White House Communications Director: Big Tech Should be “Accountable” for Vaccine “Misinformation”

There was an unnerving conversation between between Biden White House Communications Director Kate Bedingfield and MSNBC host Mika Brzezinski that shows how much ground has been lost on principles of free speech. In an exchange on Morning Joe, Brzezinski asks Bedingfield why Biden has not completed his promised review of Section 230 and create an avenue to held social media companies “accountable in a real way” for spreading “misinformation” about vaccines. Brzezinski ignores not only the constitutional implications of such a move but ignores how such an approach would eviscerate free speech and free press rights.  Equally chilling is the response. Bedingfield agrees and assured Brzezinski that the Biden Administration believes these companies should be held accountable for allowing others to voice doubts or dissenting opinions on such questions.

Bedingfield assures Brzezinski that they are “reviewing” Section 230 and that the Biden Administration does believe that the media companies need to be held “accountable.”

Vaccine “truth” has become the latest means for calling for more censorship from social media companies. It is better than the prior use of election misinformation because now advocates can claim that free speech is actually killing people.  Indeed, President Joe Biden recently declared publicly that Facebook is “killing people” by not censoring free speech.  He later walked back his comments.

Keep in mind that these companies already have the largest censorship system in our history. It is being managed by private corporations but directed to some extent by government officials. Just this week, the White House admitted it has been flagging “misinformation” for Facebook to censor. This outsourcing of censorship allows government officials to do indirectly what they cannot do directly. It creates the specter of a type of shared shadow state.

Facebook only recently announced that people on its platform may discuss the origins of COVID-19, after previously censoring such discussion — but it still bars opposing views on vaccinations and the pandemic. Other companies actively block wayward thoughts and views; last week, YouTube was fined by a German court for censoring videos of protests over COVID restrictions.

When Twitter’s CEO Jack Dorsey came before the Senate to apologize for blocking the Hunter Biden story before the election as a mistake, senators pressed him and other Big Tech executive for more censorship.

In that hearing, members like Sen. Mazie Hirono (D., HI) pressed witnesses like Mark Zuckerberg and Jack Dorsey for assurance that Trump would remain barred from speaking on their platforms: “What are both of you prepared to do regarding Donald Trump’s use of your platforms after he stops being president, will be still be deemed newsworthy and will he still be able to use your platforms to spread misinformation?”

Rather than addressing the dangers of such censoring of news accounts, Senator Chris Coons pressed Dorsey to expand the categories of censored material to prevent people from sharing any views that he considers “climate denialism.” Likewise, Senator Richard Blumenthal seemed to take the opposite meaning from Twitter, admitting that it was wrong to censor the Biden story. Blumenthal said that he was “concerned that both of your companies are, in fact, backsliding or retrenching, that you are failing to take action against dangerous disinformation.” Accordingly, he demanded an answer to this question:

“Will you commit to the same kind of robust content modification playbook in this coming election, including fact checking, labeling, reducing the spread of misinformation, and other steps, even for politicians in the runoff elections ahead?”

“Robust content modification” has a certain appeal, like a type of software upgrade. It is not content modification. It is censorship. If our representatives are going to crackdown on free speech, they should admit to being advocates for censorship.

The public however is not entirely sold on censorship on an expanding array of subjects from gender identification to election fraud to criticism of foreign governments. That is why the pandemic is the perfect vehicle for getting a free people to turn against free speech. You simply declare, as did Biden, that free speech kills. It can kill you. You then push companies to censor more under the threat of being held “accountable.”

The fact is that you generally cannot hold people legally “accountable” for saying things that politicians or media figures like Brzezinski do not like about vaccines or climate change or any other controversy. The regulation of companies can offer some regulatory avenues for inducing corporate censorship like threatening to take away immunity if they do not serve as surrogate censors. However, that can also raise constitutional issues both as a question of corporate speech or converting these companies into state actors.

The greatest danger is that these political and media figures are signaling that they want even greater levels of censorship and that these private companies will accommodate them. They already have. The result is the expansion of an already massive censorship system that controls much of our political discourse.

