In recent weeks Attorney General Barr, four technology company CEOs and now Andy Ngo have testified before either the House or the Senate. The first two hearings were in the House and the last one – as of the writing this article – in the Senate.
Unfortunately – during the hearings in the House of Representatives – while Democrat representatives were willing to ask questions and “answer” the questions themselves, or use the time for political speeches and grandstanding rather than address issues directly related to the purpose of the committee, Republicans (for the most part) asked mundane questions that did not correspond to the significance of each of the three hearings.
It is understandable that, in the first “hearing” with AG Barr, the Republicans – who were in the minority – could do little about the fact that Democrats did not allow Barr to answer their questions. Committee chairman Nadler would have denied AG Barr the opportunity of a five-minute break if Republicans had not said anything.
But the hearing regarding tech monopolies, in a Democrat-controlled House, was a perfect – and rare – opportunity for Republicans to focus the hearing on the most important issue. They could demonstrate their widespread agreement that “Big Tech is out to get conservatives,” as Jim Jordan said at the hearing; it was crucial that Republicans use the opportunity to defend their right to free speech. If, on live broadcasts viewed by thousands across the nation, Republicans could provide the (abundant) evidence that Twitter and others are trying to silence them, perhaps the nation would listen.
This was proved wrong by Representative Jim Sensenbrenner’s statement “big isn’t necessarily bad” – said with the enthusiasm of a Jeb Bush globalist.
When Aytu Bioscience, the Federalist, Donald Trump, Jr. and even the President have been censored by supposedly objective “fact-checkers” at Twitter, Google, and Facebook, shouldn’t all of those casualties of Big Tech’s anti-conservative agenda have been the focus of a hearing? Apparently not, if, as Tucker Carlson pointed out on FOX News, Google is one of a Republican candidate’s largest campaign donors.
Jim Sensenbrenner and others who mildly protested tech giants’ abuse of power should realize the central concern of ordinary conservatives is not that these companies are censoring them, in particular. This is about every single person or company that dares to challenge the MSM’s narrative. Aytu Bioscience was “accidentally” censored for helping the Administration combat the coronavirus, the Federalist very nearly censored for the comment sections of its web pages (perhaps a testament to how cautiously it words its articles), Trump Jr. for the now-famous video of doctors promoting hydroxychloroquine, and Trump himself for expressing concern about the trustworthiness of mail-in ballots.
Shouldn’t Republicans, who for so long and so often cited the Constitution, cite the First Amendment when it is obviously being ignored? And not only should they cite it, but shouldn’t they hold tech CEOs as responsible for their actions as Democrats do?
In the recent House hearing, at which Tim Cook, Zuckerberg, Bezos, and Pichai (Google) were present, Democrats did address legitimate issues, while Republicans appeared to be more concerned about “defending the free market,” showing pictures of human rights abuses in China, and making accusations about these companies’ alleged ties to China without supporting the accusations with facts.
The free market is of course important, and worth defending, but how is censorship, buying competitors, and ignoring First Amendment rights the “free market”?
Finally the Senate hearing showed an astounding lack of Republican enthusiasm, and despite the fact they were in the minority, Democrats seemed the most influential party on its outcome. Hirono walked out of the hearing while saying, “You aren’t listening” to chairman Ted Cruz, while Republicans did not in the previous hearings even though House committee chairman Jerry Nadler almost refused Barr a five-minute break during the first hearing. At the Senate hearing Republicans preferred to discuss the technicalities of green lasers, rather than the cause of the riots.
Perhaps this is one of the reasons President Trump performed so much better in 2016 than the Republican Party did in 2018.