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When Government Uses The Private Sector As Agents Of Censorship

Over the weekend, Georgia Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene got the Donald Trump treatment from Twitter: The social media platform permanently banned her personal account. If this were simply a private group deciding who can and can’t participate in its forums, then there’s no problem. That would be Twitter’s right. But we know Democrats are using private companies to censor speech they don’t like, and any discussion that threatens their plans to accumulate ever more political power. This is not America, more like Amerika.

Twitter booted Greene due to her “repeated violations of our COVID-19 misinformation policy,” which is another way to say she’s tweeting messages contrary to the narrative constructed by the Faucists: There is no solution to the pandemic outside of vaccines, lockdowns, and masks.

Twitter, which regularly sends users to “Twitter jail” when their tweets challenge and offend left-wing orthodoxy, permanently banned Trump a year ago “​​due to the risk of further incitement of violence.” It has also permanently suspended a Newsmax reporter “for repeated violations of our COVID-19 misinformation policy,” which means his tweets didn’t meet the Twitter mob’s demand for conformity. Dr. Robert Malone, an mRNA vaccine researcher, has also been suspended from Twitter. The official word is he disobeyed the platform’s COVID-19 misinformation policy – he said something the Twitter hall monitors didn’t like.

Meanwhile, YouTube pulled the video of the Joe Rogan podcast in which Malone compared America’s widespread obsession with vaccine mandates and extreme pandemic measures – to the exclusion of therapeutics and sensible precautions, we should add – to “​​what the heck happened in Germany in the ‘20s and ‘30s.” 

YouTube also promises it will “​​remove any content published today (or anytime after) that alleges widespread fraud or errors changed the 2020 U.S. presidential election outcome.” We don’t recall a similar policy dealing with the faked Trump-Russia scandal. 

None of this would be troubling if Twitter and the other social media companies that regularly police and block content (always in one direction: against the political right) if it were nothing more than private companies making private decisions. But Big Tech companies have become government agents enforcing one party’s speech codes.

Early last year, the Heritage Foundation’s Douglas Blair wrote about congressional lawmakers’ “concerns about the spread of ‘misinformation’” leading “to suggestions that social media platforms disregard free speech and increase the content they censor.”

“In recent months, tech companies have already ramped up censorship in the name of a nebulous ‘social good,’” Blair said in April.

A little more than three months later, the White House “announced that government officials are working directly with Facebook to limit the spread of ‘misinformation.’” Biden Press Secretary Jen Psaki admitted that “we’re flagging problematic posts for Facebook.”

“When governments and private businesses begin to act in concert and move in lockstep, we risk bringing George Orwell’s ‘1984’ into reality,” says Adam Johnston, writing for the Foundation for Economic Education. “There’s a name for this, a term we’ve heard screamed from the rooftops throughout Donald Trump’s tenure in politics.

Fascism.”

To show that this is no vast right-wing conspiracy creating false talking points, we present Glenn Greenwald, who recently tweeted that “Democrats have long been making clear that a top priority – not ancillary – is the removal of their political adversaries from social media. Democratic politicians have been demanding it.” 

Writing in Substack, Greenwald says that “​​House Democrats have made no secret of their ultimate goal” of exerting “control over the content” found in these online platforms. “They intend to use state power to influence and coerce these companies to change which content they do and do not allow to be published.”

When those sick of the censorship decided to move along with a free market solution and start a rival company, the Democrat-Big Tech axis tried to use the raw power of government to snuff out the attempt.

Consider the plight of Parler, launched as an alternative for those fed up with Twitter’s pro-Democrat/progressive, anti-Republican/conservative/libertarian rules. Just days after last year’s Capitol incursion, the left tried to pin the blame on Parler. Greenwald writes that “​​two of the most prominent Democratic House members, New York’s Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., and Rep. Ro Khanna, D-Calif., used their large social media platforms to insist that Silicon Valley monopolies remove Parler from their app stores and hosting services.”

Then “within 24 hours, all three Silicon Valley companies” – Facebook, Google’s YouTube and Facebook’s Instagram – “complied with these ‘requests,’ and took the extraordinary step of effectively removing Parler – at the time the most-downloaded app on the Apple Store – from the internet.”

Greenwald believes the public will “likely never know what precise role those tweets and other pressure from liberal politicians and journalists played in” the companies’ decisions, “but what is clear is that Democrats are more than willing to use their power and platforms to issue instructions to Silicon Valley about what they should and should not permit to be heard.”

This is chilling in a country that fought a bloody revolution, in part to be able to criticize those in authority and to speak freely without fear of being punished by government. But only to those who believe in free speech. The left is warmed to its cold bones by its ability to use the private sector to censor speech it doesn’t like, and words that threaten its lust for power.

— Written by the I&I Editorial Board

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I & I Editorial Board

The Issues and Insights Editorial Board has decades of experience in journalism, commentary and public policy.

4 comments

  • Time to SEVERELY re-visit Federal regulations on businesses in 2023.

    First up, we need Federal legislation stipulating that businesses cannot discriminate against customers based on political views, and require any businesses which do so to reverse any restrictions / bans on such groups and award fiscal compensation for ALL LOST REVENUES. For example, Amazon is an “open market” – and so may not discriminate against any product unless it is illegal for sale. This is no different than requiring Christian businesses to serve LGBTQ customers. End discrimination.

    Second, revoke / reduce the scope court precedents which granted Corporations all the rights of a Person. These need to be severely curtailed. In conjunction, legislation needs to overturn the rulings which allowed Corporations to effectively provide unlimited campaign contributions. Hand in hand with that, severely biased media corporations need to have the full value of pro-party “opinions,” “news pieces,” etc. counted as in-kind campaign contributions.

    Leftist / totalitarian (they are the same) idiotology can never succeed in fair competition. Curtail their ability to censor/control the media, and it collapses like the house of cards it is.

  • I would never call Democrats Naz1s or Faschists, because I understand they are actually more akin to Bolsheviks and Stalinists.

  • Free speech is central to how this nation has existed for as long as it has. I may disagree with any number of things people or groups post on social platforms. But I fully support their right to post them. I dont care if it is Antifa, BLM, or the KKK. I believe that if they express their views people can choose what to believe. And that is a major reason why this nation became great. Now we have liberal minded CEOs partnering with social media to eliminate any dissent, valid or otherwise. Censorship terms like ¨misinformation¨ are just an excuse to eliminate opposing opinions. That is exactly the reason the USSR used to either force people into gulags or outright murder.

  • The article seems to imply that there is nothing an average person can do about big tech censorship, that is simply not true. Because the big tech companies receive government protection under section 230, and because they are operating under the instructions of the government, they lose their “private company” status, and become, under the Supreme Court ruling in the famous Mississippi Burning case, government operators. As such they are subject to 42 U.S. Code 1983 lawsuits for violation of constitutional rights. Such lawsuits have already succeeded at the trial court level, and will succeed, all the way through the Supreme Court.

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Issues & Insights is run by the seasoned journalists behind the legendary IBD Editorials page. Our goal is to bring our decades of combined journalism experience to help readers understand the top issues of the day. We’re doing this on a voluntary basis, because we believe the nation needs the kind of cogent, rational, data-driven, fact-based commentary that we can provide. 

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