Fox News host Tucker Carlson blasted the Biden administration on Wednesday for their prosecution of a 31-year-old man behind a right-wing Twitter account that the Department of Justice claims committed “election interference” by spreading “disinformation,” in part by “memes.”
Douglass Mackey, known online as Ricky Vaughn, was arrested Wednesday in West Palm Beach and is facing a staggering 10 years in prison.
At the helm of the pro-Trump account, Mackey is accused of essentially tricking people into not voting in the 2016 election by suggesting folks text in their vote to avoid long lines. These types of voting pranks are rife online and have certainly not only been perpetrated by Mackey. For example, a Twitter-verified comedian told Trump supporters to vote for Trump via text, or cast their vote on “Super Wednesday.” Her tweet was posted on Nov. 8, 2016, which was Election Day.
— Kristina Wong ❄️ (@mskristinawong) November 8, 2016
“Well, it looks like this is the part of the revolution where they start throwing their political opponents in jail,” Carlson started off his show Wednesday night, referencing the prosecution of Mackey. “That was fast. It was just a week ago they were telling us about ‘unity.’ Remember that? Well, we didn’t know at the time, is that everyone with power should unite against the rest of the country. ‘Unity’ meant oligarchy.”
“Doug Mackey learned that the hard way this morning,” the host continued. “Mackey is a 31-year-old conservative journalist from Florida. At 7:00 a.m., FBI agents showed up at his house, they threw him in handcuffs, and they dragged him to a cell. He now faces 10 years in prison.”
“His crime? He made fun of powerful Democrats on social media,” Carlson asserted. “As the federal criminal complaint puts it, ‘Mackey made a coordinated use of social media to spread disinformation relative to the impending 2016 presidential election.’ … This disinformation ‘often took the form of memes.’ Yes, memes: online mockery. Mockery online is now illegal when it’s aimed at the wrong people. Doug Mackey hurt their feelings, so they put them in jail.”
Carlson noted that Mackey was accused of violating 18 U.S. Code section 241 by apparently “tricking” people into not voting in the presidential election of 2016.
According to a press release from the Biden Justice Department on the matter, Mackey, on Nov. 1, 2016, “allegedly tweeted an image that featured an African American woman standing in front of an ‘African Americans for [the Candidate]’ sign. The image included the following text: ‘Avoid the Line. Vote from Home. Text ‘[Candidate’s first name]’ to 59925[.] Vote for [the Candidate] and be a part of history.'”
“The fine print at the bottom of the image stated: ‘Must be 18 or older to vote. One vote per person. Must be a legal citizen of the United States. Voting by text not available in Guam, Puerto Rico, Alaska or Hawaii. Paid for by [Candidate] for President 2016.'”
“On or about and before Election Day 2016, at least 4,900 unique telephone numbers texted ‘[Candidate’s first name]’ or some derivative to the 59925 text number, which was used in multiple deceptive campaign images tweeted by the defendant and his co-conspirators,” the press release added.
“What is interesting is that prosecutors showed no evidence whatsoever that Doug Mackey actually tricked anyone into anything, voting or not, not a single person,” Carlson said.
The Fox host noted that he doesn’t know Mackey’s political views and he doesn’t care, underscoring the Biden administration’s apparent targeting of free speech.
“By the way, we have no idea what his views are,” Carlson said. “We don’t care. What CNN is telling us is that those views are a crime. He’s a criminal. Lock him up. Give him a longer sentence than we give to rapists.”
Carlson also argued that Mackey did not violate 18 U.S. Code section 241. “Joe Biden’s Justice Department is lying in an obvious way and that should make you very nervous,” he said. “It turns out that federal law does not ban memes, or for that matter, misinformation, whatever that is. The law that Biden’s prosecutors citing instead prohibits ‘conspiring to injure, oppress, threaten, or intimidating anyone from exercising the right to vote.'”
“According to law, that would include kidnapping voters, invading their homes, sexually abusing them,” Carlson explained. “Doug Mackey did not do any of that, not even close to any of that. Doug Mackey made memes. Therefore, he’s a domestic terrorist. Speech is violence; dissent is a felony.”
“What does this mean for the First Amendment?” the host posed. “Well, it means that it is effectively suspended. You can now be arrested for saying the wrong thing.”
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