Josh Hawley Is A Lying Demagogue Who Has Built A Fake Fantasy World About 'Evil Big Tech'
from the get-over-it-dude dept
What’s up Senator Hawley? What’s bugging you today? Yesterday, Hawley went to the floor of the Senate to try to sneakily move forward one of his many, many bills to destroy the internet and take away Section 230. He tried to sneak it through without letting folks who he knew would oppose it know, in the hopes that they might not show up to stop him. In fact, he did it at a time when the key person blocking his bill — Senator Ron Wyden, who authored Section 230 and knows that Hawley is lying about it — was in an important committee meeting.
What happened then is what you can see in this video below, in which Wyden raced over and had to give unprepared remarks to explain to Hawley that he’s a lying idiot.
Almost everything that Hawley says here is a lie or is garbage. It starts out with him gravely staring at the camera, saying that we’re approaching an important election, and then it goes into this nonsense:
But there are a group of people who seem intent on influencing the people’s choice on manipulating it, on shaping it, according to their own preferences.
Yes. The Russians seem intent on that. As does your political party, including the President and the Attorney General, who have repeatedly made moves to try to invalidate the ability of the public to vote. Is that who you’re talking about?
And I’m not talking about China, or Russia, or Iran.
Oh. But they are actually trying to influence the vote. The intelligence community has reports on it — though they’ve stopped briefing the President because it makes him sad.
I’m talking about a group of corporations, the most powerful corporations in the history of this nation, the most powerful corporations in the history of the world.
I’m talking about big tech. We know who they are. They run the giant digital platforms, the places where Americans communicate and share their opinions.
Wait, the websites that allow the public to criticize you and your lies? You can’t possibly mean them.
But those platforms are more than that. They’re more than places to talk or buy things, Facebook and Google, Twitter and Instagram and YouTube. These are the platforms that control more and more of our daily lives.
Dude. Come on. They don’t control our lives.
And yes, I said, control.
You must think the public is a bunch of weak-minded fools. No one in Silicon Valley “controls” anyone.
These platforms control our social communication, the way that we talk to each other, when and how, where and on what terms. They control what news we read, or even what news we see.
This is literally not true. There are tons of different ways to get news, and the companies you named can’t stop any of them. Nor do they.
They control more and more journalism in America, right down to what’s in news articles and how the headlines are written. They control how elected officials communicate with their constituents when they can run advertisements what their messages can say and can’t.
They don’t control journalism. They don’t control how headlines are written. They don’t control how elected officials communicate. You can do all of that without them. And yes, many websites do use their platforms to spread their news, but not all of us do. And, sure, they may limit some advertisements. If they’re bullshit lies, or inciting violence, but that’s kind of their right as private companies. Which you should know… Because you were the lawyer for Hobby Lobby in bringing their case to the Supreme Court on the very principle that private companies get to decide how to run their own businesses with regards to certain 1st Amendment rights. Or do you not remember that?
Of course, if you’re a mendacious demagogue and your only goal is to rile up your constituents with a bogus culture war to make sure you’re in the headlines, then I guess maybe this nonsense makes sense.
And they want to control us.
No. They don’t. Dude, rather than creating this fake bogeyman, maybe go out to Silicon Valley once and talk to the engineers who hold the internet together with bubblegum and duct tape. They’re not competent enough to control anyone. This isn’t science fiction. There is no mind control. They’re just trying to build useful internet platforms, and you and your friends decided to use those platforms to go fascist. And some of them said “I don’t want a part of that.” Which, again, is their right.
The big tech platforms relentlessly spy on their customers, you and me. They track us around the web. They monitor our every move online, and even when we’re offline. They track our location. And whether we’re in a car or riding a bike around the street, they track the websites that we visit. And when they track the things that we buy, they track the videos that we watch, they track what our children are doing, they track everything all with the purpose of getting enough information on each one of us to influence us to shape our preferences, and opinions and viewpoints.
First of all, you can turn off most of that. It’s not that hard. If there weren’t this pandemic going on, I’d stop by your office and show you how. At the very least, it’s not that hard to, like, install Privacy Badger. It’s nice. It’ll help you.
Also, they’re not tracking you to “shape our preferences and opinions and viewpoints.” That’s what advertisers want to do. And Fox News. You don’t seem mad at them.
This is enormous power–unheard of power. And the big tech platforms are intent on using it. They are intent on using it in this election.
