A Pew Research poll released July 20 found that 70% of Democrats think the government should restrict what appears on social media, a dramatic change from five years ago when a majority of Democrats supported a free marketplace of ideas.
It’s no wonder, considering the drumbeat of warnings from leftist politicians and their liberal media allies about “disinformation” and “misinformation.”
But be warned: Democracy cannot survive for long if one of the nation’s two major political parties wants to put blinders on the public, limiting their access to information and canceling political opponents. That’s a rigged system. Ask the Iranians, Russians or Chinese.
A House hearing on July 20 held by the Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government showed that the Biden administration is already censoring social media on a massive scale, putting blinders on all of us.
Hearing witness D. John Sauer, special assistant attorney general for Louisiana, described preliminary findings by a federal judge that Biden staff in the White House, the FBI, the Department of Health and Human Services, and almost every other executive department meet regularly with social media executives and pressure them to remove or demote criticisms of Biden economic and energy policies, Biden family members and even items that depict the first lady in an unflattering way. According to Sauer, “millions of American voices” have been silenced in violation of the First Amendment.
Sauer cited some 18,000 communications from Team Biden to tech executives orchestrating a vast ongoing censorship operation.
Yet Democratic lawmakers were unfazed by this shocking evidence, and hardly questioned the witness. The U.S. Constitution and the future of our democracy be damned.
Rep. Stacey Plaskett (D-Virgin Islands) laid out the Democratic Party’s distorted interpretation of the First Amendment, insisting that not all speech is constitutionally protected and offering hate speech as an example.
Plaskett and like-minded Dems need a refresher course on the Constitution and American history. The Supreme Court has ruled again and again that all speech, especially speech we like the least, is protected. That includes Nazi marches and cross burnings, as odious as these are. Who needs a constitutional amendment to protect speech everyone likes?
In 2017, the Court ruled unanimously in Matal v. Tam that the First Amendment requires “we protect the freedom to express ‘the thought that we hate,'” citing Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.’s dissent in the 1929 case United States v. Schwimmer.
Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) aimed his wrath at witness Robert F. Kennedy Jr., whose views on vaccines and other pandemic policies were censored. Connolly said this censorship “was not big brother government trying to exercise its will on an innocent population. It was public health measures to protect lives.”
Connolly’s wrong. Censoring scientific debate was a lethal mistake. If competing scientific viewpoints, especially about masking and lockdowns, had been considered, harm to schoolchildren, business owners and many others might have been prevented. Turns out, official government policy was based on “misinformation” and “disinformation.”
During the hearing, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, (D-Fla.) battered Kennedy with accusations of antisemitism and racism for his outrageous comments about the disparate impact of COVID on different ethnic groups. But when he tried to respond, she barked “reclaiming my time” and “ask the witness to stop talking.”
Whether you think RFK Jr. is loony or a viable presidential contender, as a witness he should have been treated with civility. Wasserman Schultz’s abuse is reminiscent of how Sen. Joseph McCarthy browbeat witnesses during the Army-McCarthy hearings in 1954. Those hearings ended abruptly when McCarthy was asked, “Have you no sense of decency?” Wasserman Schultz should have been confronted with the same question.
The attacks on RFK Jr. were a sideshow. The main event was the Democrats’ concocted defense of censorship. The Democrats’ own witness — civil rights attorney Maya Wiley — testified that “the ability of every person to have access to accurate and reliable information is a cornerstone of our democracy.”
Wiley’s slippery language is meant to evade the real issue: Who decides what is accurate and reliable?
Wiley was asked directly by Rep. Chris Stewart (R-Utah), “Do you trust the government to determine what facts and views the American people are exposed to?” She replied, “I think I’m struggling with the question.”
Tell Democrats the answer is a resounding “no.”
Trusting government to be your eyes and ears is crazy.
Betsy McCaughey is a former lieutenant governor of New York and chairman of the Committee to Reduce Infection Deaths. Follow her on Twitter @Betsy_McCaughey. To find out more about Betsy McCaughey and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.
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