The White House has been escalating its assault on Americans’ First Amendment right to free speech by ratcheting up the pressure on Big Tech platforms to suppress and censor its policy critics.
On Monday, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki issued a veiled threat to digital platforms to do more to call out “misinformation” and to uplift “accurate” information.
“Spotify is putting out advisory warnings on episodes that have to do with Covid-19,” a reporter asked Psaki. “Does the White House and the administration think this is a satisfactory step, or do you think that companies like Spotify should go further than, you know, just a label on their say, hey go to your own — you know check this out. You know, there is more research you can look at, you know science research.”
“Sure.,” she said. “Well, last July, as you probably know, but the surgeon general also took the unprecedented step to issue an adviser on the risk of misinformation and public health, which is a very significant step and admitted that he talked about the role social media platforms have.”
“So our hope is that all major tech platforms and all major news sources for that matter be responsible and be vigilant to ensure the American people have access to accurate information on something as significant as Covid-19,” she continued. “That certainly includes Spotify. So this disclaimer, it’s a positive step, but we want every platform to continue doing more to call out a misinformation while also uplifting accurate information.”
“I mean look at the facts right?” she asked.
Let’s look at the facts: The Biden administration lied there would be no federal mandates, it lied that vaccines ‘stop the spread,’ it lied that mask mandates are effective, it lied that lockdowns work, it lied that vaccinated immunity is superior to natural immunity, it lied that vaccines have no side effects, it lied that ivermectin has no antiviral properties, it lied about long Covid, it lied that the virus is a significant threat to children, it lied repeatedly — and its Big Tech cronies were there every step of the way to suppress accurate information that literate Americans now know to be the truth.
Jen Psaki’s warning to Big Tech platforms — which under Section 230 have no role acting as “editors” because they have liability protection — is an unmistakable warning about political dissent under the guise of fighting “misinformation.” It is simply a fact that both the U.S. government and politicians are among the most egregious offenders in this regard, and indeed, their abuse of authority has caused more damaging effects.
The Surgeon General Vivek Murthy even appeared on “Morning Joe” in January to subtly pressure Spotify to ban Joe Rogan, who has gained a massive audience of over ten million listeners by interviewing highly credentialed voices who have been critical of the government’s Covid policy response. These critics notably included Dr. Robert Malone, who holds numerous patents on mRNA technology relevant to the Covid ‘vaccines,’ and Dr. Peter McCullough, who is a prolific researcher on cardiac health and medical science.
“What do you think are the best ways to push back on misinformation about COVID that continues to be aggressively pushed, whether it be Joe Rogan’s podcast or all over Facebook?” Murthy was asked.
“We can have the best science available, we can have the best public health expertise available. It won’t help people if they don’t have access to accurate information,” Murthy said, adding, “People have the right to make their own decisions, but they also have the right to have accurate information to make that decision with.”
The “right to accurate information” is a backdoor euphemism that implies the government should act as the arbiter of “facts” and “science,” which necessarily requires abridging speech, and thus the ability of Americans to hold their own government accountable. This both violates free speech and renders democratic processes irrelevant in the United States.
Tom Fitton, the president of legal watchdog Judicial Watch, did not misunderstand Psaki’s underlying threat:
ABUSE OF POWER: @PressSec, on behalf of @POTUS, violates civil rights of @JoeRogan… https://t.co/QcHOehpXgf
— Tom Fitton (@TomFitton) February 1, 2022
Fitton argued that the Press Secretary, acting as spokesperson for the president, was violating the civil rights of Joe Rogan.
The U.S. government cannot legally pressure private companies, civic organizations, educational institutions, or citizens to engage in activities that constitute violations of Americans’ civil rights. While many believe that Big Tech platforms can merely carry out the wishes of the power-brokers in government, the chilling effect on free speech is considered to be legally the same as the government doing it itself.
Spotify, however, is standing up to the Biden administration’s bullies, at least to the effect that it won’t succumb to outright censorship. It will label podcasts and news content with labels directing people to get government information if they so choose.
Thus, Neil Young and Joni Mitchell and Nils Lofgren and the nameless throng of content creators who have seized on the controversy to virtue-signal (and draw attention to themselves) can posture all they like: They are only making Spotify stronger. The essence of Spotify’s business is to give users’ a choice of whom they want to listen to.
Obviously, they are listening to Joe Rogan, and not to them. That is why they can’t stand it and want to shut him down.
But we are all Joe Rogan. If the U.S. government and Big Tech can shut down Joe Rogan, just like they have silenced countless others, who can’t they do it to?
U.S. Rep. Announces Drastic Action to Prevent Big Tech from Censoring Joe Rogan’s Podcast with Dr. Robert Malone
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OPINION: This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion.