Tuesday, Fox News Channel’s Tucker Carlson reacted to testimony from Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey given to the Senate Judiciary Committee earlier in the day.
Since the presidential election earlier this month, Carlson argued that while the outcome looks favorable for Corporate America, it was acting more aggressively, including tech companies, to “consolidate control.”
Transcript as follows:
CARLSON: So, did you take a moment from your busy life to turn on the hearings on Capitol Hill today with the Silicon Valley CEOs? Don’t be embarrassed if you didn’t. You probably didn’t.
No matter how worried you worry about Big Tech and obviously you should be gravely concerned, you may have decided to skip today’s spectacle and fold the laundry or called your in-laws instead, and we don’t judge you for that.
Previous hearings on Big Tech have not produced a lot. Elderly senators who can’t manage to send their own text messages wagging their fingers in the face of sneering billionaire tech oligarchs in San Francisco, all of whom seem to understand that no matter what happens inside the hearing room, they will get to continue doing whatever they want to do because they have got all the money.
We’ve seen that a number of times, it seems pointless. In fact, it seems insulting to the rest of us.
And in the end, today’s hearings may prove just as pointless, we’ll find out. But for one brief moment today, you got the feeling that maybe actual progress was being made. Maybe the good guys might not be entirely lame.
That moment came when Senator Josh Hawley asked Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Facebook, about an internal tool that his company has developed called Centra.
Hawley knew about Centra because a whistleblower told him. They told him how it works.
Facebook employees use Centra to spy on users even when those users are not using Facebook. Centra gives Facebook access to troves of personal data, including the pages users visit and the accounts they have linked to Facebook.
You didn’t know about this, because all of it happens in secret. It’s probably not even legal.
So today at the hearings, Josh Hawley confronted Mark Zuckerberg about this. And here’s how it went.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JOSH HAWLEY (R-MO): Centra is a tool that Facebook uses to track its users not just on Facebook, but across the entire internet. Centra tracks different profiles that a user visits, their message recipients, their linked accounts, the pages they visit around the web. Mr. Zuckerberg, how many accounts in the United States have been subject to review and shut down through Centra?
MARK ZUCKERBERG, CEO, FACEBOOK: Senator, I do not know because I am not actually familiar with the name of that tool. I’m sure that we have tools that help us with our platform and community integrity work, but I am not familiar with that name.
HAWLEY: Do you have a tool that does exactly what I’ve described and that you can see here over my shoulder? Or are you saying that doesn’t exist?
ZUCKERBERG: Senator, I’m saying that I’m not familiar with it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARLSON: “I’m not familiar with it, Senator.” But hold on a second, Mark Zuckerberg, you run the company. You started it and Centra sounds like a pretty big deal. Are you saying that Centra doesn’t exist? Well, no, it turns out that’s not what they are saying.
Just hours ago, a Facebook spokesperson admitted to FOX News that Centra is indeed real. And according to that spokesperson, Centra is, quote, “Used to centralize and aid investigations into complex subjects like coordinated inauthentic behavior,” end quote. “Coordinated, inauthentic behavior,” hard to pronounce, you may never have heard of it.
It’s otherwise known as astroturfing. That’s the process of creating fake grassroots political movements, sometimes by foreign governments. It’s something a left claims to be very concerned about.
In other words, Centra is yet another long term consequence of the Russia hoax. So Adam Schiff gets hysterical, but Vladimir Putin and then Facebook gets to spy on you without your knowledge and then sell the data they gather.
Perfect. But somehow, Mark Zuckerberg who runs the company said he had no idea it was going on. And Centra wasn’t the only secret internal data gathering tool that Zuckerberg claimed to be ignorant of.
Senator Hawley also asked him about another internal Facebook program called Tasks. According to Senator Hawley’s whistleblowers, Tasks allows Facebook’s censorship teams to quote, “Communicate with their counterparts at Twitter and Google and then enter those companies suggestions for censorship onto the task platform so that Facebook can then follow up with them and effectively coordinate their censorship efforts.”
Got that? They’re all in it together. The tech companies amount to a censorship cartel.
Mark Zuckerberg did not deny this, instead, he conceded it would be, quote, “Probably pretty normal for people to talk to their peers in the industry.” And so yes, it is all real. Silicon Valley acts as one.
The tech oligarchs join forces to censor their political opponents. You may be one of them. You weren’t being paranoid to worry about this. You were absolutely right.