252 thoughts on “White House Communications Director: Big Tech Should be “Accountable” for Vaccine “Misinformation””

  1. Here is an interesting article about the person, Karl Marx. This description of him would be applicable to the likes of all the American Marxists on this blog and elsewhere.

    No, Marx certainly was not a “good man”. In his memoirs, Carl Schurz, the German democratic revolutionary, who later became a U. S. Senator, has given us his impressions of Marx: “The stocky, heavily built man with his broad forehead, his pitch black hair and full beard, attracted general attention… What Marx said was indeed substantial, logical and clear. But never did I meet a man of such offensive arrogance in his demeanor. No opinion deviating in principle from his own would be given the slightest consideration. Anybody who contradicted him was treated with barely veiled contempt. Every argument which he happened to dislike was answered either with biting mockery about such pitiful display of ignorance, or with defamatory suspicions as to the motives of the interpellant. I still well remember the sneering tone with which he spat out the word bourgeoisie. And as bourgeois, that is to say as an example of a profound intellectual and moral depravity, he denounced everybody who dared to contradict his views.”
    https://mises.org/wire/portrait-evil-man-karl-marx

    1. Add to that, Marx was a leech living off the sweat of others and a racist known to mock blacks.

      Nice quote, Olly. I had not heard that one. Thanks.

      1. Add to that, Marx was a leech living off the sweat of others and a racist known to mock blacks.

        Absolutely. He was an equal opportunity hater, because Leftists lack any ability to look inward to explain (and perhaps improve) their lot in life. As Prager points out here:

        Leftists (as opposed to liberals) hold outside forces responsible for their pain. That is the reason for the litany of left-wing enemies: capitalism, patriarchy, misogyny, systemic racism, homophobia, transphobia, Islamophobia, sexism, xenophobia.

        So, then, if you are an unhappy American woman, you can work on yourself and your nature, or you can blame sexism and patriarchy, i.e., men, for your pained state.

        If you are an unhappy gay American, you can work on yourself, or you can blame society’s homophobia for your unhappiness.

        And, most significantly, if you are an unhappy black American, you can work on yourself and your life, or you can blame systemic racism and white people for your anger and unfulfilled life.

        All this explains why the left encourages every group except for white, Christian, heterosexual males to regard themselves as oppressed. The more oppressed women, gay people, black people, etc., see themselves, the more they are alienated from America and its values, and the more they gravitate left.
        https://www.westernjournal.com/dennis-prager-finally-realized-left-really-hates-america-much/

        Humility is not in their DNA.

        1. Prager proclaims: “Leftists (as opposed to liberals) hold outside forces responsible for their pain.”

          Fascinating. And Trumpists don’t hold outside forces responsible for their pain? Like, for instance, Marxism? I believe Levin just wrote an entire book about how American Marxism is responsible for all their pain, do correct me if I am wrong.

          1. Olly,
            You really need to keep your guard up. You make it too easy for me to get a jab in. Before you take a verbal swing at Leftists, think how I might counterpunch. I want ours to be a fair fight. I don’t want to have to carry you for a few rounds.

            1. Olly, be careful. Jeff has a glass jaw and when you smash it you might get glass in your foot and bleed.

              1. 😁 Rest assured, if your opponent feels the need to tell you he’s winning the fight, he’s getting ready to tap out.

                1. Olly, how can you lose? Jeff is nothing but hot air. He has no facts, can’t defend Biden, and certainly can’t tell us Trump’s significant lies. Further, Trump did a lot of good things and Jeff can’t refute that fact.

                2. Olly,

                  Do you really need Meyer to fight your fights? This is between you and me. It’s not a tag team. Tell Meyer to mind his own business as I’m sure you don’t need his assistance. I don’t deny that Trump did a good thing for America. He set an example for posterity how not to behave as the President of the United States. For that America owes its thanks!

                  1. Olly needs no one to fight his fight for him. He provides context and content while you provide hot air. After a while the hot air stinks the place up.

