It probably doesn’t look like yours, though.
Sen. Rand Paul’s (R-KY) home state was devastated by natural disaster in the waning days of 2021. But his primary focus heading into the New Year is not on federal disaster relief or combatting climate change (he’s never really believed in that hoax to begin with), but rather the most important news of the hour: dismantling Big Tech’s Big Bias against conservatives.
You’d be forgiven for not even knowing that Paul has a YouTube account. I didn’t know, or, at the very least, didn’t dislike myself enough to subject my sanity to any videos the Kentucky senator had previously posted on the medium (though, he claims he “can get millions of views” on YouTube).
But, like many of us, Paul is starting the New Year by canceling out any forms of toxicity that don’t serve him. Vowing to boycott YouTube, Paul wrote in a Washington Examiner op-ed published Monday that he would no longer be using the video channel for any purpose other than criticizing Big Tech. Claiming that YouTube is among the “worst censors” on social media, he announced that if you want to hear what he has to say in video form, you’ll need to head on over to Rumble, the Trump-chosen, conspiracy-theory friendly right-wing video platform du jour.
“Every year, people resolve to do things that are better for their health — quitting alcohol, processed food, toxic relationships. I have come to the realization that my relationship with YouTube is dysfunctional,” he wrote. “About half of the public leans right. If we all took our messaging to outlets of free exchange, we could cripple Big Tech in a heartbeat. So, today I take my first step toward denying my content to Big Tech. Hopefully, other liberty lovers will follow.”
It would be a, kinda(?), decently interesting deal that a Republican senator was fleeing to a fringy but Trump-endorsed platform for his foreseeable vlogging future if Rand Paul was not Rand Paul. But the senator’s op-ed announcement is riddled with references to the various Big Tech conspiracy theory-laced crusades he’s been fighting for some time. Feigning concern for the youths, Paul lamented the impact “censorship” will have on young people who want to unbridledly digest conspiracy theories as news (Paul was temporarily suspended from YouTube twice recently for promoting disinformation about COVID-19).
“An entire generation of young people, who use these platforms exclusively for their news, will never read or hear of opinions or ideas that challenge the Big Government / Big Tech orthodoxy,” he wrote. “If they do happen to see, for example, an article claiming that the coronavirus could have originated with a lab leak in Wuhan, it is quickly condemned as ‘debunked’ or a ‘conspiracy’ by the invisible, all-knowing ‘fact-checkers’ employed by Big Tech. Until of course, it isn’t — but by then, it’s too late, public attention has moved on, the damage done.”
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) used similar language today in a statement denouncing Twitter for its suspension of Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene’s (R-GA) personal account (also for spreading fake information about COVID-19), but McCarthy’s statement was laced in Trumpian ulterior motives surrounding his speakership after the Midterms.
Paul is a bit different. The senator has flailed to the beat of his own drum for decades.
And his views as a self-described social conservative and libertarian are ping-pongy across the board. Paul was a fan of building the wall before Trump made it mainstream for Republicans. He’s sort of advocated for decriminalizing weed and was pro-criminal justice reform before the likes of Jared Kushner and Kim Kardashian made it en vogue for Republicans. In 2010, he announced his support for private businesses discriminating against customers based on race. He (barely) supports the right to an abortion, in some cases. As a medical doctor, he’s long opposed federal involvement in health care. The list goes on.
Whether this is a nod at the forced-hand of Trumpism moving off more mainstream platforms or just Rand Paul being Rand Paul, it will surely add fuel to the alt-tech fire.
The Best Of TPM Today
Here’s what you should read this evening:
Squinting between the lines: McCarthy Campaigns For Speaker By Denouncing Twitter After It Suspends Marjorie Taylor Greene
From TPM Cafe: How Rejecting Election Results Can Drive Terrorism
Yesterday’s Most Read Story
What We Are Reading
Trump Endorses Viktor Orban, Hungary’s Far-Right Prime Minister — Shane Goldmacher
They resigned in protest over Jan. 6 — then never went after Trump again — Meridith McGraw and Daniel Lippman