« Verdict with Ted Cruz

Ep. 28 - Social Media Censorship

2020-05-29

The Senator and Michael discuss President Trump’s new executive order to stop social media censorship as viral videos lead to protests and looting around the country.

This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
President Trump signs and executive order to stop big tex censorship of conservatives. Luckily we can sit down with a guy who has been fighting that very censorship for many years. This is verdict with TAT, Bruce welcome. Back to verdict with TED crews, Michael Knolls and the guy who has been fighting this for many years. Coincidentally, is TED crews himself senator nicely you, even though we still have to do this. Virtually digitally hopefully without any censorship. Well, let let, let's hope so, but we'll see a big tech poses podcast out down. That's right, Senator. I think everybody knows that big tech has been going after conservatives end. Probably for a lot of people listening to this right now they themselves have felt this kind of thing if their account has been suspended. For a conservative. You I mean, I think, frankly, its probable
happened all of us at this point, so we know that there is a problem, but there has been some debate over how you solve the problem. Do you pass some new regulation? Do you break em apple, big, like their monopoly, with anti trust laws, or do you enforce laws that are already on the books you focused in something called section, two thirty of the communications since the act of ninety ninety six, the president, Kristen on that is well in his executive order. Can you tell us what that is in and how the argument applies too big censorship well sure at an answer, your question about what you do you listed several options by answers are: yes, yes and yes, let's start with two thirty. What is to certain so knight Ninety six Congress pass. A law passed, a law called the communications decency act. It was actually mainly focused at trying to regulate internet porn, but it included a poor in section, two thirty that that gave
a special immunity for form from liability for big, big tech companies, And here was the reasoning at the time This is early. This was right when the internet is is starting in. In fact, one They Michael you- and I have talked about that. I was clerk at the: U S Supreme Court in ninety nine. Six ex ninety ninety seven when that, when one of the first challenges, two congressional regulation came up and it and I told a story in the book- a few years ago about sitting with US in court librarian with my boss chief justice way: I'm rank west. And was Saturday O Connor and I buryin pulled up hard core poor to show the justices and all the law so there and look justice. O Connor was in seven these and I still remember when they pulled up port on the screen. Justice Oconnor just went, oh Mamma
and were all sitting there like the law. Courts are in our twenties and we're looking at our shoes feeling really really awkward. And an even more awkward, is the fact that when they were lost, students at Stanford Renquist Nuclear we're same class they actually dated for awhile he was number one in the class. She was number three, so sure this Michael forty years from now you're, seventy eighty years old and new standing in a room with an ex girlfriend from forty fifty years ago watch, porn imagine how awkward it was for the two of US senator, I know, and the librarians work I had a lot of strange experiences in politics. I just think I have to stop here for a moment to say This is just one I've ever heard from. You is watching a hard core porn with Justice Andrew Day, O Connor and her ex boyfriend, William Rank West. I think that one is absolutely the top of
It was surreal and I can still hear the o, my like, echoing twenty plus years later, but but this was right, beginning at the internet, see understand just as it did know what the internet watch. This was Brian saying, ok, this is this internet thing you type in things. I still remember in fact, they turn off the filters and to get to poor they typed in the word, cantaloupe misspelled and care. Hope. I use use your imagination, but I guess it pulled up porn. And in my prayers is we're trying to show them. Ok, look. It's people can stumble into this accidentally. All the time part of that bill, so it was section to thirty was design. You had these little internet start ups in the end and the idea was listen. It's not. Fair to sue attack company force things somebody posts on their because this is a forum. This is a public square, and so, if somebody post something
and you see the internet company- you could drive them out of business and it's not the tech company. That's making it, whoever the users are. So if you post something The user should be liable, but not the forms in the end, the credit for this as the policy predicate everyone. There stood big tackling, we're going to be what are called neutral public, for, in other words, the they were going to allow everyone to speak. It was gonna, be the new market place of ideas and so section thirty passed into law, but what it means you know: Google and Facebook and twitter they ve got an immunity from liability. Nobody else does you like allowance. If, if, if you go on the radio and you defame someone, you can be sued the New York Times, How do you know that Google and and Facebook Heaven immunity from liability, the New York Times, doesn't have fox doesn't have every one else. Every american citizen, every american company only big tech that gets
special immunity of from liability. So Senator this is the distinction we ve heard about a little bit, which is the platform versus the PA you're right if you're a neutral platform, you get these protections, but if your publisher, like the New York Times or the daily wire or Fox news or whatever. Then you you don't get those protections and the reason for it, of course, is if You could see twitter for every defamatory tweet that has ever been tweeted. Twitter would go out of business in approximately five nanoseconds that that could well, be true, but you know the interesting thing I'd, let suppose I wrote or not bad. That said with with allergies that that Michael rules has carnal relations with barnyard animal, rapid and and the New York Times publish it. And and let's assume and I'm willing to assume for the sake of the podcast, that that is a totally false state. Thank you and then I have no basis
