Majority Leader Kevin
McCarthy is leading the charge
Trump’s new favorite punching bag: big tech.
California Republican, who hopes to replace Speaker Paul
Ryan (R-Wis.) next year, has been
aggressively promoting a campaign to “stop the bias,” referring to
what critics say is a pattern of discrimination against
conservative voices on social media.
that end, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey is scheduled to testify on
Capitol Hill this week at a hearing requested by McCarthy.
had many conversations with the president about how we have to
stop this bias,” McCarthy, one of Trump’s closest allies on
Capitol Hill, told Fox News on Thursday.
spoken to Jack Dorsey throughout the month,” McCarthy added. “He
and I philosophically disagree, but we do agree on one thing: We
believe in the First Amendment. But we also believe in
transparency and accountability.”
majority leader’s recent crusade against social media comes at a
time when Trump has ramped up his own rhetoric against the tech
industry. His eagerness to champion the cause could endear him to
both the White House and conservative lawmakers — two
constituencies that could be crucial to securing the Speakership.
recently asserted that Google and other platforms are “rigged”
against him, an accusation that Google rejected, and one that came
on the heels
of allegations from conservatives that Twitter has been “shadow
banning” certain Republicans so that their accounts are less
visible to users.
controversy started after prominent conservatives aligned with
Trump, including Rep. Matt
Gaetz (R-Fla.), House Freedom
Caucus Chairman Mark
and Rep. Jim
failed to appear on Twitter’s auto-populated drop-down search box
when users typed in their names.
company said that it does not “shadow ban” according to political
ideology, but acknowledged that its attempts to crack down on hate
speech have unintentionally reduced search results for lawmakers
from both parties.
was quick to take up the mantle on the issue, tweeting more than a
dozen times last month with the hashtag “stop the bias.” He also
made the media rounds to step up pressure on Dorsey to publicly
testify on Capitol Hill.
not all of McCarthy’s efforts on that front were successful. One
of his tweets attempting to demonstrate censorship of
conservatives drew criticism for being misleading.
sharing a screenshot of a tweet from Fox News host Laura Ingraham
that was covered by language warning of “potentially sensitive
content,” Twitter users were quick to point out that Ingraham’s
tweet was covered up due to settings in McCarthy’s own Twitter
account, not because of a company campaign to silence conservative
the crusade to keep the issue of alleged anti-conservative bias in
the spotlight could earn McCarthy some political capital. One of
the lawmakers who Republicans say has been targeted by Twitter’s
“shadow banning” practice is Jordan, a leader of the Freedom
Caucus who is also running for Speaker.
Jordan may struggle to secure the 218 votes needed to win the
gavel, his far-right group has the power to veto any Speaker
hopeful if Republicans retain control of the House in the midterm
House Energy and Commerce Committee on Wednesday will hear
testimony from Dorsey, but it’s
unclear whether Congress or the Trump administration will take any
action against tech and social media companies, which lawmakers on
both sides of the aisle have been reluctant to regulate further.
steps for regulation, however, could include making Facebook and
other social media platforms a public utility, forcing Google to
be more transparent about its algorithms and making it easier for
individuals to sue technology companies.
says all options are on the table.
is going to look at everything, because of how powerful they have
become,” he told Fox News.