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Federal Court rules Big Tech has no 'freewheeling First Amendment right to censor'

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  • Federal Court rules Big Tech has no 'freewheeling First Amendment right to censor'

    Federal Court rules Big Tech has no 'freewheeling First Amendment right to censor'

    This could get interesting...

    Decision upholds Texas law that limited the right of social media companies to squash opinions

    A federal appeals court upheld a Texas law on Friday that seeks to curb censorship by social media platforms. The ruling, a major victory for Republicans who charge companies like Twitter and Facebook are limiting free speech, is a step in a major legal battle that could end up at the Supreme Court.

    n his opinion, Federal Judge Andrew S. Oldham of the Fifth Circuit said the platforms argued for "a rather odd inversion of the First Amendment" that "buried somewhere in the person’s enumerated right to free speech lies a corporation’s unenumerated right to muzzle speech."

    "Today we reject the idea that corporations have a freewheeling First Amendment right to censor what people say," Judge Oldham continued.


    https://www.foxnews.com/politics/fed...r-for-big-tech
    Atheism is the cult of death, the death of hope. The universe is doomed, you are doomed, the only thing that remains is to await your execution...

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jbnueb2OI4o&t=3s

  • #2
    Amen!
    The first to state his case seems right until another comes and cross-examines him.

    Comment


    • #3

      I'm always still in trouble again

      "You're by far the worst poster on TWeb" and "TWeb's biggest liar" --starlight (the guy who says Stalin was a right-winger)
      "Overall I would rate the withdrawal from Afghanistan as by far the best thing Biden's done" --Starlight
      "Of course, human life begins at fertilization that’s not the argument." --Tassman

      Comment


      • #4
        Is "Big Tech" in the same category as broadcast media? If so, then they do not have the right to censor one side of a political spectrum.

        https://www.britannica.com/topic/Fairness-Doctrine

        In 1959 a portion of the fairness doctrine became U.S. law when Congress amended the Communications Act with the doctrine’s mandate of equal airtime for office seekers. The revised law recognized some exceptions to the equal airtime mandate but held that such exceptions did not annul licensees’ obligation to provide equal airtime and balanced coverage of “conflicting views on issues of public importance.”


        If they are simply private companies exercising their right to run their companies in a way they choose, then they need to have their Internet presence curtailed because they are near monopolies and are squeezing out the competition. They can't have it both ways.
        "You should just assume going forward that if I am ever wrong it is a typo" - Backup
        "
        Reality simply does not change based upon consensus or desire." - rogue

        Comment


        • #5
          Federal Judge Andrew S. Oldham of the Fifth Circuit said the platforms argued for "a rather odd inversion of the First Amendment" that "buried somewhere in the person’s enumerated right to free speech lies a corporation’s unenumerated right to muzzle speech."

          That's a darn good point. The argument against, I suppose, is that the First Amendment, if read literally, applies only to governments, so, leaving aside the fact that our own government has been using social media as an end run around the Constitution, can the First Amendment be stretched to include privately owned corporations like Facebook, Twitter, Google, etc.? It would depend, I think, on the intent of our Founding Fathers who likely never envisioned a day when corporations would challenge governments in terms of power and influence.
          Some may call me foolish, and some may call me odd
          But I'd rather be a fool in the eyes of man
          Than a fool in the eyes of God


          From "Fools Gold" by Petra

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Mountain Man View Post
            Federal Judge Andrew S. Oldham of the Fifth Circuit said the platforms argued for "a rather odd inversion of the First Amendment" that "buried somewhere in the person’s enumerated right to free speech lies a corporation’s unenumerated right to muzzle speech."

            That's a darn good point. The argument against, I suppose, is that the First Amendment, if read literally, applies only to governments, so, leaving aside the fact that our own government has been using social media as an end run around the Constitution, can the First Amendment be stretched to include privately owned corporations like Facebook, Twitter, Google, etc.? It would depend, I think, on the intent of our Founding Fathers who likely never envisioned a day when corporations would challenge governments in terms of power and influence.
            I think the "Fairness Doctrine" is going to start playing a part in this.

