NYT Targets AG for Going After Censorship Online

June 12th, 2022 3:52 PM

Journalists at The New York Times criticized Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s efforts to push back against online censorship.

The paper published an article in the technology section that accused Paxton of standing up against censorship online to bolster his own political career.

Last week, NewsBusters reported that Paxton’s office issued a Civil Investigative Demand (CID) to determine whether Twitter’s reporting on the number of bot accounts online was "false, misleading, or deceptive" under Texas law. 

"Texans rely on Twitter’s public statements that nearly all its users are real people. It matters not only for regular Twitter users, but also Texas businesses and advertisers who use Twitter for their livelihoods," Paxton said in a statement last week. "If Twitter is misrepresenting how many accounts are fake to drive up their revenue, I have a duty to protect Texans."

He argued that bot accounts on Twitter "inflate followers and reach, and often push deceptive and annoying activity." 

"A large number of bot accounts not reduces users’ experience on the platform, but may also inflate the value of the company and the costs of doing business with it, thus directly harming consumers and businesses – specifically, Texas consumers and businesses," Paxton told FOX Business.

The Times implied that Paxton challenged Twitter to earn support from former President Donald Trump’s base after the platform suspended Trump.

“The attorney general has sought in recent years to endear himself to conservative voters who believe that social media platforms are stifling right-wing voices," The Times stated. "When Twitter barred Mr. Trump last year after the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, Mr. Paxton demanded that the company detail how it decides to keep posts up and what it takes down. Twitter unsuccessfully challenged the request in court.”

A political consultant who worked on Ken’s wife Angela’s state senate campaign agreed the issue helped Paxton politically. 

“He’s kind of crusading on this issue because he actually sees it as a political benefit to him,” GOP political consultant Brendan Steinhauser told The Times. “Big Tech is a huge part of the conversation on the right.”

The article also said Paxton used the investigation to score brownie points with Tesla CEO Elon Musk now that he lives in Texas.

“The investigation could also bring Mr. Paxton closer to Mr. Musk, the world’s richest man, who also runs the electric carmaker Tesla and the rocket company SpaceX," The Times said. "Mr. Musk moved to Texas from California in 2020. In December, Tesla relocated its headquarters to the Austin area, where it is building a factory that has promised to employ thousands. SpaceX also has a facility in Brownsville, Texas, a city in the south that has painted his likeness on a mural downtown.”

Conservatives are under attack. Contact your representatives and demand that Big Tech be held to account to mirror the First Amendment while providing equal footing for conservatives. If you have been censored, contact us using CensorTrack’s contact form, and help us hold Big Tech accountable.