Carlson began by stating that “[t]he crackdown on America’s civil liberties…is here now and it’s unprecedented and it will have consequences” and “unintended” ones at that as this widespread censorship and forced social isolation (on top of COVID restrictions) “will cause extremism.”
On the Trump ban, Carlson pointed out that Big Tech has “silenced him” after the fact that Trump has “called for” such companies to be broken up. This, Carlson noted, was a way for Big Tech and the Democratic Party to show the public that “they’re in control now” and that their “assault on speech” will gain speed.
The Intercept founder Glenn Greenwald joined Carlson and declared this “the initiation of a new war on terror” because the Biden administration will “further criminalize domestic terrorism” by expanding it to include Trump supporters writ large and “increase their power to monitor political groups, to infiltrate them, to criminalize activities that currently are not criminalized, nor should they be.”
“A tiny handful of tech oligarchs are more powerful than any nation state. They determine what we can hear, what we can speak, what is true, and what is false, with zero accountability and zero transparency. They overwhelmingly donated to the Democratic Party and support the Democratic Party,” he added.
Before an interview with Parler chief policy officer Amy Peikoff, Carlson pointed out the double standards on Twitter with regard to Chinese and Iranian government accounts as Big Tech also spent Friday working to choke and kill off Parler.
Carlson spoke in the third segment with former Boris Johnson aide Craig Dillon and made this observation about the importance of social media for social cohesion:
So, in this country, and I’m sure it’s similar to the U.K., these platforms are our public square. This is how people sort out their political differences, how they learn about politics, and many other things. So when you shut these down, you are isolating people. It seems to me, you are insuring the rise of real extremism in this country. I mean, it’s obvious. Censorship makes people paranoid and crazy and frustrated and angry and sometimes violent. They must know that.
The FNC added that what’s being carried out is “an attack on people and they feel under siege,” creating a situation where they’re “turning up the temperature too high.”
And in a crazy turn of events, Carlson was in the midst of reading Trump’s statement from the @POTUS account about the suspension of @realdDonaldTrump when “Twitter took that down as we read it. Listen, never been a night like this in my lifetime.”
At another point in the show, Carlson made clear that these censorship fears weren’t being manufactured for TV ratings: “So your civil rights are disappearing. Again, that’s not cable news hype. It’s actually happening.”
Closing out the show, Carlson summed it all up, speaking in terms of both the present and what’s to come as a result of Big Tech’s Friday night actions:
It’s been an amazing day. Just in the past hour, we have seen — and we’re going to say it again — an unprecedented crackdown on the most basic civil liberties we’ve enjoyed for 200 years in this country and the first — it’s in the First Amendment — is the freedom of speech. They’ve pushed us into our own isolated little worlds out of COVID restrictions, made us more dependent on social media to communicate with each other and then cracked down on our use of social media. Can’t end well.
To see the relevant FNC transcript from January 8, click “expand.”
FNC’s Tucker Carlson Tonight
January 8, 2021
8:00 p.m. Eastern
TUCKER CARLSON: The crackdown on America’s civil liberties is coming. We told you that yesterday. Turns out, it didn’t take long. It is here now and it’s unprecedented. And it will have consequences. This will cause extremism. Actions taken to suppress extremism will cause it. Those unintended consequences, we don’t know. It’s very clear what is happening and what will happen. Here’s the first news. Just days after Donald Trump called for breaking up the Big Tech monopolies in order to preserve democracy, the Big Tech monopolies have silenced him. Twitter has just announced the sitting President has been banned permanently from the platform that is his primary means of communication. Of course, wait until the Democratic Party took power and they shut it down. They’re in control now. Silicon Valley oligarchs are more powerful than the President of the United States. And they want you to know it. Everywhere, the assault on speech accelerates. Glenn Greenwald is an independent journalist, cofounder of The Intercept, now found on SubStack. We’re happy to have him on tonight. You are a long-standing civil libertarian. Glenn, thanks for joining us. Please assess what you are seeing now in the United States.
GLENN GREENWALD: Well, one thing I think we’re clearly seeing is the initiation of a new war on terror, which I don’t say lightly. I say that because the Biden administration, what will be the Biden administration in about a week, is saying explicitly that they want, first of all, a new law to further criminalize domestic terrorism, even though every act that constitutes domestic terrorism is already criminalized. What they want to do is increase their power to monitor political groups, to infiltrate them, to criminalize activities that currently are not criminalized, nor should they be, whether it be advocacy or speech or other things. They’re saying they want a new law, similar to the way that the 9/11 attack and the emotion surrounding it was instantly seized upon to institute a whole series of new laws that endure to this very day. Secondly, they are explicitly saying that they believe that domestic terrorism — so this war on terror — is not going to be directed at foreign, non-state actors or terrorist groups or foreign countries like China or Iran or Russia, it’s going to be directed inward, is the greatest threat to national security. And we’ve talked about this before. This is what they are likely going to do, because they have been focused for so long, media outlets have, the Democratic Party has, on Donald Trump, and increasing fear levels about him. That has been the key to their profit and power. What will happen once he’s gone, the strategy has always been clear, to inflate the risk of what they call white supremacist terrorism, which increasingly means nothing more than being a Trump supporter, and then treating people in the United States who fall into that category the way you treat terrorists. You monitor them, you surveil them, you restrain them, you detain them. And this is what they are saying explicitly, and the Silicon Valley component of this is particularly menacing, Tucker, because these companies have greater power than any corporations [sic] in the history of the world. Not just wealth, but the amount of data that they have on us, and now the control that they exercise over our political discourse. A tiny handful of tech oligarchs are more powerful than any nation state. They determine what we can hear, what we can speak, what is true, and what is false, with zero accountability and zero transparency. They overwhelmingly donated to the Democratic Party and support the democratic party, are part of that coalition, and Jennifer Palmieri, a top level, long-term advisor to the Clintons, boasted on Twitter that the reason that Facebook and Silicon Valley are now censoring the enemies of the Democratic Party’s because they know the Democrats are now in control of the key committees and have to do their bidding in order to get what they want. But the reality is, they are the ones who wield power, Silicon Valley does come and the rest of us are subject to their undemocratic and unaccountable whims.