            In the olden days when a TV or radio station aired a commentary (it's view on some political issue) or a newspaper put up an editorial, they were all obliged to allow the opposition to air their views as well. I think it was originally meant to keep single-TV station towns from having a monopoly. And then it was amended to apply to all media everywhere, regardless of size or location.

            The Internet does not belong to Google or Facebook so they are hitching a ride on a public forum to run their private companies. Not a biggie in and of itself, but they have become political hotbeds and only really allowing one side to be aired. That becomes the problem.
            "You should just assume going forward that if I am ever wrong it is a typo" - Backup
            "
            Reality simply does not change based upon consensus or desire." - rogue

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Ronson View Post

              I think the "Fairness Doctrine" is going to start playing a part in this.

              In the olden days when a TV or radio station aired a commentary (it's view on some political issue) or a newspaper put up an editorial, they were all obliged to allow the opposition to air their views as well. I think it was originally meant to keep single-TV station towns from having a monopoly. And then it was amended to apply to all media everywhere, regardless of size or location.

              The Internet does not belong to Google or Facebook so they are hitching a ride on a public forum to run their private companies. Not a biggie in and of itself, but they have become political hotbeds and only really allowing one side to be aired. That becomes the problem.
              Wasn't the Fairness Doctrine repealed nearly 40 years ago? I thought its end was what allowed talk radio to blossom.

              I'm always still in trouble again

              "You're by far the worst poster on TWeb" and "TWeb's biggest liar" --starlight (the guy who says Stalin was a right-winger)
              "Overall I would rate the withdrawal from Afghanistan as by far the best thing Biden's done" --Starlight
              "Of course, human life begins at fertilization that’s not the argument." --Tassman

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by rogue06 View Post
                Wasn't the Fairness Doctrine repealed nearly 40 years ago? I thought its end was what allowed talk radio to blossom.
                Close.

                More like 35 years.

                I remember back in the heyday of Maha-Rushi that Hilary was always yelping and barking that it needed to be restored to give the libs "equal time" because El Rushbo got fifteen hours a week unchallenged. He correctly replied with the bon mot, "I don't need 'equal time,' I AM 'equal time,'" based on the fact that he was the main counterweight to all the left-leaning "regular" media.
                Geislerminian Antinomian Kenotic Charispneumaticostal Gender Mutualist-Egalitarian.

                Beige Federalist.

                Nationalist Christian.

                "Everybody is somebody's heretic."

                Social Justice is usually the opposite of actual justice.

                Proud member of the LGBFJB community.

                Would-be Grand Vizier of the Padishah Maxi-Super-Ultra-Hyper-Mega-MAGA King Trumpius Rex.

                Justice for Ashli Babbitt!

                Justice for Matthew Perna!

                Arrest Ray Epps and his Fed bosses!

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by rogue06 View Post
                  Wasn't the Fairness Doctrine repealed nearly 40 years ago? I thought its end was what allowed talk radio to blossom.
                  Geez. They came up with some decent legislation and they repealed it? I had no idea.
                  "You should just assume going forward that if I am ever wrong it is a typo" - Backup
                  "
                  Reality simply does not change based upon consensus or desire." - rogue

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by NorrinRadd View Post

                    Close.

                    More like 35 years.

                    I remember back in the heyday of Maha-Rushi that Hilary was always yelping and barking that it needed to be restored to give the libs "equal time" because El Rushbo got fifteen hours a week unchallenged. He correctly replied with the bon mot, "I don't need 'equal time,' I AM 'equal time,'" based on the fact that he was the main counterweight to all the left-leaning "regular" media.
                    Interesting. I could see it being repealed based on the fact that there are so many outlets now compared to the old broadcast days, but it shouldn't have been. It should have been tinkered but not removed.
                    "You should just assume going forward that if I am ever wrong it is a typo" - Backup
                    "
                    Reality simply does not change based upon consensus or desire." - rogue

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Ronson View Post

                      Geez. They came up with some decent legislation and they repealed it? I had no idea.
                      During the bush era there was a push from democrats to bring the doctrine back. Their thought was they could force Rush (and other RW Talk) off of the radio by forcing radio stations to air an equal amount of poorly performing left wing radio programs and hurt their bottom line.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by CivilDiscourse View Post

