Yesterday, Donald Trump announced that he will be suing Facebook, Twitter, Youtube (owned by Google), and their respective CEOs for allegedly violating his First Amendment rights. According to the disgraced former president, these companies are desecrating the Constitution by banning him from their platforms—something each of them decided to do after he incited the deadly January 6th insurrection.
The lawsuits are, at face value, ludicrous. More likely than not this is simply the latest strategy cooked up by Trump to distract from his ongoing legal issues. He is something of a master at ginning up nonsense that the media and his base will glom onto when he doesn’t want them paying attention to some other news story that could damage him.
Today, The Wall Street Journal published an Op-Ed allegedly written by Trump—it seems far more likely that the infamously literacy-averse Donald simply has one of his many minions churn out these kinds of pieces on his behalf—entitled “Donald J. Trump: Why I’m Suing Big Tech.”
In the piece, Trump (or whoever wrote it) starts off by scaremongering about the social media platforms by calling Big Tech “one of the gravest threats to our democracy.” The idea of a man who lied about an election to the point where his brainwashed supporters stormed the Capitol in an effort to overthrow our rightfully elected government pretending to care about the fate of our democracy is hypocritical to the point of being nauseating.
The Op-Ed goes on to rant about how these tech companies are destroying free speech, because apparently Republicans now hold that “free speech” in America means being to spew whatever racist, mendacious, disgusting filth you want on a private company’s website.
“Social media has become as central to free speech as town meeting halls, newspapers and television networks were in prior generations,” argues Trump. “The internet is the new public square. In recent years, however, Big Tech platforms have become increasingly brazen and shameless in censoring and discriminating against ideas, information and people on social media—banning users, deplatforming organizations, and aggressively blocking the free flow of information on which our democracy depends.”
Once again, we see that conservatives only care about protecting free enterprise and the rights of companies to run their businesses so long as it benefits them politically. The moment a company conducts itself in the free market in a way that Republicans dislike, they pounce in with government regulatory threats just like the “communists” they claim to hate so much.
The piece rambles on and on with the usual right-wing grievances, including whining that Big Tech companies chose to clamp down on misinformation about COVID-19. The banning of Trump personally is returned to again and again though.
“Perhaps most egregious, in the weeks after the election, Big Tech blocked the social-media accounts of the sitting president. If they can do it to me, they can do it to you—and believe me, they are,” writes Trump.
This complaint about banning Trump is at the heart of the entire piece and his complaints are utterly unconvincing. These companies made the entirely reasonable judgment call after witnessing January 6th that the country as a whole would be safer if Trump no longer had a massive online platform to spread his dangerous lies. It’s entirely possible that in doing so they saved lives.
The author of the piece attempts to lay a legal foundation for the lawsuits by arguing that Facebook and Twitter should be legally liable for what’s posted on their websites and be treated like “publishers” rather than “platforms.” He claims that Democrats are exploiting these websites to censor their political enemies. Towards the end of the Op-Ed, the arguments get incredibly repetitive, for the simple reason that Trump doesn’t have a lot of ground to stand on here.
“Through these lawsuits, I intend to restore free speech for all Americans—Democrats, Republicans and independents,” concludes the president who sought only to represent and defend the people who voted for him. “I will never stop fighting to defend the constitutional rights and sacred liberties of the American people.”
Read the full piece here.
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This is a staff report from former Occupy Democrats Editor in Chief Colin Taylor or contributor Rob Haffney.