News and Commentary

WATCH: CNBC Host Taunts Cotton About Big Tech Suppression Of Biden Story. Cotton’s Matchless Answer Leaves Him Speechless.
UNITED STATES - JANUARY 29: Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., arrives for the Senate Select Intelligence Committee hearing on "Worldwide Threats" on Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2018.
Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call

On Friday, on CNBC’s “Squawk Box,” co-host Andrew Sorkin taunted Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR) about his criticism of the media and big tech for suppressing the Hunter Biden revelations, saying, “You wouldn’t want them to be reporting something that they couldn’t corroborate, no?”

Cotton, without missing a beat, fired back a matchless answer that left Sorkin speechless: “Do you mean like the Russian collusion hoax and the Steele dossier that you reported on for four years, Andrew?”

In the lead-up to that exchange, co-host Joe Kernen asked Cotton, “In the last couple of weeks, there have been a couple of issues that really could threaten to at least disrupt or hold back—and possibly even necessary moves — to try to … rein the companies in. What is, in your view, more important? This Google story, in terms of monopoly with the DOJ, or what we saw with Facebook and Twitter, in terms of deciding whether a news story should be circulated? I’m talking about Lapgate — the New York Post reporting on Vice President Biden and his son.”

After saying they were both important, Cotton pointed out that the New York Post was an “old and venerable newspaper” and has the “fourth largest circulation in the country.” He noted that Twitter had locked down the New York Post’s Twitter account, then stated, “I think a lot of conservatives and Republicans across the country have always felt that these companies are biased against their viewpoints, but now they feel it’s an open declaration of war.”

Cotton explained that “federal law since the mid-1990s has given” huge social media companies such as Twitter and Facebook “total immunity from any kind of lawsuit for what is published on their platforms. You don’t have that; newspapers don’t have that; radio stations don’t have that—and if these companies want to act as editors and curators and censors now, then they ought to face the same kind of liability rules that you all face. So Congress needs to act to amend or to repeal that immunity.”

“The New York Post reported on Hunter Biden’s alleged business dealings; it had many emails and other documents,” Cotton continued. “Now, maybe those are not authentic; maybe they are. I don’t know. I would note that Hunter Biden and the Biden campaign have not denied their authenticity. It’s kind of like the dog that didn’t bark, but you would think that most news organizations would be committed to breaking news, that they would want to dig into it deeper; they would want to explain exactly what they found, as opposed to doing what the big tech companies did, censor it, and most of the mainstream media trying to suppress it to the greatest extent they can until November 3.”

“And this is not gonna go away on November 3. Should Joe Biden win, there are still gonna be questions about whether or not Joe Biden and his family and administration is exposed to pressure from China, from the Chinese Communist Party oligarchs,” Cotton said. “It’s the exact same thing that Democrats have accused Donald Trump of facing for four years without any evidence. So we have to get to the bottom of these things, whatever the result of the election is. The media’s not doing the country any favors by essentially ignoring this story.”

Sorkin then went on the attack: “Senator, I wanted to make two points. One is that the media industry—at least the media industry that I know—has been trying to investigate this and has not been able to corroborate the story. I would also note The Wall Street Journal, which is owned by News Corporation, which also owns the New York Post, has not been able to corroborate the story and said so, quite directly, in The Wall Street Journal today, in the news pages of The Wall Street Journal. So just to clarify, it is not that the news organizations are not looking into this, it’s that they haven’t been able to corroborate the story, and a responsible news organization wouldn’t therefore report it. Now the next piece of this is, you’re talking about the tech companies censoring such ‘news.'”

“If, in fact, the tech companies had ‘liability’ like news operations do,” Sorkin stated, “you wouldn’t want them to be reporting something that they couldn’t corroborate, no?”

Cotton fired back, “Do you mean like the Russian collusion hoax and the Steele dossier that you reported on for four years, Andrew?”

Sorkin was speechless.