During a Monday broadcast, Fox News host Tucker Carlson called out one piece of proposed legislation to ban the Chinese-owned social media app TikTok — arguing that it would “make America much more like China.”
“One of the bills that would ban TikTok is being pushed by senators in both parties, it’s called the RESTRICT Act,” Carlson began. “Mark Warner of Virginia and John Thune of South Dakota, Democrat and Republican, introduced this legislation.”
The Fox News host then pointed out that the bill’s motive is allegedly to protect from election interference by social media apps — but is supposedly only targeting TikTok while other social media apps have also interfered in elections.
“The bill is ostensibly about protecting American national security and ending ‘foreign adversaries’ from interfering in our elections through apps like TikTok,” Carlson said. “Because of course, election interference by Twitter and Facebook is no problem at all, but election interference through TikTok is totally unacceptable.”
Carlson also pointed out how most legislation in Congress is not actually about what lawmakers claim it is about, and argued that this bill follows that same pattern — claiming that it will give the federal government “enormous and terrifying new powers.”
“But in reality, and you should know this if you are opposed to TikTok, as we are, this bill isn’t really about banning TikTok, it is never about what they say it is,” he said. “Instead, this bill would give enormous and terrifying new powers to the federal government to punish American citizens and regulate how they communicate with one another.”
Carlson went on to cite new provisions in the RESTRICT Act that would give the Secretary of Commerce and the Director of National Intelligence the ability to designate countries as “foreign adversaries,” and allow them to regulate certain transactions with them. The bill also provides for civil penalties to include a $250,000 fine or criminal penalties that include 20 years in prison. The legislation doesn’t even specifically name TikTok.
The RESTRICT Act is not limited to just TikTok. It gives the government authority over all forms of communication domestic or abroad and grants powers to “enforce any mitigation measure to address any risk” to national security now and in any “potential future transaction” pic.twitter.com/0mFNEKLUqU
— Mises Caucus (@LPMisesCaucus) March 26, 2023
“This is not an effort to push back against China, it is part of a strategy to make America much more like China, with the government in charge of what you read and see and with terrifying punitive powers at their fingertips,” he said.
“We’ve seen this before from the national security state again and again,” Carlson continued. “Confronted with a foreign adversary, for example, after 9/11, the federal government uses the opportunity to expand their police powers over the American population and they do it under false pretexts and they do it quickly by whipping people into a panic, usually that’s rooted in some truth.”
Meanwhile, the White House has announced its support for the Restricting the Emergence of Security Threats that Risk Information and Communications Technology (RESTRICT) Act.