[Richland County] Montana Daily Gazette has been largely censored by Facebook and YouTube, mostly because we have reported the truth on election fraud, Antifa activists setting fire to our National Forests last summer, our insistence that Kyle J. Rittenhouse is innocent until proven guilty, and our refusal to submit to “transgender” language.
This is why our publication testified on behalf of bills by Rep. Lola Sheldon Galloway, Rep. Brad Tschida, and Sen. Theresa Manzella to hold Big Tech utilities to account for viewpoint discrimination and – more importantly – 14th Amendment violations of Due Process and Equal Protection Under the Law.
Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act provide immunity to Internet-based companies against actions taken on their platform (for example, Internet Service Providers can’t be held liable for what their consumers use their Internet for). However, this has been unfortunately used by Big Tech to let them ban their consumers for utilizing their speech in a way that doesn’t accord to the company’s “corporate values.”
However, the case can – and has – been made that Big Tech utilities should be treated as utilities. Just as ISPs aren’t liable for what their consumers do with their Internet, they’re also not allowed to censor what their users say on the Internet. Section 230, unfortunately, lets Big Tech receive utility immunity while allowing them to act as publishers, censoring their user’s content.
However, Section 230 explicitly says that states can intervene and craft their own laws to guide this principle. In Montana, we came up with a simple solution. We already have a department of state government that has oversight over utilities. It’s called the Public Service Commission.
These bills, two of which failed to pass committee and one that failed by a single vote (thanks, Llew Jones and Casey Knudsen), would have permitted the Public Service Commission to provide regulatory oversight over Big Tech’s monopolistic utilities so that Montanans could have our rights protected.
Written by Michael Anthony for KFYR news and television, the article, Montana public service commissioner talks need to regulate social media, took a brief look at that battle for Montana’s free speech.
Citing MDG Publisher, Jordan Hall, Anthony wrote, “I have a right to due process under the law, and there’s no court due to section 230 of federal law to challenge them in unless states get their act together and create a means and mechanism by which their citizens can challenge big tech.”
Pushing the legislation the strongest – by far – was the hardest working Public Service Commissioner (if days actually at the office or on the job determine such), Randy Pinnocci, told the reporter, “(Social Media Companies) are a monopoly; there’s really only one Facebook, there’s really only one Twitter. They have tremendous power, and they can raise the rates and kick anyone off for any reason they want.”
The Montana Public Service Commission’s job, under state law, is to protect the interest of the consumer against large corporations, monopolies, and even (until recently) at least one private business (taxi companies). Founded during the days of territorial government, the PSC remains one of the oldest and currently the smallest and least-expensive departments in state government.
The origins of the PSC began because railroads were giving preferential treatment to some Montanans, and punitive treatment to others, a violation of the principle of Equal Protection (now codified in the 14th Amendment). That’s its job.
However, Anthony went on to cite an opponent of the anti-censorship legislation and head of the Democrat-Wing of the Republican Party, Llew Jones.
Jones said, “I could not see at that time how [the Public Service Commission] should even be considered as even sort of capable of doing this work. They’re not doing the work they were supposed to be doing already.”
Jones opposed Pinocci’s candidacy for PSC and promoted his RINO alternative, Rob Cook, when he first ran for office. At a town hall debate in the oilfield town of Sidney, Cook devalued the importance of petroleum and advocated for “green energy.” Pinnocci won handily, something that seems to have stuck in Jones’ craw.
In terms of the PSC “not doing the work they were supposed to be doing already,” it seems that Jones is either mistaken or lying. There have been no known complaints that they are not regulating the industries they are supposed to be regulating. A recent audit shows concern over the financial accountability of Jones’ Public Service Commissioner, Brad Johnson, but Pinocci came out of that audit smelling like roses.
MDG has highlighted Pincocci’s work in his legislative accomplishments here, opining if he was “the hardest working man in Helena.” Pinocci used his Christmas break to remind the public that utility bill assistance was available to low-income Montanans to keep their power on. Pinocci fought hard for a repeal of a law supported by Jones that burdened Northwest Energy users with a hidden tax to fight the “invasive zebra mussel.” Pinocci put together a game plan to save Montanan’s coal industry. Just last month, Pinocci fought hard to get Internet access back on for Wibaux County residents. The commissioner has also been busy informing Montana that we have a pending energy crisis. He warned about the danger of “smart meters.” Pinocci just accomplished gathering the funds necessary to save the water supply of the Savage School District. He did everything humanly possible to save the MDU power station in Sidney, including trying to get it to convert its energy source and find potential buyers. And this is just some of what Pinocci has done during his time at the PSC in the last 12 months. For the rest, click here.
Earlier this week, I called Commissioner Pinocci because a neighbor of our church had his electric bill shut off (without warning) for being behind on his payment. It was over 100 degrees and he had six children. The man is successfully recovering from addiction and doing everything possible to make ends meet for his large family. I personally called Pinocci over the matter (Pinocci is the Public Service Commissioner in this district), and he immediately resolved the matter within hours for a constituent he never met.
That Llew Jones would argue the PSC doesn’t do its job is revolting. Furthermore, this is not the reason Jones gave for voting against the bill during the legislative session. This was an excuse made up months later, only trying to save his posterior from his own constituents that are livid that Jones voted against their rights to seek due process from censorship.
What did Jones do to help stop Big Tech censorship? What alternatives did he present? If he was truly concerned, how did he help? The answer is, Jones did nothing to help Montanans being censored by Big Tech. That’s because Jones is a Democrat in the Republican Party and frankly, his side isn’t being censored.