Free Speech Alliance: Facebook Oversight Board Is Packed With Liberals

Craig Bannister | May 7, 2020 | 12:59pm EDT
Font Size
MRC Pres. Brent Bozell

Facebook’s new liberal-dominated content oversight board poses a “terrifying,” “Orwellian” threat to conservative free speech, Media Research Center Pres. Brent Bozell warns in a statement released Thursday, joined by fellow members of the Free Speech Alliance:

While leftist organizations savaged him, we supported CEO Mark Zuckerberg when he talked about making Facebook a marketplace of ideas and spoke forcefully saying the company “must continue to stand for free expression.”

Yet leftist forces within and outside of Facebook have condemned him for this, agitating for the company to become an arbiter of what is, and isn’t truth; and therefore what should and should not be presented on Facebook. Facebook wants the public to believe that its new Oversight Board will help solve the problems “about what content to take down or leave up.”

Conservatives warned from the start that any new oversight mechanism was fraught with danger. Our fears were well founded. This new board will damage Facebook more than it can imagine. 

We had cautioned that the oversight would be too international and unable or unwilling to embrace America’s 1st Amendment ideals of free speech, while embracing an internationalist construct pleasing to the radical left and likely to make Facebook’s restrictive content policies even worse.

And that’s precisely what the company delivered. The new Oversight Board announced itself with a New York Times op-ed from the four co-chairs. Only one of the four, Stanford Law School Prof. Michael McConnell, is at all conservative. And not as strong as many would like.

The other three are reliably liberal. Columbia Law Prof. Jamal Greene was an aide to Senator Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) during the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation hearings. Catalina Botero-Marino is the dean of the Universidad de los Andes Faculty of Law of Colombia. She is also a member of the board of directors of the Center for Reproductive Rights, a pro-abortion group. That is especially infuriating to pro-life groups that are regularly targeted on social media for their beliefs. No pro-life leader need apply to this board.

Then there’s the former prime minister of Denmark, Helle Thorning-Schmidt. She declared she “does not believe in eternal life, salvation or heaven and hell,” according to the publication Kristligt Dagblad.

Thorning-Schmidt is also one of at least six of the 15 international members of the board who openly espouse anti-Trump sentiments. She posted recently on Twitter over a photo of Obama endorsing presumptive Democrat presidential nominee Joe Biden: “The endorsement!! OMG, Miss the voice of decency and grace.”

The board members picked by the co-chairs are as left-wing as you might expect. Former Guardian Editor Alan Rusbridger has gone from supporting a free press to endorsing censorship. He tweeted in late March that the press should shut down President Donald Trump’s press conferences. “Completely agree that media should stop live broadcasting Trump, especially since he rejects robust challenges from reporters.” This is Facebook’s new commitment to free speech.

Nobel Peace Prize laureate Tawakkol Karman explained in an interview with the Spanish daily El Pais that she did “not trust Trump because I do not trust racist people.”

We find no one supportive of Trump.

It’s not just what the members oppose that is the problem. It’s what, and who, they support. At least three members have ties to leftist billionaire George Soros. One works directly for his Open Society organizations. Another was the founding dean at Central European University, which Soros founded and funded with nearly $1 billion. Even Oversight Board Executive Director Thomas Hughes comes from Article 19, which has received more than $2 million from Soros.

Some might argue that the right and Soros could find common ground supporting free speech. That’s not likely since Soros funds the very groups in the U.S. that are committed to banning conservatives from the open marketplace of ideas by branding them “haters” and the like. There are many wealthy donors on the right who also espouse free speech. Why aren’t they equally represented? One can only imagine how loudly the left would scream if three board members had ties to prominent conservative funders.

Sadly, Soros has far more influence with that board than the entire American right who are represented by one traditional conservative and one libertarian. Instead of supporting one another on rulings involving key social issues, they would likely cancel each other out.

It is too early to tell how such this board would rule. But it is terrifying to imagine how a powerful, leftist group like this might and view control conservative speech — speech that defends free enterprise, traditional marriage, religious freedom, the lives of the unborn, free speech and gun rights, to name but a few.

The answer in social media has often been to call such beliefs “hate speech,” the club the left has used to beat their opponents into submission on college campuses and online. And it has been a code word for anti-conservative censors like the Southern Poverty Law Center to shut down speech it doesn’t like.

The op-ed by the four co-chairs conveniently mentioned some form of the term “hate” three separate times.

That’s not just scary, it’s dangerous. The board is dominated not by believers in the U.S. Constitution and its protections of rights; it is controlled overwhelmingly by members who live in nations in opposition to such protections. The global view of rights — even in countries we consider strong allies like the U.K. or Australia — is as far away from American beliefs as they are geographically.

