On Thursday’s episode of “The Michael Knowles Show,” Knowles argues that Vox Media host Carlos Maza’s attempt to get comedian Steven Crowder demonetized and removed from the video-sharing website YouTube was not a simple case of hurt feelings, but a coordinated attack on conservative content creators. Video and partial transcript below.
It’s a twofold political stunt. Why did Carlos Maza do this now? He said that Crowder has been calling him a “lispy queer” for years. Maza has been calling himself a “queer” for years. Why right now? Well, it’s because this is Pride month. Carlos Maza launched this whole crusade on May 30th, two days before the launch of Pride Month. This was not an exasperated emotional reaction to harassment. This was a highly calculated premeditated attempt to censor conservatives on YouTube and other social media which are, by the way, the largest public squares in the entire world. Certainly, in the country but in the entire world as well. This was a highly calculated attempt by a highly calculating political operative named Carlos Maza to sensor conservatives from the public square.
It has mostly worked. He’s a whiny un-American authoritarian, but Carlos Maza is pretty effective. But it’s not just launched at the beginning of Pride Month, it’s launched at the beginning of the 2020 cycle. It’s 2019, the elections are underway and now YouTube is going to mobilize to help Democrats unfairly. The Left complains about Citizens United, how that Supreme Court decision upheld the corporation’s right to donate to political campaigns. They said it was awful and they said corporations aren’t people, corporations can’t donate.
Then what is this? What this is, is just one giant completely unregulated corporate donation to Democrats. They’re admitting it. They say they’re going to censor conservatives and they’re going to help Democrats. At least after Citizens United, other corporations have to disclose their political contributions, but not YouTube. YouTube doesn’t have to disclose this. It’s a huge in-kind contribution for Dems during a very contentious election year.
So how should conservatives respond? This reopens the same debate between conservatism and classical liberalism or conservative liberalism that we have been talking about for the past two weeks. Some libertarian classical liberal types insist that the government should take no action. They say YouTube is a private company, and they can kick off whoever they want. It’s not the government, no big deal. That’s one idea. They’re uncomfortable with the government stepping in to regulate social media.
Now the less classical liberal, more conservative minded people, say absolutely the government should prevent this mass censorship on a national and global scale of conservative ideas. So which is it? Should we say hands off, YouTube can do whatever they want, or should we get involved?
This is based on a faulty premise. This is based on the premise that the government, right now, doesn’t already have its finger on the scales. It does. The government is already giving these corporations, like YouTube, unfair protection. The law in this country is supposed to treat publishers and platforms differently. Right now, however, the law is treating social media companies like publishers when it suits them; and like platforms when it suits them otherwise.
In some cases, it’s one, in some cases it’s the other. This is not exactly on the question of censorship. It’s on the question of what these companies are. Here at The Daily Wire, we have no obligation to publish views that we disagree with. We do because all of the writers and the hosts all disagree with each other all the time, but we don’t publish every single opinion in the world. We’re not a left-wing news site, we’re a conservative news site. We don’t need to worry about charges of censorship because we’re a publisher. We decide what we want to publish. We pick which stories to run. But since we’re a publisher, we have to worry about a lot of other things, such as copyright infringement, defamation, libel, IP theft, fair use, all these different things that YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter all the other social media companies don’t have to worry about because they say that they are platforms, not publishers — sometimes. They say they’re just an internet platform, which gives them a whole lot of government help, a whole lot of protections.
Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996 says, “no provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as a publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider.” What’s the purpose of that? It’s so that the Internet could grow, and this has led to incredible growth. By protecting tech companies from copyright and other publisher issues, it allowed them not to get totally bogged down and stifled as the Internet was growing.
It’s created billionaires, it’s created billion dollar corporations. It has allowed the Internet to flourish. Now those platforms are abusing that protection. The protection that was made to allow the Internet to grow to allow these companies to exist, they are now abusing that protection and behaving as publishers. Obviously, they’re choosing what content they want on the platform what content they don’t. Not just YouTube, it’s all of big tech trying to have it both ways.