Guy Pushing Hawley's 'Viewpoint Neutrality' Concept In The Media Used To Write For White Supremacist Site

from the the-must-host-nazi-content-law? dept

Senator Josh Hawley’s law to wipe out CDA 230 protections for internet platforms unless they apply to the FTC for a special certificate, which they can only get if they show ‘clear and convincing evidence” that their moderation practices are “politically neutral,” is dumb in many, many ways. But one of the most ridiculous parts is that it literally requires internet platforms to give extra weight to Nazis, and to punish any site that does not give the Nazis a platform. NetChoice made this point with its statement on the bill:

Sen. Hawley?s ?Ending Support for Internet Censorship Act,? would force online platforms to host politically extreme content that most of us would prefer to avoid online, such as views and videos produced by the KKK.

The bill itself does this by saying that you could not receive such a certification (to get Section 230 protections) if you had a policy that would:

“… negatively affect a political party, political candidate, or political viewpoint.”

That, of course, would include things like the American Nazi party. Or politicians espousing blatantly racist positions. Some have suggested that this was done on purpose by Hawley, though I’d hoped to give him the benefit of the doubt.

Still, in a bit of inauspicious timing, just about the time that Hawley was releasing his bill, Buzzfeed published an article about a former Republican operative with close ties to a bunch of white nationalists, who has been publishing anti-tech opinion pieces in the Wall Street Journal and Forbes. One of those WSJ opinion pieces? It was entitled Keep Twitter Accountable Without Censorship with the subhed: “Social-media companies should lose their liability exemption if their rules aren?t viewpoint-neutral.” Sound familiar?

The co-author of that WSJ piece is Mark Epstein. As Buzzfeed notes:

But Epstein, who worked for the conservative commentator Pat Buchanan, was a key figure in nativist and white nationalist political circles from the mid-2000s to the early 2010s. In 2006, he founded the now-defunct Robert A. Taft Club alongside [noted white nationalist Richard] Spencer and Kevin DeAnna, another leading white nationalist. Invited speakers to that club included influential white supremacist Jared Taylor and the journalist John Derbyshire, who would eventually be fired from the National Review in 2012 for a racist column.

Epstein also helped run Youth for Western Civilization, a far-right student group, founded by DeAnna and Taylor, whose members included white separatist and neo-Nazi Matthew Heimbach. From 2004 to 2009, Epstein, under his full name, wrote for VDare, where his posts came with provocative headlines like ?[Howard] Dean Is Right – GOP Is “The White Party.” So??; ?It Depends On What Your Definition Of “Jim Crow” Is?; and ?White Refugees And Culture.?

Epstein, for what it’s worth, denies being a white nationalist or even having white nationalist beliefs, though you can read what he wrote and make up your own mind about his positions.

So, yeah, it’s not the greatest look for Hawley’s bill that the intellectual underpinnings supporting it come from someone at least closely associated with white nationalists, even as he denies being one, and one of the main impacts of the bill would be effectively forcing social media platforms to host Nazi content. And, yes, as some will point out, Nazis have free speech rights too. But no private platform has any obligation to host their deranged ideology and propaganda.

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Comments on “Guy Pushing Hawley's 'Viewpoint Neutrality' Concept In The Media Used To Write For White Supremacist Site”

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That One Guy (profile) says:

I am shocked, shocked I say!

A vocal supporter of a bill that would force platforms to host the speech of repulsive and deplorable people turns out to be a repulsive and deplorable person, and has and likely continues to associate with similarly disgusting individuals?

Who could have ever seen that coming, other than, you know, anyone?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: I am shocked, shocked I say!

Is it really so shocking that one person who published opinion pieces might turn out to have close ties to the far right, when scores of supposedly neutral journalists have been proven to have close ties to the violent far-left?

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 I am shocked, shocked I say!

Yes, we know you well enough to know that you post fictional sources for your "evidence".

