Congresswoman Lauren Boebert makes media headlines daily…every hour of the day, it seems. This week, Colorado Times Recorder, which is notoriously hard on Boebert, posted an article about Lauren’s Parler account.
Parler, branded an “alt-right” platform by those who have grown accustomed to censorship by Big Tech, went back online yesterday. Most users only needed to refresh apps and browsers, and the platform was back in business.
CTR, to be fair, historically uses factual information. A reporter tweeted Boebert Monday to inform her that a commenter left an anti-Semitic remark on one of her parlays (Parler’s tweet equivalent) but states she had yet to respond by time of his story’s publication Tuesday.
Representative Boebert is actively being sued by Bri Buentello, a former Colorado State Representative, for blocking her on Twitter. Elected officials aren’t legally permitted to block their constituents, as social media has become a public forum for political debate. Blocking a constituent amounts to censorship, according to prior case law, which is curious considering that Big Tech giants censor candidates and officials daily.
“The U.S. Court of Appeals Fourth Circuit in Davison v. Randall, has ruled elected officials cannot delete comments or block users on their “government official” Facebook page. The court found, “government official” pages are a public forum, and users’ First Amendment rights are protected. Therefore, deleting comments or blocking users of the page is censorship.”
According to the ACLU,
“An official speaking as a government actor cannot limit interactions based on viewpoint, but they can limit other kinds of interactions. Depending on the circumstances, a person can be blocked for posting personal threats or profane language, including in accordance with the social media platform’s terms of service. An official can also preclude all comments or in certain circumstances limit discussions to certain subjects – in other words, government officials may have no obligation to open the social media account up for public comment, but if they do, they cannot discriminate as to which views get to be expressed in those comments.”
Boebert makes laws; she doesn’t have all day to censor comments.
Since the language in the parlay comment is neither profane nor against the Parler Terms of Service, Boebert and her staff should not intervene.
While the comment is highly inappropriate and irrelevant to the thread itself, Boebert cannot remove it because doing so constitutes censorship, opening her up to another lawsuit. She’s wise toallow the comment to remain on her Parlay; perhaps the new CEO at Parler could delete the comment for her, which reverts back to censorship.
Alternatively, Parler users and those creeping Boebert’s page for offensive comments could keep strolling and not ask Boebert to open herself up to further civil liabilities in a court of law. It’s hard enough being a congresswoman these days, especially a conservative one; the last thing Boebert needs is another responsibility that isn’t hers and another lawsuit.
If Boebert sees the comment, a more appropriate course of action, rather than comment deletion, would be a simple public reminder that she doesn’t condone such comments.
With all due respect to CTR, it’s a very slippery slope when we have moved from censoring our elected officials, to calling on our elected officials to censor their constituents.
Readers could spend days scouring the comments of celebrities such as Tom Hanks, athletes, and thousands of politicians and elected officials across the country for offensive comments. And once society accepts the attachment of offensive comments to the original poster, there may be very few people remaining, lest everyday citizens, whose followers, constituents, or friends havent made an offensive comment. Cancellation of Boebert for a view that isn’t hers is unfair and inherently dangerous to free speech.