This is just silly. If you actually spoke to the people at these companies, they want nothing less than to have nothing to do with this election. Why do you think many of them are saying “no political advertising at all”? Why do you think so many of them are trying to bend over backwards to stay out of anything that even looks remotely like influencing an election. You’re literally making this up because you have nothing real to run on and you can only succeed by creating a fake enemy to rail against. You are a little man with no plan and no principles. So you make up enemies and try to turn your constituents against them, because you think that your constituents are rubes who you can lie to and they’ll believe you.
Let’s just cut to the chase. The big tech platforms are owned and operated by woke capitalists.
Um. What? “Woke capitalists”? I thought Republicans were complaining that the “woke” people were socialists? Now they’re capitalists? Can you guys keep your ridiculous conspiracy theories straight?
They’re leftists. They’re liberals. They’re not conservatives. They’re no friend to conservatives.
Both Facebook and Google have policy shops with well known Republican officials in senior positions. Come on. Multiple reports have shown that Facebook favors right wing nonsense, and bends over backwards not to pull it down, even when it’s utter bullshit.
They fervently oppose the election of Donald Trump and other conservatives in 2016. They fervently oppose it this year.
Well, first, Donald Trump is a moron who is incompetent. Anyone can see that. But, there is no evidence that any internet company is doing jack shit to stop him. Again, Facebook has bent over backwards to help him and his campaign out. Twitter remains his primary tool of communication. If Silicon Valley companies did 1/10 of the shit you accuse them of, that would be a huge deal. But they’re not. You’re just lying.
And now they’re trying to use their power to shape the outcome of an election.
No. They’re literally not doing this. And employees at Facebook are quitting because they’re letting the President spew hatred and lies and incite violence on the platform.
For months, the tech platforms have been engaging in escalating acts of censorship, political censorship, aimed at conservatives.
We’ve gone over this a million times. There remains no evidence at all that they’re targeting conservatives. They are targeting insane, outlandish lies, hate speech, efforts to incite violence, and such. If your party is doing more of that, well, perhaps that’s on you.
They’ve censored the President of the United States.
No, they haven’t. Twitter fact checked him. You know, adding more speech. Didn’t you used to be one of those “the answer to bad speech is more speech” kind of Republicans?
They have banned pro life groups from their sites.
No they haven’t. I just searched and there are literally dozens of pro-life Facebook groups with thousands of members. You’re just making shit up that’s easy to fact check.
They have tried to silence independent conservative journalists like the Federalist. Now this censorship is never against liberals, notice. Now Joe Biden isn’t censored. Pro choice groups aren’t discriminated against. Liberal new sites, they don’t get threatened and bullied and shut out. Now big tech targets conservatives for censorship for a simple reason. They don’t like conservatives, they don’t agree with conservatives. They don’t want to see conservatives get elected.
Why do you chuckleheads always go back to that bogus Federalist story. We faced the same thing (and currently have no ads on our site). Did we lose our ads because of anti-tech news bias? Slate — which is generally considered left-leaning — also faced the same demonetization threats. In that link, it’s noted that Buzzfeed also got the same notices that we got, Slate got and that The Federalist got.
But notice that only the Federalist is crying victim. Only you are claiming that it was because of anti-conservative bias — rather than the reality. The same reason that The Federalist, Techdirt, Slate, and Buzzfeed all got these notices: some of our content tripped a wacky AdSense algorithm. It’s got nothing to do with bias, and you know it. You know it because I sent that information to you. Once again, it happened because these companies and their algorithms aren’t the all-controlling puppetmasters you claim. They barely work most of the time. And they spew out all sorts of false claims. But it’s only you and your whiny friends who take it so personally.
And then you go to the floor of the Senate and you lie about it. Because you think the public are idiots.
And here’s the thing. If they are allowed to use their power in this way, if they are permitted to leverage their control over news and information and data to silence the voices of conservatives, then we will be turning control of our government over to them will be concerning control of our elections over to them, control of the nation to them. And let’s just be clear, no corporation should run America. No set of corporate overlords should substitute their judgment. For the judgment of we the people no woke capitalist should be able to shape the outcome of an election by silencing speech. And that’s why we have to act and act today.
Boy are you going to be upset when you learn about Fox News.
There is a simple, straightforward solution to the censorship power of these digital platforms. Let those who have been censored claim their rights, let them sue. Let them go to court. Let them challenge the decision to the tech platforms and have their day before the bar of the law. Now right now federal law prohibits this. It prevents Americans from challenging the tech platforms and their censorship. It prevents Americans from challenging just about anything that the tech companies do. That should change.