                        During the bush era there was a push from democrats to bring the doctrine back. Their thought was they could force Rush (and other RW Talk) off of the radio by forcing radio stations to air an equal amount of poorly performing left wing radio programs and hurt their bottom line.
                        My (limited) experience with talk radio is that opposing views are aired, though just not equally. But I would assume if a "broadcaster" is unable to find someone capable of providing the equal time then they would be off the hook. The left has rarely had any radio firebrands - at least I can't think of any. That's different than Big Tech having equal views available and crushing one side.
                        "You should just assume going forward that if I am ever wrong it is a typo" - Backup
                        "
                        Reality simply does not change based upon consensus or desire." - rogue

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by CivilDiscourse View Post

                          During the bush era there was a push from democrats to bring the doctrine back. Their thought was they could force Rush (and other RW Talk) off of the radio by forcing radio stations to air an equal amount of poorly performing left wing radio programs and hurt their bottom line.
                          I think that was right around the time that the liberal show "Air America" was cancelled due to poor ratings. Liberals realized they couldn't compete in that arena and were desperately trying to figure out some way to force themselves onto the air
                          Some may call me foolish, and some may call me odd
                          But I'd rather be a fool in the eyes of man
                          Than a fool in the eyes of God


                          From "Fools Gold" by Petra

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Ronson View Post

                            Geez. They came up with some decent legislation and they repealed it? I had no idea.
                            It really was not a good idea. It was often used to suppress speech. From Wiki

                            The fairness doctrine has been used by various administrations to harass political opponents on the radio. Bill Ruder, Assistant Secretary of Commerce in the Kennedy administration, acknowledged that "Our massive strategy [in the early 1960s] was to use the Fairness Doctrine to challenge and harass right-wing broadcasters and hope that the challenges would be so costly to them that they would be inhibited and decide it was too expensive to continue."[24] Former Kennedy FCC staffer Martin Firestone wrote a memo to the Democratic National Committee on strategies to combat small rural radio stations unfriendly to Democrats:

                            The right-wingers operate on a strictly cash basis and it is for this reason that they are carried by so many small stations. Were our efforts to be continued on a year-round basis, we would find that many of these stations would consider the broadcasts of these programs bothersome and burdensome (especially if they are ultimately required to give us free time) and would start dropping the programs from their broadcast schedule.[25]

                            Democratic Party operatives were deeply involved in the Red Lion case since the start of the litigation. Wayne Phillips, a Democratic National Committee staffer described the aftermath of the ruling, explaining that "Even more important than the free radio time was the effectiveness of this operation in inhibiting the political activity of these right-wing broadcasts".[26]

                            The use of the fairness doctrine by the National Council for Civic Responsibility (NCCR) was to force right-wing radio stations to air rebuttals against the opinions expressed on their radio stations.[27]


                            For some odd reason every attempt to reinstate it comes from politicians with a capital "D" following their name and was almost always a thinly veiled attempt to shutdown talk radio.

                            My friend who had a radio show (which later became nationally syndicated) actually worked with (not for) the liberal talk radio network Air America, trying to line up radio stations and sponsors so that both sides were being aired and prevent any perceived need to reinstate the FD. Basically, he said the folks running it were some of the most incompetent people in charge of something he ever ran across. It was no surprise that the whole thing crashed and burned after a short while.

                            Finally, here is a piece by the Heritage Foundation:

                            Source: Why The Fairness Doctrine Is Anything But Fair


                            Legislation currently is before Congress that would reinstate a federal communications policy known as the "fairness doctrine." The legislation, entitled the "Fairness in Broadcasting Act of 1993," is sponsored in the Senate (S. 333) by Ernest Hollings, the South Carolina Democrat, and in the House (H.R. 1985) by Bill Hefner, the North Carolina Democrat. It would codify a 1949 Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulation that once required broadcasters to "afford reasonable opportunity for the discussion of conflicting views of public importance." The fairness doctrine was overturned by the FCC in 1987. The FCC discarded the rule because, contrary to its purpose, it failed to encourage the discussion of more controversial issues. There were also concerns that it was in violation of First Amendment free speech principles. The legislation now before Congress would enshrine the fairness doctrine into law.

