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Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, jumped in with both feet into the fray involving Google and The Federalist, questioning whether the Big Tech company is abusing its power to censor political speech it disagrees with.
NBC News reported Tuesday that Google “banned” the conservative publication from its ad platform, along with ZeroHedge, for “pushing unsubstantiated claims” about the Black Lives Matter movement.
Turns out, Google appears to be holding the website accountable for comments left on articles.
“To be clear, The Federalist is not currently demonetized,” Google later clarified in a statement. “We do have strict publisher policies that govern the content ads can run on, which includes comments on the site. This is a longstanding policy.”
The tech behemoth said in a tweet, “We worked with them to address issues on their site related to the comments section.”
We worked with them to address issues on their site related to the comments section.
— Google Communications (@Google_Comms) June 16, 2020
While NBC reported that Google took action after they were notified by the British nonprofit Center for Countering Digital Hate, Fox News would report that it “appears to have been NBC News’ inquiry into the matter that prompted Google’s actions in the first place.”
Christopher Bedford, senior editor for The Federalist, would characterize the story as “a very clumsy attack.”
Cruz penned a letter to Google CEO Sundar Pichai addressing his concerns.
“The culture of free speech in this country is under attack, and Google is helping lead the charge,” the Republican senator wrote. “Whereas Americans once understood that the best response to speech was more speech, some Americans, with the help of some of the most powerful companies on the planet, are now pressing to silence and punish those expressing views that do not align with the prevailing and ever-shifting progressive orthodoxy.”
NEW: @SenTedCruz sends letter to @Google CEO after @NBCNews report that the search engine planned to demonitize @FDRLST: “As evidenced by its actions yesterday, Google seems more than happy to play this censorship role…” pic.twitter.com/iwo5VagZTP
— Philip Melanchthon Wegmann (@PhilipWegmann) June 17, 2020
“These individuals demand that people with different views lose their livelihoods if they step out of line.” Cruz continued. “Companies like Google must — to use a most Orwellian term — ‘demonetize’ them.”
He noted the Center for Countering Digital Hate “is now actively fundraising off its success enlisting Google in its efforts to silence views contrary to its political agenda.”
Cruz stated that Google reportedly gave The Federalist three days to eliminate the offensive comments, or simply turn off its comments section.
“This is no better,” he insisted.
In noting the double standard at play, the lawmaker named a number of left-leaning sites.
“But one need not look that far,” Cruz wrote. “On any given day, there are thousands of profane, racist, and indefensible comments posted on YouTube, which is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Google.”
The chairman of the Constitution Subcommittee of the Senate Judiciary Committee asked Google to provide communications with The Federalist, and asked additional questions pertaining to the matter, to include questions about fair application of its standards.
Federalist co-founder Sean Davis appeared on Fox News’ “Tucker Carlson Tonight” to discuss the day’s events.
“We never got any formal notice from Google, we never got any notice from their ad team. We learned about this from NBC News,” he said.
Davis said NBC “partnered with a foreign left-wing group in Europe to go after us and use Google to go after us,” noting that they have temporarily removed their comments section.
“We are back in Google’s good graces but this is a pretty terrifying example of the power that you have of the unholy union of corrupt media and monopolistic tech oligarchs,” he warned.
Davis also blasted NBC News for its involvement in events.
“There are a lot of questions that need to be answered,” he said. “Especially by those involved at NBC, who put forward a completely false and maliciously so article attacking us, slurring us and slamming us and defaming us with things that had no basis in reality whatsoever.”
“And if this were a just world, there would be accountable for that,” Davis added. “There would be accountability for fake journalists who go around trying to destroy their competition for the crime of criticizing them.”
He concluded by pointing out The Federalist was able to ward off the attack by the “whiny cry bullies” on the left because of their size and influence, but many smaller entities are helpless when faced with similar attacks.
I'd have thought at least a few of the journalists who claim they value journalistic integrity would have poked their heads up today to condemn what NBC News tried to pull off.
— Chuck Ross (@ChuckRossDC) June 17, 2020
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