Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and Facebook CEO Sheryl Sandberg are testifying today before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. The focus of the hearing is what each social media site is doing to combat the threat of foreign influence on our elections. Outside in the hallway, InfoWars host Alex Jones took the opportunity to crash an interview with Sen. Marco Rubio.
Rubio was in the midst of talking about the same thing he focused on inside the hearing room, i.e. social media sites needed to maintain a commitment to free expression to prevent authoritarian governments from using them to stifle internal dissent. Alex Jones tried to turn that argument by saying that social media companies were already silencing people like him. As you’ll see, Jones starts out in his usual worked up state but he becomes belligerent when Rubio claims not to know who he is. From there, Jones describes Rubio as “snake-like” and calls him a “little frat boy.”
When Jones pats Rubio on the back, Rubio says, “Don’t touch me again.” Jones asks if he plans to call the police and Rubio replies, “I’ll take care of it myself.” And from there we’re off to the races with Jones saying, “You’re not going to silence me. You’re not going to silence America. You are literally like a little gangster-thug.” As Rubio tries to answer the next question, Jones rants, “The Democrats are raping Infowars.”
Rubio finally heads off, calling Jones a “clown” as he goes. Here’s the clip:
Here's video of the Alex Jones – Rubio spat https://t.co/lGDaHAcZUc
— Will Sommer (@willsommer) September 5, 2018
I do think Alex Jones is a clown but, unfortunately, he has a point. During the hearing, Jack Dorsey said more than once that people treat Twitter as the public square, the place where discussions happen about the events of the day. But of course, Twitter isn’t the public square. As a private entity, it can deny service to anyone it deems to be violating its rules without regard for the First Amendment. So as much as I think the loss of Alex Jones on social media is no loss at all, I do worry about what the precedent of cutting him off means for the future. I’m not panicking about it but I do think it’s something to keep an eye on. There are certainly plenty of censorious voices on the left looking for any excuse to silence people they disagree with and Alex Jones could be the camel’s nose under the tent.
Here’s the full hearing. Rubio’s remarks come at about 1:02 into this clip:
Update: Here’s more Alex Jones as captured by the Associated Press:
Update: Here’s another angle on the Ruvio vs Jones segment. showing Rubio’s reactions to the constant interruptions.
— HILLTV (@HillTVLive) September 5, 2018