CARLSON: You’ve been saying this for 20 years, and almost 20 years ago, you said laws like this will be used against American citizens, and I want to confess, I thought you sounded paranoid at the time but you were right and I want to acknowledge that you are right, and we should be really, really concerned. Glenn Greenwald, I know we will be talking to you a lot. Appreciate it. Thank you.
GREENWALD: Thanks, Tucker.
CARLSON: So, this is coming from everywhere all the sudden, and we are going to unpack what we know at this hour, but we do know that over the last 24 hours, Twitter specifically has banned a number of different conservative accounts, not just the President’s. At the same time, the Chinese Communist Party, the Ayatollah of Iran still have their accounts, because they are not a threat to the ruling party here. Tonight, a competing social media service, Parler, which we told you about, is seeing massive and unprecedented surge in traffic. The site even experienced server outage because of new users tonight. Why? A couple of reasons. Mostly this. Parler is a free-speech alternative to Twitter. They don’t censor you. You can say what you want. The president is on Parler, and that has drawn a lot of people who realize they are being suppressed by Twitter. Parler is succeeding. What happens now? Of course, Silicon Valley is trying to kill it. Google has just removed Parler without any warning from its App Store. Apple and Amazon, which provide services that keep Parler — that keep services like Parler online, have also threatened to shut Parler down.
8:10 p.m. Eastern
CARLSON: So, as we said, Twitter has permanently suspended the president from its app. The question is how far will this go, and what will its effects be? Craig Dillon is a former advisor to the British prime minister Boris Johnson. He ran Johnson’s social media accounts. He joins us tonight. Craig, where do you think this is headed from here?
CRAIG DILLON: Well, I think they’ve set themselves a dangerous precedent. The question is, you know, who do they ban next? Are the Chinese accounts coming down?
DILLON: You know, the Supreme Leader of Iran regularly tweets. You’ve got the Venezuela leader. He’s using Twitter all the time. So, where does this stop? Do they — are they going to ban all of these people or is just particular ones they don’t like?
CARLSON: So, in this country, and I’m sure it’s similar to the U.K., these platforms are our public square. This is how people sort out their political differences, how they learn about politics, and many other things. So when you shut these down, you are isolating people. It seems to me, you are insuring the rise of real extremism in this country. I mean, it’s obvious. Censorship makes people paranoid and crazy and frustrated and angry and sometimes violent. They must know that. Why are they doing this?
DILLON: Well, they’re — they’re receiving unbelievable amounts of pressure from — from various people and their side of society to — to ban him and do these things. It’s an interesting decision for them to make. I imagine they took a lot of debating over it. But as you say, this is going to push people onto — as you’ve already heard, places like Parler and things like that. So, it’s basically just segregated the people now. You know, the only people that are going to be using Twitter are going to tend to be left-leaning people, whereas right-leaning people are going to go to Parler in places like that. It’s just made — both sides are going to be a echo chamber, but it’s not good for democracy.
CARLSON: No! And it’s an attack on people. And they feel under siege. This is — we’re turning up the temperature too high, these companies are doing that, I think. Craig, it is great to see you. Thank you.
8:32 p.m. Eastern
CARLSON: Okay, so as we have been telling you, the president has been permanently banned from Twitter, but he just sent this from his POTUS account. Roll that back a little bit so I can read if you don’t mind. Other direction. This is what the President has just sent out on the permanent President of the United States account on Twitter: “As I’ve been saying for a long time, Twitter has gone further and further in banning free speech and tonight, Twitter employees have coordinated with the Democrats and the radical left in removing my account from their platform to silence me. And you, the 75 million great, also look at the possibilities of building out our own platform in the near future. We will not be silenced. Twitter is not about free speech. They’re all about promoting a radical left platform where some of those vicious people in the world are allowed to speak freely. Stay tuned.” As we read this, this is all happening in real time as you can see, Twitter took that down as we read it. Listen, never been a night like this in my lifetime.
8:37 p.m. Eastern
CARLSON: So your civil rights are disappearing. Again, that’s not cable news hype. It’s actually happening.
8:59 p.m. Eastern
CARLSON: It’s been an amazing day. Just in the past hour, we have seen — and we’re going to say it again — an unprecedented crackdown on the most basic civil liberties we’ve enjoyed for 200 years in this country and the first — it’s in the First Amendment — is the freedom of speech. They’ve pushed us into our own isolated little worlds out of COVID restrictions, made us more dependent on social media to communicate with each other and then cracked down on our use of social media. Can’t end well.