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Sat Sep 29, 2018, 09:16 AM

'First They Came for Alex Jones': Ted Cruz's Crusade Against Facebook


‘First They Came for Alex Jones’: Ted Cruz’s Crusade Against Facebook Reaches New Extreme
While liberals and the media cower, the Texas senator heroically defends the influential conspiracy theorist — and all others — from the tyrannical censorship of Big Tech.

https://www.texasobserver.org/first-they-came-for-alex-jones-ted-cruzs-crusade-against-facebook-reaches-new-extreme/

<snip>

On this front, perhaps no politician has been more vocal and sanctimonious than Senator Ted Cruz. And he’s taking his virtuous crusade against Facebook’s political persecution of conservatives to new extremes, by tethering it to a vehement defense of the Austin conspiracy theorist and radio host Alex Jones. When the social media giant decided to temporarily suspend Jones’s personal account in late July, Cruz was moved to speak out.

Predictably, he took an immense amount of flak for defending Jones, who is currently fighting defamation charges in court for peddling the stunning nonsense that the Sandy Hook school shooting was a government hoax. That’s just one in a long list of vile and dangerous theories — remember Pizzagate? — that Jones’ fringy media empire InfoWars has perpetuated over the years.

Am no fan of Jones — among other things he has a habit of repeatedly slandering my Dad by falsely and absurdly accusing him of killing JFK — but who the hell made Facebook the arbiter of political speech? Free speech includes views you disagree with. #1A https://t.co/RC5v4SHaiI

— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) July 28, 2018

But Cruz is not backing down. In an interview with reporters at the conservative Resurgent Gathering in Austin on Saturday, Cruz cast himself as the righteous defender of the First Amendment and free speech — including “offensive speech, bad speech, stupid speech” — and bemoaned liberals and the media for not joining him in his principled defense of Jones. (It’s worth noting that the moderation policies of a private corporation like Facebook are not a First Amendment issue.)

“As the poem goes, you know, first they came for Alex Jones. That does not end well,” Cruz said, referencing the famous Martin Niemöller poem about German cowardice in the face of ascendant Nazism. Apparently in this metaphor, Facebook is the Nazis and Jones is… the socialists?

“There’s a reason I picked someone who has been nasty to me: to illustrate this is not about defending someone I agree with,” Cruz said. “This is a First Amendment principle that everyone has a right to speak, and people can sort out those who are making sense from those who are full of crap.”

Despite the posturing, Cruz has refrained from strongly rebuking Jones, saying his ideas are simply “fringe” and “nutty.” As some have pointed out, Cruz is skilled at reading the political moment and the fact that he’s sticking his neck out for Jones — something even the president, a noted Jones sympathizer, hasn’t even done (yet) — could be a sign that he’s angling to shore up support among the fringe right.

Indeed, Cruz’s support did not go unnoticed. On his show last week, Jones called on his supporters to stand “with us against the unprecedented lying assault as they try to use us as the guinea pig to shut down everybody else. And Ted Cruz and Tucker Carlson, they all get it. But certain people at Fox News and others don’t.”

Cruz insists that his defense of Jones is merely a noble necessity in the larger fight against Facebook’s tyrannical power, of which he has been bravely standing on the frontlines. Back in April, he used his senatorial soapbox to prod Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg during testimony on election meddling and privacy concerns about what he called a “pervasive pattern of bias and political censorship.”

<snip>

“They have the ability, if there is a speaker who is disfavored, simply to silence the speaker — to shadowban them so that you might speak but your words float off into oblivion and nobody hears them,” Cruz said. “On the flip side, they have the ability to curate your feed so that every piece of news you hear is news they approve of.”

<snip>

However, it’s been pointed out that the Harvard-educated constitutional lawyer’s legal analysis is highly flawed: Social media companies are in fact encouraged to moderate their platforms, and doing so does not come with an increased risk of liability for their users’ speech. It’s not an either/or.