You’re a constitutional lawyer. How do you not know the difference between Section 230 of the Communications Act and the 1st Amendment. Because it’s the 1st Amendment that lets internet companies decide what content is published on their websites and what is not. What would “their day before the bar of the law” even look like? All that would happen is judges would laugh every one of the sad sacks you’ve convinced to go to court, telling them they have no right to force anyone to host their speech. And just like your client, Hobby Lobby, was free to screw over its employees thanks to your diligent lawyering, leading plenty of people to take their business elsewhere, if people don’t like how the big internet companies moderate, they too can go elsewhere. Aren’t you on Parler yet, Josh?
And that is why today, Mr. President, I urge this body to adopt my legislation, which I proudly have introduced along with Senator Rubio and Senator Cotton, Senator Braun, and Senator Leffler to give every American who is unfairly censored the right to have his or her day in court, the right to stand and be heard the right to fairness and due process of law. This is a stand we must take in defense of free speech, in defense of our elections. But more importantly, above all, in defense of our democracy, and the rule of we the people.
Again, the 1st Amendment says you’re a lying fool, Josh. You’re not defending free speech or elections. You’re making a mockery of them.
At this point, an exasperated Senator Ron Wyden pops up to object to Hawley moving forward with this nonsensical, unconstitutional bill, pointing out that Hawley did not do the usual procedure of alerting others that he was going to make a request for unanimous consent to move his bill forward, and that he picked a time (perhaps deliberately) when Wyden was testifying before the Ways and Means Committee to make this move. So, Wyden had to respond, off the cuff, without a prepared speech, to highlight that basically everything Hawley said was utter and complete nonsense. Wyden seems rightfully pissed off.
I just want to say to the Senate, in my time in this body, this is one of the most stunning abuses of power. I have seen in my time in public service. I think my colleague knows that I was setting until five minutes go in the Ways and Means Committee, where I was invited to testify about Social Security.
And I was given a message that the Senator from Missouri was going to stand up and basically try to throw in the garbage can, a bipartisan law that I and a conservative Republican, former congressman Chris Cox, well known to conservatives, wrote, because as we thought about the formulation of technology policy, our big concern was for the little guy, the person who didn’t have power, the person who didn’t have clout, we were picking up accounts, that if they were just trying to come out with their invention might be something they put up on a website or a blog, it could be held personally liable, personally liable for something that was posted on their site that they’d have no idea of.
So we said, we can’t do that to the little guy. We can’t strip them of their voice.
And by the way, my concern about the little guy that led to the passage of this law, is something is something I continue to focus on today. This law is hugely important to movements like “Me Too,” and “Black Lives Matter.” Because it gives Americans the opportunity to see the messages that they want to get out. We’ve all seen the videos, frankly, the establishment media, I don’t think would have even run a lot of it, because they would be sued. So the original interest in this was making sure that the little guy had a chance to be heard. That’s the interest today. That’s what the Senator from Missouri wants to throw in the trash can. So that’s number one.
Number two, the effect of what the Senator from Missouri wants to do. And for colleagues who’ve just come in, I just learned about this. Five minutes before the Senator from Missouri went on to the floor. The net effect of this is that Donald Trump can force social media and he’s already working the rest to print his lies. The thing that concerned me right at the outset, was the lies about vote by mail. He wanted to force Twitter to print his lies about vote by mail. That too, is something that we sought to constrain in the bipartisan legislation.
In other words, if your complaint is about unfairly influencing elections, Josh, maybe look at your own President first.
Now, many people think it’s a 26 words, that really began a policy of empowering the little guy to be heard.
He then goes on to push his own bill, the Mind Your Own Business Act, that would actually propose jail times for big company CEOs that violate certain privacy principles. He points out that if Hawley actually cared about taking on big tech, he’d sign onto that bill. But Hawley’s not interested in really taking on big tech. He’s trying to build up an evil bogeyman that he can scare people with. He’s demagoging.
And, of course, he couldn’t let Wyden just make him look like a fool, so Hawley got up to spew more lies:
I will just say, Mr. President, that my friend, the Democratic Senator describes a world that doesn’t exist. He says section 230 protects the little guy. Section 230 protects the most powerful corporations in the history of the world. Google and Facebook aren’t the little guy. Instagram and Twitter aren’t the little guy, you know, who is left vulnerable by those mega corporations.
