The Shadow State: Twitter Suspends Commentator for Criticizing Vaccine Policies

Twitter LogoI recently discussed how the Biden Administration was actively encouraging corporations to limit speech and impose vaccine mandates as a type of shadow state. Rather than take such actions directly ( and face both legal and political challenges), the Administration is relying on its close alliance with Big Tech and other companies to carry out such tasks. That surrogate relationship is particularly clear in the expanding censorship program carried out by Twitter, Facebook and other companies. Twitter’s action against political commentator Dave Rubin is an example of how these companies are now dispensing with any pretense in actively barring criticism of government policies and viewpoints.

 

Rubin was locked out under the common “misinformation” claim by Twitter. However, his tweet was an opinion based on demonstrably true facts. One can certainly disagree with the conclusion but this is an example of core political speech being curtailed by a company with a long history of biased censorship, including the barring of discussions involving Hunter Biden’s laptop before the election.  With a new election looming, these companies appear to be ramping up their censorship efforts.

In his tweet, Rubin stated:

“They want a federal vaccine mandate for vaccines which are clearly not working as promised just weeks ago. People are getting and transmitting Covid despite vax. Plus now they’re prepping us for booster shots. A sane society would take a pause. We do not live in a sane society.”

Even President Biden admitted yesterday that he was wrong weeks ago when he assured people that if they took the vaccine, they would not be at risk for the variants and could dispense with their masks. There are breakthrough cases that have taken many officials by surprise. It is also true that there is now talk of likely booster shots.

Rubin takes those facts and adds his opinion that we should “take a pause.” Twitter declared that to be a violation of its policy “on spreading misleading and potentially harmful information related to COVID-19.”

As always, Twitter simply refuses to explain its censorship decision beyond these generalized, categorical statements. It is not clear if Twitter is calling these facts misinformation or objecting to Rubin’s opinion about a pause. It does not matter. Twitter does not like his viewpoint and does not want others to read it or discuss it.

This is precisely what Democratic leaders pressed Twitter to do in past hearings. As previously discussed the hearing with Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey who followed up his apology for censoring the Hunter Biden story but pledging more censorship. One of the most chilling moments came from Delaware Senator Chris Coons who demonstrated the very essence of the “slippery slope” danger.

Dorsey: Well, misleading information, as you are aware, is a large problem. It’s hard to define it completely and cohesively. We wanted to scope our approach to start to focus on the highest severity of harm. We focused on three areas, manipulated media, which you mentioned, civic integrity around the election, specifically in public health, specifically around COVID. We wanted to make sure that our resources that we  have the greatest impact on where we believe the greatest severity of harm is going to be. Our policies are living documents. They will evolve. We will add to them, but we thought it important that we focus our energies and prioritize the work as much as we could.

Coons: Well, Mr. Dorsey, I’ll close with this. I cannot think of a greater harm than climate change, which is transforming literally our planet and causing harm to our entire world. I think we’re experiencing significant harm as we speak. I recognize the pandemic and misinformation about COVID-19, manipulated media also cause harm, but I’d urge you to reconsider that because helping to disseminate climate denialism, in my view, further facilitates and accelerates one of the greatest existential threats to our world. So thank you to both of our witnesses.

Notably, Dorsey starts with the same argument made by free speech advocates: “Well, misleading information, as you are aware, is a large problem. It’s hard to define it completely and cohesively.” However, instead of then raising concerns over censoring views and comments on the basis for such an amorphous category, Coons pressed for an expansion of the categories of censored material to prevent people from sharing any views that he considers “climate denialism”

There is, of course, a wide array of views that different people or different groups would declare “harmful.” Indeed, Connecticut 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 Orwellian feel to it. It is not content modification. It is censorship.

The Rubin controversy captures this raw and biased censorship by Twitter and the other Big Tech companies. They do not want people to read such dissenting views so they declare them to be misinformation and ban the poster. It also shows how such censorship becomes insatiable and expansive with time. Once you give censors the opportunity to silence others, history shows that the desire for greater and greater censorship builds inexorably. We now have the largest censorship system outside of China and it is entirely run by private companies closely aligned with one party.

As Orwell wrote in 1984:

“And when memory failed and written records were falsified—when that happened, the claim of the Party to have improved the conditions of human life had got to be accepted, because there did not exist, and never again could exist, any standard against which it could be tested.”

