Sen. Cruz Slams Googles Political Bias: Stop Targeting & Censoring Conservatives
Highlights threats Big Tech poses to free speech and democracy on Fox News & Fox Business
June 18, 2020
WASHINGTON, D.C. - After blasting Google's politically motivated targeting of a conservative news outlet in a scathing letter to CEO Sundar Pichai, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), chairman of the Subcommittee on The Constitution, appeared on Fox Business' "Mornings with Maria," and Fox News' "The Daily Briefing" and "Fox & Friends" to discuss how Big Tech's pattern of political bias poses a real threat to freedom of speech and democracy. Excerpts from his interviews are below.
ON GOOGLE'S POLITICALLY MOTIVATED TARGETING OF CONSERVATIVES:
"[Google] went after The Federalist, which is a conservative media organization. They threatened to demonetize them, to cut off all ad revenue. And in the internet world that can be the difference between life or death. [...] I sent a letter this week to the CEO of Google pointing out this was blatant censorship, and listing about a dozen left wing sites that all have comments. [...] Google is not imposing the standards on them. Most critically, Maria, Google is not imposing the standards on itself. Google owns YouTube, the massive video platform, and if you take just a minute and look at the YouTube comments, you see all the time offensive, racist, [and] profane comments. And so I demanded production of a number of documents, a number of internal materials from Google as to why they were abusing their monopoly position [...] and why they were abusing their monopoly position to try to harm a competitor of theirs, and impose standards on The Federalist that they weren't imposing on their very own company YouTube?" (Sen. Cruz, "Mornings with Maria," Fox Business, 6/18/2020)
"Google is a monopoly. It has more control, more power over information than any entity in the history of mankind. [...] They've taken a new step. They went after a conservative journalistic outlet and ‘demonetized them' or threatened to demonetize them - not even for anything they'd said, but for things that were allegedly in the comments section that various third parties had posted. So last night I sent a letter to the CEO of Google - I'm the chairman of the Constitution Subcommittee of the Senate Judiciary Committee - I sent a letter demanding an explanation as to why they are censoring free speech." (Sen. Cruz, "The Daily Briefing," Fox News, 6/17/2020)
ON BIG TECH'S THREAT TO FREE SPEECH:
"Big Tech gets a special immunity from liability that nobody else gets. And the reason they get it is that Congress believed they would be neutral public forums. In other words, they would allow people to post and it'd be third parties and it wasn't fair to hold them liable for what other third parties said. [...] Big Tech, and in particular, Google, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, they made a conscious decision they aren't going to be a neutral public forum anymore. Instead they will censor, shadow ban, [and] silence the voices they disagree with. They're silencing conservatives and [amplifying] the voices they agree with. And if they do that, there's no reason on Earth that Congress should give them a special immunity from liability that nobody else gets." (Sen. Cruz, "Fox & Friends," Fox News, 6/18/2020)
ON BIG TECH'S THREAT TO OUR DEMOCRACY & ELECTIONS:
"Big Tech is angry that Donald Trump got elected, and they are angry at themselves for letting him get elected. I believe Big Tech has resolved they won't let it happen again. They are going to do everything they can to try to silence any speech that they don't like, and they are brazen about. They discovered that they can do it without major consequences at least to date. (Sen. Cruz, "Mornings with Maria," Fox Business, 6/18/2020)
"I have chaired a whole series of hearings looking at Big Tech censorship. I think this is the single biggest threat to our democracy. In one hearing, we heard testimony from an academic named Robert Epstein who has done the only empirical study of Google searches. He found in the last election, in 2016, that Google's manipulation and misleading searches shifted upwards of 2.6 million votes to Hillary Clinton. [...] He also testified in 2020 [that] if they do it again and lean in hard, they could move upwards of 15 million votes. This is a profound threat. [...] We need all of the resources of the administration, focused on stopping this lawless conduct and protecting free speech and our elections, because if we don't, Silicon Valley billionaires control and decide our elections." (Sen. Cruz, "Mornings with Maria," Fox Business, 6/18/2020)
Fox Business: Cruz pressures Google on The Federalist, ZeroHedge ad crackdown
Cruz's letter, obtained by Fox News, focuses on The Federalist and says Google's efforts to demonetize the publication raise ‘serious concerns.' [...] ‘Destroying' The Federalist's ‘ability to use advertising to reach willing readers should be wholly beyond the pale,' Cruz said. [...] Cruz has been vocal in his criticism of big tech censorship in recent weeks since Twitter decided to label two of the president's tweets, sparking a new debate about Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act and its role in protecting social media platforms that edit user content.
Washington Examiner: Ted Cruz demands answers from Google over ‘effort to censor' the Federalist
"Sen. Ted Cruz sent a letter to the CEO of Google accusing the company of ‘abusing its monopoly power in an effort to censor political speech with which it disagrees' and demanding answers on communications the tech giant had with third parties concerning a conservative outlet. [...] Cruz sent his letter to Google CEO Sundar Pichai following the report, saying the incident appears to be part of a trend within a ‘bigger problem' concerning the censorship of free speech in Silicon Valley."
Fox News: Ted Cruz blasts Google over The Federalist treatment
"Cruz plans to send Google CEO Sundar Pichai a letter on Wednesday and called its alleged action part of a bigger problem involving the culture of free speech being attack in the U.S, adding that the company was helping to lead that charge. Cruz wrote that Americans at one time understood the best response to free speech, ‘was more free speech.' He claimed that some Americans, with the assistance of powerful companies, are now pressing to silence and punish people who express their views that don't ‘align with the prevailing and ever-shifting progressive orthodoxy.' [...] He added: "As evidence by its actions yesterday, Google seems more than happy to play this censorship role by trying to break the financial back of a media publication it disagrees with.""
The Federalist: Sen. Ted Cruz Blasts Google For Censorship Of The Federalist, Demands Answers About Collusion With NBC News
"In his letter, Cruz points out the hypocrisy and irony presented by Google in this matter. ‘Google's decision to target The Federalist is transparently politically motivated,' noted Sen. Cruz. ‘Numerous ‘progressive' media outlets allow comments, including, Huffington Post, Mother Jones, Daily Kos, Talking Points Memo, Wonkette, Slate, Jezebel, The Root, Salon, The Intercept, The Young Turks, and many others.' He also noted that "on any given day, there are thousands of profane, racist, and indefensible comments posted on YouTube, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Google."
Daily Wire: Cruz Unloads On Google Over Debacle In Failed NBC News Hit On The Federalist, Gets AG Barr Involved
"Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) unloaded on Google in a letter late Tuesday over a debacle that played out on social media in which NBC News ran a hit piece on the conservative publication The Federalist in an apparent attempt to get them demonetized from Google - a move that would damage their business. [...] In the letter, Cruz highlighted the ‘serious concerns' that Google's alleged actions raised with respect to an apparent attempt to ‘censor political speech with which it disagrees.'"
Washington Times: Sen. Ted Cruz warns Google over attack on conservative media
"The Texas Republican accused the internet giant of hypocrisy in targeting The Federalist, the conservative site, for offensive comments posted on its stories, even as Google's own platform, YouTube, has similarly offensive comments. Mr. Cruz said Google has long insisted it is protected by Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which allows internet companies to claim they are pass-throughs and not responsible for the content users post online. But Mr. Cruz wondered why Google wasn't treating The Federalist the same way. ‘It is also deeply ironic that Google is financially punishing a website for speech that appears on its platform,' the senator wrote in the letter."