Posted by: theoptimisticconservative | May 19, 2010

Apple Denies Free Speech to Republican in CA-30

See what you think, readers.  Congressional candidate Ari David, Republican for California-30, asked Apple to create an iPhone app for his campaign to unseat Henry Waxman in November.  (Check out his website here.)

Ari David and Tony Katz just want to have fun (at Tea Party in May 2009)

Apple came back to him with the judgment that the information he wanted to include about Waxman was “defamatory,” and therefore Apple couldn’t accept his business.

But read the story for yourselves.  (Read it if only for the idiotic farming regulations California farmers are already living with, which Waxman wants to impose on the rest of America’s farmers.)

Read it also, however, for the posture assumed by Apple.  Nothing in the proposed app’s content could reasonably be called defamatory.  Some of it is clearly opinion (e.g., the farm regulations are “Soviet-style”).  But when did charging a politician with wanting to “strangle family farms with Soviet-style regulation” become defamatory?  It’s partisan political speech, yes.  But that doesn’t make it defamatory.

Gateway Pundit, breaking the story, asked if Apple is going to ban conservatives from using their products next.  I suspect there is more here than merely reflexive partisanship at Apple, however.  What I smell is the fear of (a) lawsuit and (b) regulatory retaliation by Waxman.

Political speech is..."Defamatory!"

This is a lovely teachable moment, because it highlights what an overly regulatory, overly litigious state can do to you.  It doesn’t have to come out in the open and make laws against you and your opinions.  All it needs is the category of regulation that might get someone you want to do business with in trouble.  (The lawyers will take care of the rest.)  And it needs unaccountable agencies through which to act.  There are probably three dozen agencies, just at the federal level, that could be used to torture Apple in the back room, far away from any media coverage or recourse with the public.

Does Henry Waxman, who’s been in Congress since January 1975 and chairs the House Energy and Commerce Committee, have ways to sic the Feds on Apple?  You bet he does.

That’s our America in 2010, folks.  If we want to change it, we couldn’t start with a better move than replacing Henry Waxman with Ari David.  In the meantime, decorating Apple’s face with egg will go a long way.  Pass it on.

Cross-posted at Hot Air.


  1. In all fairness, Apple have a right to limit speech in the platform it owns and all people who buy IPhones now that the Applestore is regimented by a soviet Style approval commission … which explain why they might be against exposing soviet Style agriculture.

    But also the litigigious and regulatory nature of the state is also to blame for this situation, but lets not get in ”Net neutrality” style progressive mistake and forget that has a private company, Apple have the right to do this and all its customers knew they will filter what apps are available.

  2. Of course, on the other side of the equation, Apple just gave Ari David many millions of dollars equivalent in free advertising by denying the application. Now he needs a good lawyer mouthpiece to write and prosecute a lawsuit, which will yield him many millions more in free advertising.

  3. The point has to do with why Apple as a private company feels so inclined to filter apps. They think it is a good idea to turn down a paying customer because they fear losing money to litigation or regulation.

    The fact that the basis for litigation or regulation is vague makes them even more likely to be overly squeamish about posted speech–they can’t be sure what will get them in trouble.

  4. […] the phenomenon of government sticking their nose in where it doesn’t belong.  The first, from Theoptimisticonservative, is about a business having to be more concerned about what a bureaucrat might do to their business […]

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