Joe Biden and Republicans become allies in war against free speech

Joe Biden free speech social media Big Tech

I’ve written a lot about the Republican war against social media and free speech, but in a press briefing at the White House yesterday, Press Secretary Jen Psaki admitted that Joe Biden and Republicans have become allies in that war.

We already know how 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. And we also know that protecting our God-given, constitutionally protected rights are secondary to protecting politicians.

For example: The hearts of so-called conservatives in Washington and the media were all aflutter when DeSantis signed a bill that allows Floridians to sue social media platforms if they are “unfairly censored” while conveniently leaving out the true intentions of the legislation: creating a law that gives 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.

Hawley has been a loyal soldier in the war against Big Tech and free speech, first serving under “orders” of Donald “Fake News” Trump.

When Donald Trump issued an executive order last summer 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.

Right on cue, a group of Senate Republicans led by Josh Hawley introduced the Limiting Section 230 Immunity to Good Samaritans Act, a bill that limited 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.

While it can be argued that social media has been engaged in far-left activity by silencing voices they don’t agree with — I’ve been experiencing that myself — I have always contended that their actions are not an “assault” on free speech because the First Amendment protects private entities (i.e. social media companies) from the kinds of laws Republicans want to pass.

However, I’ve also made it clear that the war on Big Tech and free speech is bipartisan in nature. Republicans and Democrats in both chambers of Congress have expressed their willingness to destroy free speech by reining in Big Tech. For example, even before DeSantis and Hawley made headlines, Sen. Elizabeth Warren made breaking up tech companies a key part of her platform when she was running in the 2020 Democrat presidential primaries.

Back in February, 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)

And that brings us to yesterday, where Psaki told us how Joe Biden has become an ally in the Republican war on social media and free speech in ways sure to bring a smile to Republicans’ faces (via Daily Caller):

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said Thursday 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 Thursday.

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.”

“Facebook should provide, publicly and transparently, data on the reach of COVID-19 vaccine misinformation, not just engagement, but the reach of the misinformation and the audience that it’s reaching,” Psaki said. “That will help us ensure we’re getting accurate information to people. This should be provided not just to researchers but to the public so that the public knows and understands what is accurate and inaccurate”

The Biden administration also wants platforms like Facebook to “create a robust enforcement strategy that bridges their properties and provides transparency about the rules,” to take “faster action against harmful posts,” and to promote “quality information sources in their feed algorithm.”

Psaki’s comment adds a new layer to the debate and shouldn’t be taken lightly because not only would colluding with the government make this a violation of free speech and many other rights, their collusion completely destroys the “we’re a private company” defense found in Section 230. In other words, Facebook has become a defacto contractor of the federal government subject to the same constitutional restrictions as government.

Ironically, Republicans want to take down Big Tech and social media because they censor free speech, while Joe Biden and the Democrats want to take them down because they aren’t censoring enough speech. Either way, both parties want to control the content of social media which means they both want to destroy free speech for political benefit.

The motivation behind the Republican/Democrat duopoly’s war on social media and free speech (along with the rest of the Bill of Rights) has nothing to do with truth or protecting liberty and everything to do with their desire to silence the voices of their opposition.

And they’ll go to any lengths they need to in order to destroy free speech they don’t like.


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.

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