The Washington Post Editorial Board praised the shutdown of free-speech platform Parler by the company owned by the same “world’s richest person” that owns The Washington Post.
The Jan. 11 editorial screed was headlined, “Parler deserved to be taken down. We still need new rules for the Internet.” The Post gushed in the first paragraph that “PRESIDENT TRUMP’S exile from Twitter and Facebook last week left him with Parler, a fringe, laissez-faire social media site, as his likely best alternative for online communication.” It continued: “Then Parler found itself on the outs, too, booted from Apple and Google’s app stores and Amazon’s Web-hosting service.” Liberal billionaire Jeff Bezos owns both Amazon (11.1 percent stake) and The Post. [Emphasis added.]
Then came the knee-slapper: “It is legitimate for corporate actors to scrub their sites of speech with the potential to cause harm.” Step one: Bezos-owned Amazon denies Parler access to its servers. Step two: Bezos-owned newspaper The Post swoops in to explain Amazon’s actions to the public. Sounds like a good public relations stunt. [Emphasis added.]
The Post, however, is being hypocritical. It worries about “speech with the potential to cause harm” on Parler, while its owner’s other company is allowing 204 items promoting violence and hate to be sold on its website. One T-shirt with the words “Kill All Republicans” is currently for sale on Amazon.
But The Post didn’t stop there. It accused Parler of fostering “speech with the potential to cause harm, such as the explicit plotting that preceded last week’s armed insurrection at the Capitol.” The Post later undercut its own narrative, tweeting out a story two days later showing that much of the organizing for the riot occurred on liberal Big Tech platform Facebook. The Post said in its tweet: “Facebook’s [Sheryl] Sandberg deflects blame for Capitol riot even as new evidence shows it played a pivotal role.” Does The Post believe that Facebook should be “taken down” too, or only platforms The Post’s sister company Amazon bans? [Emphasis added.]
The Post Editorial Board noted the power Big Tech companies are able to exercise. It even admitted that Bezos owns both the newspaper and the company it praised for shutting down a tech competitor. The irony was mind-numbing:
“[T]heir response has revealed the tremendous power that a handful of private companies wield over the public square. Some of those companies are well known to the public (one, Amazon, is led by Jeff Bezos, who also owns The Post). Others operate the hidden infrastructure of the Internet and are unfamiliar to most of us.”
The Post said it didn’t believe “corporate breakups” were the answer to curtailing Big Tech’s power. It instead suggested that the power of “regulation” of speech should be left to — wait for it — Washington, D.C.
The Post wrote:
The government has abdicated its responsibility on both ends of this question [on regulation]. There’s the matter of ensuring safety by requiring that companies put into place systems for rooting out illegal behavior, instead of ignoring or encouraging it. If we want rules of the road for the Twitters and Parlers of the Web — rules about inciting violence, for example — they should be set by our elected representatives, not unelected CEOs.”
The Post concluded with a heavy dose of virtue-signaling and advocacy for government control over free speech:
Some will say this puts us on a slippery slope toward unacceptable curtailments of expression. They’re right, but the alternative is violent rhetoric left unchecked, which we now know too well can result in violent action. It’s time for the public to insist that the government do its job and set some rules that balance the urgency of free speech with the necessity of public safety.
Conservatives are under attack. Contact The Washington Post at 202-334-6000 and demand it stop supporting censorship of companies it disagrees with.
MRC Assistant Editor Corinne Weaver and MRC TechWatch Contributing Writer Alec Schemmel contributed to this report.