                            The doctrine's supporters seem not to appreciate just how much the broadcast world has changed since 1949. With the proliferation of informational resources and technology, the number of broadcast outlets available to the public has increased steadily. In such an environment, it is hard to understand why the federal government must police the airwaves to ensure that differing views are heard. The result of a reinstituted fairness doctrine would not be fair at all. In practice, much controversial speech heard today would be stifled as the threat of random investigations and warnings discouraged broadcasters from airing what FCC bureaucrats might refer to as "unbalanced" views.

                            Tested in Court

                            The fairness doctrine's constitutionality was tested and upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in a landmark 1969 case, Red Lion Broadcasting v. FCC (395 U.S. 367). Although the Court then ruled that it did not violate a broadcaster's First Amendment rights, the Court cautioned that if the doctrine ever began to restrain speech, then the rule's constitutionality should be reconsidered. Just five years later, without ruling the doctrine unconstitutional, the Court concluded in another case that the doctrine "inescapably dampens the vigor and limits the variety of public debate" (Miami Herald Publishing Co. v. Tornillo, 418 U.S. 241). In 1984, the Court concluded that the scarcity rationale underlying the doctrine was flawed and that the doctrine was limiting the breadth of public debate (FCC v. League of Women Voters, 468 U.S. 364). This ruling set the stage for the FCC's action in 1987. An attempt by Congress to reinstate the rule by statute was vetoed by President Ronald Reagan in 1987, and later attempts failed even to pass Congress.

                            As an independent regulatory agency, the FCC has the power to reimpose the doctrine without congressional or executive action. So far, the Commission has taken no position on the Hollings-Hefner legislation or expressed an interest in reregulating on its own. Current FCC Chairman James Quello, though, has stated that, "The fairness doctrine doesn't belong in a country that's dedicated to freedom of the press and freedom of speech." (Doug Halonen, "Twelve to Watch in 1993," Electronic Media, January 25, 1993, p. 66.) The Clinton Administration has not taken an official position on the legislation.

                            Supporters of reviving the fairness doctrine base their argument on the very same three faulty premises that the FCC and most judicial rulings have rejected.

                            Faulty Premise #1: The "scarce" amount of spectrum space requires oversight by federal regulators.

                            Reality: Although the spectrum is limited, the number of broadcasters in America has continuously increased.

                            Supporters of the fairness doctrine argue that because the airwaves are a scarce resource, they should be policed by federal bureaucrats to ensure that all viewpoints are heard. Yet, just because the spectrum within which broadcast frequencies are found has boundaries, it does not mean that there is a practical shortage of views being heard over the airwaves. When the fairness doctrine was first conceived, only 2,881 radio and 98 television stations existed. By 1960, there were 4,309 radio and 569 television stations. By 1989, these numbers grew to over 10,000 radio stations and close to 1,400 television stations. Likewise, the number of radios in use jumped from 85.2 million in 1950 to 527.4 million by 1988, and televisions in use went from 4 million to 175.5 million during that period. ("The Fairness Doctrine," National Association of Broadcasters, Backgrounder (1989).)

                            Even if it may once have been possible to monopolize the airwaves, and to deny access to certain viewpoints, that is impossible today. A wide variety of opinions is available to the public through radios, cable channels, and even computers. With America on the verge of information superhighways and 500-channel televisions, there is little prospect of speech being stifled.

                            Faulty Premise #2: "Fairness" or "fair access" is best determined by FCC authorities.

                            Reality: FCC bureaucrats can neither determine what is "fair" nor enforce it.

