Sen. Cruz: The Pattern of Censorship We're Seeing From Big Tech Is Really Dangerous
Discusses big tech censorship of pro-life and conservative voices with Fox News Shannon Bream
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) on Wednesday appeared on Fox News’ “Fox News @ Night with Shannon Bream” to discuss the concerns he raised with representatives from Twitter and Facebook during the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on The Constitution’s hearing, “Stifling Free Speech: Technological Censorship and the Public Discourse.” Watch Sen. Cruz’s full interview here.
Sen. Cruz noted the pattern of censorship of conservative and pro-life voices on social media platforms, including posts from the Susan B. Anthony List and the marketing campaign of the new pro-life movie “Unplanned.”
“They [the extreme left and big tech companies] say if you don't want to be censored, just don't say things we disagree with,” Sen. Cruz said to Bream. “That’s really the arrogance. We see that on college campuses. We see that in big tech. We had testimony today, for example, we had the producer of the movie “Unplanned,” a phenomenal movie--true story of Abby Johnson, former clinic director of Planned Parenthood who became a pro-life activist. Google refused to run their ads; Twitter took down their web page. They did everything they could. The big networks all refused to carry their ads, and nonetheless, it became the number four movie in the country. It’s in the theaters right now.”
“We see this pattern over and over again,” Sen. Cruz continued. “We heard testimony from the Susan B. Anthony list about how repeatedly pro-life tweets, pro-life posts have been censored. We had during the hearing today, I put up a tweet that was sent out from the Susan B. Anthony list--a quote from Mother Teresa that Twitter censored. I asked Twitter, ‘Do you consider this quote from Mother Teresa to be hate speech?’ They refused to answer that. That pattern of censorship it’s really dangerous, and none of us should be happy to have a handful of left-wing Silicon Valley billionaires censoring what is said and silencing conservatives, silencing Christians, silencing people of faith. That’s not right and we’ve got to act to stop it.”
During the hearing, Sen. Cruz heard testimony from a number of witnesses, including Dr. Chuck Konzelman, the writer and director of “Unplanned” which tells the true-life story of Abby Johnson, a former Planned Parenthood surgical abortion clinic director turned pro-life advocate. Excerpts of their exchange is below. Watch their exchange here.
Sen. Cruz: “What were the consequences, in particular, of Google preventing you from advertising? As you noted, Google itself touts that its advertisements are very effective. What consequences did you face from that censorship?”
Mr. Konzelman: “Given that there’s blanket and kind of systematic censorship, social media was where we turned to. We assumed that we would be allowed to engage in a commercial transaction. Having the money to buy advertising, we assumed we’d be able to buy advertising. And even though certain news organizations have treated us with tremendous journalistic respect, there’s a psychological mechanism in the mind of a movie ticket buyer. Until they see some paid advertising, they don’t really associate that it is a real movie that is coming out at a particular date. You need to try to create somewhere between, estimates go between—8 and 12 impressions. So we were not able to create those impressions very easily for that market.”
Sen. Cruz: “And as I understand it, despite this almost total social media blackout, although you did give credit to Facebook for not engaging in this practice, and despite this almost total media blackout, the film nonetheless in its opening weekend became the number five selling movie in the country despite concerted efforts to prevent moviegoers from hearing about it.”
Mr. Konzelman: “It was actually number four when the numbers got finalized. We thought it was five. It actually jumped to number four when the numbers were finalized. And just so I can give a relative measure of what I believe the importance of the film is, before it aired, Michael Farris, who’s the president of Alliance Defending Freedom had said, ‘I believe this is the cultural event that can overturn Roe.’ Now that would thrill some and scare others. But I will say that after about 10 days from release or a couple more now, we have had approaches through Abby Johnson’s organization, And Then There Were None, which transitions workers out of the abortion industry. […] I think on the order of one percent of the abortion workers in the United States after getting one look at them being portrayed on film, and it serves I think also as some evidence that they’re not being portrayed as monsters, have decided to change their lives and their profession and what they do for a living.”