I am wilfully being reckless making it up You as a citizen could so you did for me for defamation, but you could say that they are times because by their choice, to publish that if they publish something this family Korea about your suit alot of again, I do same thing on social media. You can't through the hell out of them, and the reason is that come I made a determination twenty years ago. These special public, former here's, what changed big tech, his decision they decided it only in the last couple of years. They don't want to be neutral anymore. They want Be political players they wanna editorial eyes. They wanna silence, voices they don't like, and so there deliberately amplifying lefty voices. And silencing conservative voices at an it's. Ok, fine, they want to do that. Fine, but one of the obvious step says you don't get
special immunity from liability that nobody else gets we're not going to treat you differently because of you. Behave like the New York Times, you should face the same league risks the New York Times face. That makes sense. We ve We ve heard from some legal scholars on the laughter or jurists on the left really section. Two thirty shouldn't be applied this way, it's not about political stances and and conservatives are abusing this, but but the argument you have just made You have actually been making for quite some time. Now is the argument that was made today by attorney general, William BAR. It's the argument that was made by President Trump. So it seems that action to thirty is is the key here, through the conservatives argument to to stopping this big tech, censorship you just go into a little bit of the political debate or be how the Trump administration came to adopt this idea. Let that be the simplest thing I have to say about his executive orders to its about them. Tat,
I have literally been urging this administration to do this for three and a half years in the last three and a half years at you know, look I'm in this and I'm a legislator, I can share hearings. I've chaired hearings highlighting the rapid censorship and little bias, I can introduce legislation. I have advocated for legislation but I'm on the executive. It's the executive that actually has enforcement ability that that that that actually has prosecutors and grand juries and Pino and an end, can enforce the law so I have in the last three years I have spent hours. Maybe with Bill BAR the attorney general on this topic, I have spent hours with Jeff rose in the deputy attorney general on this topic. I've spent hours with making we're here, the head of the Anti Trust division of department justice on this. Big I've spent hours with Joe Simons, the head of the Federal Trade Commission. Why used to work within Ojo very well on this big I've spent hours with the president with the vice president with the White House Chief of staff,
with with the White House counsel. Urging them and hears been the problem. Every body- it's not quite in their jurisdiction, it doesn't quite fit, the night before everyone says yeah yeah, it's a problem. They were greatest problem and by the way barn rose and especially great it's a real problem, but it doesn't fit. Neatly in anyone's sort of traditional job description, and so the present Listen. The presence been frustrated pissed off about this for a long time, but nobody this team has been willing to do anything about an end. So I do find it kind of ironic that twitter, decided to be such jackass. Yet yet you know look my My view has always been in the kind of hierarchy of big tech, the worst just Google and you too, which they own, yellow Google, you their model used to be don't be able now. They're motto is just evil with the evil
under Google has been twitter and then, and then under that is Facebook with Facebook pretty bad too, but there's tiny moments whether try, I think Jack Dorsey a twitter decided you know what I'm tired it will be in the worst player on earth, and so this whole thing was prompted because the idiots decided a fact check the President's queen on voter fraud and might by the way, number one they linked to see an end which is so profoundly wrong, and so many issues that ridiculous, but but twitter, I think just pissed off the president and thank they did because what I assume happened- and I don't know this- but I So he blew his top and told everyone. Somebody get off your ass and do something about it and motivated them. To finally do this, I'm glad they did. I, I think this is an incredible threat. Big tech censorship, the biggest threat to free speech and a fair deal
elections in democracy. We got the whole country into two facebooks credit actually mark Zuckerberg came out today, and he said I don't think that big tax should be the arbiters of truth, basically directly contradicting Jack Dorothea Twitter. So I mean that's a good move. You know just what what do we think? The conclusion of this will be it seems that the threat would be to get twitter to back off. Do not interfere in the presidential election to not put their thumb on the scales of how information moves around the internet if they dont back off Are we looking at a world in which twitter really does lose its protections and twitter goes down? Look that I hope, so, Listen. I say I hope so, but I love twitter Where is a vehicle to engage in public debates to to go back and forth Twitter as a neutral public forum actually works quite well? It's only recently that they decided to let their crazy lefty go and actually Michael I'll tell you is like a bookstore. So, as you know, Zuckerberg testify
in front of the sound of a lot of us pounded. He and I went back and forth in a very public exchange. Remember when it was testifying. Look. Last year soccer bird came to DC and reached out, my office and asked if I'd be willing to sit down and get together, can I had dinner together. And it was kind of interesting. We We thought about actually go until a restaurant, but to be honest, if Mark Zuckerberg and I sat down at a restaurant in DC people, lose, thereby I mean I mean I think they determine running around screaming and lighting their hair on fire. So so we Do it a restaurant with what we did it at somebody's house at it. Just it was awkward Bergen me at, and it was a couple people at my staff couple people staff sums are very small dinner and it was like. Hours long, it was actually look. It was a lot of fun. Listen! Zuckerberg comes our says: he's a smart, geeky, techie.