133 thoughts on “The Shadow State: Twitter Suspends Commentator for Criticizing Vaccine Policies”

  1. “If you refuse to get vaccinated, you won’t live to see those worse results.” According to the most negative numbers, .2% of Americans have suffered “COVID involved” deaths (as the CDC actually puts it. Unpack that convoluted phrase on your own time). I am not a mathematician, but I think that means that it would take 500 years for the unvaxed to die. Is jeffsilberman guaranteeing that we won’t see the effects of censorship for another 500 years? If not, is he engaged in misinformation? Should he be banned from all platforms including this one?

  2. The early data is in, and it’s pretty clear that the shots don’t prevent death.

    “During the blinded, controlled period, 15 BNT162b2 and 14 placebo recipients died” — That’s 15 vaccinated and 14 unvaccinated. Unless my math is wrong, that’s a difference of one. As in, a single person.
    https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2021.07.28.21261159v1.full

    The science is so contrary to the fictional narrative spin that censorship is needed.

    1. This blog is not about the vax itself. It is about the government controlling what we can see or hear. It is about tyranny and how it begins. It is about freedom of speech versus censorship. It is about the demise of America as a free country.

      Whether or not one has taken the vaccine, is irrelevant to this article. The results of government controlled media, will lead to much worse results than any virus.

      1. “The results of government controlled media, will lead to much worse results than any virus.”

        If you refuse to get vaccinated, you won’t live to see those worse results. Good luck.

  3. I just want to say that I deeply respect those of you who are willing to risk your lives by exposing yourselves unvaccinated to this virus. This county desperately needs selfless people like you. Who else are willing to join the ranks of the military and put their lives in harm’s way to defend this country? I can well understand how rural folk in fly-over-country don’t have as much to live for as coastal urban elites. It’s a pity. I admit that I value my life a helluva lot more than most of you on this blog. I couldn’t wait for the vaccine and jumped at the first chance to get vaccinated. Not unlike Trump, I want to live a long life, and I have to confess that I would have done exactly what he did in pulling every string I could have to evade serving my country in the military.

    So to all you Anti-vaxxers, “Thanks for your service.”

    1. Someone’s got to be in the control group, dear. No need to thank anyone … except perhaps the drug companies.

      1. I would be remiss if I didn’t thank Trumpists for taking one for the team by sacrificing their lives and health for the benefit of science.

        1. I’m not on a team, dear. As far as I’m concerned the former president’s worst failing — and it’s a freaking doozy — was trusting the public health bureaucrats. Shame on him. A pox on him for being so naive. Considering that he survived a bout with the virus himself, he should have known better than to trust that gang of corrupticrats peddling false prophecies of mass death.

          But if you wish to “tak[e] one for the team,” Jeff, I recommend doing your own one-man study by getting vaccinated against WuFlu as many times as you can. Get a shot every day. Even multiple times a day. It seems apparent that supplies are sufficiently plentiful. What have you got to lose? Do it for science. After all, there really is no such thing as being “fully” vaccinated.

          1. Bulldog,

            You chose the wrong pseudonym. You are more aptly described as “bullheaded.” I would no sooner waste my time arguing with anti-vaxxers than Q-Anon freaks. Have a nice life, dear.

    2. Jeffsilberman,

      Get a life man. Your hatred for your fellow countrymen, and your elitist attitude might make you feel better about yourself, but virtue signaling is a disease that has no cure. Ask Hillary Clinton.

      1. I have a life, and I intend to preserve it. And for an old bird, you are not too wise, for I just admitted that I am NOT virtuous. Like Trump, I am unwilling to lay my life down for my fellow man. He evaded serving in the military, and I would have done the same had I faced that predicament. I am ashamed to say that I am just as much a coward as Trump.

    3. Why WOULDN’T the public question the motives when conflicts of interests rule the situation? Is this about greed or safety? If people will die right and left of this disease without vaccinations , why is there so much secrecy and protection of patents? I got the vaccine and had debilitating side effects that were truly scary. I doubt i am alone. And, of course, no one can sue Moderna ot Pfizer if the effects turn out to be long term.

      1. So you are going to trust a Fox News host or some internet blogger instead? Have they taken the Hippocratic Oath and dedicated their lives to saving people’s health? You don’t think Alex Jones’ has a conflict of interest? You gotta trust somebody in the final analysis. I put my faith in real medical experts- yes- elites- who are not profiting from cable ratings or click bait.

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