The chair of the Republican National Committee complained on Friday morning that conservatives are being censored by Silicon Valley, citing the debunked conspiracy theory that Twitter and other net platforms are intentionally targeting voices on the right. But even if the problem were real, her party has done everything in its power to make that sort of Internet censorship possible.
Back in the Obama years, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) enforced a 2015 regulatory policy called “net neutrality,” aimed at protecting an open Internet. Under those rules, service providers were prohibited from throttling or blocking Internet sites. “We cannot allow Internet service providers (ISPs) to restrict the best access or to pick winners and losers in the online marketplace for services and ideas,” then-President Barack Obama explained as his administration implemented the protections.
McDaniel’s party was outraged. In their 2016 Republican National Committee platform, they vowed to repeal the protections and to allow companies to censor content as they saw fit. In an Orwellian “Protecting Internet Freedom” section of the platform, they wrote “The survival of the internet as we know it is at risk. Its gravest peril originates in the White House, the current occupant of which has launched a campaign, both at home and internationally, to subjugate it to agents of government. The President ordered the chair of the supposedly independent Federal Communications Commission to impose upon the internet rules devised in the 1930s for the telephone monopoly.”
When Donald Trump came in and appointed a new majority on the FCC, it moved quickly to kill net neutrality, calling the deregulation a return to “the light-touch regulatory scheme that fostered the internet’s growth, openness and freedom.” Freedom, in this case, meant freedom for companies to decide what Internet content users can access and what content they cannot.
McDaniel seemed unaware of this contradiction as she joined Fox & Friends on Friday morning.
“It’s important to our political dialogue that the thought police of Silicon Valley are not determining what voices get through on their social media platform,” she argued. Internet companies, she demanded, “have to address that they’re allowing free speech on their platforms and they are not suppressing conservative voices and opinions just because they don’t agree with them.”
Perhaps McDaniel might want to have a word with Trump’s FCC.
Read more: thinkprogress.org