Turning Point USA founder Charlie Kirk pushed back against media pundits who lashed out after his group produced an edited video of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi at the State of the Union.
Lawmakers who are asking Facebook to remove the video are acting to silence conservative content, according to Kirk. Freedom Fights spliced together the video to show Pelosi ripping up President Donald Trump’s speech after he highlighted each individual’s story.
Freedom Fights is a TPUSA Facebook and Instagram channel.
“This is cancel culture coming to Congress,” Kirk said in a press statement Monday following uproar over the video. (RELATED: Pundits And Dems React After Facebook Refuses To Nix An Edited Version Of Pelosi’s SOTU Speech Rip)
He added: “There was absolutely nothing deceptive about the video. We’ve been surprised, and frankly horrified, by the many Democrats calling for censorship including from the speaker’s own office.”
Other people associated with the group also reacted to the kerfuffle.
“Pelosi and her foot soldiers in Congress feign outrage and call President Trump an authoritarian, when in reality it is they who cannot resist the tyrannical impulse to control, censor and silence,” Benny Johnson, TPUSA’s chief creative officer, said in an editorial Sunday.
He added: “Instead of burning books, they’re banning videos.” The president tweeted the video on Feb. 6.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 6, 2020
Kirk’s comments come as Democratic lawmakers pester Facebook over the video.
“Social media platforms are a place where people come for news & information. They need to have certain standards. Falsity has never been part of our 1st Amendment tradition,” Democratic Rep. Ro Khanna of California wrote on Feb. 7 after imploring Twitter to remove the video.
Khanna’s colleagues rebuked the company as well. “The American people know that the President has no qualms about lying to them – but it is a shame to see Twitter and Facebook, sources of news for millions, do the same,” Pelosi’s deputy chief of staff, Drew Hammill, said on Feb. 7 on Twitter.
It is not the first time Pelosi and Facebook have wrestled over what the House speaker believes is manipulated video meant to make her look bad. She and liberal pundits pounced on the company in 2019 when the tech giant refused to nix a doctored video clip of the lawmaker.
The video artificially slowed Pelosi’s speech and mannerisms. It was identified as a fake, but not before it had been shared across multiple platforms. Facebook determined at the time that providing customers with accurate information is more important than removing the video entirely.
Editor’s note: The characterization of the video has been updated to reflect it showed Pelosi ripping up significant moments of the speech.
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