Hint: this is what come up when you try researching your "source"

"Quillette is a right-wing online magazine that tries to present itself as alt-center when in reality it serves to legitimize many views shared by the alt-right."

Do you have any non-Nazi sources?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 I am shocked, shocked I say!

Hmm sounds like a description Vox or another left-leaning dumpster fire would give something that isn’t as left as they are. Quillette is some not bastion of Nazi propaganda (like a Stormfront would be) but at this point, everyone right of Stalin is Nazis in this day and age.

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 I am shocked, shocked I say!

FWIW, let’s remember that Quillette was the publication that pushed out the "study" claiming that Twitter banning the American Nazi Party’s feed was "proof" of an anti-conservative bias. So, uh, yeah, the reason people suggest that Quillette has Nazi tendencies isn’t just because of other sources. It’s because of what they write.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:6 I am shocked, shocked I say!

‘They’re kicking off self-identified nazis, that’s proof that they have a bias against conservatives!’

That’s uh… pretty damning there, and something the non-nazi ‘conservatives’ should really be pushing back against hard if they don’t want to be lumped in with those losers.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:7 I am shocked, shocked I say!

Yep, that’s always been my takeaway from this kind of thing. If your takeaway from white supremacists and Nazis being banned is that too many people you politically align with are affected, your only question should be why you specifically associate with those people. If your reaction is instead to insist that other people should lose their right to free association in order to prevent the Nazi bans, your position is not a good one.

Pete Austin says:

Re: Re: Re:6 The Quillette Study wasn't anything like that

The author created a list of 22 politically-outspoken individuals that he knew had been banned from Twitter. He checked their support for Donald Trump or Hilary Clinton and noted that all but one of the banned people supported Trump – which he concluded proved anti-right-wing political bias and wrote a blog rant based on that belief.

This does NOT prove that the author or the publisher has Nazi tendencies. I’m saddened that you would think it does. It’s interesting, and the sort of thing that one would expect to find on a free-speech site.

But in fact the research doesn’t prove anything much at all, because the sample size is too small and there’s probably selection bias in how the author defines "prominent person" – the clue is "I designed my own database".

The research needs repeating with a much larger sample size to have any chance of proving anything. Meanwhile we don’t know if there is bias or not.

Anonymous Coward says:

hmmm maybe the US government should host a social media platform.
Call it (if that’s unclaimed… it it’s not free I’m sure we can think of something).

It doesn’t need to have any moderation, all posts older than a year should be deleted (to conserve resources… it would be tax payer backed).

Maybe we could even get big tech (facebook, twitter, and I guess google… though can they be considered to be in social media… is YouTube social media? is G+ dead yet?) to contribute a little. They seem to be wising up to the synergise that opensource can provide. I would not be supprise if they could see a small advantage from helping act as a credible foil, I mean compitition, to them.

I think that should solve a lot of whining (lol. assuming that the whining was people sincerly complaining, and not just whining becuase they don’t understand, or are too stupid, or that their slaves are not doing their bidding fast enough).

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re:

A platform like that would be absolutely overrun by spammers, trolls, and vile individuals within a month(if not a week), guaranteed.

On the other hand it would nicely showcase that as bad as moderation on the current platforms can be they are still leagues better than a platform that had to be ‘neutral’ would be.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

"Could you just keep politics ,religion, sexual gender and racism out of comments?"

LOL – yeah, that is what they are asking for, hahahahahaha
wth would the comments be talking about then? Perhaps it would be like in china where comments are full of key words that mean other things. To communicate you use coded words … what a dystopian nightmare.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

To be fair, it’s possible to be civil to other people while discussing politics, religion, sexual gender and racism.

It’s also possible to have censored discussion that involves none of these, where people are using coded words and phrases… that could also mean something entirely else.

Interestingly, pedophiles and Nazis already talk using coded words… and there even used to be a coded word language for LGB people back when you could be arrested for being of that persuasion.

