It has long been obvious that the Democrats harbor a deep aversion to free expression and that they are perfectly willing to silence voices that fail to parrot the pungent orthodoxies of the left. Historically, however, this authoritarian impulse has been impeded by the First Amendment and the revulsion with which most Americans regard censorship. It is no small irony that the advent of the internet, which was widely expected to make it all but impossible to interfere with the free flow of information, actually rendered it easier to suppress speech by stealth. The Democrats were quick to realize this and have effectively used the technology as an instrument of censorship for years.
Inevitably, this has come to light and forced the Democrats to adopt the position that censorship has become a crucial weapon in the battle to protect “our democracy.” And they demonstrated late last week that this is not empty rhetoric. As Fox News reported, “House Democrats on Thursday unanimously voted against legislation that would prohibit federal officials from taking any action to squelch the sharing of views and opinions online.” The Protecting Speech from Government Interference Act (HR 140) did pass, but no Democrat voted for it. Their pretext for rejecting the bill was provided by Rep. Daniel Goldman (D-N.Y.), who insists that it would somehow “wreak havoc on our democratic institutions.”
This vote occurred on the same day that Goldman and other Democrats attacked journalists Matt Taibbi and Michael Shellenberger during their testimony before the Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government. Taibbi and Shellenberger are, of course, two of the journalists whose reporting on the Twitter Files revealed collusion between Big Tech platforms and numerous federal agencies. The Democrats referred to them as “so-called journalists,” tried to bully them into revealing their sources, and accused them of colluding with Elon Musk to profiteer from the Twitter Files scandal. Not a single Democrat on the subcommittee asked about these revelations from Taibbi’s opening statement:
We learned Twitter, Facebook, Google, and other companies developed a formal system for taking in moderation “requests” from every corner of government: the FBI, DHS, HHS, DOD, the Global Engagement Center at State, even the CIA. For every government agency scanning Twitter, there were perhaps 20 quasi-private entities doing the same, including Stanford’s Election Integrity Project, Newsguard, the Global Disinformation Index, and others, many taxpayer-funded. A focus of this growing network is making lists of people whose opinions, beliefs, associations, or sympathies are deemed to be misinformation, disinformation, or malinformation.
This passage, mind you, comes from an unapologetically left-leaning author and journalist who has written for decades about government, including the 2008 financial crisis. When asked how serious the Twitter Files story is compared to other stories he has covered, Taibbi responded as follows: “What we are investigating now, I don’t think there’s any comparison. It’s by far the most serious thing that I’ve ever looked at and it’s certainly the most grave story that I have ever worked on personally.” Shellenberger’s statement echoed President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s famous warning about the acquisition of unwarranted influence by the military-industrial complex that would endanger our liberties or democratic processes:
The censorship industrial complex combines established methods of psychological manipulation, some developed by the U.S. Military during the Global War on Terror, with highly sophisticated tools from computer science, including artificial intelligence. The complex’s leaders are driven by the fear that the Internet and social media platforms empower populist, alternative, and fringe personalities and views, which they regard as destabilizing. Federal government officials, agencies, and contractors have gone from fighting ISIS recruiters and Russian bots to censoring and deplatforming ordinary Americans and disfavored public figures.
Shellenberger’s ominous yet apposite comparison elicited exactly zero questions from the Democrats. This cannot, however, be said about other inconvenient revelations that emerged last week. When Fox News’ Tucker Carlson began airing previously unreleased video that thoroughly undermined the Democrat narrative about the fabled Jan. 6 “insurrection,” there was no shortage of Democrat histrionics. The most notable denunciation was the Ciceronian oration delivered on the Senate floor by Democratic Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), during which he issued the following demand: “Fox News, Rupert Murdoch, tell Carlson not to run a second segment of lies. You know it’s a lie. You’ve admitted it’s a lie.”
Schumer also denounced Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy: “Speaker McCarthy’s decision to share security footage with Fox looked like a mistake from the very beginning. But, after last night, it looks like a disaster.” This is all nonsense, of course. First, Carlson didn’t run any “security footage.” Second, playing a few minutes of video in which Jacob Chansley is shown ambling around the building in the company of Capitol police, and allowing the public to see Officer Brian Sicknick directing traffic in the Capitol long after he was supposedly murdered by crazed MAGA insurrectionists, is “dangerous” only to the extent that it proves the Democrats wanted to censor the Jan. 6 videos in order to deceive the public.
All in all, it was a revealing week for the Party of Jefferson and Jackson. Because there are still a few honest journalists left, we now know that much of the official Jan. 6 narrative is fiction, the White House and the administrative state collude with Big Tech and the corporate media to censor inconvenient facts, and the Democrats in the House of Representatives are opposed to ending this collusion. They would have us believe that censorship is necessary to preserve “our democracy.” As Goldman puts it, voting against HR 140 is to “stand with free speech and American democracy.” Oh, right, I forgot. Freedom is slavery.