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Religious broadcasters take aim at tech giants for ‘stifling’ conservative speech

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, voices his support for the Internet Freedom Initiative at the National Press Club on Dec. 7, 2017. Photo by Bwerani Nettles/NRB

WASHINGTON (RNS) – National Religious Broadcasters, a group of Christian media outlets, has unveiled a new initiative to counter what it sees as the suppression of Christian and conservative views online.

The internet freedom initiative aims to call attention to Google, Facebook, Apple and other tech companies’ “stifling” of free speech, NRB President & CEO Jerry A. Johnson said Thursday (Dec. 7) at a news conference and panel discussion on the topic.

“It is unacceptable for these titans to discriminate against users just because their viewpoints are not congruent with ideas popular in Silicon Valley,” Johnson said.

The initiative includes a website to document instances of suppressed online speech.

As part of the initiative, NRB has sent letters to Apple, Google, Facebook and Twitter to press the issue and has called on Congress to address the matter publicly.

Apple, Google, Facebook and Twitter did not respond to Religion News Service for comment on the initiative and the NRB’s accusations.

The initiative is supported by Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, who said tech giants effectively “muzzle conservatives” for supporting Christian values online.

Also joining in the news conference: Robert McDowell, a former commissioner on the Federal Communications Commission; Ralph Reed of the Faith and Freedom Coalition; and Craig Strazzeri, chief marketing officer for PragerU, a conservative nonprofit that posts videos online.

“It was a little over a year and a half ago that we discovered that 15 PragerU videos at the time were being restricted,” said Strazzeri. “There’s now nearly 40 videos being restricted out of our 250. It’s a big portion of our library.”

A suit was filed against Google in October accusing YouTube — which is owned by Google — of censorship. Google responded to the suit, saying it had not engaged in censorship but allows users to use “Restricted Mode” to filter out videos that may include sensitive or mature content.

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Chris Mathews

19 Comments

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  • Maybe those conservatives can take issue with the FCC chair they wanted so badly. The one who wants to kill Net Neutrality and make it more difficult for content to make its through the internet.

    Of course the complaints are is complete nonsense. Given all the resources and political clout such people have, there is nothing to stop them from creating their own social media systems.

  • It’s a strange persecution complex. Their tribe is in the driver seat, but still the “other” is persecuting them. I suspect that given all power they would keep all speech contrary to their own banned and still complain because not everyone agreed with them. These are dangerous folks.

  • Fox News. Sinclair Broadcasting buying up all our local television stations. I want to know how I can get away from these people. Not be subjected to more.

  • Actually, they have attempted to create parallel systems such as Conservapedia and SocialCross (a FB alternative). But as their mission is to convert, they need preferential access to mainstream media.

  • More absurd is that these are the same fools who support attacking Net Neutrality. Essentially working to make it difficult to post content on the web without going through corporate gatekeepers.

    They are complaining about their own efforts.

  • They are also dimwitted hypocrites. They oppose Net Neutrality yet are complaining about why it is so difficult to post their content without dealing with corporate gatekeepers.

    You are right, its all about their own corporate gatekeepers, not fairness or free speech.

  • Quoted: “It is unacceptable for these titans to discriminate against users just because their viewpoints are not congruent with ideas popular in Silicon Valley,” Johnson said. 

    What discrimination? PragerU’s videos? One outfit having trouble meeting Youtube’s guidelines hardly constitutes a widespread pattern of “discrimination” by all tech companies. 

    Obviously this is just one more example of how Christians cook up fictional scenarios that — they think! — justifies their irrational, delusional martyr complex. In reality, no one is persecuting them (in the US at least). If anything, they love to persecute others … and demand that they be allowed to, on the grounds of “religious freedom.” 

  • Have you looked at Conservapedia? Everything there is from a Young-Earth Creationist POV. It is exceptionally dumb, even by religious standards. The Internet is all about open discussion. These are the people who want to force-feed us their ideas.

  • Maybe you should not have ended Net Neutrality then morons. Can’t feel pity for those who seek to silence and control the common American and then complain they are being negatively impacted by the very measures they championed for corporations and big business.

  • Gee, it would be nice if they were to offer up specific examples of what they’re claiming, but maybe that veers a little too closely to “false witness” territory.

  • I hope they do cut ‘PraderU’ videos. I recognized them for the white nationalist racist openings that they are. They’re trying to get people comfortable with the thoughts, like grooming. Trying to convince people that teaching children creationism in schools is desirable. No wonder this country is falling behind academically. Shut em down. We don’t need to tolerate racism Or White Nationalism. It’s unAmerican and unpatriotic.

  • I would like to see the evidence that Apple, Facebook, Google and Twitter are “stifling free speech”. We need examples of this happening before we get up in arms to stop it. I have yet to see any evidence this is happening. The only policy I am aware of is that hate speech is not allowed. So without examples, how do we know they are removing these because they are religious rather than removing them because they spew hatred toward non-Christians?

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