So that’s why someone who’s not a racist, misogynist Nazi would feel annoyed at having to encode their discussion.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

"To be fair, it’s possible to be civil to other people while discussing politics, religion, sexual gender and racism."

It is.

As for the rest of what you said, I’m not sure what you mean. Are you saying that forcing assholes to tone down their open hatred somehow negatively affects those who aren’t scum? That forcing racist assholes to find another way to communicate other than shouting n***er at every black guy they see is somehow harmful to non-racists?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

"Being civil to other people = dystopian nightmare?"

Sorry – I was unaware of the dichotomy, perhaps I missed some context somewhere. I figured it could be any sort of communication, not necessarily uncivil … why would discussion of politics ,religion, sexual gender or racism automatically be some form of incivility?

Anyway … the dystopian nightmare comment is in reference to the attempts at control over the masses in china and how the unwashed are responding, they apparently use coded words to avoid the punishments for discussing forbidden topics. Hopefully such activities are not acceptable to you and others.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

"why would discussion of politics ,religion, sexual gender or racism automatically be some form of incivility?"

Discussion where it’s relevant? Not at all. Bringing it up because you can’t take part in a real conversation or in order to attack people is rather uncivil, though.

"the dystopian nightmare comment is in reference to the attempts at control over the masses in china"

Yes, it’s an attempt at an irrelevant distraction because you can’t discuss what everybody else is talking about. I noticed.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Because currently they are allowed to kick the more extreme instances of those individuals off for violating their TOS’ and generally being public asses.

Now take how bad the current platforms are and amplify it exponentially, as the new platform couldn’t kick anyone off unless they posted illegal content, no matter how foul or objectionable their posts were.

A week of that and most people(barring of course the people posting the vile content, they’d be having a blast) would be looking back to the likes of Facebook and Twitter as bastions of sanity in a sea of filth, and their moderation, flawed as it is, as vastly preferable.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

I get the impression, from your reply, that it was not obvious that the proposed platform was intended to be terrible.

And you’re absolutely right about the issues that would probably crop up with in hours (of it getting sufficent traffic… I think the spam would be pretty low level if nobody was visiting it).

Never the less I do kind of think such a site would be a good place to exist, so we can point stupid, I mean confused, senitors/representatives at examples of why their ideas to apply the first ammendment to internet platforms, or other bad ideas… would be bad ideas. (Also it seems markdown &| TD’s markdown doesn’t support stricked out text… :/ )

Mike Cannes Shovel says:

You have links to religious supremacists called Zionists.

It’s the very basis of your identity.

Besides that, you are a paid shill for Silicon Valley capitalist and globalists.

Here’s a small sample of the Nazi-like Israeli "lebensraum" that you voluntarily associate with:

Israel minister: `I intend to Judaise the Galilee’

In an interview with Israel Hayom, the notorious right-wing nationalist also vowed to boost settlement infrastructure in the occupied West Bank.

Do you disavow that, or other actions by Jews/Israel, including the recent murders of hundreds / maiming of thousand of Palestinians protesting trapped behind a literal apartheid wall?

Or are "Jews" immune to all criticism?

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: You have links to religious supremacists called Zionists

Nothing. He just loves to spread racist lies and pretend he’s got some "gotcha" evidence of conspiracy by linking to an image made publicly available by his target. Next up: whining because his next attempt at spam is caught by the spam filter because he was correctly reported for this post.

Anonymous Coward says:

Like I said, websites outside the United States would not be subject to this.

While DailyMottion is subject to GPDR and Article 13, because the company and servers are in Paris, they are not subject to any American laws.

American laws do not apply to DailyMotion. DailyMotion only has to comply with French and EU laws.

If that bill goes through, I could see DailyMotion getting a lot more traffic, as they do not have comply with this law, beause all their servers and offices are in Paris.

Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

Voters suspect in approving White Supremacy

I wonder how much of Senator Josh Hawley’s association with white supremacists was apparent during his campaign? Did the voters actually know about this, and if they did, how much election interference was recorded in Missouri in 2018?

If none, something is suspect. Given that the white/black ratio was 82%/11% it might not be significant, but it does say something about Missouri.

None of which means the rest of us should accommodate his perspective.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Remnants of a more primitive mindset from human history, paired with childhood indoctrination probably accounts for most of it I imagine.

Between the tribalism of ‘that person doesn’t look like me, they must be an Other and therefore not to be trusted’ and children brought up in environments where the idea that people of different skin tones are inferior, untrustworthy and generally not ‘good’ is constantly reinforced, it’s unfortunately not that hard to see why some people might fall into that particular bit of idiocy.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Borrowed from a Twitter thread about weight, rather than about race, but change a couple of words around and it seems to fit just as well:

Why would [racism] need [black] people to exist in misery? Because [racism] is a project of significance that allows the people who believe in and benefit from the dominance structure of [racist] stigma to feel significant, worthy, and like their lives have more meaning.

ECA (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Abit off.
as in most cases, a New person of difference was generally not to much of a problem.
What REALLY gets you is Civilization. And those that wish your attention. That can POINT to every solution to your problems, except Himself or the person WITH the problem..

Tribalism was fairly simple, and Small lies werent a bad thing, but Breaking a law/rule…could get something CUT OFF. Back then you had to depend on each other. And each group.. It gets real bad, when you get LArge groups together.. And Who do you CHOOSE to listen to..

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re:

"It’s like hating someone just because their shirt is red instead of blue"

Well, not even that. A person can choose to wear one colour or the other, or even switch if they feel the other colour is more suitable for that day. A person neither chooses their skin colour or can change it.

It makes a lot more sense to hate someone for the conscious choice they made, than it does to hate them for something that was chosen for them before they were born.

TKnarr (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

That’s what’d kill them. Say that size limit happens. The next Christchurch shooting (and it will happen, that sort of nutcase is as inevitable as gravity), the uproar will happen again. This time though, it’ll be easy to argue for removing CDA 230 protections because it can be done without impacting the large sites that most people use for everyday stuff thanks to the size division. Meanwhile YouTube and the like will be able to point to the viewpoint-neutrality parts of the law to say "We’re doing everything we can, but the law says we can’t cut off the people who’re the source of the problem because that’d cut off that political movement from the platform.". With the uproar there’d be enough support for getting exceptions made for the problematic content on the big platforms while going after the small ones would make the politicians look like they were doing enough to satisfy the outraged groups.

It’d impact similar sites on the liberal/progressive side too, but there’s a lot fewer of the really extreme ones there than on the conservative side.

Damien (profile) says:

These are the same idiots who killed off the fairness doctrine and claim to have the only fair and balanced news source in the world.

They aren’t getting the ratings or influence they want anymore because their demographic is dying out, so now they want to have the right to force others to host their content? Sounds about par for the course.

restless94110 (profile) says:


So let me get this clear: you are against Free Speech?

Else why you have your panties in a bundle because somebody wrote for a "white supremicist" site?

So in other words, if it’s approved speech then you are good? Mike, you missed te boat completely on the banning and censoring of conservatives and now you are just an out and out fascist with our idea that free speech is only popular speech.

Such a shame on such a great site, except of course for every article you write.

Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:


Cool instance of otherwording, bro. But for the sake of dismantling your shit:

why you have your panties in a bundle because somebody wrote for a "white supremicist" site?

People who usually call for “viewpoint neutrality” often hold views that the broader populace would never treat equally or seriously. White supremacists provide a perfect example for that theory. Why else would they be fighting so hard to force themselves upon someone else’s platform(s)?

if it’s approved speech then you are good?

