Bucking the 'Christchurch Call' Is Not About the First Amendment for This White House
The administration has kept at bay another threat to our national sovereignty. American Nazis, they've got your back against the globalist menace. From the Washington Post:
The “Christchurch Call," unveiled at an international gathering in Paris, commits foreign countries and tech giants to be more vigilant about the spread of hate on social media. It reflects heightened global frustrations with the inability of Facebook, Google and Twitter to restrain hateful posts, photos and videos that have spawned real-world violence.
Leaders from across the globe, including British Prime Minister Theresa May, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Jordan’s King Abdullah II, pledged to counter online extremism, including through new regulation, and to "encourage media outlets to apply ethical standards when depicting terrorist events online.” Companies including Facebook, Google and Twitter, meanwhile, said they’d work more closely to ensure their sites don’t become conduits for terrorism. They also committed to accelerated research and information sharing with governments in the wake of recent terrorist attacks. Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey was among those who attended.
The horror, the horror.
But the White House opted against endorsing the call to action, and President Trump, who has been critical of what he says has been unfair treatment of conservatives by the social media companies, did not join the other leaders in Paris. In a statement, the White House said it stands “with the international community in condemning terrorist and violent extremist content online,” and supports the goals of the Christchurch call to action. But the U.S. still said it is “not currently in a position to join the endorsement.” A day earlier, as negotiations progressed, White House officials raised concerns that the document might run afoul of the First Amendment.
“We continue to be proactive in our efforts to counter terrorist content online while also continuing to respect freedom of expression and freedom of the press,” the White House said Wednesday. “Further, we maintain that the best tool to defeat terrorist speech is productive speech, and thus we emphasize the importance of promoting credible, alternative narratives as the primary means by which we can defeat terrorist messaging.”
This is all bollocks. One thing we know about this president* and his administration* is that it has publicly demonstrable contempt for a free press. It is one of the president*'s prime punchlines. His press secretary is stuffed in a steamer trunk and, when she is occasionally allowed out, she is the personification of brazen disrespect for the craft of journalism. Not long ago, there was a general purge of White House "hard" passes including those that have been held by reporters for two decades or more. The idea that the administration*'s red line on free expression would be drawn at online Nazis is, while predictable, flatly bizarre.
In other circumstances, I might lean a bit into the First Amendment argument here. It makes me itchy when governments decide that words actually are actions, whether that's a Facebook post or Ice-T's "Cop Killer." And nobody's a bigger the-antidote-to-bad-speech-is-more-good-speech person than I am. But this administration*'s has even less credibility on this issue than it does on most others. This is about demonstrating to some fairly awful people what side the president* is on.