that’s what we’re facing. Now, ABC, CBS, NBC are still powerful. Don’t misunderstand. CNN, all that. But the real monopoly in news now is Facebook and Twitter and Google with their search engine, because it is those three who can eliminate conservatism on the Web. They can eliminate by denying advertising revenue.
They can deny them presence in search engines. They have tried to take me and this program out I can’t tell you how many times, and they’ve failed. Do you know why? We have never been dependent on them. I have never been dependent on social media for a dollar of revenue generated by this program. We do it independently. We don’t depend on some foreign sales outfit, some conglomerate that sells advertising for everybody. We do it ourselves.
So it’s the same thing. Where the media didn’t make me, they can’t break me. The media is not responsible for any of my revenue. They can’t take it away. They can try. They can institute these boycotts. They can try to destroy me, my reputation, all that — and they’ve tried numerous times. They’ve failed. So they can be beat, or they can be stopped. But not if you depend on ’em for either revenue or search engine results or what have you.
BRETT: And that’s the ultimate huge challenge. We witnessed the old big three coming out this past Sunday night, one of the old big three, CBS and 60 Minutes coming out just this past Sunday night with their hit on Ron DeSantis. Coming up we’re gonna give you another reason why it is that 60 Minutes ran that hit piece on Ron DeSantis this weekend.
BRETT: Let’s go back to this Big Tech conversation that we were hearing from Rush, talking about Zuckerberg and hydroxychloroquine and all of that being set up against the backdrop of Clarence Thomas’s concurrence earlier this week.
Saying essentially, “Hey, these new Big Three — this Google, this Twitter, this Facebook — they gotta get regulated. This is not gonna be able to operate this way for much longer.” One of the voices, the big voices against the Big Tech tyranny was, surprisingly enough, Ron DeSantis, the governor of Florida who came out in the immediate aftermath of the election and said, “Listen.
“I am going to introduce legislation in the Florida house that is going to pass; it is going to prohibit these social media platforms from restraining people’s speech if you’re a candidate.” He was proposing hefty daily fines on Twitter and Facebook and Google, et al, as part of the punished. Now people starting to scratch their chins and say, “Wait a minute. Wait a minute.
“Hmm! Why would Ron DeSantis have been targeted by 60 Minutes about this hit job when they actually cut out a whole hunk of his answer to make him look like he was corrupt and crooked, taking a hundred thousand dollars to the super PAC from Publix to give out vaccines to the elderly?” It was obviously a hit job. Well, here’s Rush talking about that big war on Big Tech from Ron DeSantis.
RUSH: Ron DeSantis. This guy has got what we call an iron-enforced spine, the governor of Florida. “In a 45-minute speech, the governor [of Florida, Ron DeSantis] identified Big Tech companies as the leading threat to American democracy and freedom of expression today, and pledged that Florida Republicans would take action.
“[He] accused the tech giants of ‘clear viewpoint discrimination,’ highlighting the censorship of Donald Trump and the removal of Parler from the internet and Apple and Google-controlled app stores. ‘The core issue here is this: are consumers going to have the choice to consume the information they choose, or are oligarchs in Silicon Valley going to make those choices for us?
“No group of people should exercise such power, especially not tech billionaires in Northern California,'” and, man, oh, man is that right. Tell me: Where else do you hear anybody speaking out like this — in government? Yeah, you have some op-ed writers, some other people speaking out on this, but this? You don’t hear elected officials so much. Some members of Congress do. Let me just tell you: We are watching the de facto merger of media and social media and state — government — the merger of giant corporations and state.
This is when Democrats control Washington. The propaganda arm of the Democrat Party has never been more powerful than today, and don’t forget that they’ve got Antifa and Black Lives Matter soldiers as their military arm. Republicans who do not cave to the extraordinary pressure exerted on them in Washington today… Do you know who they are?
They’re tomorrow’s leaders. Republicans who do not cave to all of this are tomorrow’s leaders. Here’s Miranda Devine, and “Facebook’s Squad of Thought Police” is her piece. She says, “When you see him speak, it’s hard to believe that such a gormless geek as Mark Zuckerberg may be the most powerful person in the free world.
“But socially inept tech oligarchs now wield unprecedented power to censor political thought and speech and are transforming America into an authoritarian surveillance state. For now,” and that’s the key in that sentence. “For now, it is conservatives they are silencing and demonizing, in partnership with the Democratic Party.” For now.
But after a while when they think they think that they’ve finished that, they’re gonna move on to whoever else is insolent, and they’re gonna begin to demonize and silence that group. Who will it be? We don’t know. But they’re not going to stop exercising this power they have simply by vanquishing conservatives. This kind of power, you have fun using, and they’re gonna be doing it day in and day out.
“We already know Silicon Valley leans left… But the partisan power of Big Tech was laid bare this month when they acted in concert to censor Donald Trump and many of his 74 million voters, and then crushed free speech competitor Parler.
Now Facebook has turbo-charged its woke corporate agenda with a new ‘vice president of civil rights’ — an Obama administration alumnus obsessed with systemic police racism — and a global ‘oversight board’ of retired politicians and human-rights activists paid to rubber-stamp [Facebook’s] crackdown on conservatives, a.k.a. ‘domestic terrorists.'” So Facebook has hired a new squad of thought police aimed at conservatives … “for now.” For now.
BRETT: “For now.” For sure! It’s incredible. You know, between what we just heard in the clip in that last segment about who the truth-tellers are as it relates to hydroxychloroquine. Who’s your medical adviser? Who’s your doctor? Who’s your expert? You know, at the same time they have the fact-checkers. “Oh, we have fact-checkers.”
How many times have you posted something on Facebook and, “The fact-checkers have determined that this is not in line with what we expect from the facts that we want to go out there.” No, it isn’t. These people need to be regulated. And I think what DeSantis did by blazing that trail on the state level is genius, because if you end up with a situation where Jack Dorsey and Zuckerberg, Tim Cook at Apple, Google…
Just go down all those rungs. Go down all those places. If they’re gonna fall afoul of state laws, they’re gonna be spending a fortune to try to get back into compliance. It’s time to use the states for what you can, to get the people in those states protected from these Big Tech oligarchs.