Twitter: Excelling @Censorship

Twitter: Excelling @Censorship

May 09, 2019

When the head of Twitter's public policy department told the Senate he'd do more on conservative censorship, making it worse wasn't what most leaders had in mind! Unfortunately, that's exactly what seems to be happening -- to pro-lifers, Trump supporters, and even popular parody accounts. Three weeks ago, Carlos Monje Jr. was apologetic for the mistakes Twitter had made. A month later, he has a lot more to be sorry for.

Their stories are different, but several victims of Twitter's bias have one thing in common: no one explained why. Mike Morrisson, who's been running a popular "AOC Press" account as a joke, said he was banished from the platform on Monday night. "I still don't really know why," he wrote in Human Events. "I have my suspicions, but no one's really tried to explain it to me." His parody of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) had over 80,000 followers. "It was pretty funny, even if I do say so myself." Apparently, Twitter wasn't laughing -- which is more than a little hypocritical, since social media has made mocking the president a cottage industry.

But there are some dark implications of this conservative blackout, Morrisson warns. "This is a nation which reveres, at its core, the rights of individuals to express themselves politically, lawfully." The fact is, he goes on, "as we move closer to the 2020 election, a number of high-profile, high follower, conservative accounts are being banned. In total, we have lost access to millions, maybe even tens of millions of impressions over the past few days. This is election interference."

Pro-life activist Ryan Bomberger, whose Radiance Foundation has been offline 16 days (and counting), was at least told his posts were "hateful." Why? Because he had the audacity to call out Muslim Congresswoman Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) for downplaying 9/11. "She describes an act of war as 'some people did something'? #IlhanOmar is not a victim. The 2,980 Americans who were slaughtered by Muslim terrorists were the victims. American Muslims lost no more civil liberties than we ALL did after #September11 thanks to the #PatriotAct."

After he was booted off the supposedly public platform, Ryan sounded the alarm on Townhall, "So now historical revisionism is part of Twitter's mission statement?... Instead of seeing the terrorism as the 'hateful conduct,' they deemed a tweet denouncing terrorism as 'hateful conduct.'" This is just the beginning, he prophesied. Only to be proven right when his friend (and FRC's) E.W. Jackson was blocked the same day. Then, One America News host Jack Posobiec's Twitter account "@MAGAphobia" suspiciously vanished. What was his crime? Tracking the harassment of Donald Trump supporters. "I started @Magaphobia as an acc[ount] to track violence against Trump supporters all in one place." Almost a half-million people followed it.

Or did follow. "Today," he announced, "Twitter banned it." But if you're hoping to hold Big Tech accountable for their prejudice, Senator Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) told me yesterday on "Washington Watch," good luck. These companies -- like Twitter -- have virtually guaranteed immunity under the current system.

"Here's the thing, Tony. One of the reasons they got so big -- and they got so rich -- is they get a special deal from the government. They get treated differently than newspapers or television stations or radio stations... They have their own deal [from the government] where they don't have to be liable [in] the same way all of those other media outlets are. In exchange for that, they're supposed to be neutral forums to allow for the free exchange of ideas -- but they're not doing that.

And here's my bottom line. If they're not going to allow there to be a free exchange of ideas -- if they're going to act like the editorial page of the New York Times -- than they ought to be treated like the editorial page of the New York Times and subject to the same laws that every other newspaper and publisher is."

If that's what Twitter, Google, and Facebook are going to do, he went on, then they should be just as liable as everyone else. "They shouldn't get the special rules they're getting." What we're coming to, Senator Hawley said, "is a time of reckoning, where the social media giants have to decide: are they going to be truly neutral platforms for people... or are they going to continue to discriminate against conservatives on the basis of political speech?"

"It's a big thing to kick someone off the platform," Twitter's Vijaya Gadde has said. And he's about to find out how big, if it continues.

Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.

A Barr Brawl over Mueller Report

May 09, 2019

What a difference seven years makes. In 2012, Democrats were appalled that anyone would hold the attorney general of the United States in contempt. Now, one administration and a new House majority later, liberals will look for any excuse to punish the head of the Justice Department -- even if the reason is following the law.

"Just joined the #walkout of the House chamber to protest the shameful, politically-motivated GOP vote holding AG [Eric] Holder in contempt," Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) tweeted in 2012. Fast-forward to his own Judiciary Committee meeting, and the New York liberal is leading the charge! Like every other extremist in Speaker Nancy Pelosi's (D-Calif.) party, he's desperately trying to get the upper hand after a two-year smear campaign over collusion that had no basis in fact. Now, in a pathetic attempt to make some of their accusations against the president stick, they're demanding an unredacted copy of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's report from Attorney General William Barr. And if they don't get it? Well, according to the Chicken Littles of the Left, we'll be plunged into a "constitutional crisis."

