Big Tech’s decision to shut down Parler calls to mind the climactic closing in the 1939 Frank Capra film, “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.”
You may recall the plot. A young, idealistic Jefferson Smith, played by Jimmy Stewart, gets appointed by his governor to fill out two months of a term for a senator who died in office.
Smith, who has no political experience, shows up in Washington not realizing what a corrupt swamp the place is, and among the swamp dwellers is none other than his childhood, home state hero, Senator Joseph Paine (Claude Rains).
Paine encourages Smith to draft a bill while he is serving in the Senate, so the D.C. neophyte proposes a national boys’ camp.
However, the land Smith picks has already been earmarked in legislation by Paine as part of a graft scheme to build a dam, which has been orchestrated by their home state’s political boss, James Taylor (Edward Arnold).
When Paine’s dam project bill comes up for a vote in the Senate, Smith stands to object.
Paine interjects and accuses his colleague of wrongdoing, claiming he owns the land and is trying to profit from its sale to the government through his proposed boys’ camp bill.
In other words, Paine, prodded by threats from Taylor, accuses Smith of engaging in the very conduct he and the political boss are guilty of.
On the day the Senate is to vote on Smith’s removal from office, he rises to conduct a one-man filibuster in defense of his character and to expose Taylor’s corrupt political machine.
Taylor, who wields control over much of the state’s newspapers and radio stations, shuts down anything Smith is saying from reaching the people.
False narratives about the senator get spun instead.
“This filibuster is a cowardly attempt to turn your attention from the true facts that have been established,” a radio newsman says.
“Jefferson Smith was caught red-handed,” adds another.
Smith’s senate aide Clarissa (Jean Arthur) sends news copy to get the word out about what was really happening regarding the filibuster to one small paper Taylor does not control, called “Boy’s Stuff.”
However, as the papers start to circulate, Taylor’s men swoop in and confiscate them.
That’s what happened to Parler on Sunday when Amazon Web Services de-platformed it from the company’s cloud servers after Google and Apple removed Parler from their app stores.
So much for freedom of the press.
Establishment media outlets referred to Parler as a “far-right” platform. I was on it and followed some of my favorite news outlets and media personalities there like Mark Levin.
These were not far-right outlets, but mainstream conservative ones.
Amazon justified the move by saying some people posted threatening messages that could incite violence.
With over 12 million users and a fledgling, young company, it has only so much capacity to police what people post.
Twitter has certainly allowed a lot of threatening content to fly, including comedian Kathy Griffin holding a severed, bloody mock head of Donald Trump in 2017.
In the end, Smith won his battle against the Taylor machine and exposed the graft.
Fox Business reported that Parler sued Amazon on Monday, citing antitrust violations and breach of contract, which requires a 30-day notice before terminating service, rather than the less than 36 hours it gave the social media company.
Here’s hoping that freedom of speech prevails, Amazon pays dearly and Parler is back up soon.
Jefferson Smith would surely approve.