And I'll give him some credit Lucky's actually trying to wrestle through these issues, but look to be honest. We went round and round and round on, Just what I was advocating was look, how about some basic free speech? How bout just let the market place of ideas. If you disagree with someone, let someone like let people argue trunk, tweets off two things I disagree with. I don't think the answer is to let some Silicon Valley billionaire silence him. If you disagree with them, say hit disagree with them, but soccer bird is trying he actually shortly after the dinner I had with him? He gave a speech because George town may be somewhere in DC, advocating principles of free speech. I look for face has been bumpy on this year, but compared to
you're in Google. They been much much better and you can see them twitter, not care. More n n n by the way you too, C of you, too, came by my office to talk about this and her attitude was essentially, but I can't even say it, but it was. It was screw it, although, although said more graphically than that likes It was simply we have power and will use power at which actually wanted credit, because she said. Will you know people on the left, one or two completely, silence, be more so we're talking about Stephen Crackers friend of ours. Comedian and in an you tube diem ties in boy talk about an orwellian word. We will take away all your money nonsense, rendering engine oil you wanted. The she wanted props? Could she said what we
still allow in the post. We didn't. We didn't silence him altogether, What the hell are? You talk? Ok, she's, like will that's The people are left one or two. So do I said, listen. The calls for censorship are only coming crazy left us, I'm not asking you to silence, Sandra Right or say, God knows they can prattle on forever, but let them talk there. These are so bad will engage with them on substance? But I am glad the administration had jumped by the way. There are other things they can do. Antitrust agencies both deal Jan after she had been engaged investigations. These are met. Police and their abusing monopoly power, something else they can. The team in the Executive board of its importance, not just section two thirty, but it's it's deceptive trade practice. I'm really glad the order set tells the attorney general to work with a state turning general I've also talked at length with it. Access attorney general, whose leading a state law suits about these deceptive practices. The
and Bill bar today in the oval office, he said it well it. Actually, he reflected a lot of what he and I talked about over breakfast. He said: listen these tech companies have been their platforms on a lie. They tell people. If you come to our platform, you can speak and if you sign up to follow someone, you watch them You can see what they post and if they sign up to follow you. Thank you see what you post that's the fundamental problem. And that is a lie. We know twitter shadow bands if they don't like you People who say I want to follow Michael knows: I care what Michael Nose has to say twitter not a we're just gonna, silently make it go away. That is a lie that is fraud and and I'm glad this executive order takes a step towards real legal liability for defective.
