On The Bill Press Show, Media Matters' Cristina López explains why it's not censorship for companies to ban Alex Jones' extremism
López: "The First Amendment is too important to manipulate it by interpreting it in a way in which it means that everyone has a right to profit from the crazy things they say"
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From the August 9 edition of Free Speech TV's The Bill Press Show:
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BILL PRESS (HOST): Ok, Sandy Hook was fake, was phony, right? I mean that's one of his --
CRISTINA LÓPEZ (MEDIA MATTERS): That is one of the ways that he would -- that his conspiracy theories would have actual real consequences. Parents of the victims of Sandy Hook are still harassed on the streets based on people [who] were inspired by this stuff that Alex Jones said. But this wasn't even what prompted the platforms to kick him off.
LÓPEZ: The issue is, it's not -- there is still space for Alex Jones, he hasn't been shut down, people can still go to his website and go to his conspiracy theory outlet. No one is putting duct tape over his mouth. That's the thing, and this is playing out in right-wing media and the way that right-wing media is exploiting this issue is to sort of plant this false narrative of censorship that doesn't really exist.
PRESS: No -- I've heard that argument, that this is a First Amendment issue, that liberals had better be careful rejoicing in the fact that Alex Jones was thrown off these platforms because they're endorsing censorship. That this is -- that he's got a right, as disgusting and despicable as what he says is, that he has a First Amendment right just like all the rest of us.
LÓPEZ: I think the First Amendment is too important to manipulate it by interpreting it in a way in which it means that everyone has a right to profit from the crazy things they say. The First Amendment does not include a right to a platform or does not include an obligation on third parties to provide you with a platform that will amplify your message so that it reaches out to more people than you're actually getting on your own.
PRESS: In other words, he has a right to say whatever he wants to say but --
LÓPEZ: I agree.
PRESS: -- CBS or ABC have a right not to put him on their air. Right?
LÓPEZ: They do.
PRESS: Facebook has a right not to put him on their social platform.
LÓPEZ: And people can still go and look for what he's saying because, that's the thing, no one is tampering with his First Amendment. For some reason -- and this is very important, and hopefully media will help [the] public make the distinction between what the First Amendment entails, and it's so important, and the way that it's being manipulated by right-wing media. And it might become a campaign issue, considering that Alex Jones is out there begging Donald Trump for help with the platforms, and begging for Congressional Republicans to make this a midterm election issue. And it's very important for people to distinguish between First Amendment and right for a platform -- it's as if you were out there asking for everyone to amplify your message, as if that were included among your First Amendment rights.
To watch the full interview, click HERE.