The spectacle at Wednesday's hearing wasn't lost on the liberal media either. While the rest of the country pleads with Democrats to move on from this humiliating ordeal, even commentators are saying they don't have the public's support to continue this charade. "The most straightforward procedural suggestion for addressing executive branch noncooperation is to subpoena documents and testimony and, if they aren't produced, hold the responsible individuals in contempt of Congress. This, it turns out, is not such a great idea," warns Suzanne Garment at NBC News.

For starters, Americans are tired of watching Democrats beat this dead horse of Russian collusion. Most of them want to know: when will this political circus end? Senator Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) understands -- because he's one of them. I guess it ends, he told me on Wednesday's "Washington Watch," "when the Democrats a suffer at the ballot box because it doesn't look like anything short of that is gone to deter them. The Mueller report is out there for everybody to read. It's 448 pages. It finds that there was no conspiracy, there was no coordination, there was no collusion and there was no obstruction. And, and now Attorney General Barr has testified before multiple committees... And that's the end of it. And it's time now that the Democrats and moved on and we actually get to work with the business with the country."

But there's also the legal side of this, which is that Attorney General Barr cannot release grand jury material without being held personally responsible. There's intelligence information in that report, and there are matters of national security that prevent him from complying with the Democrats' request. House liberals know that -- and yet, they're trying to punish Barr for following the law (which, I might point out, is not why Eric Holder was held in contempt). And ironically, they don't need him to publicly release the unredacted report to read it. As members of Congress, they can go to a private, classified setting and access every word. Of course, there wouldn't be any television cameras in that room for Democrats to continue their theatrics.

And isn't that -- Senator Hawley asked -- what this is all about? "Democrats are grasping at any straw to keep the story alive. But the truth is... the longer they talk about this, the more obvious it becomes that they don't really care about the real needs in this country. What they're doing is grandstanding and playing -- which is exactly what they've been doing with Bill Barr and in this case, dragging the reputation of a good and honorable man through the mud."

We all saw how that turned out when the Senate Democrats tried it with Brett Kavanaugh. If the Left hasn't learned its lesson by now, maybe 2020 will teach them.

Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.

Sacramento Kings of Extremism

May 09, 2019

"It's pornography." That's how one mom described California's new guidelines for sex ed. Patricia Reyes, who spoke up during a hearing in Sacramento Wednesday, can't fathom sending her children to school to learn about things that would be embarrassing for most of us to say out loud -- let alone teach to elementary students. "If this continues, I'm not sending them to school." And she won't be the only one.

Hundreds of parents protested the new framework yesterday -- which includes everything from lessons in self-pleasure to transgenderism. As CBN pointed out, the guidelines even go so far as to encourage kindergarteners to think about whether they might identify with another gender. Are you kidding? At that age, they don't even know what gender is! The goal, officials say, is to create "an environment that is inclusive and challenges binary concepts about gender."

Of course, the state Board of Education wouldn't admit that. Instead, President Linda Darling-Hammond said, "We're on a careful trajectory here not to be introducing things as though they are endorsed in some way." That's interesting, since LGBT activists are tripping over themselves to tell California what a wonderful job they've done. And, as we all know, their goal isn't to just "introduce things." So many want to indoctrinate and recruit -- and nothing short of that will suffice.

At one point, CBN notes, the state was considering cartoon drawings of genitalia for five-year-olds and material for the older kids on bondage and homosexual acts. "An earlier draft of the guidelines also suggested high schoolers read the book: S.E.X.: The All-You-Need-to-Know Sexuality Guide to Get You Through Your Teens and Twenties." After enough protest, these requirements were dropped.

But there's still more than enough content to outrage parents -- like the opt-out policy, which is allowed for portions -- but not the LGBT lessons. That, most families have argued at various meetings, is a direct attack on parental authority. "Now we're teaching kids how to have a robust sex life? Not everything under the sun needs to be taught to our kids, with no moral judgment," California Family Council's Greg Burt, told the Sacramento Bee.

And the anger over the state's curriculum isn't just anecdotal. Stephanie Yates, founder of Informed Parents of California, says 20,000 people have joined the group since she created it last year. And what about the teachers? They don't want to send these messages any more than parents want their kids to hear them. "Teachers are afraid they will be forced to teach concepts that go against their conscience, and use non-binary terms or else they could lose their jobs," said Brenda Lebsack, who works for Santa Ana Unified.

Some of you may roll your eyes and dismiss this as "just California." Don't be fooled. This same extremism is coming to a classroom near you -- and parents need to be equipped and ready to mobilize like these families have. This sex-ed counter-movement in California is a testament to the involvement of a lot of moms and dads, teachers, and churches. As bad as some of these gui delines are, they would have been a lot worse if Californians hadn't been actively engaged. Make sure you are! For advice, check out FRC's "A Parent's Guide to the Transgender Movement in Education."

Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.

Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.

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