Author Robert Greene’s 15th Law of Power urges readers to “crush your enemy totally,” pointing out that “if one ember is left alight, no matter how dimly it smolders, a fire will eventually break out.” The left seems to be adhering to this when it comes to dealing with social media company Parler, which became popular among conservatives after dealing with biased censorship on other sites such as Twitter and Facebook.
It was not enough to remove the site entirely from app stores and hosting services. Now, House Democrats are trying to use the FBI to take further action against the company under the guise of investigating the origins of the U.S. Capitol riot. But GOP lawmakers are pushing back.
Democrats Call for FBI Investigation Into Parler
Democrats on the House Oversight Committee have called for an FBI investigation to determine whether or not Parler was a “potential facilitator” in the planning of the assault on the Capitol building on Jan. 6. House Republicans on the committee argued that any FBI probe into social media should also include Facebook and Twitter instead of focusing only on Parler. They argued that the request, which came from committee Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney, is “evidence” of the “growing alliance between Big Tech and Democrats.”
Fox News reported, “Committee Ranking Member James Comer, R-Ky., and GOP Rep. Greg Steube, R-Fla., penned a letter to Maloney, D-N.Y., on Monday” after she made her request to the FBI.
“Like you, we were disturbed and angered by the riot and we believe those responsible should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” they wrote. “But casting blame on a single social media company known for its conservative username while simply ignoring other social media companies known for sympathizing with liberal causes is blatantly and overtly partisan.”
The lawmakers continued, “Moreover, your letter is additional evidence of the growing alliance between Big Tech and Democrats to muzzle certain viewpoints, opinions, and perspectives.”
Republicans argue that Maloney’s insistence that Parler was a forum on which rioters planned their assault “completely omits the fact that other social media platforms were also facilitators of the January 6 riot.”
They also pointed out that:
“a cursory search of other social media platforms yields identical, disturbing posts, from across the political spectrum, advocating for a wide swathe of positions, demonizing an equally diverse group of people.”
The representatives suggested that “[r]ather than limiting its investigation to Parler, then, perhaps the Committee should include Facebook and other social media companies in its request for an investigation into the antecedents of the January 6 Capitol riot.”
Then, they took a thinly veiled shot at the relationship between Big Tech and Democrats. “Of course, doing so may upset Big Tech, which in turn could turn off the spigot of campaign contributions to Democrats.”
But it wasn’t just an empty jab; the lawmakers brought up numbers. “During the 2020 election cycle Facebook employees contributed over $5 million in federal elections—92.79% of which went to Democrats,” they noted. “Twitter employees were even more generous to Democrats, with 98.41% of all federal contributions in the 2020 cycle going to Democrats.”
The two lawmakers continued: “While Facebook, Twitter, and Parler seem to all share blame in allowing their platforms to be used to plan for the January 6 riot, one main difference between the three platforms is that Parler is the only one that hasn’t given generously to the Democrats.”
What Does This Mean for Free Speech?
It is hard to imagine that the Democrats are acting in good faith in this matter. As Steube and Comer pointed out in their letter, if Maloney and her allies were making an authentic plea for the Bureau to get to the bottom of the planning of the riots, including Twitter and Facebook in the assessment would be a no-brainer.
Several left-leaning news outlets, such as Business Insider and Vox, noted that Twitter and Facebook platforms were used to plan the riots. Moreover, it is already known that radical leftist groups aligned with the Antifa movement have used these sites to plan their operations as well.
Unfortunately, Democrats on the House Oversight Committee seem to be more interested in playing politics than realistically addressing the issue at hand, apparently willing to pull the FBI into their anti-free-speech efforts. They might be hoping that a federal investigation will give them even more ammo to destroy Parler.
The nature of a potential FBI investigation into social media companies is not yet known, but if the Department of Justice acquiesces to the Democrats’ demands, it could set a dangerous precedent for other platforms that arise to compete with Twitter and Facebook. Needless to say, the thought of the Bureau being used as a weapon is chilling but not new. The nation saw some in the agency use their positions for political purposes in the 2016 election.
Even if this particular effort to target Parler fails, it does not mean the left is finished. There will be more attempts to diminish conservative voices on the internet. The question is: How will conservatives fight back?
Read more from Jeff Charles.