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Thursday, January 21, 2021
CNS Joins MRC Parent In Rushing To Parler's Defense

Last summer, joined its Media Research Center parent in doing damage control for Parler, the right-wing Twitter alternative, as it came under scrutiny for the right-wing extremists making a home there. But both MRC operations were hiding a major conflict of interest: Both the MRC and Parler share a major financial backer in Rebekah Mercer, who also sits on the MRC's board of directors.

But when Parler's extremist users got new scrutiny after the Capitol riot, CNS once again followed its MRC parent in rushing to Parler's defense -- and shared the exact same failure to disclose a serious conflict of interest (not to mention how Parler was slowly being taken over by pornorgraphy, something the conservative MRC typically opposes).

In a Jan. 8 article, CNS commentary editor Rob Shimshock got an "exclusive" interview with Parler's CEO, which he introduced with this highly biased framing: "John Matze, CEO of Parler, the free speech-oriented Twitter alternative, responded Friday to the report that Apple might kick his app off its app store if it did not censor users." Neither Shimshock nor Matze mentioned the fact that the "free speech" in question was planning for the riot and explicit threats of violence against others. Shimshock did let Matze unironically claim that Parler has "rules against violence," though.

Two days later, when it was announced that Parler's web host, Amazon Web Services, was kicking Parler off for the abovementioned riot planning and violent threats, Craig Bannister served up Parler's defense, complete woth the dishonest framing of it as a "free-speech platform": "'This was a coordinated attack by the tech giants to kill competition in the market place. We were too successful too fast,' John Matze, CEO of the free-speech social media platform Parler said in a statement late Saturday announcing that Amazon will be shutting all its servers."

On Jan. 11, Bannister gave right-winger Dan Bongino space to rant that Parler getting shut down meant that the U.S. was at "stage two" of a "totaliatarian" takeover. Bannister noted that Bongino "has invested" in Parler -- but not that his paycheck is funded in part by the same woman who also funds Parler.

For a Jan, 12 article, managing editor Michael W. Chapman called up the right-wing current favorite legal expert, "Jonathan Turley, a professor of Public Interest Law at George Washington University, constitutional scholar, and columnist," to denounce the shutdown of Parler because "Parler is based on the original concept of the Internet as an open forum for free speech." Chapman made sure to call Parler "an alternative free speech platform" and claim that "The tech giants want Parler to comply with their restrictions and apply the censorship policies that they want," but he censored any mention of the exact type of "free speech" -- violence and hate -- that got Parler in trouble in the first place.

Meanwhile, CNS' favorite dishonest Catholic, Bill Donohue, was given a column to rant:

The censoring of Parler by Amazon, Google, and Apple is the most serious assault on freedom of speech we have ever seen by private companies in American history. Instead of addressing those who are responsible for abusing their free speech rights, e.g. those who are clearly fomenting violence, Big Tech is now seeking to censor conservative voices in general. 

For justification, they are following the lead of pundits and activists who are blaming President Trump and his supporters for the violence that took place last week in Washington, D.C. The argument is more than absurd—it is pernicious.

Hans Bader -- last seen having a hypocritical meltdown over Jill Biden's use of the "Dr." title -- contributed a column blaming actions against Parler and other social media on "leftist officials' whims." Neither columnist mentioned the exact content that got Parler banned, and CNS didn't disclose its financial link to Parler.

Tony Perkins of the right-wing Family Research Council went the whataboutism route:

The Tech giants used the claim that Parler allowed its platform to be used to advocate and coordinate violence at the capitol last week. If there was ever a case of the pot calling the kettle black, this is it. Homeland Security was forced to weigh-in this past summer in a letter to the social media giants saying the popular platforms appeared to play a role in facilitating "burglary, arson, aggravated assault, rioting, looting, and defacing public property."

Are Twitter and Facebook responsible for the burning of Portland or the siege of Seattle?

Then why are they holding Parler to a different standard?

We could not find that any Mercer foundation money went to Perkins' FRC.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:02 AM EST

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