CNBC Gets Schooled After Asking the WRONG Question of Sen. Tom Cotton
CNBC host Andrew Sorkin stepped right into his own well-laid trap on Friday evening when speaking to Sen. Tom Cotton about Big Tech’s censorship of news that looks bad for Joe Biden. Cotton is one among many Republicans who want Congress to hold companies like Twitter, Facebook, and Google responsible for the editorial decisions they make on behalf of their users. These decisions, argue Republicans, make these companies publishers and not merely the “platforms” they claim to be.
And with the latest move – blocking the spread of a New York Post story about Hunter Biden’s laptop – these senators say that Silicon Valley has gone too far.
“In the last couple of weeks, there have been a couple of issues that really could threaten to at least disrupt or hold back—and possibly even necessary moves—to try to rein the companies in,” said CNBC co-host Joe Kernen. “What is, in your view, more important? This Google story, in terms of monopoly with the DOJ, or what we saw with Facebook and Twitter, in terms of deciding whether a news story should be circulated? I’m talking about Lapgate—the New York Post reporting on Vice President Biden and his son.”
Cotton said both issues were important, and he noted that the New York Post has a storied and respected history of reporting the facts.
“I think a lot of conservatives and Republicans across the country have always felt that these companies are biased against their viewpoints, but now they feel it’s an open declaration of war,” Cotton said, explaining that federal law has carved out enormous immunity clauses for companies like Facebook and Twitter – immunities that newspapers and other media companies do not enjoy.
“If these companies want to act as editors and curators and censors now, then they ought to face the same kind of liability rules that you all face. So Congress needs to act to amend or to repeal that immunity,” he said.
That’s when Sorkin decided for some reason to go on the attack – an attack that wound up backfiring in a big way.
“You’re talking about the tech companies censoring such ‘news,’” Sorkin said. “If, in fact, the tech companies had ‘liability’ like news operations do, you wouldn’t want them to be reporting something that they couldn’t corroborate, no?”
That was his big “gotcha” moment – his big spike across the volleyball net.
Cotton returned it.
“Do you mean like the Russian collusion hoax and the Steele dossier that you reported on for four years, Andrew?” he said.
That burn was so hot that Sorkin could barely respond.
Indeed, nothing more needed to be said.