May 30, 2020
By Mike Huckabee
PRESIDENT TRUMP SIGNS EXECUTIVE ORDER
Thursday, President Trump made good on his threat against social media giants such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube that selectively censor, edit or place warning labels on posts based on political views. He signed an executive order calling on all executive agencies to consider new regulations to ensure that such companies comply narrowly with Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act in maintaining neutrality or else risk losing their immunity from legal liability.
I know that what you’ll mostly hear about this on the news is the usual hair-on-fire “Trump is a dictator” rage fits, so here’s the actual order in its entirety for you to read for yourself. See if it sounds to you as if he’s trying to do away with free speech or protect it:
For background, here’s what Section 230 of that law says: “No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider.” In other words, if you’re offended by a post, you can’t sue the platform where it appeared, you have to sue the person who posted it. Otherwise, social media would be impossible because every post would have to be vetted before it appeared. Section 230 does allow platforms to remove posts that violate terms of service, such as being obscene or threatening, as long as the action is taken “in good faith.” And that’s it.
Strangely enough, for all the foaming at the mouth over Trump’s executive order, it seems to me as if it does nothing much more than reaffirm what Section 230 originally intended. Under pressure from the left, and their own hive-mind leftist corporate cultures, companies like Google and Twitter started adopting the left’s attitude that it was their duty not to remove merely obscene or threatening posts (indeed, they leave up plenty of posts that curse and threaten conservatives), but to determine whether a post is “true” or "misleading." Philosophers have been trying to define “what is truth” for centuries, but a group of leftist techies in Silicon Valley have finally nailed it. Under the left’s definition, their opinions are objectively true, and any opposing views are lies and misinformation.
It’s always useful in cases like this, when the anti-Trump hysteria is at its peak right after he does...well, anything (the anti-Trumpers are like Groucho Marx: “Whatever it is, I’m against it!”) to ignore their heat-of-the-moment statements and look back at what they said before Trump weighed in. So here’s an article from February on this very subject that explains a lot of the issues well, and notes that there were bipartisan concerns about the abuse of Section 230, both for the way it was being used to censor political views and to crush start-up competitors and turn the majors into monopolies.
I should also note one of the Democrats’ recurring problems: Joe Biden’s mouth. He immediately blasted Trump’s executive order on Section 230 as “an extreme abuse of power” that “demonstrates a complete misunderstanding of the role and function of the federal government.” But just last December, he told the New York Times that “Section 230 should be revoked immediately.” He then repeated that twice for emphasis.
Unless Congress acts, Trump is limited in what he can do to the social media companies. Unlike the previous President, he doesn’t believe he can ignore Congress and rewrite laws with executive orders. But his EO doesn’t so much change Section 230 as reaffirm its original meaning and warn that if the tech giants don’t stop abusing the legal immunity it grants them by ignoring the strict neutrality rules, they could lose it. Not by Trump changing the law, but by him doing something the previous Administration never dreamed of: actually enforcing it. And frankly, it’s about time.
MY PROPOSAL IS CATCHING ON
As the pointless coronavirus lockdowns drag on in some places, I’m glad to see that my proposal to withhold the paychecks of officials who won’t let other people go to work is catching on. The New York Post just ran an editorial that comes close, although they are being way too generous in simply calling for these officials’ pay to be capped at…brace yourselves!...$200,000 a year!
That’s right, that’s what a selfless life of “public service” pays in New York. As New Yorkers fear losing businesses they’ve worked for generations to build (fears that Mayor Bill DeBlasio, who never built anything except a disastrous presidential campaign, cavalierly dismissed), they’re on the hook for taxes to pay the exorbitant salaries of their public officials. How exorbitant?
According to the Post, DeBlasio himself pulls down $258,750 (not counting all the perks, such as Gracie Mansion. Socialism pays well in New York City!) Schools Chancellor Richard Carranz, who just claimed students will suffer because he can’t find any fat to cut in the budget, makes $363,000. The Post notes that cutting that to $200,000 would free up enough money to hire four school lunch aides. But that’s nothing: the head of the city Housing Authority makes $402,000, and the City University of New York Chancellor is paid a whopping $623,500. Cutting that to $200,000 would leave enough money to hire a dozen adjunct professors, and I'll bet the Chancellor could scrape along somehow.
So maybe one small silver lining in this crisis, and one good way in which “life will never be the same,” is that the public may finally realize how overpaid some of their officials are and demand that they start learning to stay home and get along on less, the way they expected the citizens to.
THE MAJOR POINT
Remember: Don’t be a science-denier! Follow the advice of the experts! Wear a facemask in public, the way the CDC suggests!
Unless you prefer to listen to the experts at the World Health Organization, who say that if you’re healthy, don’t wear a mask unless you’re taking care of someone who’s infected.
The major point is that now, whether you wear a mask or not, self-righteous liberals can still yell at you to make themselves feel important.
Former DNC Chair and Fox News commentator Donna Brazile attacked President Trump’s executive order on social media companies by declaring that “There is no First Amendment right to lie. Period.”
Actually, she’s very lucky that she’s wrong because that was a lie, but she had a First Amendment right to say it without fear of arrest.
KEEPING TRACK OF BIDEN
Whoever is writing Joe Biden’s quotes for him needs to spend more time boning up on what he’s already said. I wrote elsewhere about how Biden assailed Trump for allegedly undermining Section 230 on social media platforms when just six months ago, Biden was saying it should be “revoked immediately.” Now, Biden has allegedly co-authored an op-ed accusing Trump of “xenophobia” for scapegoating Asians by blaming China for the COVID-19 (Chinese) coronavirus and calling it the “China virus,” which major media outlets also did until they took their marching orders from China, and which I still do because it’s 100% accurate.
Question: did none of Biden’s handlers realize that this would remind Americans of the last time Biden accused Trump of xenophobia, which was when he attacked Trump for cutting off travel from China to keep visitors from spreading the virus all over the country? That action was attacked by Democrats like Biden as racist and xenophobic, up until the point that everyone realized it saved countless lives, and then they suddenly started accusing Trump of not doing it soon enough.
This is yet another reason why I could never be a Democrat: I’m not suffering from serious memory loss. Joe, I can’t speak for.
Bible Verse of the Day (KJV)
For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.
Matthew 6:14 (KJV)