The president is on solid ground by wanting to repeal Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act. It unfairly shields Big Tech from the consequences of their actions. But repeal on the back of a bill designed to fund the military, a rare bipartisan bill, is not the way to go. The president is charging up the wrong hill.
FNC: “President Trump tweeted late Thursday that he would follow through on his earlier threat to veto the National Defense Authorization Act if it did not include a repeal of Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act, which provides legal protection for Big Tech companies. Trump’s tweet came after Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., presented the final version of the $740 million National Defense Authorization Act. The Oklahoman reported that the bill includes a 3% pay raise and bonuses for troops. The paper said Inhofe, the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, has indicated that he agrees with Trump that Section 230 should be repealed, but the ‘place for repeal is not the defense authorization bill.’ …Opponents of Section 230, like many Republicans, have been vocal that tech behemoths like Twitter and Facebook should no longer be shielded as a neutral platform when they operate more like a publisher.”
“So bad for our National Security and Election Integrity,” Trump wrote. “Last chance to ever get it done. I will VETO!”
Very sadly for our Nation, it looks like Senator @JimInhofe will not be putting the Section 230 termination clause into the Defense Bill. So bad for our National Security and Election Integrity. Last chance to ever get it done. I will VETO!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 4, 2020
The president further commented, “Section 230, which is a liability shielding gift from the U.S. to “Big Tech” (the only companies in America that have it—corporate welfare!), is a serious threat to our National Security & Election Integrity. Our Country can never be safe & secure if we allow it to stand,” Trump tweeted. “Therefore, if the very dangerous & unfair Section 230 is not completely terminated as part of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), I will be forced to unequivocally VETO the Bill when sent to the very beautiful Resolute desk. Take back America NOW. Thank you!”
The Department of Justice sent a letter in October to several congressional leaders. It read, “Today’s large online platforms hold tremendous power over the information and views available to the American people. It is therefore critical that they be honest and transparent with users about how they use that power.”
That is essentially right. But on politics you have to pick your battles and with less than two months likely left in his term, a lame duck president shouldn’t go out of office holding the military and their families hostage for leverage on another issue. This president has been excellent in the fields of defense and national security. It is hopeful this last stand on 230 doesn’t mar that track superb record.
This piece was written by David Kamioner on December 4, 2020. It originally appeared in LifeZette and is used by permission.
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