The announcement that Twitter’s Board of Directors accepted Elon Musk’s offer to buy Twitter immediately sent shockwaves through leftist circles, but beyond the burst of satisfaction that right-wing Americans feel at dime-a-dozen pink-haired freakout sessions is their deep schadenfreude at the suffering of Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, who has colluded with Big Tech and the mainstream media for years.
A politician’s actions should speak louder than his words, but it’s often laudatory mainstream media headlines that ring loudest. Senator Schumer has long enjoyed the benefit of a gaslighting, preferential press. They’ve particularly covered up his recent (successful) efforts to stall reform bills at the behest of his Big Tech masters.
We should hope that Musk’s surprise purchase of Twitter disrupts not only Big Tech but also its collusion with cronies like Schumer, whom the media, often itself influenced by Big Tech, ardently protects.
Too cynical? Maybe the 71-year-old New York Democrat is just super hip when it comes to technology. How else would we explain Big Tech’s hiring so many of his relatives or dumping nearly half-a-million dollars in donations to him since 2010? More on all that in a moment.
Media coverage, even from supposedly (or perhaps formerly, given the circumstances of the departure of its founder Glenn Greenwald) contrarian sources like The Intercept, of Schumer’s political games, should be called out first.
Look at the Intercept’s headline from Friday: Chuck Schumer “Working Closely With Senator Klobuchar” to Whip Votes For Antitrust Bills.
The Intercept hides cowardly behind quotation marks, but its already tarnished credibility is clearly for sale somewhere in its editing team. The truth is that Schumer would rather a floor vote on legislation reining in Big Tech never take place, no matter what his two-faced spokespeople instruct the media to print.
As the top Democrat in Congress, Schumer has wielded his power to forbid both the Open Apps Market Act and the American Innovation and Choice Online Act from getting Senate floor votes until he has a guarantee of 60 votes to pass them, according to TIME.
Plausible deniability is the game being played here; he situation Schumer has crafted lends senators an excuse to remain neutral or otherwise give a pretense that they are still studying an issue that is of paramount interest to their constituents until time runs out. Congress takes a vacation in August, and then it’s just running out the clock until the November midterm election.
And the reason why Schumer won’t force a floor vote on Big Tech regulation is obvious to anyone who’s followed mainstream reporting on the political environment surrounding this proposed legislation.
Sure, a keen reader must sift through the lies, like this one from Schumer in March to Politico:
“When we can be bipartisan, we will. But we’re not going to shy away from things that are important that Republicans won’t go for,” Schumer said. “And will there be some votes on the floor where we may not win, but at least we will see where each member stands on important issues, important to the American people? That will happen.”
That won’t happen.
Schumer won’t let it happen because, as the Washington Post reported in 2014, he is “the closest” and a “quiet but reliable Washington ally” to Big Tech. Politico echoed this in 2015, calling Schumer a “longtime Apple ally.” In 2018, the New York Post reported that Schumer had been “a strong advocate for Facebook.”
Coverage of current events reaffirms all those characterizations.
It is important to pass the Open App Markets Act, which among other things, keeps app stores with more than 50 million American users from requiring developers to use that platform’s payment system. Both it and the American Innovation and Choice Online Act have already been passed by the Senate Judiciary Committee this year.
Even as early as that 2014 WaPo article, mainstream media noted that Schumer had to “tread delicately” with Silicon Valley due to his “family connections to the industry.”
As recently as January of this year, Schumer’s daughter Jessica was an Amazon lobbyist. From 2017 to 2019, his son-in-law, Michael Shapiro, worked at Google’s Sidewalk Labs. In 2013, another daughter, Alison, was on Instagram’s Policy and Communication team before becoming a Product Marketing Manager at Facebook. She’d also previously worked for Airbnb, where she fought against regulation by communities that short-term renters decimated.
Since 2010, Big Tech companies and their employees have donated $487,085 to Schumer. Now that Musk is reforming Twitter, a major competitor and narrative shaper for the rest of Big Tech, will lining the pockets of Schumer and his political ilk still be worth it in another 12 years?
Schumer must also fear that Musk’s takeover will cost him politically as freedom of speech returns.
Just four years ago, Schumer told Vox, “Tech gives us [Democrats] the advantage. We don’t have a Fox News. We don’t have Rush Limbaugh, who gets 20 million people a day. It’s our antidote.”
Twitter will soon no longer be the antidote Schumer desires and the arms-length censorship hammer he needs. And the sort of collusion that so benefited the legacy social-media-political complex may soon be unworkable if interests fray under pressure from the fresh competition that Musk brings.
Watch Schumer carefully in the days, weeks, and months ahead. Will he outright attack Musk? Will he attempt to rally his Big Tech supporters against Twitter? The news of the day points to a brighter future for the internet, but never question the intensity and hatred of well-organized and well-heeled opponents of free speech.
Musk did something great, but even he won’t be able to take on all the opponents of the Big Tech censorship corps without a reinvigorated public prepared to vocalize the beliefs that made so many pinkos shudder at the Musk-Twitter announcement.