How Jackbooted Censors Get Up and Get Dressed
By Chris Wright, 3/8/23
Yesterday, I described to you a number of government censorship schemes violating the First Amendment and called the government officials perpetrating them “jackbooted authoritarian government thugs”. You might have thought my language was too harsh. But after seeing the news on this subject in the last 24 hours, I humbly suggest to you my language is not harsh enough.
The Federal Trade Commission demanded Elon Musk “identify all journalists” given access to the Twitter Files, company records showing how Twitter under previous ownership conspired with the government to suppress free speech. The FTC further demanded he explain why he granted them access. Musk responded right away in a tweet: “A shameful case of weaponization of a government agency for political purposes and suppression of the truth!” Got that right. The Twitter Files revealed how the government created blacklists of disfavored accounts, maneuvered to shut down criticism of COVID vaccines, propagate the Trump/Russia collusion hoax, involve intelligence agencies in the suppression of information like Hunter Biden’s laptop, and more.
Identifying journalists was just one of more than 350 demands the FTC made on Elon Musk in his first three months there. The House Weaponization of the Federal Government subcommittee concluded in a report, “These demands have no basis in the FTC’s statutory mission and appear to be the result of partisan pressure to target Twitter and silence Musk.” The report went on to say, ““The FTC’s demands did not occur in a vacuum. They appear to be the result of loud voices on the left—including elected officials—urging the federal government to intervene in Musk’s acquisition and management of the company…. The FTC’s harassment of Twitter is likely due to one fact: Musk’s self-described ‘absolutist’ commitment to free expression in the digital town square.”
Meanwhile, it came to light in the Missouri and Louisiana censorship case that congressional Democrats and the White House threatened social media platforms with loss of their liability shield if they refused to comply with government censorship demands. The demands spanned a range of topics including COVID policies, elections, and Hunter Biden. The shield comes from Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act and its removal would be an “existential threat” to the company, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg has said. Joe Biden said on the campaign trail Zuckerberg should face criminal charges for not censoring campaign ads critical of Biden. After the election, a Biden White House aide slammed Facebook for not moving fast enough to censor. Facebook copiously documented its censorship of supposed ‘misinformation’ for the White House after that. Pressure from the Democrat-controlled House and Senate Intelligence committees led to quick action to take down flagged accounts in the 2018 and 2020 election cycles. A deposition in the lawsuit showed the FBI deliberately gave misleading information to Twitter and others so they would censor stories on Hunter Biden’s laptop.
Still more was revealed yesterday. The Biden White House went to work to censor the COVID revelations of Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and other activists just three days after taking power. Within a month, a White House official was badgering Facebook to remove disfavored information about COVID and to describe its removal policies so they could be maximized to remove as much disfavored information as possible. The official chastised Facebook for letting unwanted information go viral and not stopping the accounts making it happen. The official expressed frustration over how Facebook was not removing so-called “bad information” from search results. “Pinterest doesn’t even show you any results other than official information when you search for ‘vaccines.’ I don’t know why you guys can’t figure it out,” the official chided. Another White House official blasted Facebook for not being “straightforward” and only doing the minimum. Then came this warning: “Internally we have been considering our options on what to do about it.” ‘We have ways of making you talk.’ The White House also warned Google to play ball and do something about COVID vaccine hesitancy – the Big Guy was watching.
This story’s not over. We’re going to learn more about the authoritarian jackbooted thugs of the federal government who have been working to silence dissent in this country. The Missouri-Louisiana case is cranking up and the House Judiciary Committee has subpoenaed the head of the short-lived Disinformation Governance Board at DHS to testify.
The colonies were reluctant to ratify the Constitution until the Bill of Rights was added explicitly protecting, among other things, the right to free speech. Until the jackbooted thugs succeed in taking the First Amendment off the books, let’s use it to the max and show them they’re not going to get away with silencing dissent. Who the hell do they think they are? This is America.
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