          2. Let’s look at Prager’s quote in context.

            “The left, which proudly rejects Judeo-Christian values, has adopted the opposite of the Judeo-Christian view regarding pain in life. Leftists (as opposed to liberals) hold outside forces responsible for their pain. That is the reason for the litany of left-wing enemies: capitalism, patriarchy, misogyny, systemic racism, homophobia, transphobia, Islamophobia, sexism, xenophobia.

            So, then, if you are an unhappy American woman, you can work on yourself and your nature, or you can blame sexism and patriarchy, i.e., men, for your pained state.

            If you are an unhappy gay American, you can work on yourself, or you can blame society’s homophobia for your unhappiness.

            And, most significantly, if you are an unhappy black American, you can work on yourself and your life, or you can blame systemic racism and whites for your anger and unfulfilled life.

            All this explains why the left encourages every group except for white, Christian, heterosexual males to regard themselves as oppressed. The more oppressed women, gays, blacks, etc., see themselves, the more they are
            alienated from America and its values, and the more they gravitate left. In light of this, I came up with a riddle:

            Q: What do you call a happy black person?
            A: A Republican.”

            1. When one is not shallow, like Jeff, they look a little deeper and put the quote in context. Hot air can’t do that. Hot ai can’t list Trump’s significant lies. Hot air can criticize Truly because Turley doesn’t write what Hot Air needs to bolster his argument. All Jeff is is hot air. Treat him as such.

      2. Being racist was a part of Marx that many don’t realize, but they also don’t realize that the left is racist as well. One can’t have the leftist type of ideology without a belief in personal superiority over another group.

      3. Marx was “a racist known to mock blacks.”

        And a notorious anti-semite:

        “What is the worldly religion of the Jew? Huckstering. What is his worldly God? Money.

        “Very well then! Emancipation from huckstering and money, consequently from practical, real Judaism, would be the self-emancipation of our time.” (From “On the Jewish Question,” Marx)

        His personal correspondence is filled with anti-semitic malice.

        1. Sam, based on everything left out of his theories, understanding my limited knowledge of the man, I consider him a fraud. He didn’t finish das Kapital even though he was alive for ~17 years after volume 1. He also left many gaps and had an unlimited and unspecified number of methods to achieve phase one. He never clearly showed how people made it to his final goal. It remains an absolutely unproven philosophy and cannot be thought of as anything more than a dream.

          1. I wonder why CRT’s defenders are *not* agitated by the racism that is inherent in Marxism?

            Could it be that . . .

            Nah.

  2. I wonder if it is beginning to look like a mistake in Silicon Valley for them to go into politics?

    They invited themselves to lunch without realizing they might be on the menu.

  3. Here’s my question for JT: Going back before the Internet and anyone-can-publish, if you wanted a voice in public affairs, you had to go through an editor, or in radio/TV, a producer. These gatekeepers exercised complete discretionary control over what got published via their platforms. Was that gatekeeping thought to be an assault on the First Amendment?….a diminution of free speech?

    1. pbinca– “if you wanted a voice in public affairs, you had to go through an editor, or in radio/TV, a producer.”
      ***
      Not true. Your premise is false.

      During the Sixties activists and students published their own ‘underground’ newspapers that had wide circulation. The Berkeley Barb was one that was very prominent and influential.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Berkeley_Barb

      Anyone who wanted to put in the effort could and can print and publish their own papers. I knew of several over decades.

  4. Death may be necessary due to censorship.

    “…And what country can preserve its liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms. The remedy is to set them right as to facts, pardon and pacify them. What signify a few lives lost in a century or two? The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure.”
    ― Thomas Jefferson, Letters of Thomas Jefferson

    A monument in our nations capital to the man that said this, only monuments to those that would support censorship exist in places were freedom is denied.

    1. Tony warns, “Death may be necessary due to censorship.”

      Apparently, you “3 percenters” don’t know how tanks work. Stop talking tough and bring it.

Leave a Reply