Several months ago, Donald Trump was suspended by Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, among others, for disseminating lies and disinformation that had a certifiably dangerous impact on the nation. On Wednesday morning Facebook released the decision by its independent Oversight Board to uphold that suspension, at least for the time being.
The Board found that…
“…in maintaining an unfounded narrative of electoral fraud and persistent calls to action, Mr. Trump created an environment where a serious risk of violence was possible.” […] “At the same time, the panel found the indefinite suspension inappropriate and asked Facebook over the next six months to review the decision and develop a ‘proportionate response that is consistent with the rules that are applied to other users of its platform.'”
The reaction to that decision by the Trump camp was as swift as it was ludicrous. Trump’s response was a post to his pitifully comical new “communications platform” saying that…
““What Facebook, Twitter, and Google have done is a total disgrace and an embarrassment to our Country. Free Speech has been taken away from the President of the United States because the Radical Left Lunatics are afraid of the truth, but the truth will come out anyway, bigger and stronger than ever before. The People of our Country will not stand for it! These corrupt social media companies must pay a political price, and must never again be allowed to destroy and decimate our Electoral Process.”
To give credit where credit is due, Trump knows plenty about being “a total disgrace and an embarrassment to our Country.” However, his assertion that “free speech has been taken away” from him proves that he doesn’t have any idea what the term means. For the record, free speech is the constitutional protection against the government (not private business) suppressing speech.
What’s more, Trump apparently doesn’t think that being able to appear at will on national cable TV propaganda networks (i.e. Fox News, Newsmax, OAN, etc.) and a multitude of other right-wing media outlets (i.e. Breitbart, Daily Caller, New York Post, etc.) constitute platforms for free speech. If he’s really concerned about free speech, he might want to stand up for Republican Rep. Liz Cheney, who is presently being shut down for telling the truth about Trump and his incitement of the deadly Capitol insurrection.
More troubling is Trump’s overt threat that “social media companies must pay a political price.” That is, in itself, an attack on the free speech rights of the businesses that operate social media sites. And it is purely political retaliation for what he imagines is bias against conservatives. Never mind that the highest trafficked pages on Facebook are by right-wingers:
The top-performing link posts by U.S. Facebook pages in the last 24 hours are from:
1. Ben Shapiro
2. Ben Shapiro
3. Ben Shapiro
4. Fox News
6. Dan Bongino
7. Sean Hannity
8. Dan Bongino
9. Fox News
10. The Rachel Maddow Show
— Facebook's Top 10 (@FacebooksTop10) May 5, 2021
Joining Trump in this directed assault on social media are his Republican Party confederates. They are now openly threatening to retaliate against Facebook with legislation aimed at punishing them and even breaking them up. Those threats are, of course, being amplified by Fox News.
To be sure, there are problems with the power wielded by Facebook, Twitter, et al, that need to be addressed in a rational and fair manner. But Trump and the GOP are mounting a knee-jerk assault based entirely on their political peeves. You won’t see them make the same complaints about Sean Hannity or Tucker Carlson not giving airtime to Joe Biden or Nancy Pelosi. But you will see House GOP minority leader Kevin McCarthy threatening to “rein in big tech power“. Or GOP Sen. Rick Scott of Florida introducing a bill to “hold big tech accountable.”
Now Trump likely doesn’t know that these actions are blatantly illegal because he’s a raving ignoramous. But these legislators undoubtedly know that the Constitution prohibits them. They are called “Bills of Attainder,” and defined as “a legislative act that singles out an individual or group for punishment.” Article I, Section 9, paragraph 3 of the Constitution states plainly that: “No Bill of Attainder or ex post facto Law will be passed.”
So whatever you think about Facebook’s decision regarding Trump, it is unarguable that Trump and the Republican Party are proposing to break the law with their retaliatory smackdown. That shouldn’t surprise anyone who has paid attention to Trump and the GOP for past four years (or 40 years?). They simply don’t care about the law. The only thing that matters to them is the acquisition and preservation of power by any means necessary. And that, as Trump says, is something that “the people of our Country will not stand for.”
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How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.