Somewhere along the road of America’s development, corporations were
blessed with not only ‘personhood,’ but with the power to sanction what
sort of messages were permissible to enter the public realm. Let’s be
clear: This sort of corporate control, which borders on pure fascism, has no place in a democracy.
the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution for this
fundamental human right, inscribed into law over 200 years ago
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion,
or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of
speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
The primary source of our current plight is that the Founding Fathers had no idea to what degree corporations would come to dominate every square inch of our public and private lives. Had they been somehow forewarned of the approaching pirates just over the horizon with serious political axes to grind, there is no doubt they would have adjusted the Constitution’s sails to prepare for the invasion. Alas, such farsightedness was far beyond the psychic powers of any individual at the time.
Today, the situation with regards to corporate power has become so out of control that only the ‘person’ of the corporation is truly endowed by its creator with the full power of speech. These omnipotent ‘arbitrators of truth’ – i.e. their truth – are now controlled by five kingdoms (down from its previous six thanks to the marriage between Viacom and CBS) known as Comcast, Walt Disney, News Corporation, Warner Media and ViacomCBS, each one of which has many dozens of obedient subsidiaries under their wing.
These platforms, protected under Section 230 of the Communications
Decency Act of 1996, are designed as vehicles for posting ideas, however
wild or even conspiratorial they may appear to some observers. In other words, the platforms are not traditional publishers in the sense that they are legally responsible for the content that appears on their
sites. In the event that they ban or alter the meaning of the content, they are liable to lose the protections they have been granted under Section 230. So long as the user of the platform is not calling for violence, their views, according to the First Amendment, have every
right to be heard.
Those privileges enjoyed by the social media titans were called into question this week when none other than President Donald
Trump had his social media posts challenged by Twitter – twice.
…if the U.S. president is having trouble securing his freedom of speech, the chances for the average person is practically nonexistent.