A video intercutting House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-CA) infamous shredding of the State of the Union Address with the Americans President Trump honored in the speech has gone viral, racking up tens of millions of views. In response, Pelosi’s camp is attempting to pressure social media platforms to remove it. The group that posted the video, Turning Point USA, is refusing to budge, and, so far, so are the platforms.
The video was produced and posted by Freedom Fights, a Facebook and Instagram channel run by Turning Point USA. It was soon picked up by President Trump’s son, Donald Trump Jr., who posted it on his popular Twitter account, and then President Trump himself, who tweeted it out on Thursday:
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 6, 2020
The video has amassed over 11 million views on Twitter alone, with another 10+ million on other platforms.
After Trump tweeted out the video, Speaker Pelosi’s office began pressuring platforms to remove the damaging video.
“The latest fake video of Speaker Pelosi is deliberately designed to mislead and lie to the American people, and every day that these platforms refuse to take it down is another reminder that they care more about their shareholders’ interests than the public’s interests,” tweeted Speaker Pelosi’s Deputy Chief of Staff Drew Hammill.
The latest fake video of Speaker Pelosi is deliberately designed to mislead and lie to the American people, and every day that these platforms refuse to take it down is another reminder that they care more about their shareholders’ interests than the public’s interests.
— Drew Hammill (@Drew_Hammill) February 7, 2020
Several Democrats, including Rhode Island’s David Cicilline, have since joined Pelosi in trying to force social media platforms to cave to their censorship demands (see below).
“This is cancel culture coming to Congress,” said Turning Point Founder and President Charlie Kirk in response to Pelosi’s pressure campaign. “Our Turning Point USA production team had the brilliant idea to make a visually moving clip of what Speaker Pelosi was ripping up when she tore up the president’s speech. There was absolutely nothing deceptive about the video. We’ve been surprised, and frankly horrified, by the many Democrats calling for censorship including from the speaker’s own office. Thankfully, many patriots have come out and reposted the video including the president. Needless to say, we will not be pulling the video and the Speaker’s misguided attempts at silencing us have had the exact opposite effect.”
Several media outlets have aided Pelosi’s cause, describing the video as “doctored” and suggesting that it has been “edited” in a deceptive way. The Associated Press reported on Pelosi’s attempts to pressure Twitter and Facebook over the viral “speech ripping” video on Monday, which AP framed as an issue of spreading “misleading political messages.”
“Pelosi’s office asked Twitter and Facebook to take down the video. Both services refused, saying it does not violate their policies intended to prohibit intentionally deceptive videos,” AP reported. “Researchers worry the video’s ‘selective editing’ could mislead people if social media companies don’t step in and properly label or regulate similar videos.”
In a press release Monday, TPUSA laid out the following timeline of the thus far unsuccessful pressure campaign to pull the video:
The video was originally posted on the Freedom Fights Facebook and Instagram pages on Wednesday, Feb. 5.
It was then reposted by Donald Trump Jr.
Then the president reposted it on Instagram. The next day, he tweeted it.
Soon after the president posted the video to Twitter, Speaker Pelosi’s team began demanding the video be removed from social media.
Speaker Pelosi’s Deputy Chief of Staff Drew Hammill, stated on Twitter: “The latest fake video of Speaker Pelosi is deliberately designed to mislead and lie to the American people, and every day that these platforms refuse to take it down is another reminder that they care more about their shareholders’ interests than the public’s interests.”
Andy Stone with Facebook’s communication’s team replied: “Sorry, are you suggesting the President didn’t make those remarks and the Speaker didn’t rip the speech?”
Pelosi Deputy Chief of Staff replied back: “What planet are you living on? this is deceptively altered. take it down.”
Other Democrats joined in: Rep. Veronica Escobar (D-Texas): “This video is clearly another deceptive effort by @realDonaldTrump to mislead and manipulate the American people, Hey @jack , show your commitment to cut down on the misinformation corroding our nation and take down this fake video.”
Rep. Ro Khanna, (D- California) “@Twitter must take this misleading video about @SpeakerPelosi down now. Social media platforms are a place where people come for news & information. They need to have certain standards. Falsity has never been part of our 1st Amendment tradition.”
Rep. Don Beyer (D- Virginia) “This video is doctored. It has been up, and pinned to the President’s page, for nearly a day. Trump posted it to deceive Americans about @SpeakerPelosi’s actions and record. If I posted a doctored video it would be a clear violation House Rules. @Twitter should take this down.”
Rep. David Cicilline (D- Rhode Island) “Hey @Twitter, this video is clearly edited in a way that’s intended to mislead viewers. You should take it down. ”
TPUSA Chief Creative Officer Benny Johnson responded in a thread and in an op-ed saying in part: “Pelosi and her foot soldiers in Congress feign outrage and call President Trump an authoritarian, when in reality it is they who cannot resist the tyrannical impulse to control, censor and silence. But this is the digital age. Instead of burning books, they’re banning videos.
Thankfully, we live in America where we have a right and a duty to hold the powerful accountable. We must protect that.”
Since the controversy, the views of the “speech-ripping” video have accelerated. The video has 10 million views on Twitter alone with notable conservative leaders coming out publicly in support including Rep. Mark Meadows, White House Director of Social Media Dan Scavino, and FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr.