Attorneys General sue Biden over suppression of free speech

(AP Photo/Ben Margot, File)

The fact that the major social media platforms have had their thumbs on the scales in favor of liberal and Democratic causes has long been obvious to far more people than just Elon Musk. This has generally been attributed to the decidedly liberal bent in the leadership of those companies and the people they install to censor unapproved views. But have liberals in the federal government, specifically at the White House, been actively involved in those efforts to block speech under the guise of “fighting disinformation?” That’s the assertion of the Attorneys General from Louisiana and Missouri. They have jointly filed a suit against the Biden administration, claiming that Biden’s team has been working directly with Big Tech going back to the early days of the 2020 election, pressuring Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and others to take down dissenting opinions. (Washington Examiner)

The Republican attorneys general of Missouri and Louisiana accused President Joe Biden and other top government officials in a lawsuit Thursday of colluding with social media giants such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube to censor and suppress speech under the guise of combating dangerous misinformation.

Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt and Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry filed the suit in an attempt to demonstrate the Biden administration’s alleged work with Big Tech companies to suppress speech pertaining to COVID-19-related information, election integrity, and other topics unfairly.

The lawsuit claims that Biden and his supporters, during the 2020 election campaign and now in office, have directly worked with executives and employees of Big Tech companies to censor content related to controversial political debates over the past two years.

The suit specifically calls out Joe Biden personally, along with Jen Psaki and others, accusing them of collusion with the Big Tech oligarchs to suppress speech. As evidence, they point to emails exchanged between Anthony Fauci and Mark Zuckerberg regarding the dissemination of “disinformation” about COVID-19 on Facebook. Also mentioned are direct calls from Psaki while standing at the White House briefing lectern directed at the leaders of social media platforms, calling on them to do more to “combat disinformation.”

This is a serious accusation. The problem with doing something about big tech platforms censoring people’s views is that they are private companies and can largely do what they like. You can’t do very much about it unless you happen to have a spare $47 billion lying around to buy the company and change the policies yourself.

But if the federal government can be shown to have directly intervened to make that happen, it’s a violation of the First Amendment rights of all of the users of these platforms. It could easily be viewed as grounds for impeachment, assuming you could find the will among anyone in the swamp these days to impeach anyone not named “Trump.”

But will Eric Schmitt and Jeff Landry be able to make this case stick? After all, standing on a podium and “calling on” companies to do something isn’t the same as having Congress pass legislation forcing them to do it through regulations. Fauci sending an email to Zuckerberg doesn’t constitute a government mandate to force Facebook to act in a particular way because Fauci’s office has no authority to compel a private company to alter its policies.

At the same time, courts have been known to look at questions such as this more deeply than simply defining the roles of various government agencies. Even if Biden and his pals weren’t issuing executive mandates or signing legislation, they have significant power to influence the action of private corporations by causing them to fear retribution in the form of future regulations or damage to their reputation if the government trashes them in the public square.

With that in mind, the lawsuit might actually have legs. But if the leaders of those Big Tech companies were already on board with the idea of silencing conservatives, did the government really have much work to do to convince them? It’s a complicated situation, but at least we’ll have a chance of seeing the question raised in the courts, making the public more aware of what’s been going on.