Republicans usually revere the free market. Now, they’re cursing it.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions ... ursing-it/
Jan. 12, 2021 at 2:30 p.m. EST
You have to savor the irony: Republicans who normally extol the virtues of the free market are now cursing it. That’s because they are feeling the wrath of corporate America for having subverted U.S. democracy and instigated an insurrection.
Simon & Schuster decided to cancel a book by Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), leading him to rage against the “woke mob” in ways that he has never done against the MAGA mob that invaded the U.S. Capitol. He even called the publisher’s move a “direct assault on the First Amendment,” as though every American has a constitutional right to be published by Simon & Schuster. Other major companies have said they won’t donate to the Sedition Caucus — the 147 congressional Republicans who voted not to certify the presidential election results. The financial hit could hurt GOP chances of retaking Congress in 2022.
President Trump is said to be “gutted” because the Professional Golfers’ Association of America voted to take the 2022 PGA Championship away from one of his golf courses. If only he could get a mulligan for his attacks against U.S. democracy.
That these right-wingers are able to protest Twitter’s decision on Twitter refutes their silly scaremongering about the end of free speech. Indeed, the fact that Twitter banned the president of the United States shows that freedom of speech is very much alive in America. Any media organization in China or Russia that tried to shut down Xi Jinping or Vladimir Putin’s lies would not be in business for long — and its owners would not be at liberty either.
A better solution is to introduce more transparency and accountability into social media companies’ decisions to ban certain users — without risking heavy-handed government censorship. It’s a tough balancing act, but it can be done. Mark MacCarthy of the Brookings Institution suggests the creation of an independent industry arbitration panel that could oversee social media companies’ implementation of their own standards to make sure they are being fair and consistent. This would provide a way to appeal decisions by Twitter’s Jack Dorsey or Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg without forcing the government to rule on who should be allowed to say what.
But simply because social media companies need to be more transparent in their decisions doesn’t mean that they were wrong to ban Trump and some of his most deranged followers. If the companies had acted earlier — while Trump was spreading lies about election fraud — the Capitol might never have been attacked.