Is the hair on your arm standing up yet? Chris Coons isn’t worried. He was thrilled to hear it. He wants more.
Coons is a senator from Delaware. H is a former Joe Biden staffer, actually. The press routinely describes Chris Coons as moderate, not because of what he says but because of how he says it. Chris Coons is boring, therefore, he must be reasonable. That’s the thinking.
But in fact, Chris Coons is not reasonable. He is a power-hungry lunatic who doesn’t believe in the First Amendment. Of course, Chris Coons went to Yale Law School. Ever know someone who went to Yale Law School who acknowledges the Bill of Rights? What’s that Constitutional Law class like at Yale Law School? We should find out.
Watch Chris Coons push Mark Zuckerberg in the hearings today for even more censorship. According to Chris Coons, there’s not enough.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. CHRIS COONS (D-DE): You do, Mr. Dorsey, have policies against deep fakes or manipulated media against COVID-19 misinformation, against things that violate civic integrity, but you don’t have a standalone climate change misinformation policy. Why not?
Helping to disseminate climate denialism in my view, further facilitates and accelerates one of the greatest existential threats to our world.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARLSON: So that was to Jack Dorsey who runs Twitter. And Chris Coons’ point was really simple. People who disagree with Chris Coons are, quote, “an existential threat to our world.” They must be silenced. So who are these people that Chris Coons doesn’t believe should be allowed to speak in public?
Well, plenty of them would be credentialed scientists who might have legitimate questions about Chris Coons’ global warming theories.
Chris Coons is a lawyer who spent the last 20 years in government. Everything he knows about climate, he learned from an issue of “The Atlantic” magazine he picked up at the airport newsstand. Chris Coons is a non-expert if there ever was one.
But under the standard he is demanding and demanded today in Congress, the social media monopolies would censor anyone who questions his shallow, silly views on one of the most complex areas of known science. That is not a moderate position. It is authoritarianism, and there’s a huge cost to the rest of us.
This is censorship. Censorship doesn’t simply kill expression, though it does, censorship kills thinking and innovation and wisdom. Censorship inexorably leads to self-censorship.
People quickly learn what they are allowed to express and what they are allowed to believe, and so they stop asking questions even of themselves. Their minds become narrower. They stop creating. Art dies. Banality takes its place. Science, which depends on free inquiry becomes impossible.
Does that sound familiar to you? It’s where we are right now.
But that’s not a problem for people like Chris Coons. His main concern is how to control an inquisitive population. Coons will be delighted with a country that cannot think for itself, a nation of passive consumers that takes its orders from tech oligarchs and quants in the finance world. Shut up and obey or we will make you be quiet. That’s the message they are sending collectively.
A lot of us expected something different to happen. The election is over. The billionaire party got what it wanted. So why can’t they take the boot off our neck? No chance. They are just getting started.
In the past two weeks, Corporate America has rushed to consolidate its control over information and dissent in this country. We could give you countless examples of that. Here are a few.
The email delivery service MailChimp announced it is refusing to provide service — email — to the Northern Virginia Tea Party. Why? The company cites potential misinformation. It turns out the Tea Party had attempted to notify its members about a recount rally by email. But that’s not allowed anymore. MailChimp banned them along with other conservative organizations. They are not allowed to use email.
PayPal and Airbnb have done the same thing. They’ve taken out accounts belonging to conservatives because they don’t like the message. But the message they are sending is really simple. If you want to live a normal life here, send an email, transfer money, rent an apartment, you had better be on the right side.
How is that different from what happens in China? Call us and let us know if you can spot the difference, we can.
Abigail Shrier, who we talked to yesterday on the show got an unexpected PhD in political repression recently. Amazon cut off advertisements for her book. The book is on the huge spike in transgender identification among teenage girls. It’s a real thing. She wanted to know why it was happening, so she tried to explain it, but that’s not allowed. Target banned her book completely for a time.’
A lawyer at the ACLU, which of course, used to defend civil liberties cheered that decision and said the book should be burned.
Meanwhile, in the story, very few saw, a major video game company, Ubisoft, erased a voice actor called Helen Lewis from one of its titles, retroactively. They erased her from the picture as the Soviets once did.
What was her crime? Well, she wrote a forum post that anonymous people on the internet felt was transphobic and so for that, Ubisoft decided that she should never work again anywhere. Even her voice was too offensive for the rest of us to hear.
