The Democrats have gone from playing it on coy on censorship to going as blatantly as authoritarian as they can. Call the last 48 hours of threats, demands, and admissions of coordinating and pressuring Facebook to censor unpopular speech as a test to see what the courts will let the Biden administration get away with. Or just the assumption that they have the power and that this is the new normal.
Either way, Psaki has gone out of her way to make it as difficult as possible for Justice Roberts to pretend not to see the situation. The ACLU and the EFF have taken a firm position of ignoring the matter, but Psaki has handed every possible ammo to conservative litigators.
Coming off yesterday’s White House press briefing, when she admitted that the Biden administration was, “flagging problematic posts for Facebook that spread disinformation”, called for a “robust enforcement strategy” and pressured Facebook to target a dozen people, she went even further on Friday’s briefing.
“You shouldn’t be banned from one platform and not others,” Psaki insisted today.
After having dismantled the idea that Facebook censors are acting independently, she went to work taking down the idea that censorship by Big Tech monopolies should be the independent work of a single company.
The two big legal and political arguments in defense of Big Tech censorship vanished in 48 hours.
The White House spokeswoman called for establishing a speech cartel and of that cartel acting at the direction of the government (obviously only Democrat administrations) censoring political targets across the board resulting in an internet or a social media ban.
The media has been solidly cheering the advent of official state censorship on.
Biden dug up the familiar, “they’re killing people” line. Psaki shrugged off complaints about government totalitarianism by contending, “Our biggest concern here and I frankly think it should be your biggest concern is the number of people who are dying around the country because they are getting misinformation that is leading them to not take a vaccine.”
The old argument here is that we’re in a state of emergency, a rather permanent one, and that civil rights take a back seat to the crisis.
After 2016, the “misinformation” crisis came from sort of undefined Facebook posts attacking Hillary which were worse than 9/11. Earlier this year it was attacks on “election integrity” which were worse than Pearl Harbor. Now the Democrats are pivoting over to the pandemic. Anyone who disagrees with them wants people to die.
Totalitarian regimes always use crisis claims to justify censorship. That’s how tyranny works.
But the question is will judges, including the Supreme Court, who were hesitant to challenge the suspension of the First Amendment, such as the right to protest (for Republicans, not BLM Democrats obviously) or freedom of religion, over a crisis agree that lack of vaccination represents a public emergency that justifies government censorship?
In 48 hours, the Biden White House has destroyed the myth that censorship is a decision by private companies. That will have lasting legal and political repercussions.