January 22, 2012
At Thursday night’s debate in South Carolina , Newt Gingrich painted himself as a friend of a free and open Internet, but in the past he’s talked up pretty radical proposals to curtail free speech online.
The question Thursday was about the Stop Online Piracy Act, legislation that has the support of the entertainment industry and powerful members of the House and Senate, but is now on life support  after running into a firestorm of criticism from Internet users, tech companies like Google, and activists who shut down websites in protest earlier this week .
“You have virtually everybody who’s technologically advanced, including, you know, Google and YouTube and Facebook and all the folks, who say this is going to totally mess up the Internet, and the bill in its current form is written really badly and leads to a range of censorship that is totally unacceptable. Well, I favor freedom,” Gingrich said. “The idea that we’re going to preemptively have the government start censoring the Internet on behalf of giant corporations’ economic interests strikes me as exactly the wrong thing to do.”
But back in 2006, Gingrich argued censoring the Internet would be the right thing to do when it comes to Islamic radicals who use the web to organize jihad against the U.S.