Consumers, which is what big taxes deal. That's a big key to this whole issue is the dishonesty is the fraud is the very, very possible and seems likely violation of of these laws. So it very good will see what happens from it. I mean The ball is now in the court of big tat will see how they react to it. I want to get. Opinion on something by the way, actually related to this social media marketplace, which is a few incidents that have popped up over the last week or so, and they ve again national attention because of social media, the most prominent one would be the killing of George. Lloyd in Minneapolis, through police officer who arrested This man, you ve, got white officer, black pepper later, I suppose, or alleged perpetrator, and that the suspect ends up dead there, guys it's me on his neck and looks really bad and then the spreads on social media. Now there are real. Its erupting around the country, not even just in Minneapolis also
LOS Angeles. There is looting going on I'd like to get your perspective on that video from from both a social media perspective, a social perspective and also from the perspective of policing, What happened in Minneapolis was was horrific. It was wrong. I watch that video and innocent time, you have an incident with police times the the the social media mob is quick to demonize the police officer and I've I've long advocated. We should wait for the facts to play out. That being said, I watch that video and. You had a man in handcuffs on his face on the pavement with it all stairs me in the back of his neck, pushing it into the pavement. He's gasping for breath, he's pleading that he can't breathe and they officer continues for eight minutes, but that that is on the face of it police brutality,
and anyone who believes in liberty should not want to see for terrorism and in an authority abuse the police officer has been fired and the Department of Justice is open. An investigation of civil rights investigation, I'm glad they have watching that Pisses me off and by the way you know that Social Media MOB, as is quick to two to paint this as far as their concern that was done, tromp with his knee and on the back of the neck. Let me be clear This is Minneapolis Minnesota. You ve got a democratic mayor you ve got a democratic governor. You ve got democratic senators that this is I blew and any we keep saying these things happen, this abuse of power, often in democratic strongholds, where people that claim to be interested in defending people's rights of that that they're not gonna, go
that's right. I mean that I think a little bit of perspective here is key and it's why it's so we're gonna get your opinion on this is you're. Not all Somebody with a twitter account, but you also happen to know quite a bit The way the criminal justice system works. Having worked for a long time, I think that perspective really helps. We saw a less tragic, much more frivolous example of this. Also just a few days, earlier, which was this altercation that happened in central park, there was a man, talking to this woman and basically said, put dog on a leash. She said, no, the man for some reason had dog treats in his in his bag just put for this sort of occasion when people don't other dogs unleashes lorries them away with the treats them this woman sort of lost her temper and had a little bit of an emotional knelt down, and then he said filming it. And you know what was the end result of this. Nothing happened after the videos, one public. Then this woman was job and lost her dog, but in the moment itself it seemed a little bit like much much ado about now,
thing. These social media mob is what made it so much worse. So much more sensational as that is there a world in which we should perhaps hope that maybe social media takes it down a few notches. Because of of this sort of emotion that it can join yeah look, I gotta say I have a little bit different take on idea there there's. There is no doubt that that incident showed the power social media and and that that an ice. Video can suddenly get millions of use all across the world. I have to admit, though The woman who involved who was involved her behaviour was atrocious. Of course you did that this any individual african American individually was their birdwatching, who at least the video we saw didn't do anything remotely threatening to her. I don't watch her be willing to listen, making a false accusation: d brutally is an act of violence and an end when, when, when this woman, Amy Cooper picks up her,
in calls nine one one: and she says an african american man is physically threatening me and my dog and cheat she calls in what by all appear. This is a totally false crime report at its dangerous crime report. Listen if you call police and say someone is physically threatening me, your ass. For law enforcement to show up with guns and and the very real costs Quincy. That could be the the person you are wrongly accusing get shot and killed So officers arrive to an assault in progress that they, There is a risk of something going really wrong and she was in a very real sense, endangering his life. I gotta say the fact that he had dug tree was trying to feed her dog if I'm walking my dogs data hell away from my dog and don't give dog, treats that's a little out there, but the attitude she expressed clearly racists, they were clearly wrong.
And by the way, the same point I made about Minneapolis holds here. You saw that the twitter mob saying all this is this is the aim? Donald Trump they blame Donald Trump for it, Story comes out that, to the shop of nobody she's currently a liberal democratic donor whose donated to Barack Obama to Peat Buddha Judge and John caring right. Of course, she is like a euro to be honest, well, look actually There is racism on both sides of the Isle, but that the left many on the left, loved jump on a soap box and more ally's. That's right and you bring up such a great point, because we should downplaying any instance in central park we shouldn't down. The woman's atrocious behaviour, just because you point out that there is more to the story. For instance, then you know she totally wrong and peace
totally right, I mean maybe some of his behaviour was a little. Two, maybe doesn't just by her behaviour, that this they, obviously you can look at what is pretty clearly police brutality in Minneapolis and condemn that as being terrible and not therefore defending looting and burning down business. As you know, it seems that there is this need. Jerk reaction on social media, where we immediately have to take aside and say one person was totally wrong. One person was totally right when really that patients are much more complex than that maybe a little bit of perspective? on the legal side on the policing side. On the social side you haven't, can help us to understand those things well endless and police brutality and it undermines not just the commission but it but it, but it undermines law enforcement is well. Why I'm blessed, know a lot of men and women who are law enforcement officers and then they feel that whenever something happens there did they.