Cruz hasn’t yet dissuaded media giants, who are under tremendous pressure to crack down on hate speech from alt-right figures like Jones. Late Sunday, Apple announced that it was removing five of InfoWars’ six podcasts from its iTunes library — the most sweeping enforcement action yet taken by a big tech company. On Monday, Spotify announced that it had completely banned “The Alex Jones Show” and Facebook said it had removed four of Jones’ affiliated pages for violating its hate speech policies.

To be clear, Cruz isn’t wrong to be skeptical of the power of social media companies and their ability to censor speech, and there is an important conversation about how to find a balancing point between moderation and free speech. But that’s not what this is.

<snip>

Cruz could have used any number of other examples of speech he didn’t agree with — say, for instance, NFL team owners prohibiting their players from kneeling in protest during the national anthem — to take a stand on free speech. But by choosing to elevate Jones, someone he knows will only muddy the waters of the free speech debate, Cruz puts his credibility at risk. Cruz seems to have made a calculation to align himself with the feverish fringes of the far right — while wrapping himself in the glory of the First Amendment.

<snip>

When it comes to the media, it’s almost like Ted Cruz is singing from the same hymnal as Donald Trump and Alex Jones.

Justin Miller is the politics reporter for the Observer. He previously covered politics and policy for The American Prospect in Washington, D.C., and has also written for The Intercept, The New Republic and In These Times. Follow him on Twitter or at miller@texasobserver.org.

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Reply 'First They Came for Alex Jones': Ted Cruz's Crusade Against Facebook (Original post)
marble falls Sep 2018 OP
dalton99a Sep 2018 #1
rpannier Sep 2018 #2
Me. Sep 2018 #3
marble falls Sep 2018 #5
Downtown Hound Sep 2018 #4

Response to marble falls (Original post)

Sat Sep 29, 2018, 09:20 AM

1. Trump digital director says Facebook helped win the White House

https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/oct/08/trump-digital-director-brad-parscale-facebook-advertising

Trump digital director says Facebook helped win the White House

The Trump presidential campaign spent most of its digital advertising budget on Facebook, testing more than 50,000 ad variations each day in an attempt to micro-target voters, Trump’s digital director, Brad Parscale, told CBS’s 60 Minutes in an interview scheduled to air on Sunday night.

“Twitter is how [Trump] talked to the people, Facebook was going to be how he won,” Parscale said.

Facebook provided Trump 2016 with employees who embedded in the campaign’s digital office and helped educate staffers on how to use Facebook ads, he said. Because he “wanted people who supported Donald Trump”, Parscale said, the Facebook employees were questioned on their political views.

On Sunday night, Facebook addressed Parscale’s comments publicly, saying in an update to a post on its Hard Questions blog about elections that the company gave support impartially to a range of campaigns.

“Campaigns aren’t able to hand-pick Facebook team members to work on their projects,” the statement read, in apparent reference to Parscale’s claim, as reported by CBS, that the Facebook employees that served as “embeds” in his office “had to be partisan and he questioned them to make sure”.

Parscale said the Trump campaign used Facebook to reach clusters of rural voters, such as “15 people in the Florida Panhandle that I would never buy a TV commercial for”.

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Response to marble falls (Original post)

Sat Sep 29, 2018, 09:34 AM

2. who the hell made Facebook the arbiter of political speech

No one did
But Facebook is a private company and as such, are allowed to say who can and cannot post on their site
If Cruz wants to change that through government regulation, have at it
Or CONservatives could start their own social media site.
You know... the free market at work
I do not like, nor do I use FB. I would be okay with FB and other social media being regulated. But, for now it isn't

Stop whining Ted and step up

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Response to marble falls (Original post)

Sat Sep 29, 2018, 09:59 AM

3. Could They Please Come For Ted Cruz Next?

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Response to Me. (Reply #3)

Sat Sep 29, 2018, 10:17 AM

5. How do we get him on the list, 'cause I'll gladly second that nomination.

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Response to marble falls (Original post)

Sat Sep 29, 2018, 10:15 AM

4. More like, "They finally came for Alex Jones

for his constant lying, slander, libel, lies, incitement to violence, and all around douche baggery when it claimed the parents and families of murdered school children as victims of the mass produced stupidity he calls a show. And really, they should have come for him years ago."

And decent people everywhere are saying, "It's about damn time!"

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