                            The second fallacy upon which the doctrine rests concerns the idea of "fairness" itself. As defined by proponents of the doctrine, "fairness" apparently means that each broadcaster must offer air time to anyone with a controversial view. Since it is impossible for every station to be monitored constantly, FCC regulators would arbitrarily determine what "fair access" is, and who is entitled to it, through selective enforcement. This, of course, puts immense power into the hands of federal regulators. And in fact, the fairness doctrine was used by both the Kennedy and Nixon Administrations to limit political opposition. Telecommunications scholar Thomas W. Hazlett notes that under the Nixon Administration, "License harassment of stations considered unfriendly to the Administration became a regular item on the agenda at White House policy meetings." (Thomas W. Hazlett, "The Fairness Doctrine and the First Amendment," The Public interest, Summer 1989, p. 105.) As one former Kennedy Administration official, Bill Ruder, has said, "We had a massive strategy to use the fairness doctrine to challenge and harass the right-wing broadcasters, and hope the challenge would be so costly to them that they would be inhibited and decide it was too expensive to continue." (Tony Snow, "Return of the Fairness Demon," The Washington Times, September 5, 1993, p. B3.)

                            Faulty Premise #3: The fairness doctrine guarantees that more opinions will be aired.

                            Reality: Arbitrary enforcement of the fairness doctrine will diminish vigorous debate.

                            Of all arguments for the reinstitution of the fairness doctrine, the most inaccurate and insidious is that it will permit a greater diversity of opinion to be heard. By requiring, under threat of arbitrary legal penalty, that broadcasters "fairly" represent both sides of a given issue, advocates of the doctrine believe that more views will be aired while the editorial content of the station can remain unaltered. But with the threat of potential FCC retaliation for perceived lack of compliance, most broadcasters would be more reluctant to air their own opinions because it might require them to air alternative perspectives that their audience does not want to hear.

                            Thus, the result of the fairness doctrine in many cases would be to stifle the growth of disseminating views and, in effect, make free speech less free. This is exactly what led the FCC to repeal the rule in 1987. FCC officials found that the doctrine "had the net effect of reducing, rather than enhancing, the discussion of controversial h of public importance," and therefore was in violation of constitutional principles. ("FCC Ends Enforcement of Fairness Doctrine," Federal Communications Commission News, Report No. MM-263, August 4, 1987.) Even liberal New York Governor Mario Cuomo has argued that, "Precisely because radio and TV have become our principal sources of news and information, we should accord broadcasters the utmost freedom in order to insure a truly free press." (Mario Cuomo, "The Unfairness Doctrine," The New York Times, September 20, 1993, p. A19.)

                            Simple Solution

                            If the fairness standard is reinstituted, the result will not be easier access for controversial views. It will instead be self-censorship, as stations seek to avoid requirements that they broadcast specific opposing views. With the wide diversity of views available today in the expanding broadcast system, there is a simple solution for any family seeking an alternative viewpoint or for any lawmaker irritated by a pugnacious talk-show host. Turn the dial.


                            Source

                            © Copyright Original Source




                            I'm always still in trouble again

                            "You're by far the worst poster on TWeb" and "TWeb's biggest liar" --starlight (the guy who says Stalin was a right-winger)
                            "Overall I would rate the withdrawal from Afghanistan as by far the best thing Biden's done" --Starlight
                            "Of course, human life begins at fertilization that’s not the argument." --Tassman

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by rogue06 View Post
                              It really was not a good idea. It was often used to suppress speech. From Wiki

                              For some odd reason every attempt to reinstate it comes from politicians with a capital "D" following their name and was almost always a thinly veiled attempt to shutdown talk radio.
                              A good argument then to not reinstate it "as it was" but amended to fit Big Tech.

                              My friend who had a radio show (which later became nationally syndicated) actually worked with (not for) the liberal talk radio network Air America, trying to line up radio stations and sponsors so that both sides were being aired and prevent any perceived need to reinstate the FD. Basically, he said the folks running it were some of the most incompetent people in charge of something he ever ran across. It was no surprise that the whole thing crashed and burned after a short while.
                              Why am I not surprised by this?

                              If the Fairness Act was faulty as written, then it can be amended. If it was too faulty to be useful or applicable today, then something along those same lines needs to be considered. Again, the reasoning is that the airwaves belong to everyone and one political philosophy shouldn't be able to monopolize it. The same should apply to the Internet. It would be one thing if Google, Twitter and Facebook stepped aside and allowed room for competition, but they seek to crush it at every opportunity.
                              "You should just assume going forward that if I am ever wrong it is a typo" - Backup
                              "
                              Reality simply does not change based upon consensus or desire." - rogue

                              Comment

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