Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, on Sunday blasted the Biden administration for flagging content for Facebook to remove as misinformation, calling it blatant “collusion.”
In an interview on Fox News’ “Sunday Morning Futures,” Cruz railed about a news conference last week in which White House press secretary Jen Psaki acknowledged the Office of the Surgeon General has upped it’s social media tracking of “disinformation” on COVID-19.
“It was undoubtedly collusion,” Cruz said.
“It is amazing.. … It makes clear that everything we thought about the Biden administration, about their willingness to trample on free speech, to trample on the Constitution, to use government power to silence you, everything we feared they might do, they are doing and worse. And I think [former] President [Donald] Trump’s lawsuit [against Big Tech] got much, much stronger.”
The Surgeon General's office issued a new report Wednesday titled, "Confronting Health Misinformation," that makes recommendations for social media platforms to "impose clear consequences for accounts that repeatedly violate platform policies,” Real Clear Politics reported.
And at a news conference the next day, Psaki admitted Facebook would be involved.
"We're flagging problematic posts for Facebook that spread disinformation. We're working with doctors and medical experts…who are popular with their audience with accurate information," she said. "So, we're helping get trusted content out there."
During the same briefing, Surgeon General Vivek Murthy said misinformation is a public health threat.
“Today, we live in a world where misinformation poses an imminent and insidious threat to our nation’s health,” Murthy said, Vox reported, adding that “modern technology companies” have allowed misinformation and disinformation to spread across their platforms “with little accountability.”
But Cruz argued the effort is no different than what is done in communist countries.
“I got to say, it's the same thing you see happening in a communist country like China and a communist country like Cuba, where if there are facts that are contrary to the government … they prevent you from sharing the facts,” he said.
“They're doing the same thing in the United States. It's a frightening threat not just for free speech but for the ability for the American people to learn the truth on a host of issues.”
Cruz said he expects Trump’s lawsuit will be challenged — and prevail.
“The challenge his lawsuit faces is the following,” Cruz explained, “The First Amendment applies only to government action. The first words of the First Amendment are ‘Congress shall make no law,’ So it applies to the federal government. It has since been incorporated and applied against the state government and so the argument that a lot of the talking heads put out immediately after … Trump filed his lawsuit is they said, well, Facebook is not the government. Twitter is not the government so this lawsuit will get thrown out.”
But Cruz argued: “The Supreme Court has long recognized a line of cases that when government uses a private company as a tool, as an arm to implement a government policy — and in this instance when government explicitly asks a private monopoly to censor the following speech that we disagree with — that that private company can be treated as a state actor.”
“Nobody in their right mind would argue that a private organization behaving essentially as stormtroopers, trying to confiscate guns, nobody would argue that that's not state action, that that doesn't violate the Second Amendment,” he said. “What the Biden administration is doing with Facebook, Twitter and Google is the same thing. They're going to monopolies and saying ‘you are our tool to censor views we disagree with.’”
Cruz referenced the case of the origins of the coronavirus, as a case of censorship on a topic that now appears to have gained credibility.
“For months they were censoring where the virus originated…. censorship has been over and over again, silencing things that are true,” he railed. “They banned, for example, any arguments that the coronavirus originated in a Chinese government lab in Wuhan, China. It now appears the overwhelming weight of the evidence suggests that's in fact where it originated, in a Chinese government lab.”
Cruz also lamented the Democratic Party of becoming “structurally” pro-China .
“The Democratic Party today is funded by — their biggest funders are Big Tech and Big Tech is in bed with the Chinese communists,” he said. “Among the biggest funders of the Democratic Party are the giant corporations and many of the giant corporations, the Fortune 50 and Fortune 100 are in bed with the Chinese communists.”
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