This is where Hawley is completely misrepresenting things again. What Section 230 does is allow these, and every other website that hosts content, to exist without fear of being bogged down by overly burdensome litigation. And it does help the little guy. Google, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube have all enabled many, many, many “little guys” to speak their mind and get attention, and build huge followings and businesses. Including tons of conservatives. And it’s enabled there to be new companies and new entrants. And individual sites. It absolutely protects the little guy.
If Hawley’s unconstitutional bill became law, that would hurt the little guy. The platforms would be much less willing to host user content. It would be that much more difficult for small sites or individual websites to be put up. But Hawley needs to make an enemy and thus he has to lie and lie and lie again.
The people who don’t have a voice that people who when they get deplatformed don’t have an option. If you’re silenced by Google, or Facebook or Twitter, what’s your option? None. Nothing, you can’t be heard. You can’t go to court, you can’t do anything.
Oh, come on. There are so many other platforms — even those catering to fascists and Trumpists. Free market? Competition? Didn’t Republicans used to support that kind of thing. You can set up your own website. You’re not “silenced” by Google or Facebook or Twitter. You have other options. And it’s not like those companies are quick to shut down anyone’s accounts anyway. In most cases, you have to have done something really, really egregious.
I mean, I see Josh Hawley posting all sorts of bullshit on Twitter daily, and his account remains.
Every American should have the right if they’re unfairly discriminated against because of their political views to at least be heard in court. Now, section 230, as it exists today, and as it’s currently being applied, it protects the most powerful corporations. It protects and has protected human traffickers. It protects some of the worst abuses of free speech in our society. And that’s why Mr. President, I will continue to fight to have it reformed to continue to fight to give the American people a voice.
What’s with the weird aside about human traffickers? That’s simply not true and again Hawley knows it. Trafficking violates federal law and nothing in Section 230 blocks the DOJ from going after federal criminal violations. On top of that, Hawley was a key supporter of FOSTA which already carved more issues related to trafficking out of Section 230 (and it’s been a total disaster). And, again, it’s not clear what you think anyone will get from “being heard in court” other than judges laughing at them that they think they have a god-given right to force private companies to host their racist nonsense.
At this point, you can tell that Senator Wyden was pissed off about all these lies. He got permission to speak again, and it’s worth watching the video of this part, because he starts yelling, righteously, about just how full of shit Hawley is. You can tell that Wyden is pissed off both about Hawley’s lies, but also about the procedural gamesmanship of trying to move the bill forward without alerting Wyden about these plans.
Once again, the Senator from Missouri is getting it all wrong. He talked again about how this law, this bipartisan law, is basically not for the little guy, but he’s taking on the big guys. Well, the reason that’s factually wrong is that on this floor, a previous effort was made to deal with sex trafficking. It was called SESTA and FOSTA. And the desire was we’re all against this horrible smut online, we’re all against it. The desire was to block it. And as the debate went forward, I and others said you’re not going to be able to block it. You’re going to be able to block Backpage, like eventually happened under existing law, which I supported, not under this new thing. Well guess who supported this SESTA FOSTA deal that is pretty much like the Senator from Missouri [wants]. IT WAS FACEBOOK. Facebook supported the last effort. Last time I looked, they’re a pretty big company. So the Senator from Missouri is just getting it all wrong here.
I’ve seen Senator Wyden speak many, many times. I’ve never, ever seen him this angry.
… what we’ve always been about is the little guy and you see it every day. With MeToo, Black Lives Matter and so many voices from the community, because of this law can be heard. Do not–not just on this because I have objected so it can’t go forward–do not accept this idea that this is somehow the path to solving problems and communications because under SESTA FOSTA, which is really the kind of model the Senator from Missouri is talking about, the only thing that happened was the horrendous people involved in sex trafficking went to the dark web. And so now we have an even bigger problem.
He then goes on to repeat his procedural concerns, that if he were trying to advance a bill that he knew Hawley had objections to, he would have notified him ahead of time, not tried to sneak it through while Hawley was otherwise occupied.
So, let’s just be clear on this. Josh Hawley is lying. He’s lying to the American public. He’s making things up because the only thing he knows how to do is to demonize. He knows how to create enemies who he can then smack down. And he’s decided that “big tech” is the enemy. The only problem is that it’s not actually true. So he has to lie and lie and lie again. This won’t be the last time, but Josh Hawley has shown his true colors once again.