The mob then went to work trying to destroy Gina Carano. She is an actress who plays a character called Cara Dune in the TV series, “The Mandalorian.” When she criticized mask mandates and quote “preferred pronouns,” they decided she needed to be fired.
Where is this coming from? Almost nobody likes it. Almost no American supports it. Corporations are behind it, all of it.
And the point is not to help anyone, much less you. Let’s be clear about that. The point is to establish control. They know that they can dictate what you have the right to say about trans-rights or mask mandates. They can dictate when you can say about anything.
That’s unprecedented power. No one in this country has ever had that power. Our Constitution used to prevent it, but they have it now, and that power will come in handy when they are running the government, which they may soon be.
Take a look at the people Joe Biden wants to install in the White House in January. So far, Biden has hired a former pharmaceutical and insurance industry lobbyist called Steve Ricchetti to be his chief counselor. He has hired a venture capital executive with close ties to Big Tech called Ron Klain to be his Chief of Staff.
Biden’s Deputy Chief of Staff apparently will be a woman called Jen O’Malley Dillon. She co-founded a consulting company that represented Big Pharma. Biden also, we learned today is bringing on Louisiana lawmaker Cedric Richmond.
Richmond has been a reliable ally of the fossil fuel industry, which by the way, is quite political these days, and not conservative. Time to update your perceptions on that. Richmond has received more money from the oil and gas industry than virtually anyone else in Congress.
So corporations are getting more control. And once they run everything, they will control what you say. Where does that leave the politicians and the career bureaucrats? Well, it leaves them free to play the role of petty tyrant, of course, something that they have always wanted, fulfilling their personal desires to impose their will on the rest of us.
In the State of Michigan, the poor people who live there learned, Governor Whitmer relishes, telling her constituents whether they can hold Thanksgiving dinner, and if they do, she said on Sunday, they are essentially killing people.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. GRETCHEN WHITMER (D-MI): If you are considering spending Thanksgiving with people outside of your household, I urge you to reconsider.
And I hate to say it, but we know that some people will gather anyway. And odds are that some of these gatherings will spread COVID and contribute to the loss of loved ones.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CARLSON: Well, I hate to say it — well, there is the falsest phrase ever uttered by an American politician. I hate to say it. She doesn’t hate to say it. She has been saying it all year.
In April, Governor Whitmer banned the sale of paint and furniture. What scientist told her to do that? None. She did it because she could.
Now, she is banning Thanksgiving. What next? And that’s not a rhetorical question, by the way. This is more than a slippery slope we’re watching happen in real-time.
At a press conference yesterday, the Governor of California, Gavin Newsom emphasized the most important thing here, you need to stay isolated. Yet, he doesn’t, Gavin Newsom went to a private birthday party with a dozen people the other day at the French Laundry in Napa.
But it turns out he wasn’t breaking the rules when he did that. No, he wasn’t. Settle down. He was just giving you an example of what not to do.
Gavin Newsom was risking his life for you. He’s a COVID martyr.
Why doesn’t anyone appreciate Gavin Newsom? But again, that’s immaterial. We want to restate here the important thing, the essence of science, really, is that you spend the holidays alone.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. GAVIN NEWSOM (D-CA): But I’ll remind you, that three-pronged approach pre-vaccine was around prevention, testing and isolation.
Isolation: this is profoundly important. Prevention is one thing. Testing: what’s the purpose of testing besides obviously, identifying people that are positive and building a framework and protocol to protect their health, but also protect others through isolation and quarantine.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARLSON: There’s a lot coming at us right now. But take three steps back, pause, ask yourself: what are we really watching? We are watching something pretty dark, honestly. This isn’t the politics we have come to understand in this country. This isn’t the usual debate about tax rates or tariff policy. We missed those debates. This is a struggle for the fundamentals.
Will this remain a free country? Can you disagree with Corporate America and still live here? Would we be allowed to fly on an airplane? Stay in a hotel? Have a credit card? Use email? Will tiny brain Napoleon’s like Chris Coons determine what science is and what you can say about it or not. That’s what’s on the table right now.
We understand we just had an election. We understand it is in dispute. We understand there’s a lot of news going on at this moment. But nothing matters more than this. It will decide the future.
Follow Jeff Poor on Twitter @jeff_poor