The American Innovation and Choice Online Act (H.R. 3816), the big bipartisan antitrust bill, would allow for more competition against the four big Internet giants – Google, Facebook, Amazon, and Apple. Co-sponsored by Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA), the bill was sailing through Congress — until the GOP seditionists got their unscrupulous paws on it, instantly transforming the legislation from a bastion of fairness into another right-wing-benefitting, insurrection-inducing, lawsuit-promoting bonanza.
The poison-pill provision, inserted by the likes of Ted Cruz, Josh Hawley, and Matt Gaetz in exchange for their support of the remainder of the bill, is destined to damage America in myriad ways. Unless, of course, you’re looking forward to Insurrection: The Sequel.
The language Mr. Cruz and company have demanded to be added would make it even harder to ban anyone from any Internet platform. That’s right, if the GOP gets their provision pushed through, getting someone de-platformed will be a thing of the past. QAnon is over the moon, as the new addition to the bill will prevent sites from taking action against anyone who breaks misinformation or hate speech rules. That means more Big Lie boosters, more MAGA mega-plotters, and less (if any) democracy.
Sounds hyperbolic? Here is just a smattering of what’s in store if we don’t carve out the carve-out.
- Ted Cruz, with his overt repeated attempts to overturn our election, can never be de-platformed.
- Josh Hawley and his raised fist in solidarity with the coup-creators can’t be removed from any aspect of the Internet.
- Matt Gaetz and his radical disdain for distinguished military figures – will have a permanent safe haven on every site.
- Marjorie Taylor Greene can continue to safely spout her traitorous pro-Russian nonsense without any repercussions.
- Lauren Boebert’s anti-democratic antics will be put on auto-repeat for eternity.
In short, without the risk of being kicked off, why would anyone behave?
This is giving a free pass to every insurrectionist whose only dose of reality is the threat of not having an audience.
And, wait, it gets worse.
The GOP’s seditious addition would give carte blanche to Republican Attorneys General to sue on behalf of any insurrectionist who was justifiably expelled from the Internet for peddling their lies, disinformation, and violence. Lawsuits will have no bearing on the truth, placing the blame on the January 6th coup attempt on Antifa, Black Lives Matter, the FBI, or Nancy Pelosi.
Cancel culture is frowned upon, by both sides. However, if we don’t cancel the poison pill provision pushed by the insurrectionists, the next thing that will be canceled is over 200 years of democracy.