Morning Joe: DeSantis Protecting Political Speech Violates First Amendment!

Only on MSNBC would you hear political analysis this mind-numbingly stupid. On Morning Joe, co-host Joe Scarborough and frequent guest Mara Gay sneered at a new law protecting political speech as “violating the First Amendment.”

The co-hosts and New York Times editorial board member were complaining about one of their favorite Republican targets, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, specifically a bill he signed into law yesterday that aims to stop social media censorship. DeSantis’s “Big Tech Bill” prohibits platforms like Facebook and Twitter from banning or suspending for more than two weeks political candidates in the state, with hefty fines for violating these terms, and gives Florida residents the ability to sue these platforms as well if they are de-platformed.

Mike Brzezinski briefly explained the law before offering this snide remark:

And I just want to make sure that, like, Ron DeSantis — I mean, is he being clear here when he talks about conservative candidates versus candidates that don’t tell the truth? That make bold-faced lies. Because there’s two different things, right? 

Husband and co-host Joe Scarborough also was offended by the “stunt”, calling it “unconstitutional”:

Well, that’s what — that’s more–that’s what’s so cute about this political stunt. This political gesture. First of all, it’s most likely unconstitutional. It violates the First Amendment and how a private company chooses to moderate content on their platform.

Scarborough attacked Republicans DeSantis and Congressman Josh Hawley as “big government” hypocrites for fighting against big tech’s censorship of conservative viewpoints. “[D]eciding they are going to be — use the power of the state to tell Facebook or to tell Twitter uh how to run their First Amendment policies. It’s just – that’s a bizarre thing for an alleged small government Republican to do!” he scolded.

The NYT’s Gay completely agreed this law aiming to protect free speech violated the First Amendment…which of course, protects freedom of speech. 

She even slammed conservatives as “entitled” for believing they should have the freedom to express their views on social media platforms like liberals do:

The reality is that DeSantis is taking advantage of, I think, what is a pretty fundamental misunderstanding of the First Amendment. And it really goes to this quote/unquote cancel culture, red meat culture war issue. You know conservatives just like everybody else in the country need to understand that you is a right under the First Amendment to speak your piece. You do not have an entitlement to speak that piece on a private platform…You do have a right to say what you like in a town square. And that’s really why this is perversion of the First Amendment. 

After arguing the federal government needed to regulate social media companies, Gay again reminded viewers that the media hates conservatives. She attacked the right as having “repugnant” views but playing “victim”:

This is really just, you know, about the victimhood, I would say, of some right-wing conservative Americans who feel that they are being canceled, because their views, which are in many cases repugnant, no longer allowed in mainstream private companies, on their platforms.

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Read the transcript below:

Morning Joe 

5/25/2021

MIKA BRZEZINSKI: And Governor Ron DeSantis signed a law gives the state the power to penalize media companies. He said it was a blow against Silicon valley elites who he said were looking to censor conservative political views. Florida’s law says that social media companies may not permanently delete or ban a candidate for office. Suspensions of up to 14 days are allowed and a site can remove individual posts that violate its terms of service. If a company’s actions are found to violate the law, the state’s elections commission could fine a social media company $250,000 a day for statewide candidates and $25,000 a day for other candidates. Individuals in Florida may also sue for violations of the law. The law to prohibit deplatforming is the first of its kind in the nation. A similar proposal is making its way through the Texas legislature. And I just want to make sure that, like, Ron DeSantis — I mean, is he being clear here when he talks about conservative candidates versus candidates that don’t tell the truth? That make bold-faced lies. Because there’s two different things, right? 

JOE SCARBOROUGH:  Well, that’s what — that’s more–that’s what’s so cute about this political stunt. This political gesture. First of all, it’s most likely unconstitutional. It violates the First Amendment and how a private company chooses to moderate content on their platform. But secondly, the hypocrisy of people like Ron DeSantis and Josh Hawley, small government conservatives saying they believe in free market and free enterprise and the power of companies to run things they want to run, deciding they are going to be — use the power of the state to tell Facebook or to tell Twitter uh how to run their First Amendment policies. It’s just – that’s a bizarre thing for an alleged small government Republican to do. 

NYT EDITORIAL BOARD MEMBER MARA GAY: Totally, Joe. The reality is that DeSantis is taking advantage of, I think, what is a pretty fundamental misunderstanding of the First Amendment. And it really goes to this quote/unquote cancel culture, red meat culture war issue. You know conservatives just like everybody else in the country need to understand that you is a right under the First Amendment to speak your piece. You do not have an entitlement to speak that piece on a private platform or, for example, in “The New York Times”. Nobody has a right to publish a guest column in “The New York Times.” I think that’s kind of maybe the better example. You do have a right to say what you like in a town square. And that’s really why this is perversion of the First Amendment. The real issue here is that these tech companies like Facebook are also content platforms. And they have not actually been regulated as such, which has allowed them to spread disinformation or allowed disinformation to be spread on their platforms. And that is a much bigger and far more serious issue that we’ve discussed on this show before. And that’s something that’s going to have to be taken up by Congress. And I hope there’s buy-in on a bipartisan basis for that. This is really just, you know, about the victimhood, I would say, of some right-wing conservative Americans who feel that they are being canceled, because their views, which are in many cases repugnant, no longer allowed in mainstream private companies, on their platforms.

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