The mob immediately assumes their at fault, and then there are instances a lot of instances where off first, scared for his life and his is protecting himself and in its one I saw I watch the video and an, and sometimes these videos don't capture everything that happened. There may have been something that happened before. That's not on it. So you have to view all of this with scepticism and so there are times when an officer has to use physical force and serious force to subdue a dangerous individual. What made this very so damning. Is it at last eight minutes and the guy is in handcuffs that his face? Is there and he's gasping for breath and he's pleading saying I can't and- and this officer doesn't do anything other than keep the knee pressing in into his neck. That was gross SK in raw particular, multiple other officers around it's very hard to look at that video and suggest
There was any reason that officer believed was afraid for his safety as compared to just being young, brutalizing, someone who was already immobilized and and and that a that not how law enforcement should operate in- that's how not how they usually do and it's why it's good that the Department of Justice is. Is looking into this- and I very much hope Justices is, it is served here, that's right because you, the effect of this ultimately Going be to undermine our faith in these very institutions that would be caning loan order, maintaining civil society. It has far wider, reaching consequences than many many would admit. Before we go. We gotta get to a little bit of mail bag. A further question. You know really easy one to get you we can answer this in ten or twenty seconds from Norman. Should pro american nationalists. Think about Hong Kong. You know really easy topic like China and Hong Kong, so
China is doing is trying to take over Hong Kong completely trying to subject it to the communist governments, authoritarianism trying to strip their rights of democracy, trying to strip their rights of free speech a power grab it. It is wrong and by the way when, when Conklin used to be part of the british empire that it when it rejoined China China We too have to separate systems and into protect. Freedom and democracy in China. China is now change its mind and its crushing freedom, There are a lot of consequences. We just saw this week the state urban issue a report that huh, com is no longer autonomous from China. They did because of legislation that I wrote, I authored legislation. It was included in the bigger bill that directed the state department. Says whether Hong Kong had real autonomy, we just got the report that we got. Through the state Department this week, right after they issued at the consequences of that
significant. There are lots of things that flow from that. Terms of number one Treasury department and sanctions that could easily flow. You know China, what's to use Hong Kong as this sort of free market bastion to get around the restrictions on China, but but in time. They want to trample freedom, their tariffs, the: U S, representative, the ten we have against China. Hong Kong is exempt from that. I think, given this determination, we will see, I believe, a determination from the president in the White House that will result in some very significant Lee consequences, basic the ending Hong Kong special status because China as no longer honouring the agreement? The hat that's very, very good point, because I guess the sky back toward you're talking about with big tech. Some some players in the world are trying to have it both ways there trying to get cert certain special protection when actually there violating the very basis of those protections, something
get in China, then. Finally, maybe the most important question that we could getting recurring here when it comes to criminal justice? What is TED Cruises stance? on the legal position of marijuana: leave it to the states, listen. I have very libertarian it thanks and I have to admit on on pot legalization over the course of my life. I've had different views at different times there. I'm sorry I was for legalization. Personally. I am not for legalization now. So if there were a referendum in Texas on it I'd vote again should I think there are some significant negative consequences that come from it, but but I believe in federalism I believe we have fifty states and reasonable people can differ on this, and I think it's perfectly fine to let the states operate laboratories of democracy to see what happens
and so I may listen when I was when I was a teenager. I spoke pot, daddy about that. My book also, you know when I was in high school early on in college. I smoke pot a member of times and it it's not something my kids, don't thankfully there nine and twelve, I'm pretty sure they haven't gone there yet, but you know it was I wasn't much older than they were when it when I first tried it and it's not something. I don't think it's good for kids to do, but I think we can leave. To the states and let the state sort out if and when should be allowed, or, if not so, what I'm hearing senator is we're not gonna get one of these Elon Musk Joe Rogan moments where you pull a joint from off Cameron, start puffing on screen. Where I get that well. I will say this: if you remember, when Bill Clinton was running for office and he said he smoked pot, but he didn't inhale yeah, I have to admit I was,
Even then, I was crack you laughing centres, thinking so you're saying you didn't. Do it right like if you gotta, do it actually like screw it up like listen. I I still smoke cigars that you, don't you don't inhale cigars, that's actually not he's in you and I have smoke cigars together, but but there are one does not, but but no, I we'll be not not be lighting up a split in this. This particular excess. Fair enough. You know you you're, you reminded me when you mention Bill Clinton. Those Democrats way sting things so fiscally irresponsible. Even when it that at least things such as that much more to get too. But, alas, we write of time senator we will have to pick it up again next time. I Michael knows this is verdict with crews.
Transcript generated on 2020-06-15.