Trump: ‘I would rather have fake news’ than censorship
President Trump on Tuesday railed against social media censorship, declaring he would “rather have fake news than have anybody … stopped and censored.”
During a rally in Charleston, W.Va., Trump told the crowd that his administration is “standing up to social media censorship.” While the issue has been championed by conservatives, Trump pushed back against potential censorship of any accounts, regardless of political affiliation.
“I would rather have fake news than have anybody — including liberals, socialists, anything — than have anybody stopped and censored,” Trump said.
“You can’t pick one person and say ‘well we don’t like what he’s been saying, he’s out,'” he added.
He warned against embracing censorship of opposing viewpoints, because “it can turn around, it can be them next.”
“So we’ll live with fake news. I mean, I hate to say it, but we have no choice because that’s by far the better alternative,” Trump said.
“You can’t have censorship.”
Pres. Trump at West Virginia rally: “I would rather have fake news than have anybody – including liberals, socialists, anything – than have anybody stopped or censored.” https://t.co/toeBQCE1Zg pic.twitter.com/aMKCfTFRtW
— ABC News (@ABC) August 21, 2018
Trump immediately moved on to touting his administration’s success on various health care initiatives.
The president frequently derides news coverage he doesn’t like as “fake news,” most frequently targeting outlets like CNN, NBC and The New York Times with the label. He suggested last October he would look at revoking certain networks’ licenses because they had become so “distorted and fake.”
Republicans in recent months have raised concerns that social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter are biased against conservative voices. GOP lawmakers have gone as far as holding multiple congressional hearings on the subject.
Both Twitter and Facebook have been scrutinized over the decision to suspend Alex Jones, a controversial right-wing host, over “hate speech.”
Jones is known for spreading false theories, such as that the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting was staged.
Twitter’s CEO Jack Dorsey defended the decision to The Hill last week, saying that Jones was posting content that broke the platform’s terms of service and needed a “pause” to reconsider his behavior.
Trump has not specifically weighed in on Jones’s ban, but has echoed concerns about censorship of Republican voices.
Trump, who is a prolific Twitter user, said last month that his administration would “look into” alleged “shadow banning” of conservatives on the platform.