Pollak: Big Tech Censorship is the IRS Scandal of 2020

FILE - In this May 22, 2013 file photo, Lois Lerner, head of the IRS unit that decides whether to grant tax-exempt status to groups, listens on Capitol Hill in Washington. Lerner, the official at the center of the agency’s tea party scandal is retiring. Lerner headed the IRS division …
AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

This week, Breitbart News revealed that Google, is trying to intervene in the 2020 elections by censoring conservative news and preventing voters from receiving information they need to make an informed decision in November.

Google has killed search traffic to Breitbart. Moreover, Twitter suspended Breitbart News’ account after the website streamed a press conference of dissident doctors on Facebook Live.

YouTube — owned by Google — removed the video, and Twitter censored tweets that included excerpts from the video, including a tweet by the President of the United States. Facebook also suspended private groups that posted the video.

Though there are a few cases of liberal posts being flagged or taken down, Big Tech is distorting the national debate to benefit Democrats and hurt Republicans.

The pattern is reminiscent of the IRS scandal that emerged in 2013. In the months before the 2012 election, there were anecdotal reports of Tea Party groups and other conservative organizations facing closer scrutiny from the IRS. When they applied for recognition as non-profit groups, which would allow them to receive tax-exempt donations (as many liberal interest groups do), conservative groups found that they were subjected to delays and intrusive questioning.

Hundreds of conservative groups were affected. As a result, many of them never launched. The Tea Party — the grass roots effort that had led Republicans to victory in the House in 2010 — was taken off the field for the 2012 elections.

The effect on the election was significant enough that the Wall Street Journal‘s James Taranto suggested that Barack Obama’s reelection victory that year should be listed in the history books with an asterisk, because he won unfairly.

Big Tech is attempting to do for the 2020 elections what the IRS, with the open encouragement of the Democrats, did eight years ago. Democrats even proposed legislation that would make what the IRS did retroactively legal. If Hillary Clinton had won in 2016, they would have passed it and continued to use the IRS to clamp down on conservatives. In 2020, Democrats are using a different tactic: they have outsourced the repression to Big Tech and the private sector.

This is not wholly a “private” effort, though. A coalition of Democrat-friendly “civil rights” organizations is pressuring tech companies to censor conservatives, under the guise of tackling “hate speech.” They have organized an advertising boycott of Facebook, for example.

If Joe Biden wins, Silicon Valley lobbyists will flood the new administration. Google had extraordinary access to the Obama White House, with Google executives visiting hundreds of times — more than once a week. Senior Obama administration figures found cozy jobs in Silicon Valley, and many would certainly return to run a Biden administration. There would be even less government scrutiny than there is today about what Big Tech does to stifle free speech.

Though some Democrats talk about breaking up the Big Tech companies, a Biden administration would be unlikely to do so. And if it did, it would let Silicon Valley write its own rules — restoring Net Neutrality, for example, which slowed investments broadband infrastructure. Biden would be able to reverse President Donald Trump’s executive orders on freedom of speech on the Internet, and allow Big Tech to continue to shape America’s political debate to its own liking.

The full extent of the IRS scandal was not known until after the 2012 election. This time, everyone knows in advance what Big Tech is doing. Republicans need to stop them now — before it is too late.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). His new book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.

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