It is Orwellian. The international left is not open to free speech; it is intolerant of it. It has proclaimed that “climate change” is “settled science,” therefore any challenge based on science is untrue. The gay lifestyle is a moral right. Any challenge to it is an assault on the “dignity of man,” and therefore constitutes hate speech. Abortion “rights” are sacred; therefore the rights of the unborn are non-existent, and therefore their advocates are disingenuous. On and on it goes.

We believe Mark Zuckerberg was and continues to be committed to the free marketplace of ideas with Facebook a platform and not a publisher. But Facebook has created yet another layer of control over that market, now dominated almost exclusively by non-American leftists.

Unlike its Silicon Valley cousins, Facebook has made a good faith effort to reach out to conservatives for their opinion, and we recognize that.

And so we offer this opinion of the proposed Oversight Board: When you announce your next 20 members, ensure that they will balance out the aggressively leftist tilt of this new venture your company has taken. Better yet: Get rid of the whole thing.

Members of the Free Speech Alliance (FSA) include:

●       L. Brent Bozell III

Founder and President

Media Research Center

●       Saulius Anuzis                  


60 Plus Association

●       Brigitte Gabriel                 


ACT for America

●       Lori Roman                      


American Civil Rights Union

●       Phil Kerpen                      


American Commitment

●       Tim Wildmon


American Family Association

●       Terry  Schilling                  

Executive Director           

American Principles Project

●       R. Emmett Tyrrell             

Founder and Editor-In-Chief                                                           

American Spectator

●       Mark Fitzgibbons             

President of Corporate Affairs                                                         

American Target Advertising

●       Gary Bauer                       


American Values

●       Richard Manning              


Americans for Limited Government

●       Tricia Erickson                  


Angel Pictures & Publicity

●       Bill Donohue                    


Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights

●       Jeff Hunt                          


Centennial Institute

●       Austin Ruse                      


Center for Family and Human Rights

●       Elaine Donnelly                

Founder and President     

Center for Military Readiness

●       Frank Gaffney                  


Center for Security Policy

●       John Hinderaker               


Center of the American Experiment

●       Robert Allman                  

News Director                  

Christian Broadcasting Network

●       Theodore Baehr                

Publisher, Founder           

Christian Film & Television Commission

●       David Bossie                    

President and Chairman   

Citizens United

●       Michelle Easton               

Board President                

Clare Boothe Luce Center for Conservative Women

●       Ryan Williams


Claremont Institute

●       Penny Nance                    


Concerned Women for America

●       Allen West                       

Senior Fellow                   

Media Research Fellow

●       George Rasley                  

Managing Editor              

Conservative HQ

●       Ed Corrigan                      

Executive Director           

Conservative Partnership Institute

●       James Nolan                      


Crossroads Pro-Life Walks Across America

●       Eunie Smith                      


Eagle Forum

●       Sharon Slater                    

President and Founder     

Family Watch International

●       Christie Lee McNally       


Raven Strategies

●       Adam Brandon                  

President and CEO           


●       Will Chamberlain             

Editor-in-Chief and Publisher                                                          

Human Events

●       Carrie Lukas                     


Independent Women's Forum

●       Charles Copeland             


Intercollegiate Studies Institute

●       Mat Staver                        

Founder and Chairman     

Liberty Counsel

●       John-Henry Westen          

Editor-in-Chief, Co-Founder                                                           

Life Site News

●       Steven Ertelt                     


●       Kassy Dillon                     

Founder and President     

Lone Conservative

●       Gene  Mills                        


Louisiana Family Forum

●       Justin Danhof                   

General Counsel               

National Center for Public Policy Research

●       Brian Brown                     


National Organization for Marriage

●       Gavin Wax                        

Editor in Chief                 

The Spiel

●       Kevin Freeman                  

Founder and Chairman     

NSIC Institute

●       Craig Strazzeri                  

Chief Marketing Officer  


●       James O'Keefe                  


Project Veritas

●       Tom   Spence                    

President and Publisher    

Regnery Publishing

●       Craig Shirley                    

Founder, Chairman & CEO                                                             

Shirley & Banister

●       Kristan Hawkins               


Students for Life

●       Marjorie Dannenfelser     


Susan B. Anthony List

●       Jenny Beth Martin            


Tea Party Patriots, Inc.

●       Preston Noell                    


The American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property

●       Jim Lakely                        

Vice President and Director of Communications                             

The Heartland Institute

●       Morton Blackwell             


The Leadership Institute

●       Rod Martin                       

Founder and CEO            

The Martin Organization

●       Ryan  Bomberger              

Chief Creative Officer     

The Radiance Foundation

●       Paul Gessing                     


The Rio Grande Foundation

●       Floyd Brown                     


Western Journal

●       David Kupelian

Vice President and Managing Editor


●       Amy Kremer                     

Co-founder & Chairman   

Women for Trump

●       Jessica Jensen                   

Vice President & Chief of Staff                                                       

Young America's Foundation

●       Alfonso Aguilar


Latino Partnership for Conservative Principles

mrc merch