Apple CEO Awarded Free Speech Award Despite Track Record

Apple CEO Tim Cook was given one of the Newseum’s Free Expression Awards last month, but Hugh Hefner also received one, so the merits upon which he earned the prize are dubious.

The category for which Cook was honored was “Free Speech.” The awarding institution, founded mostly by a bunch of left-leaning legacy media organizations, said he earned the distinction “for his leadership in creating technology that has had a profound impact on how we communicate,” and for his “public stand on major societal issues, including racial equality, privacy, protecting the environment, access to education and LGBT rights.”

Cook has also been praised for his emphasis on diversity as well. And he has been recognized for his ethics by both academia and the press. So liberal journalists love him because they love their iPhones and they love his politics.

That he has been recognized for outspokenness about these issues hardly makes Cook worthy of accolades – at least not more than anybody else. Famous people advocate for those principles every day, from various ideologies. Seriously, is anyone who is socially acceptable in American society today not in favor of racial equality? Or privacy rights? Or a clean environment? Or educational opportunity for all? Or the right for any individual or business to freely pursue diversity as they feel necessary?

It’s because Cook promotes leftist, coercive, big-government policies on most of those issues that he is celebrated by a liberal media institution. But looking at the legitimacy of whether his actions match his words – or whether his words ring true – undermines Cook’s reputation as an ethics-driven corporate leader. Indeed, it’s because he advocates and pursues progressive approaches to these various issues that the mainstream media deems him courageous in his speech and ethical in his actions.

Back in February Cook decried the alleged proliferation of “fake news.” In an interview with the London Daily Telegraph, he called for a “massive campaign” against fabricated online stories.

“We are going through this period of time right here where unfortunately some of the people that are winning are the people that spend their time trying to get the most clicks, not tell the most truth,” he told the newspaper. “It’s killing people’s minds in a way.”

He said, “all of us technology companies” need to develop tools to reduce the amount of fake news. And in the acceptance of his Free Expression Award last month, he also mocked Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway, saying “We must be open to alternative points of view, not alternative facts.” The statement was a reference to a television interview in January in which Conway defended White House spokesman Sean Spicer’s claim the inauguration had the largest crowd ever.

Cook could lead the fight against alternative facts and fake news by starting with his own house. For example, for years now he and Apple have made the absurd claim that the company’s mega-data centers, which consume massive quantities of electricity, are powered by “100 percent renewable” sources. The “alternative facts” – in other words, the real ones – are that without nuclear, coal, or natural gas power, Apple’s server farms do not operate – period. Renewables, at any percentage of use, would never handle the demand.

Cook also put a master deceiver in charge of Apple’s environmental program when he hired former EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson in 2013. While serving in the Obama administration she extensively used an email alias, “Richard Windsor,” to hide her correspondence from public records inquiries. Laughably, EPA even certified Jackson’s alter ego as a “scholar of ethical behavior.”

“I don’t know any other agency that does this,” said Anne Weismann, chief counsel of the watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, to Politico in November 2012. “Why would you pick a fictitious name of someone of different gender? To me it smacks of … trying to hide.”

Last year Cook also signed a joint letter from other major CEOs circulated by the Human Rights Campaign that opposed North Carolina’s House Bill 2, which overturned a Charlotte City Council effort to allow self-identified “transgenders” and “gender fluids” to use whichever public or business restroom they chose. While this may be celebrated as a defense of LGBT “rights” by the Left, a large segment of the population do not agree that “ethics” includes allowing biological men to violate privacy and security in women’s bathrooms.

And Apple has long been criticized for its heavy use of cheap Chinese labor, where wages are minuscule, the hours are long, and some watchdogs say worker rights are abused. How accurate the reports are from groups like China Labor Watch about Apple suppliers Foxconn and Pegatron are difficult to verify, but threats by workers to commit suicide over conditions are not a good indicator. The bottom line is that Cook is recognized as a top advocate for individual rights, yet manufactures Apple’s products in a nation that does nothing to protect them.

So Cook is celebrated as a heroic crusader for: the environment (unless you think “greenwashing” qualifies); privacy rights (unless you are woman who doesn’t want to tinkle with a man in the next stall); factual news (unless you think taxpayer-funded public officials should deceive people); and treating people right (unless you manufacture Apple’s products under a Communist regime).

Yep, sounds like he and Hugh Hefner deserve to receive an award together.