The Biden Administration Wants To Govern What You Read, Hear...and Say Are You Okay With That?

By 

Wesley Smith

|
May 2

The outcry from progressives and those on the Left about Elon Musk’s purchase of Twitter has been loud and dramatic.  To many of them, the sky is falling.  Joy Reid of MSNBC asserts that Musk wants to bring back South African Apartheid that he “enjoyed” in the 1980s.  Never mind that Musk was born in 1971 and was still a child in the 1980s.  But the Left never lets pesky facts get in the way of the hyperbolic speech and attempts to manipulate the emotions of unsuspecting Americans.  MSNBC host Ari Melber says that Musk could hack the political debate with his newfound power and “secretly ban one’s candidate” or “turn down the reach of their stuff, and turn up the reach of something else . . . .”  Yes.  They certainly know about these tactics, as we watched Silicon Valley elites and the media do exactly this the last time we had an election and President Trump was in fact banned on Twitter. And despite the fact that in buying Twitter, Musk said he wants Twitter’s algorithm to be open source, Massachusetts Senator Ed Markey tweeted that Congress “must pass laws to protect privacy and promote algorithmic justice.”

Axios claims Musk “is increasingly behaving like a movie supervillain.”  Jeff Bezos’s Washington Post printed an op-ed by a former CEO of Reddit calling for government regulations “to prevent rich people from controlling our channels of communication.” The irony of this article appearing in a paper owned by one of the richest men in America where political bias is on full display every day is lost on these people. It makes most of us shake our head and sometimes laugh—or cringe. Where were these defenders of internet fairness two years ago?

But here are some facts: Elon Musk states he wants to make the internet fair. Musk claims to be an “absolutist” when it comes to free speech. He hopes that even those who dislike him will stay on Twitter—and even said so.  He tweeted recently that if 10% of the people on the extreme Left and 10% of people on the extreme right are unhappy at any given time about Twitter—that is a good thing.  This is a classic example of free speech.  We may be very angry about what someone says or writes.  The genius of America is we have a right to be angry and they have a right to say or write it.  Welcome to the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and freedom of speech.

Like the ubiquitous late-night television commercials:  But wait!  There is more.  The Biden Administration just established, under the auspices of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the Disinformation Governance Board.  Yes, the United States now has a ministry of truth.  In autocracies and dictatorships, it is common practice to do what this Administration is doing.  When a tyrant and his ruling elites cannot win over the populace in an open debate, they usually resort to limiting the information the people have in order to make the debate one-sided—or for there to be no debate! When political operatives in banana republics—or Communist China—cannot convince the public of the value of their leaders’ ideas or policies—they simply suppress contrary views so that their views are the only options out there.  Who would have thought that any political party—or any U.S. President—would resort to this tactic?  It is literally unthinkable.  And it is here.

Nina Jankowicz is the head of the Disinformation Governance Board.  A political operative who used social media to deny the now verified Hunter Biden computer scandal and deem it as Russian propaganda, she has been in the job two months as the propaganda minister of the Biden Administration. The creation of this board, and her appointment as leader, was confirmed in recent congressional testimony by DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. 

Mayorkas stated that the reason such a board is necessary is tied to national security. Disinformation, he said, “creates a landscape of vulnerability for state actors to use to the detriment of the United States.”  This board would focus on the spread of disinformation especially in minority communities ahead of the 2022 elections, according to the DHS Secretary.  In other words, the Biden Administration is violating the 245-year-old American value of free speech and ignoring the 231-year history of the First Amendment—but they are doing it because they care about America.  They are doing it for you.

It brings to mind men like Joseph Goebbels.  He was a Nazi leader under Adolf Hitler.  Appointed to lead the Ministry of Propaganda and Public Enlightenment, Goebbels envisioned an empire that would control educational institutions, film, radio, and newspapers. (The only reason Goebbels did not monitor social media was because it had not been invented yet.)   Goebbels, too, justified this as being necessary for Germany’s national security. He used the Editors Law of 1933, Clause 14, which ordered editors to omit “anything calculated to weaken the strength of the Reich abroad or at home.”  His board issued detailed guidelines as to what stories should not be reported and how to report events and issues. Sound familiar?

News flash to Secretary Mayorkas and President Biden: “Misinformation” speech is protected speech—just like hate speech is protected speech.  It is embedded in our Constitution.  Freedom of speech is one of the cornerstones of American freedoms.  Frequently people say things that are hateful, disrespectful, or downright crazy – even factually incorrect. I hate it.  So do you.  But they have every right—especially a constitutional right—to say these things.  The answer to disinformation is not Nina Jankowicz or the Disinformation Governance Board.  The answer is more information.  The answer to speech deemed wrong or hateful is more speech. The debate of ideas is central to freedom and democracy. The marketplace of ideas will test the merits of anyone’s claims or opinions.

The Disinformation Governance Board, the woke emphasis on controlling what people say, think, or read, and the reactions to Elon Musk’s purchase of Twitter are direct attacks on the First Amendment.  They are assaults on freedom of speech—not unlike what happens in Putin’s Russia today or in the Chinese Communist Party.  We must speak out.  Individual rights in the United States have been under attack and, to a certain extent, have been eroding for years.  It is time to draw a line.  Enough is enough.  This stops here; it stops now.

To be clear, and White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki confirmed this, Bident’s Disinformation Governance Board will use the power of a law enforcement agency (DHS) to “prevent” whatever the Biden Administration deems “disinformation and misinformation.” At a minimum this will have an unconstitutional chilling effect on free speech if not worse. How far will they go? We’ve just submitted a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to DHS as a first step toward getting to the bottom of this and fighting back.