Sen. Johnson CHALLENGES Left on Online Censorship: Unbiased ‘Arbiter of Truth’ Doesn’t Exist

October 28th, 2021 5:12 PM

“Who is going to be the unbiased arbiter of truth? I don’t think it exists,” Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) said, challenging the leftist narrative pushing for greater censorship of online speech.

Johnson called out leftist witnesses for ignoring social media censorship bias or suggesting the bias favors the right at a Thursday Senate hearing. He also challenged the overwhelming narrative that government regulation is the answer to social media’s problems, saying, “Our first line of defense is with parents.”

The Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs held a hearing on Oct. 28, 2021 titled, “Social Media Platforms and the Amplification of Domestic Extremism & Other Harmful Content.” Witnesses who testified largely focused on “right-wing” users as instances of so-called extremist “misinformation.” Sen. Johnson pointed to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s alleged 2020 election interference as having caused harm.

Johnson further cited Google researcher Dr. Robert Epstein’s research indicating that Google may have skewed search results to favor Democrats. “It doesn’t seem to me that the impact or the intent of their manipulation of data, uh, would tend to favor conservative groups or conservative thought,” Johnson said. He ultimately asked those pushing for more regulation, “Who is going to regulate this? How is free speech different when it’s on a platform versus when it’s just spoken in the town hall?”

Dr. Mary Anne Franks, author of The Cult of the Constitution: Our Deadly Devotion to Guns and Free Speech, advocated for increased censorship and alleged that “right-wing” extremist content is more amplified by social media than “left-wing” content. Franks also asserted that “[R]ight-wing content is more disproportionately associated with real world violence.” Johnson challenged the assertions, which, in fact, a recent Wall Street Journal report seemingly contradicts. Johnson asked Franks whether social media leaders lean politically right or left. Franks did not answer directly, insisting, “I’m not sure that it’s relevant.”

Johnson noted that democracy seems to be put at risk not just by so-called extremist speech but by tech platforms manipulating data. “Now, I’m certainly questioning the 230, Section 230 liability protections, when you have these platforms acting as publishers, which is what they are doing when they censor—primarily conservative thought. I’ve been censored myself, repeatedly,” Johnson stated. The senator asked who could regulate constitutional free speech well. Johnson ultimately concluded that social media seems to favor the left more than the right and that regulation could violate constitutional rights.

Evidence indicates Big Tech interfered in the 2020 election. An exclusive MRC-commissioned poll showed that over 50 percent of voters believe Big Tech engaged in “election interference” in the 2020 election. Another MRC-commissioned poll in Nov. 2020 showed that Big Tech censorship skewed the election from a Trump victory to a Biden win.

Conservatives are under attack. Contact your representatives and demand that Big Tech be held to account to mirror the First Amendment while providing equal footing for conservatives. If you have been censored, contact us using CensorTrack’s contact form, and help us hold Big Tech accountable.