Congress Could Stop the Biden Administration From Silencing Us, but It Probably Won’t

AP Photo/Alex Goodlett

Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) and his team have unveiled some disturbing but necessary revelations about the lengths to which the Biden administration has gone to censor content on digital platforms. The release of the Facebook Files has picked up where the Twitter Files left off, and the picture it paints is not exactly comforting. What’s worse is the seeming reality that none of our politicians appear enthused about the idea of stopping the White House from continuing its war on free speech.

At this point, claiming that the Biden administration’s actions were above board in this scandal would require one to be either as delusional as a broken clock thinking it is accurate or as dishonest as a used car salesman caught cheating on his wife. The situation raises some serious questions among those who value free speech, the most important of which is: What the hell are we going to do about it?

For those who haven’t caught up on this story yet:

According to internal emails revealed to the Wall Street Journal, Facebook routinely cooperated with the Biden White House and other officials to remove COVID information that was counter to messages and policies being pushed by the government. The emails show an intense effort to restrict COVID-related conversations and show that Facebook continued to censor conversations even after saying it had stopped.

The emails show Facebook executives discussing how they managed users’ posts about the origins of a pandemic that the administration was seeking to control. “Can someone quickly remind me why we were removing—rather than demoting/labeling—claims that Covid is man made,” asked Nick Clegg, the company’s president of global affairs, in a July 2021 email to colleagues.

“We were under pressure from the administration and others to do more,” responded a Facebook vice president in charge of content policy, speaking of the Biden administration. “We shouldn’t have done it.”

The discussion took place three months after Facebook, which is owned by Meta Platformsdecided to stop banning posts asserting that Covid-19 was man-made or manufactured, in light of increasing debate about the virus’s origin.

The documents show that where Facebook held a line on removing memes, cartoons, and humorous posts about the vaccine despite Biden’s thugs insisting that mocking government policy was dangerous, they also show that the company was well aware that substantial resistance on their part would be harmful.

Facebook’s leadership cooperated with the White House on removing content, but it seemed apparent they felt pressured to do so. The same was true about some of those working at Twitter when the FBI pushed the platform to censor dissenting content.

The discovery of the White House’s jihad against free speech online has sparked no small amount of criticism. A federal judge named Terry Doughty slammed the administration for using taxpayer funds to employ private entities tasked with getting social media platforms to remove content expressing opinions that were not state-approved. The judge issued an injunction prohibiting the government from collaborating with social media companies to censor Americans. A three-judge panel later put a hold on this injunction pending appeal on the merits — oral arguments were heard on Thursday before the Fifth Circuit.

Up until this point, the Biden administration has been allowed to run roughshod over the First Amendment, using authoritarian tactics to silence dissent. Members of Congress have railed against the president and his cronies as people have called on the legislature to protect free speech:

The Orwellian overreach of the Biden administration must be checked. If not, we’re looking at a dystopian future where the government can demand the names of citizens who fail to parrot their narrative. Remember Matt Taibi from the “Twitter files”? The IRS conveniently showed up at his door right before he testified to Congress. This is what weaponizing power looks like.

Democrats must seize the moment to show they can rise above partisan politics and stand up for what’s right. Our government must ensure that no administration can strong-arm private citizens and businesses, particularly those that provide platforms for speech, into becoming tools of presidential propaganda.

Earlier this year, House Republicans introduced the Protecting Free Speech from Government Interference Act, but at this moment, it has gone nowhere.

There is a reason for that, dear reader.

Let’s start with Democrats. The reason why they won’t vote for the bill is because they despise free speech.

Okay, that was easy. Let’s move on to the Republicans.

GOP lawmakers have been pounding their chests and proclaiming their undying devotion to First Amendment principles. These intrepid lawmakers seized on the revealed truths about the White House’s censorship by vowing to put an end to the president’s evil plan to stop us from saying what we want to say. But, in reality, most of these folks sounded just like progressives do when they declare their commitment to eliminating the scourge of racism.

I hate to be Debbie Jeffy Downer here, but I don’t think most of these people actually want to stop the White House from using federal agencies to silence people. If you have been involved in conservative politics for more than five minutes, you already understand that Republican officials love to talk a big game when they are in front of cameras. But when the time comes, their spinal cords turn to jelly, and they fail to do anything meaningful. So far, there is no reason to believe this situation will be any different.

What’s more, Republicans have every reason to allow this brand of authoritarianism to stand – at least for the time being. If the problem persists and more discoveries about it are made, guess what GOP lawmakers will campaign on? Letting this issue remain gives them an issue they can use to benefit themselves politically.

Yes, I know this is a cynical take – but we have every reason to be skeptical at this point, don’t we? Even so, I can acknowledge that there are probably some in Congress – on both sides of the aisle – who genuinely take issue with the Biden administration’s actions. Unfortunately, there are not enough at the moment, and the voting public has a horrible habit of electing people who keep doing the same crap we hate over and over again.

It’s why Sens. Mitch McConnell and Dianne Feinstein are still in office even though their political expiration date passed back when I was still wearing diapers. Until this problem is addressed, our government will continue laughing at the notion that it should be protecting our rights instead of violating them.


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