If it’s speech approved by a given social interaction network that shows up on said SIN? Yes. If a SIN wants to host White supremacist propaganda, so be it. If it doesn’t, it shouldn’t be forced by law to host it.

you missed t[h]e boat completely on the banning and censoring of conservatives

Conservative: I have been censored for my conservative views
Me: Holy shit! You were censored for wanting lower taxes?
Con: LOL no…no not those views
Me: So…deregulation?
Con: Haha no not those views either
Me: Which views, exactly?
Con: Oh, you know the ones

(All credit to Twitter user @ndrew_lawrence.)

To put it another way: If a conservative is banned from a SIN, ask yourself how they violated the TOS, not whether it was because they were a conservative.

now you are just an out[-]and[-]out fascist with [y]our idea that free speech is only popular speech

Unpopular speech is free speech. But a SIN like Twitter or Facebook has no legal obligation to host it.

Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:


“Social justice warrior” and the acronym “SJW” are vague terms that can mean whatever someone wants it to mean for a given argument. As a disparaging term, it makes little sense. For what reason would fighting for social justice ever be a bad thing?

their talking points

When someone otherwords, they put words in another person’s mouth that said other person didn’t say. Read these two questions from the OP of this particular discussion thread again:

So let me get this clear: you are against Free Speech?

So in other words, if it’s approved speech then you are good?

Now read the article again. If you can show me where it argues against the concept of free speech/for the concept of “free speech but only if it’s ‘approved’ ”, you’ll have accomplished the impossible.

Now, do you have any more strawmen I can burn?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Clarity

"banning and censoring of conservatives"
Did they violate the Terms Of Service? The high profile cases seen in the media lately were due to violation of the TOS. Are there any examples where it was something else?

" an out and out fascist with our idea that free speech is only popular speech"
Sorry, but fascism is a hypothetical form of government, it describes an economic system but afaik, does not specify the details to which you refer. Do you have a reference? Not sure from where you get the silly idea that TD only supports what you refer to as popular speech, whatever that is.

Why would you visit a site that you neither agree with or find useful?
Must be a troll

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Clarity

"Else why you have your panties in a bundle because somebody wrote for a "white supremicist" site?"

Yes, most people find it offensive when a person is arguing for the extermination of large sections of the human race due to the way they look. They might even tell them to GTFO their private property with that crap.

If that offends you more than white supremacy does, you need to examine what exactly is wrong with you.

"So in other words, if it’s approved speech then you are good?"

Yep. If it’s not a government entity, freedom of speech includes freedom of association, and platforms have every right to say they do not wish to associate with you. I’m sorry if that means you don’t get top spew vile hatred at people without restriction, but most people prefer to free of that stuff from their lives.

Now run off to Gab or Stormfront where your offensive speech is welcome without restriction from the government, as the 1st Amendment was intended to allow.

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Clarity

You’re not very bright are you?

So let me get this clear: you are against Free Speech?

No, I’m much more for free speech than you are.

Else why you have your panties in a bundle because somebody wrote for a "white supremicist" site?

I didn’t get my "panties in a bunch." I noted something interesting, explained why it was interesting as it relates to an unconstituional bill being proposed, and even noted that Nazis have free speech rights too (something you glide right past). Why is that?

So in other words, if it’s approved speech then you are good?

I said nothing of the sort. Once again, I specifically said that racist speech is protected speech. Did you miss that?

I also noted that platforms have the right, under the 1st Amendment, not to host speech they dislike. Do you not support the 1st amendment?

Mike, you missed te boat completely on the banning and censoring of conservatives

There was no boat to miss because there’s been no "banning and censoring of conservatives." As we’ve detailed (quite a bit) the only evidence is that violations of terms of service are being banned — for things like abuse, harassment and trolling. I’ve yet to see conservatives banned for supporting free trade or lower taxes.

now you are just an out and out fascist with our idea that free speech is only popular speech.

Lol wut?

Such a shame on such a great site, except of course for every article you write.

Feel free to fuck off.

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