California Democrat Ted Lieu bemoaned on Wednesday that though he would “love to be able to regulate the content of speech,” including that on Fox News, he can’t do it because of the U.S. Constitution.
Lieu made the comments during an interview about the testimony of Google CEO Sundar Pichai at a House Judiciary Committee hearing, where he dismissed the allegations that the tech giant amplifies negative stories about Republican lawmakers, saying “if you want positive search results, do positive things."
CNN host Brianna Keilar praised Lieu for his performance but asked whether other Democrats should have used the committee to press Google on conspiracy theories that spread on their platforms.
“It's a very good point you make. I would love if I could have more than five minutes to question witnesses. Unfortunately, I don't get that opportunity,” Lieu said of the committee hearings.
“However, I would love to be able to regulate the content of speech. The First Amendment prevents me from doing so, and that's simply a function of the First Amendment, but I think over the long run, it's better the government does not regulate the content of speech,” he continued.
Lieu added that private companies should self-regulate their platforms and said the government shouldn’t interfere.
After his remarks aired, Lieu came under fire on social media, prompting him to go on a Twitter spree to clarify his views, including that he would like to regulate Fox News.
One Twitter user had accused him of being “a poster child for the tyranny.”