Cockburn is truly in his element at conferences: voluptuous curves poured into a three-piece suit, half-cut on bourbon by lunchtime, quietly dozing off in the back of a breakout session before sundown.
It’s with great pleasure, therefore, that he’ll make the short trip across the Potomac for the Conservative Political Action Conference, or CPAC, in National Harbor, Maryland at the tail-end of this week.
Though by no means as vigorously MAGA as most attendees, plenty on the schedule piques Cockburn’s interest: not least a main stage panel at 9:20 on Friday morning, moderated by The Spectator‘s new Washington editor Amber Athey.
Amber will be hosting ‘What’s the Right Path Forward on Big Tech?’, a discussion between House Minority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy, junior senator from Missouri Josh Hawley and eldest son of the president, Donald Trump Jr.
McCarthy has been a vocal critic of social media sites like Twitter for ‘shadow-banning’, a practice where accounts are hidden in search without explanation:
— Kevin McCarthy (@GOPLeader) July 26, 2018
Don Jr. also routinely lambasts big tech. He’s bashed Instagram for removing a picture of him with a wounded vet, decried Twitter for concealing RNC videos and accused Facebook of ‘the purposeful & calculated silencing of conservatives‘.
Sen. Hawley, meanwhile, is an antitrust crusader who this month proposed bringing the Federal Trade Commission, which regulates tech companies, under Department of Justice Control. He also is leading the Senate’s probes into Facebook, which he has described as ‘an extremely creepy company‘.
Amber seems stoked for her main stage appearance. When Cockburn asked her for comment, she said ‘I don’t really care tbh just put what you want’. What a firm dedication to freedom of speech.
The panel isn’t the only event at CPAC Cockburn is looking forward to. President Trump is set to address the conference on Saturday afternoon, while in one of the smaller rooms, another former Apprentice star, the UK’s Katie Hopkins, will speak on ‘freedom of speech in America…and how we are losing it’. There’s also a Thursday morning lecture series called ‘Socialism: Wrecker of Nations and Destroyer of Societies’. The highlights of last year’s event, Diamond and Silk, will speak at 2:35pm on Thursday.
Cockburn will be heading down with a few copies of The Spectator‘s March 2020 edition to dish out, and might even offer a discount on subscriptions to attendees. More importantly, he hopes to make it through this year’s festivities without anymore indecent proposals from Jacob Wohl. A man can dream!