Earlier this week, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki praised Spotify for adding an anti-free speech disclaimer to podcasts discussing COVID following the controversy surrounding Joe Rogan.
For good measure, Psaki also encouraged other platforms to do the same in order to silence people spreading misinformation and disinformation, which is Washington doublespeak to describe people exercising their First Amendment free speech right to say things government doesn’t approve of (via New York Post):
White House press secretary Jen Psaki applauded Spotify Tuesday for adding disclaimers to podcast episodes that discuss COVID-19 — before adding “there’s more that can be done.”
The new Spotify warnings will link to a virus information page in response to a pressure campaign to boot Joe Rogan from the platform over controversial remarks on his popular podcast about vaccines and treatment options.
“This disclaimer is a positive step, but we want every platform to continue doing more to call out mis- and disinformation while also uplifting accurate information,” Psaki said in response to a reporter’s question at her regular press briefing.
“Look at the facts, right? You are 16 times more likely to be hospitalized if you’re unvaccinated and 68 times more likely to die than someone who is boosted, if you’re unvaccinated,” she added. “That’s pretty significant. And we think that is something that unquestionably should be the basis of how people are communicating about it.”
“Our view is it’s a good step,” Psaki concluded. “It’s a positive step, but there’s more that can be done.” (emphasis mine)
Psaki on @joerogan and "misinformation" on Spotify:
"Our hope is that all major tech platforms and all major news sources for that matter be responsible and be vigilant…we want every platform to continue doing more…" pic.twitter.com/W3JtHZcicx
— Townhall.com (@townhallcom) February 1, 2022
Psaki’s comments mirror those made by Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy in a Jan. 25 appearance on MSNBC when he urged tech platforms to censor Rogan and “use the power that we have to limit the spread of misinformation” in response to a question about Rogan’s presence on Spotify. (emphasis mine)
Sorry Doc, but government doesn’t have the “power” to silence speech it doesn’t approve of.
Putting aside for a moment the White House’s abuse of power, Psaki’s cheerleading of Spotify’s anti-free speech policy is an obvious attempt by the Biden administration to intimidate a private communications company into curtailing the speech of an American it doesn’t like.
And it’s just the latest example of the war being waged by Democrats and their Republican allies against social media and the First Amendment.
One year ago, Democrats took up Trump’s “Fake News” war against free speech and a free press when they sent letters to the presidents of Comcast, AT&T, Verizon, Cox, Dish, and other cable and satellite companies suggesting that they stop carrying Fox News, One America News Network, and Newsmax. According to the Democrat lawmakers, these “conservative” channels were promotors of misinformation and political violence. (emphasis mine)
In July 2021, Psaki announced a partnership between the White House and social media companies where spreaders of misinformation and disinformation concerning COVID would be reported to the government (via Daily Caller):
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said that the White House is not only working with Facebook to flag disinformation on vaccines — it’s also asking Facebook to share data on the reach and engagement of posts deemed disinformation.
“We’re flagging problematic posts for Facebook that spread disinformation,” the White House press secretary said.
Senior Biden administration staff and members of the COVID-19 team are targeting misinformation, specifically on coronavirus vaccines and the pandemic, by keeping “in regular touch” with social media platforms, Psaki said.
The Biden administration has also proposed four key requests to social media platforms, Psaki said: the first, that social media platforms “measure and publicly share the impact of misinformation on their platform.” (emphasis mine)
Psaki’s praise of Spotify’s anti-free speech policies along with the White House’s partnership with social media companies shouldn’t be taken lightly; colluding with the government in this fashion is a clear violation of free speech and many other rights. Additionally, by interfering with these private companies in this manner, the protections provided these platforms under Section 230 is completely destroyed — thus turning social media will become a de facto contractor of the federal government subject to the same constitutional restrictions as government.
So, are Republicans doing anything to stop this assault on free speech? Not exactly…
Republicans like Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida and Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri have made the war on social media and free speech, along with a healthy dose of Trumpism and nationalism, key to their presidential aspirations in 2024.
The hearts of so-called conservatives in Washington and the media were all aflutter when DeSantis signed a bill last year allowing Floridians to sue social media platforms if they are “unfairly censored” while conveniently leaving out the true intentions of the legislation: creating a law giving the Florida Election Commission the power to levy fines of $250,000 per day on social media companies that de-platform any candidate running for statewide office, and $25,000 per day for candidates running for non-statewide office. (emphasis mine)
When Donald Trump issued an executive order in the summer of 2020 to “reform” Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act — an order where the only free speech is government-approved speech — he included new ways for the government to control internet content and spy on internet users.
In response to Trump’s order, a group of Senate Republicans led by Josh Hawley introduced the Limiting Section 230 Immunity to Good Samaritans Act, a bill designed to limit Section 230 immunity for social media platforms. The bill was co-sponsored by fellow soldiers in the war against Big Tech and free speech: Sens. Marco Rubio, Mike Braun, and Tom Cotton.
The war against Big Tech, social media, and free speech is bipartisan in nature; Republicans and Democrats have expressed their willingness to destroy free speech via government control of social media.
The motivation behind the Republican/Democrat duopoly’s war on social media companies and free speech (along with the rest of the Bill of Rights) has nothing to do with truth or protecting liberty. Nor does Jen Psaki’s praise of Spotify and the company’s anti-free speech policies have anything to do with so-called misinformation and/or disinformation.
The goal is silencing the voices of their opposition for exercising their free speech rights to say things the government doesn’t approve of . . . and the duopoly will go to whatever lengths necessary to reach that goal.
David Leach is the owner of the Strident Conservative. He holds people of every political stripe accountable for their failure to uphold conservative values, and he promotes those values instead of political parties.