Fox News host Tucker Carlson and Heritage Foundation are locked in combat over whether the Heritage Foundation has put the interests of technology giants ahead of those of conservatives.
Carlson made the remarks in a Friday night segment in which he said “Google, Facebook, and Twitter work in secret to impose a left-wing political agenda on this country.”
“In all, the Koch network quietly spent at least $10 million defending Silicon Valley companies that work to silence conservatives. The richest companies in the world being defended by a ‘conservative’ nonprofit as they attack conservatives. Why are they doing this? As one former Koch employee recently told this show off the record, ‘I know for a fact they take money from social media companies to do their bidding.’ And it turns out, he was right,” Carlson said, referring to the conservative donors Chalers Koch and his brother, the late David Koch.
“Google has given money to at least 22 right-leaning institutions that are also funded by the Koch network. Those institutions also include the American Conservative Union, the American Enterprise Institute, the National Review Institute, the Competitive Enterprise Institute, the Heritage Foundation, and the Mercatus Center, we could go on,” he said.
It should be noted that Carlson has also supported the National Review Institute, at least in kind, by appearing at the organization’s 2019 Ideas Summit in March.
Carlson tried to put the issue in a nushell.
“Here’s how it works: Big tech companies silence conservatives. Conservatives’ nonprofits try to prevent the government from doing anything about it. Makes sense,” he said.
Carlson then focused on the Heritage Foundation, which he called “maybe the biggest and best-funded think tank in Washington.”
“[A]s an organization, Heritage no longer represents the interests of conservatives — at least on the question of tech. A recent paper by Heritage entitled “Free enterprise is the best remedy for online bias concerns,” defends the special privileges that Congress has given to left-wing Silicon Valley monopolies. And if conservatives don’t like it, Heritage says, well they can just start their own Google,” Carlson said.
“The paper could’ve been written by tech lobbyists. In fact, it may have been written by tech lobbyists. A trade association that represents Silicon Valley called the liability exemption that Google enjoys ‘the most important law in tech.’ Well, Heritage’s paper repeats that line verbatim. Word for word. Along with many other lines that the lobbyists wrote. It’s embarrassing,” he said.
“But Heritage isn’t embarrassed. None of the so-called ‘conservative nonprofits’ in Washington are embarrassed. They make deals with people who hate you; they secretly sell out your interests; then they beg you to tithe like it’s the medieval church, like you owe them your money,” he said.
Carlson then said the lack of positive cultural change could be by design.
“That’s the system that we’ve had for decades. And maybe that’s why, no matter how much money you send, nothing gets more conservative. Just the opposite. You wonder how much longer the system can continue?” Carlson said.
The Heritage Foundation responded with a statement in regarding what it called “several false, outrageous, and unfounded accusations,” saying it was “incredibly disappointing to hear Tucker Carlson, whom we hold in high regard, mislead his viewers about Heritage’s work on the topics of big tech and censorship.”
“Unfortunately, Carlson did not contact us in advance of his segment or provide Heritage with an opportunity to respond to his accusations. Rather than engage in a substantive policy debate, he chose instead to make ad hominem attacks and question our integrity. We are disappointed this came from someone whom we admire and respect,” the statement said.
After denying that its paper on big tech parroted a trade association, the statement said Carlson “made an unfounded assertion against Heritage and outrageous smear of one of our scholars. It is disappointing that Carlson would deceive his viewers with such patently false information.”
The statement said the foundation “supports empowering consumers rather than government.”
It added that it is “forcefully pushing back on the few outspoken individuals who seem to prefer an expedient answer rather than a principled solution” and added, “We won’t be intimidated or bullied as we continue to represent the interests of conservatives and all Americans.”
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