As the debate rages in Congress over whether internet giant Google censors conservative voices, U.S. Rep Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) has placed himself right in the thick of it.
On Wednesday, Google CEO Sundar Pichai testified in front of the House Judiciary Committee and insisted, "I lead this company without political bias and work to ensure that our products continue to operate that way," according to CNN.
But some Democrats like Lieu suggested that Google should do more to regulate speech on their platform. Lieu spoke with CNN’s Brianna Keilar, who put in her two cents about what she believes Democrats in the hearing should have done, the Washington Times reported.
“Have you thought that maybe you and other Democrats have missed opportunities to use your time to press [the] Google CEO at a time when these large tech companies are struggling to manage content perpetuating conspiracy theories?” Keilar said, concealing her advice to him in the form of a question. “They’re so vulnerable to outside interference. Isn’t that a focus that could have been a missed opportunity?”
After appearing to agree with her, Lieu added, “I would love to be able to regulate the content of speech.”
“The First Amendment prevents me from doing so,” he admitted. “That’s simply a function of the First Amendment. But I think over the long run, it’s better that government does not regulate the content of speech.”
But he added, “I would urge companies to regulate it better themselves, but it’s really nothing that I believe government can do. So that’s been my position all along.”
Phew. Good thing we have the First Amendment to restrict the power of political leaders like Lieu. Watch that bit below:
He even tried to justify what he said, insisting, “I would love to regulate your speech, but thank goodness the First Amendment prevents me, @POTUS, and Republicans from doing so. Get it? I'm defending the First Amendment.”
The congressman also shifted the blame on conservatives who are concerned that negative articles about Republican leaders show up at the top of Google’s search results far more often than positive ones do, according to The Hill.
During the hearing, he said, "Let me just conclude here by stating the obvious. If you want positive search results, do positive things. If you don’t want negative search results, don’t do negative things."
"To some of my colleagues across the aisle, if you’re getting bad press articles and bad search results, don’t blame Google or Facebook or Twitter," he added.
"Consider blaming yourself."