Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., appeared on Fox News’ “The Story,” Tuesday evening to defend his massive $250 million lawsuit against social media giant Twitter.
Insisting that “our First Amendment rights are at stake here” Nunes filed the lawsuit on Monday against Twitter and two social media users, saying that “we have to hold them accountable.” He is accusing the social media platform of “shadow-banning” conservatives to secretly hide their tweets, censoring viewpoints and allowing fake accounts to slander him.
Host Martha MacCallum played a clip of Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey saying they “do not look at content with regards to political viewpoint or ideology,” asking Nunes to respond.
“Well, look, I don’t care if they have bias or don’t have bias — I believe they do, we won’t know that until we get to the discovery process and that would be the easiest way to go about this,” he said. “If they want to — we’re trying to get to discovery if they can show they aren’t being biased I’ll be glad to drop the lawsuit.”
The former chairman of the House Intelligence Committee stressed that his point is to say that Twitter is a de facto “content developer.”
“But the fact of the matter is, they’ve been very biased in my opinion and the point we’re to make here is they’re content developers,” Nunes said. “They’re regulating so much. They’re the main way people get their news in this country and how journalists spread their news around. Everybody is on Twitter today. Just the fact they’re saying we don’t have bias, they’re admitting they are content developers and that’s what this case is all about.”
MacCallum pointed out that Nunes is a public figure and showed a clip of Fox News senior judicial analyst Andrew Napolitano saying — no surprise — that what Twitter is being accused of doing “is not illegal.”
” You know, that’s horrible and if it happened to me I would be furious. It’s not illegal. They aren’t the government,” Napolitano said, his point being the First Amendment only regulates the government, not a private entity like Twitter.
Nunes responded to say he is talking about “defamation.”
“If it’s with reckless disregard for the truth and with malice, doesn’t matter if you’re a public figure or not,” he countered.
In a reversal of roles, Nunes went on to say it’s no different than if someone came after MacCallum and negatively impacted her contract with Fox News .
“And look, we want to get to the discovery process,” he added. “There is no question not only have I been defamed, it has been multiple times, hundreds and thousands of times.”
MacCallum said it’s widely recognized that “these social media organizations have an enormous amount of power in modern society,” before asking Nunes if his goal was to create a system whether there is a little more accountability on their part.
“There’s a few things,” he replied. “Either they are going to admit that they’re content developers, or they need to stop being content developers and just be an actual public square so I can exercise my First Amendment rights.”
“Secondly, the people they’re allowing to defame me, they are political operatives,” the Republican lawmaker continued. “We have no idea if they’re associated with anything to do with the Russia investigation that we led — because a lot of what they were doing was trying to obstruct our investigation into what Russia did in the 2016 election.”
“We want the find out exactly who these people are that have defamed and slandered me on massive scales.”
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