Biden & Fauci repeatedly Censored Free Speech in collaboration with Social Media Giants
Biden administration's dealings with social media draw accusations of censorship
September 11, 2022 (updated): The Biden administration is facing repeated accusations about its role in censoring speech, often in collaboration with social media companies or via efforts to combat disinformation.
In response to a lawsuit and Freedom of Information Act requests, the Department of Justice has identified at least 45 federal officials at numerous executive branch agencies who communicated with social media companies about misinformation, and now, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre and Dr. Anthony Fauci have been ordered to turn over communications with them.
"We have already received a number of documents that clearly prove that the federal government has an incestuous relationship with social media companies and clearly coordinate to censor freedom of speech, but we're not done," said Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt in a press statement.
Schmitt, who is running for Senate, has teamed up with Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry to file a lawsuit against Joe Biden over the administration's role in censoring COVID-19 misinformation. Schmitt further accused the DOJ of "cowering behind executive privilege" and refusing to turn over communications between the highest-ranking Biden administration officials and social media companies.
Biden and Democrats raise the threat of disinformation for such issues as elections, vaccines, and the origins of COVID-19 but have drawn their own share of criticism when offering solutions.
One of the most noteworthy examples was the Department of Homeland Security's Disinformation Governance Board, which was likened to the Ministry of Truth from George Orwell's dystopian novel 1984. The board's executive director, Nina Jankowicz, had a history of promoting false claims and playing down truthful ones, and the board was shut down soon after it was launched.
But just one month later, Vice President Kamala Harris announced a new initiative called the White House Task Force to Address Online Harassment and Abuse. During an event announcing the task force on June 16, the vice president did not respond to a reporter's question about how it would enforce its goals with social media companies, and a report repeatedly cited by the task force had strong ties to Jankowicz.
More recently, materials found in the lawsuit show officials from DHS, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the Office of the Surgeon General regularly communicated with social media platforms about misinformation.
There were also instances in which Facebook parent company Meta waited to moderate particular statements related to COVID-19 until it had confirmation from the CDC. The agency hosted monthly "misinfo/debunking meetings" with Meta employees, while the White House asked the company to take down at least one account impersonating Fauci.
It all adds up to a clear disregard for the First Amendment, argues Media Research Center President Brent Bozell.
"Biden’s team asking social media companies to censor American citizens violates the constitutionally protected free speech rights of the American people," he said. "The Biden administration thinks they have the right to control what people say online in a way that benefits their own Orwellian political interests. The full coordination between the government and Big Tech must be understood and exposed."
The Washington Examiner contacted the White House, HHS, NIAID, and Meta for comment about the lawsuit. Only NIAID responded, with a spokesman saying, "NIAID does not comment on litigation or pending litigation."
Jean-Pierre was asked on Wednesday about the order to turn over her emails and responded that she can't comment on the litigation.
"In our battle against COVID-19, it has been critical for the American people to have access to factual, accurate, science-based information," she added as a general comment. "Ensuring that any media platforms have access to the latest information on a once-in-a-generation pandemic is something that has been done since the earliest days of the pandemic, beginning under the former president."
Fauci previously faced allegations of distorting public views on the origins of COVID-19 when emails obtained via FOIA showed he may have been involved in efforts to downplay the lab leak theory.
Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), a frequent Fauci critic, blasted the doctor once again at the news he would once again have to turn over emails.
"I think that all of America should be appalled that America's doctor, the leading expert on COVID in public health, doesn't want to divulge information, doesn't want to divulge his communications with Big Tech," he said.
Fauci and Jean-Pierre will have 21 days to turn over their communications, according to the order from Terry Doughty, a Trump-appointed Louisiana judge.
Conservatives hold that deciding what is allowed to be said or posted on social media platforms is not the Biden administration's job.
"The federal government should have no role in censoring Americans," Bozell said. "This is what happens in dictatorships, not in a free country."
Source: The Washington Examiner