RNC chairwoman joins Fox & Friends to rail against non-existent censorship on Twitter
Fox & Friends has previously helped push the debunked claim that Facebook was targeting conservatives
Video ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF
From the July 27 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends:
Loading the player reg...
AINSLEY EARHARDT (CO-HOST): Twitter is under fire this week for allegedly limiting the visibility of prominent Republicans in search results on the -- on their site or it's also called shadow banning, you've heard. President [Donald] Trump even vowing an investigation saying this on Twitter. "Shadow banning prominent Republicans not good. We will look into this discriminatory and illegal practice at once! Many complaints." Well, Vice News is reporting that Twitter has fixed the issue, but our next guest's profile was originally affected, and she even sent Twitter a letter two months ago asking them to explain their practices. The RNC [Republican National Committee] chairwoman, Ronna McDaniel, joins us live. Hey, Ronna, thanks for joining us.
RONNA MCDANIEL: Hey, Ainsley, thanks for having me.
EARHARDT: Hey, you're welcome. I remember we had you on, we had you on with Brad Parscale, who is the -- who's President Trump's campaign manager for the next election. And the two of you said you sent a letter to social media sites asking them to explain why Republicans were being shadow banned and Democrats were not. Did you ever hear back from them?
MCDANIEL: We didn't. And so we were on your show when we put that letter out because we wanted that public forum because we were concerned about it. Twitter never responded to us. It's only because of this Vice article where they actually proved that prominent Republicans, congressmen, leaders in our party who were verified on Twitter, were being blocked from users trying to find their profiles. And then the president tweeting yesterday and now, of course, they're coming to the table. I think they still have more work to do to clear up why were conservatives being banned. Why are they using shadow banning? And this is important to all of their users. And it's important to our political dialogue that the thought police of Silicon Valley are not determining what voices get through on their social media platform.
EARHARDT: Yeah, you've been on our show complaining about it. Brad Parscale, as I mentioned, has. I know [Rep.] Matt Gaetz [(R-FL)] was targeted, [Rep.] Mark Meadows [(R-NC)], [Rep.] Jim Jordan [(R-OH)] was just on the curvy couch. He said that he was shadow banned. Diamond and Silk have faced this with Facebook and with Twitter.
EARHARDT: So now have -- did they ever reach out to you last night and say, "We fixed the problem?"
MCDANIEL: They reached out to us yesterday. We had a conversation with them. They said they didn't understand why it happened. It didn't have to do us being Republican. It was the behaviors of our accounts. Well, I don't understand that. If it's the behavior of our account, why is it only Republicans that are having this problem? And what type of behavior? I'm a political figure. I don't have really dangerous behavior on my Twitter account. Nothing that would prompt them to shadow ban me. So, I don't think their explanation is going far enough. And it is very concerning because conservative users are using these platforms. We are paying advertising -- for advertising on many of these platforms. I want to know what is your process? Be transparent. You owe that to your users to let us know that our voices will not be suppressed because you don't like what we think.
EARHARDT: Well, it's just annoying because if you are putting out a tweet and I -- let's say I wanted to include you in the tweet and I start typing in your name, normally it pops up. And if you're a prominent individual, your name is going to pop up. And that's what's happening. Democrats, their names are popping up. But if I start typing out your name, it doesn't pop up. And, that is not only annoying, but it's not fair. And this is what Twitter said. They said, "We do not shadow ban. We are aware that some accounts are not automatically populating in our search box and shipping a change to address this. The profiles, tweets and discussions about these accounts do appear when you search for them. To be clear, our behavioral ranking doesn't make judgments based on political views or the substance of tweets." Is that good enough for you, Ronna?
MCDANIEL: No, I just don't think it's transparent enough. Because it is only Republicans that this is happening to. My DNC [Democratic National Committee] counterparts, not happening to him. And as you said, when you type in Ronna McDaniel, fake accounts show up but not my account, which is verified on Twitter. So I think they need to go further. This important heading into these midterm elections, with the reach that these social media platforms have. They have to address that they're allowing free speech on their platforms and they are not suppressing conservative voices and opinions just because they don't agree with them.
EARHARDT: You think they're finally addressing it because the president tweeted yesterday?
MCDANIEL: I think the president is the biggest user of Twitter. I think he has helped make their platform grow and become even more relevant. And they need to address it and I think he brought their attention to the problem and I'm very thankful for President Trump for doing that.