It sounds farcical, but it’s reality. Connecting the Dots, a radio program belonging to former Montana legislator, Dan Happel, was banned by YouTube only hours after posting an interview with Senator Teresa Manzella and Public Service Commissioner, Randy Pinocci. The topic of the interview was Big Tech censorship.
Sen. Manzella (R-SD44) sponsored SB391, a bill that would have provided a system of due process – a Constitutional requirement under U.S. law – for citizens who feel as though their right to equal protection (another Constitutional requirement under U.S. law) has been violated by major social media companies. Most often, companies operating as communications utilities violate Americans’ civil liberties because of viewpoint discrimination, treating customers unequally because of their political, religious, or ideological perspectives.
Manzella’s bill died in committee, as did two similar bills in the Montana House that were sponsored by Rep. Lola Sheldon Galloway (HD22). Another similar bill, sponsored by Rep. Brad Tschida (R-HD97) died on the house floor by one vote, largely thanks to Rep. Casey Knudsen (R-HD33), a Republican vying for house leaderrship next term. Ostensibly, Knudsen felt the legislation violated his libertarian principles, which apparently do not include the princples of due process or equal protection.
Manzella’s bill would have given oversight of Big Tech communications utilities to the Public Service Commission (PSC), which was created for the purpose of regulating public and private corporations to ensure that Montanans are being treated fairly. Thanks to the defeat of these bills, there is no means by which Montanans can address their grievances and no court that exists which can decide if their constitutional rights have been violated.
Prior to SB391 being heard in committee, Manzella and Pinocci did an interview on Happel’s Connecting the Dots, discussing why Big Tech should be held accountable for their censorship (you can listen to here).
The program was available on YouTube for a brief few hours, before the video was removed and Happel’s radio program was forever banned from the platform. The reason given was a hyperlink to their community guidelines. The infraction – according to YouTube – was their policy against “spam, deceptive policies and scams.”
It’s notable that YouTube’s policy includes a ban on…
- Any speech questioning the outcome of any presidential election (but only in the United States)
- Any speech asserting that voter fraud exists
- Any speech suppressing census participation
- Incitement to “interfer with the democratic process” (by mentioning the possibility of voter fraud, apparently)
However, it’s worth noting that none of these topics were addressed by Happel, Manzella, or Pinocci. It is bad enough that YouTube, which has a virtual monopoly on video services, forbids citizens from discussing election integrity. It’s even worse that such policies are vaguely applied to ban the discussion of Big Tech censorship.
Montana legislators need to take note: Two elected officials and a private citizen were censored from discussing Big Tech’s censorship of Montanans. Legislators who voted against Manzella’s, Tchida’s, and Sheldon-Galloway’s bills will receive some comeuppance in their primary fights, and voters are informed that they chose to side with censorship over their constituents.
What YouTube, Google, Facebook, and other Big Tech giants are guilty of is election interference and manipulation of the American political process. Even being so bold as to ban our elected officials from discussing their proposed legislation, our technocratic overlords are willing to censor their opponents merely for exposing their censorship.