Because Politicians Are for Sale, They Think Everyone Else Is Too

Reason cites CEI’s position on government control of the Internet.

The senator thus compounds his disdain for free speech with accusations that his opponents are unscrupulous. The NBC News article his tweet points to goes further still, explicitly linking opposition from the Cato Institute, the Competitive Enterprise Institute, and R Street Institute to funding from “big tech companies.”

Every one of those think tanks and advocacy groups is backed by Google, Facebook or both. The companies are not only two of the main targets of Hawley’s bill, but they’re also the focus of broader political scrutiny that now spans both parties and has spilled over into the Democratic presidential race.

“I’ve never seen pushback in such a fashion before,” Terry Schilling, executive director of the American Principles Project, a conservative think tank, told NBC News. “Even with net neutrality, these groups were all over the place—even though Facebook and Google supported it. It’s safe to say that it’s largely due to pressure from the social media giants that hasn’t been seen before.”

What he misses is that libertarian outfits were against so-called net neutrality for exactly the same reasons they are against Hawley’s latest proposal: It would have given the government broad ability to regulate internet content. That Google, Facebook, and others were in favor of net neutrality actually shows that the think tanks currently being attacked are operating out of principle rather than mercenary greed.

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