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    How the White House Censored Americans During Covid (& Got Caught) | 9.24.23

    enSeptember 24, 2023

    Podcast Summary

    • White House, FBI, and CDC potentially violated First Amendment by pressuring social media companies to censor COVID-19 postsA federal court ruled that the White House, FBI, and CDC likely pressured social media companies to censor COVID-19 posts, threatening regulatory action if they didn't comply. The ruling bars the Biden administration from communicating with these platforms, and the White House has filed an emergency appeal to the Supreme Court.

      The 5th Circuit Court recently ruled that the White House, FBI, and CDC likely violated the First Amendment by pressuring social media companies to censor posts related to COVID-19. This includes threats of regulatory action if the companies did not comply. The ruling bars the Biden administration from communicating with these platforms. The White House has filed an emergency appeal to the Supreme Court, and the outcome is pending. Dr. Jay Bhattacharya, a Stanford epidemiologist and plaintiff in the case, discussed on MorningWire how federal agencies were involved in censoring his posts. Depositions revealed threats from the White House to take down posts or face regulatory action, even if the information was true and contradicted government pandemic policies. The court compared the White House's actions to those of a mob or Orwell's Ministry of Truth.

    • Government agencies involved in content moderation raise concerns about free speechAmerican values of free speech are at risk with government agencies censoring both true and false speech, potentially harming individuals and suppressing opposing ideas

      The involvement of various government agencies, including the White House, in content moderation raises serious concerns about free speech and the suppression of opposing ideas. This is particularly concerning given the American commitment to the First Amendment and the historical rejection of similar overreaches in American history. The censorship of both true and false speech, even if inconvenient to government policies, is a breach of American values and has the potential to harm individuals professionally and personally. If given the opportunity, I would express these concerns to those involved and emphasize the importance of upholding free speech and allowing for open scientific debate.

    • Government censorship during pandemic silences scientistsGovernment censorship during the pandemic stifled open debate and self-censored scientists, damaging scientific progress and the reputation of dissenting ideas.

      During the pandemic, the American government engaged in censorship to silence scientific critics and protect a preferred narrative, making it difficult for scientists to speak up and challenge established views. This resulted in self-censorship among scientists due to fear of reprisals and reputational damage. The suppression of free speech in science undermines the scientific process, as science relies on open debate and the exchange of contradictory ideas. This unique situation, where a high-ranking government official dictated scientific truths, was unprecedented in the United States and represented a significant threat to the scientific community. The consequences of censorship extend beyond silencing individuals, as it also damages the reputation of dissenting ideas and stifles scientific progress.

    • Government-funded nonprofits flagging content for censorshipGovernment cannot force social media companies to censor based on nonprofits' lists, but the role of nonprofits in flagging alleged misinformation is problematic and may require legislation to prevent infringement on free speech.

      The role of nonprofits, funded by the government, in flagging alleged misinformation and influencing social media companies to censor content is problematic. The recent ruling by the 5th Circuit Court narrowed the scope of an injunction, allowing such organizations to continue identifying content for review. However, the companies cannot be forced to censor based on these lists. While the government has a responsibility to protect citizens' health and safety, this responsibility should not infringe upon free speech. The consequences of censorship, as seen in the past, can have detrimental effects on individuals and society as a whole. The solution may lie in legislation prohibiting the government from engaging in such activities and generating hit lists aimed at silencing specific individuals or ideas online.

    • School closures in blue states violated children's rights and freedom of speechDuring the pandemic, some blue states' school closures went beyond necessary science, suppressing evidence and censoring opposing views, causing harm to children's health and well-being, and infringing on Americans' freedom of speech.

      During the pandemic, school closures in some blue states lasted much longer than necessary based on scientific evidence. This suppression of evidence, coupled with censorship, led to detrimental health and well-being consequences, particularly for poor and minority children. The censorship environment, reminiscent of authoritarian countries, violated the rights of all Americans, preventing them from expressing their views freely. The ongoing case, Missouri v Biden, is not just about the individual plaintiffs but represents a larger issue for every American's freedom of speech.

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