News & Politics

Controversy Over Barred Panelists Mars #CPAC Panel on Suppression of Conservative Views

CPAC panel addressing the issue of the suppression of conservative views on social media. L to R: MRC's Dan Gainor, tech entrepreneur Marlene Jaeckel, former Google employee James Damore, free speech attorney Harmeet Dhillon, Project Veritas' James O'Keefe. Photo credit: Debra Heine.

On Friday, several conservatives in the audience of a CPAC panel addressing the issue of the suppression of conservative views on social media loudly expressed displeasure with the organizer for excluding two conservatives from the panel.

The event, which was sponsored by American Principles Project Foundation, was rocked by controversy earlier this week when it disinvited Gateway Pundit’s Jim Hoft, leading fellow panelist Pamela Geller to back out of the event.

Gateway Pundit’s post on Monday titled “EXPOSED: School Shooting Survivor Turned Activist David Hogg’s Father in FBI, Appears To Have Been Coached On Anti-Trump Lines” was widely criticized and led to his expulsion from the panel.

Geller said that the American Principles Project had asked her to exclude Hoft after the controversial post.

“They know me. They know I would never remove a panelist, particularly because of some position they have, or something that they said,” Geller told Breitbart News. “And they were unmovable, and so the panel has been canceled, the social media censorship panel has been canceled.”

It was an unfortunate and ironic distraction because the panel was covering such an important topic — the suppression of conservative views throughout the media.

The panel — featuring Project Veritas’ James O’Keefe, “Google memo” author James Damore, free speech attorney Harmeet Dhillon, Media Research Center’s Dan Gainor, tech entrepreneur Marlene Jaeckel and moderator Terry Schilling, executive director of the American Principles Project Foundation — went on without them.

First up was James O’Keefe, who spoke about his most recent sting, which targeted Twitter and exposed how the social media platform has been censoring conservatives.

Former Google employee James Damore spoke about the culture of liberal bias and censorship at Google. Damore said that a large part of the problem in the tech industry is that the employees have never even been exposed to conservative ideas.

Damore attempted to explain how it got to the point where no one in these companies had ever met anyone with a conservative viewpoint.

“Most tech workers are young, straight out of college, they’ve lived in liberal bubbles their entire lives,” he explained.

“This bubble is reinforced when they just moved to San Francisco, and their executives at the company literally cried on stage when Donald Trump was elected — this happened at Google.”

“It keeps getting reinforced,” he added. “And there’s a lot of shaming of anyone who dissents from this group think.”

He said their hiring practices are also discriminatory. “They have this thing called ‘cultural fit’ — which is basically, ‘are you a liberal?'” Damore explained.

Marlene Jaeckel described what she went through in Silicon Valley as one of the few conservative women in the tech industry. She, unfortunately, had “the dubious honor” of getting banned from five different tech organizations for being conservative.

An organizer from the Atlanta Google Developer Group (GDG) actually told Jaeckel that her views were “harmful to gender equality.”

She wrote a long post at Medium describing how her conservative views and support for her friend Damore had led to her becoming the target of a malicious smear campaign and being blackballed from the tech industry.

Jaeckel hired civil rights lawyer Harmeet Dhillon to help her fight back. Dhillon sent cease and desist letters to four of the offenders — Women Who Code, Alicia Carr, Maggie Kane, and Google.

When the cease and desist letters were ignored, she filed a lawsuit for “defamation of character and tortious interference with business.”

In addition to Jaeckel, Harmeet Dhillon is also representing Damore in his lawsuits against the tech industry. She highlighted a discussion aired on MSNBC between YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki and Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai in which the two essentially agreed with Damore’s memo.

MRC’s Dan Gainor spent his time talking about why discrimination against conservatives throughout the media is so widespread and insidious.

Gainor said our right to free speech is being “gradually chipped away” by these tech companies because “people are policy.”

Millennials going into these industries are coming out of high school and college indoctrinated with liberal ideas and a goal to “deplatform” people with conservative ideas, he said.

During the Q&A session of the panel, Gateway Pundit reporter Cassandra Fairbanks drew cheers from some in the audience when she asked moderator Terry Schilling how he was any different from YouTube or Twitter after “deplatforming” Jim Hoft from the panel.

Schilling dodged the question, saying that the panel was about internet censorship, and quickly moved onto the next questioner, R.S. McCain of The Other McCain.

McCain wanted to ask about the bias in academia which is being replicated in the tech industry.

“You have private sector companies which are now enforcing what seem to be anti-capitalist policies which are being imported from this social justice mob mentality,” McCain said.

Gainor agreed with McCain, but said it was even worse than that.

He said social engineers like Cass Sunstein want to control what people see and don’t see.