World's richest man grilled about poor treatment of conservatives

Monday, August 3, 2020
 | 
Billy Davis, Steve Jordahl (OneNewsNow.com)

Amazon's Jeff BezosThe billionaire brains behind Big Tech were finally grilled by lawmakers about their censorship of conservatives including their reliance on the controversial Southern Poverty Law Center.

In one exchange at last week’s U.S. House hearing, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Florida) demanded that Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos explain why the mega-corporation blocks many conservative groups from AmazonSmile, the charity arm of Amazon that claims on its website it has donated $183 million to date from a list of more than one million charities.

 Social media titans on notice for anti-conservative bias

President Trump issued an executive order last week that makes it illegal for social media companies to censor opinions they disagree with.

Dan Gainor of MRC TechWatch says companies such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube have hidden behind a clause in the Communications Decency Act that states those companies provide a platform for free speech but cannot be sued over the content of that speech.

“One of the big things that has bothered people since this law passed in 1996, so almost a quarter century ago,” he says, “is it a blanket immunity for these companies or is it a little bit more flexible?"

The law was intended to shield social media companies from lawsuits when they took down harmful content such child pornography and terroristic threats.

President Trump's executive makes social media companies legally responsible if they censor content for political or ideological reasons.

While those restrictions would be a hard sell to liberal Democrats in Congress, Gainor says they have their own reasons for wanting to reign in Big Social.

“All of them fear antitrust and with good reason,” he says. “They're mega-corporations. They're the biggest, most powerful companies in human history.”

“The Southern Poverty Law Center, which you allow to dictate who can receive donations on your Amazon Smile platform,” Rep. Gaetz pointed out, “have said the Catholic Family News, Catholic Family Ministries, the Federation for American Immigration Reform, the American Family Association, the Family Research Council, the Jewish Defense League, and even Dr. Ben Carson are extremists and should be treated differently.”

FRC, FAIR, and Mississippi-based AFA, the parent organization of OneNewsNow, have all been labeled a “hate group” as by the SPLC.

Bezos, who is currently the wealthiest person in the world, told the congressman that AmazonSmile is an “imperfect system” and claimed he was open to suggestions about how to improve it.

SPLC logo“My suggestion,” Rep. Gaetz replied, “would be a divorce from the SPLC.”

In a June story about AmazonSmile, Kay Cole James of The Heritage Foundation pointed out the left-leaning corporation donates to far-left groups such as abortion giant Planned Parenthood and atheist group Freedom from Religion Foundation, but some right-leaning groups such as Alliance Defending Freedom are not listed.

“The people at the SPLC certainly have a right to disagree with these groups’ policy positions,” the Heritage president writes, “but it’s unconscionable that they would label decent people as hateful and consider them on equal footing with neo-Nazis and the Klan.”

James summed up that view in the Heritage story:

The SPLC itself is a completely discredited organization. It bills itself as being on the front lines in the fight against racial inequality and injustice, yet last year its own staffers accused its leadership of years of racial and gender discrimination and of widespread sexual harassment. Whistleblowers said that the organization had a “systemic culture of racism and sexism within its workplace.” As a result, its cofounder and president were both forced out.

After the SPLC enjoyed accolades from the media and from Democrats for decades, revelations from its own employees ended with the ouster of co-founder and attorney Morris Dees. He famously denied the SPLC “hate map” was used by a gunman who planned mass murder at the FRC headquarters in 2012. The only problem with that claim, however, is the gunman admitted to the FBI that  used it to choose his target. 

Vitagliano

In an eerily similar situation, AFA took action last year after a Florida man posted two threats on Facebook, vowing to attack and kill AFA employees. After the U.S. Justice Dept. pursued the case, the man pleaded guilty and is now serving a brief sentence, but Facebook determined the threats did not violate its policies.

Reacting to the Gaetz-Bezos exchange, AFA spokesman Ed Vitagliano tells OneNewsNow the congressman appeared to understand that AFA and other groups are targeted for their religious beliefs.

“It's high time, frankly, that members of Congress begin to understand the insidious role that the Southern Poverty Law Center is playing in American society,” Vitagliano says.

 

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