Friday on FNC’s “Your World,” Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS) argued that similar to what one might see in a third-world country when a strongman “takes over in a coup d’etat,” the American left was engaged in taking over the way American citizens communicate, which could be a way to maintain power.
The Mississippi Republican U.S. Senator warned such an effort could threaten free speech, protected by the First Amendment.
Transcript as follows:
NEIL CAVUTO, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: All right, the big issue, big tech censorship.
And along comes Mississippi Senator Roger Wicker, who wants to know from all the social media companies about the pile-on to silence that crowd, that speech, that point of view.
He hasn’t gotten any answers, just sent the missives out. The senator with us right now.
Good to have you, Senator.
So, you’re trying to get to the bottom of this, right, what made them decide to not only take down anything having to do with Donald Trump, but oftentimes those even remotely associated with Donald Trump or his speeches.
SEN. ROGER WICKER (R-MS): Neil, thank you for having me on.
Yes, this is bigger than Donald Trump, and it’s even bigger than the 25 million conservative people who have chosen voluntarily to use Parler.
We’re getting outrage from the right and the left. I mean, there’s a reason that our allies in Europe are frightened about this. There’s a reason the socialist president of Mexico has spoken out about this, the ACLU.
This is — this is a frightening, troubling misuse of the power of these big techs. And, yes, we are most interested in getting answers.
When did they decide to do this? Who did they talk to?
CAVUTO: But, Senator, is part it of these companies — [Jack] Dorsey says it’s bigger than Donald Trump, hinting that this is going to go wider than Donald Trump.
What did you make of that?
WICKER: Well, it already is bigger than Donald Trump.
And — but it amounts to a stifling of free speech. And so, I mean, they’re opening themselves up. We’re certainly going to keep talking about the Section 230 liability. At this point, there is absolutely no reason why they shouldn’t operate like Neil Cavuto has to do.
You say what you believe the truth is, and you take your chances under the First Amendment. They have a special protection under the statute. People of the right and left are going to want to reexamine that.
But, also, we’re about to spend billions of dollars building out broadband and making it easier for these people to connect with Americans. I think we have to ask, don’t they have some obligation to make sure that they don’t stifle information and stifle free speech?
When a strongman goes into a third-world country and takes over in a coup d’etat, the first thing they do is go to the information centers and take over the television stations. In this case, the left has taken over a large part of the way Americans communicate.
And, yes, we need to know, did they collude with each other? Who did who did Dorsey and Zuckerberg and Pichai, who did they all talk to before making these collective decisions?
It’s a — it’s a coincidence. And my…
CAVUTO: Do you think, Senator, that they took this calculated risk?
They took this risk. Maybe some have been very nonchalant about saying it was legal cover your you-know-what with some of the harsh, violent language, and they wanted to get ahead of that, if it happens in the future, and they were to be sued if something even worse happened.
Another point of view is, Republicans aren’t in power. Pretty soon, you won’t have the Senate, you won’t have the White House. You don’t have the House. And they roll the dice to say, more Republicans are upset at this than are Democrats. And this appeals to Democrats, who aren’t keen on your point of view anyway.
What do you say to that?
WICKER: It may appeal to Democrats at this particular moment in time.
But, listen, I have seen majorities come and go. I was a member of the Senate when there were only 40 Republicans. And I have been a member of the Senate when they were 54 of us. Elections come and go. People retire. Majorities change.
This is about the First Amendment. And if this — if this doesn’t send a chill up the spines of people, of our left-wing friends who want to defend the First Amendment, then it ought to. The majority will change, and…
CAVUTO: Are you surprised that, as of yet, as of yet, it really doesn’t?
WICKER: I don’t — I don’t know about that.
But I know, obviously, there’s a lot going on in Washington.
WICKER: But I am disappointed that there is not more outrage from some of our elected officials.
I’m glad to see voices that have spoken out in favor of free speech when it’s popular and when it’s unpopular. And I’m glad to see people internationally condemning this.
But we have to get to the bottom of…
CAVUTO: No, you’re right.
It’s an eclectic group, from conservative leaders, Angela Merkel, the leader of Britain, the leader of Mexico. It’s — you’re quite right. It’s universal.
We will watch it very closely.
Senator Wicker, be safe yourself. Be well, Senator Roger Wicker of the beautiful state of Mississippi.
One of the things that…
WICKER: Thank you for calling attention to this.
CAVUTO: Thank you. Thank you, Senator.