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Ministry of Truth Is Dead - the Anti-Free Speech Effort Is Not

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President Joe Biden’s Disinformation Governance Board – AKA the Ministry of Truth – is dead in the water and speech czar Nina Jankowicz has been sent packing, at least for now. Witnesses claim to have seen her floating around Washington, D.C. with her umbrella shortly after she was forced to resign. Nobody knows (or cares) where she will land.

RedState’s Kira Davis explained:

On Tuesday The Washington Post reported that the new Orwellian department had been “put on hold” by the Department of Homeland Security due to the perplexing and completely, totally unexpected backlash from Americans who wonder if the “largest purveyor of misinformation” in the world is the appropriate entity to be determining what qualifies as disinformation when it comes to the free speech of private citizens.

No doubt this is a significant victory for those who value free speech. While the governance board was supposedly intended to combat the use of disinformation by foreign enemies like Russia and Mexican drug cartels, it was not difficult to see how a slippery slope scenario could unfold. Sure, it might start off by targeting foreign entities, but with the way this administration has treated the spirit of the First Amendment, it is understandable that people might be concerned.

However, this does not mean the anti-free speech crowd is not still looking for ways to curtail certain viewpoints. Indeed, the disinformation board was an overt, ham-fisted way of testing the waters when it comes to using the state to tamp down on speech. But the progressive crowd is still seeking out other ways to maintain supremacy over political discourse – especially online.

Former Fox News reporter Carl Cameron echoed what several high-profile leftists have suggested when it comes to dealing with supposed “misinformation.” In an appearance on MSNBC, he lauded Biden’s speech in Buffalo, New York in which he claimed Republicans are “purveyors” of misinformation and intimated conservatives are responsible for the white supremacist terrorist attack that was carried out at a supermarket.

But it was the method of addressing this supposed misinformation that should give people pause. He said:

“I think the president did a great job. I wish he had done a lot of this a lot sooner, and we need a lot more from the left and the middle, and we got to watch out because the Republicans have become the purveyors of misinformation, and when our two-party system is broken like that, democracy is seriously in trouble.”

He added: “It’s time to actually start doing things and maybe taking some names and putting people in jail.”

Cameron isn’t the only one who has suggested incarceration for spreading “misinformation.” Sen. Elizabeth Warren during the 2020 presidential campaign suggested that the nation should “combat disinformation” by creating legislation that would “impose tough civil and criminal penalties for knowingly disseminating this kind of information, which has the explicit purpose of undermining the basic right to vote.”

For people who claim to despise Russian President Vladimir Putin and his oppressive regime, they seem pretty keen on using his tactics to silence those who disagree with them.

But it wasn’t only Biden who exploited the victims of the terrorist attack to advance an agenda. Both New York Gov. Kathy Hochul suggested the government should examine “social media” and algorithms to address the problem of “hate speech” ostensibly to prevent future racially-motivated attacks. She said her administration would be reaching out to Big Tech companies to push them to do something about this type of speech.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, in an appearance on ABC’s “This Week,” echoed Hochul’s suggestions. She said:

One thing — and I think the governor was right about the social media companies being — having some responsibility. But there has to be vigilance. Did no one know, any of his friends, school, work, where he purchased any of this? People have to alert other authorities if they think that someone is on a path to terror — domestic terrorism, to violence of any kind, especially when you combine this severe gun violence with the racism that is clearly a part of it.

We also can’t forget the left’s complete and utter meltdown over the news that Tesla CEO Elon Musk is buying Twitter and planning to stop its politically-biased censorship practices. Author Will Oremus penned a piece for The Washington Post in which he linked the terrorist attack to free speech on social media platforms.

Oremus took issue with Musk’s vow to allow for free speech on Twitter, intimating that it would make it easier for white supremacists to plan terrorist attacks and radicalize more recruits to their cause. “Musk’s past statements would seem to imply that, if he were in charge, Twitter would have let the videos and manifesto circulate, at least in the United States,” he wrote. “After all, hate speech and depictions of graphic violence are not against the law here.”

The writer continued:

Social media’s role in the Buffalo mass shooting was not trivial. While the attack itself took place in the physical world, it was planned online, influenced by ideas that spread online, live-streamed online, and motivated in part by the gunman’s belief that his words and deeds would ultimately be shared by millions online. In that respect, it was modeled on the 2019 massacre in Christchurch, New Zealand, which the perpetrator live-streamed on Facebook.

Oremus also pointed out that the Buffalo terrorist “opted to live-stream his attack on Twitch rather than Facebook in part because he knew Facebook had responded to Christchurch by improving its ability to quickly detect and shut down violent live streams.”

Like most of his comrades in the activist media, Oremus ignores the fact that Musk hasn’t quite laid out how Twitter will moderate content when he is at the helm. He has indicated it would largely follow existing speech laws. The type of content the shooter created in his manifesto could easily be seen as a threat of violence, which is already illegal. Moreover, it is doubtful Musk would allow someone to live stream a mass shooting on the platform – the very idea is absurd on its face.

These folks are simply trying to make the case for more restrictions on speech. They want private companies to throttle conservative views online. They still want to get the government involved in targeting right-leaning speech. This is all being done under the guise of addressing “hate speech” and preventing further violence. However, we all know where this leads, don’t we? They have already shown us that they are more than willing to silence those who disagree with them. It might start with actual hate speech, but we know it won’t end there, right?