By: Ali Elizabeth Turner
Some of you remember that I had a truly life-changing experience nearly four years ago in the form of a trip to Israel. It was sponsored by World Net Daily, and for almost two weeks I was on the same bus as WND’s co-founder Joseph Farah; his wife, Elizabeth; his daughter, Grace; and his mother-in-law, Mary.
I had already been a reader of WND for many years, and getting a chance to get to know the Farah family was a true joy. Like me, once upon a time, Joseph Farah was a radical socialist. The difference between us was that I somehow managed to stay committed to non-violent resistance, and Joseph was a friend of Bill Ayres, one of the head honchos of the Students for a Democratic Society, better known as the SDS. He also was the co-founder of the Weather Underground, a domestic terrorist organization. Both Joe and I became Christians within a few years of each other, and began the adventure of a life time — first as believers, secondly by becoming conservatives.
Joseph was a correspondent in the Middle East, he was the editor for the Sacramento Union,worked for six years as executive news editor at the Los Angeles Herald Examiner, and has worked with Rush Limbaugh. He has written best-selling books, produced award-winning films, and in recent years has watched his company come under attack from the cyber-monopolies with which he competes.
Today, reluctantly, he issued the following statement, and I feel I would be remiss if I did not give the readers of Athens Now a chance to come to the aid of a man, family, and organization I highly respect. Here in part is his statement, and I know him well enough to know that this was not easy for him to write:
“I dare say no other human being on the face of the Earth has written as many words as I have about the existential threat the Internet Cartel poses to free speech, the free press and freedom of religion in America.
It’s not because I’m smarter or more insightful than everyone else. Rather, it’s because I witnessed first-hand, beginning in 2017, the devastating impact that ideological bias by Google, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Amazon and Apple was having on WND.com, my own 21-year-old independent news company. I saw traffic and advertising revenues nosedive, just as other similar sites did following the 2016 presidential election.
So, beginning in January 2018, I began chronicling what was happening. Since then, it has become common knowledge that the Digital Cartel has it in for sites like WND, for conservatives, for Republicans and for Christians. They have been banned. They have been discriminated against in searches to the benefit of left-wing content. They have been marginalized. And they have been deprived of advertising as punishment for their views.
What most people don’t yet understand is that Google, YouTube, Facebook and Twitter don’t have the legal right to take sides in the political debate – like WND.com does or like the Huffington Post does. They are not “publishers.” They are more akin to public utilities – and they benefit financially because of this status. The Communications Decency Act immunizes these companies against any torts that may arise from activities conducted on their platforms. They can’t be sued or prosecuted for defamation, libel, or indeed for any criminal activity that is generated by these Internet domains. That’s because they claim to be mere “carriers,” like the old phone company, and therefore can’t be held responsible for conversations, postings, or other online materials that involve illegal or otherwise dubious actors.
Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, has pointed out that this unique designation also assumes these “utilities” will serve all equally and not discriminate against people, companies or publishers based on their ideology or religious views. After all, Congress could never have passed such a law in the first place if it allowed these “utilities” to engage in ideological or religious discrimination but exempted them from any legal consequences for violations, since that would blatantly infringe on the free speech, press and religion rights guaranteed all Americans by the First Amendment.
What this clearly demonstrates is that the Internet Cartel is already in violation of the Communications Decency Act. By using its special “utility” status to promote partisan politics, adopt a consistent left-wing lens in its presentation of the news, ban content objectionable to the anti-Christian bigots at the Southern Poverty Law Center, and use algorithms in search and display that punish conservatives, Republicans and other non-leftists, the cartel members abuse their special status as mere “carriers” of data.
One simple way to bring Google-Facebook into compliance is to revoke that special status – though it’s a little late in the game, since the cartel has already profited mightily over many years as companies operating under those special privileges.”
A fight like this is spendy and exhausting, and if you want to get into it for the sake of preserving the First Amendment, you can go to http://superstore.wnd.com/voluntary-subscription.