There is an interesting development out of a case in Louisiana where a federal judge has ruled that Dr. Anthony Fauci and White House officials must testify in a case alleging a backchannel for censorship on social media. The complaint in Schmitt v. Biden, No. 3:22-cv-1213 in the District Court for the Western District of Louisiana alleges that Facebook and Twitter coordinated their censorship programs with government officials. I have previously written about what some of us view as a “censorship by surrogate” system used on social media. This discovery could help understand some of those back channel contacts.
Judge Terry Doughty granted a request to require Fauci, former White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki, Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, and others to sit under oath for up to seven hours each.
The First Amendment Rationale and Censorship Realities
As discussed earlier, social media companies have created the largest censorship system in history. For years, anti-free-speech figures have dismissed free speech objections to social media censorship by stressing that the First Amendment applies only to the government, not private companies. The distinction was always a dishonest effort to evade the implications of speech controls, whether implemented by the government or corporations.
The First Amendment was never the exclusive definition of free speech. Free speech is viewed by many of us as a human right; the First Amendment only deals with one source for limiting it. Free speech can be undermined by private corporations as well as government agencies. This threat is even greater when politicians openly use corporations to achieve indirectly what they cannot achieve directly.
We have recently seen evidence supporting the suspicions of a censorship by surrogate.
Evidence of Censorship by Surrogate
The recently disclosed exchange between defendant Carol Crawford, the CDC’s Chief of digital media, revealed a back channel with Twitter and other companies to censor “unapproved opinions” on social media. The “tricky” part may be due to the fact that, during that week of March 25, 2021, then CEO Jack Dorsey was testifying on such censorship before Congress and insisting that “we don’t have a censoring department.” It seems that any meeting on systemic censorship with the government would have to wait until after Dorsey denied that such systemic censorship existed.
The exchange is part of the evidence put forward by leading doctors who are alleging a systemic private-government effort to censor dissenting scientific or medical views. The lawsuit filed by Missouri and Louisiana was joined by experts, including Drs. Jayanta Bhattacharya (Stanford University) and Martin Kulldorff (Harvard University).
Bhattacharya objected this week to the suspension of Dr. Clare Craig after she raised concerns about Pfizer trial documents.Those doctors were the co-authors of the Great Barrington Declaration, which advocated for a more focused Covid response that targeted the most vulnerable population rather than widespread lockdowns and mandates. Many are now questioning the efficacy and cost of the massive lockdown as well as the real value of masks or the rejection of natural immunities as an alternative to vaccination. Yet, these experts and others were attacked for such views just a year ago. Some found themselves censored on social media for challenging claims of Dr. Fauci and others.
The Great Barrington Declaration was not the only viewpoint deemed dangerous. Those who alleged that the virus may have begun in a lab in China were widely denounced and the views barred from being uttered on social media platforms. It was later learned that a number of leading experts raised this theory with Fauci and others early in the pandemic.
Fauci is accused of quickly scuttling such discussion, and critics point to his own alleged approval of gain-of-function research at the Wuhan lab. Fauci and other leading experts now admit that the lab theory is a real possibility, even if they do not agree that it is the best explanation. Social media companies like Facebook declared that the previously banned “conspiracy theory” would now be allowed to be discussed. Yet, some in the media continued to push the media to avoid discussing it. The New York Times science writer Apoorva Mandavilli declared the theory “racist” even as Fauci and others were saying that it is now considered a possible explanation.
Indeed, many of the views that the media attacked as conspiracy theories or debunked are now again being seriously considered. That includes claims of adverse responses to the vaccines, natural immunity protection, and the psychological costs from masking or isolation, particularly among children. None of these views are inviolate or beyond question — any more than the official accounts were at the time. Rather, they were systemically “disappeared” from social media – pushed to the far extremes of public and academic discourse.
While the CDC now admits that it made serious mistakes during the pandemic, it allegedly worked with companies to ban opposing views. Those who sought to raise these questions found their accounts suspended. There is every reason for the CDC to combat what it considers false information through its own postings and outreach programs. However, the involvement in censoring dissenting views is deeply troubling.
The “Tricky Part” and My Earlier Testimony
That brings us back to the “tricky” part. The request for the meeting was made on March 18, 2021. That week, Dorsey and other CEOs were to appear at a House hearing to discuss “misinformation” on social media and their “content modification” policies. I had just testified on private censorship in circumventing the First Amendment as a type of censorship by surrogate. Dorsey and the other CEOs were asked about my warning of a “little brother problem, a problem which private entities do for the government which it cannot legally do for itself.” Dorsey insisted that there was no such censorship office or effort.
The new lawsuit sheds new light on that testimony. It now appears that the CDC was actively feeding disapproved viewpoints to these companies, including a list of tweets that the CDC regarded as misinformation. In one email, Twitter senior manager for public policy Todd O’Boyle asked Crawford to help identify tweets to be censored and emphasized that the company was “looking forward to setting up regular chats.”
Facebook also received lists of “offensive” posts to be “dealt with.” Facebook trained government officials in using its “CrowdTangle” system used by “health departments [to] flag potential vaccine misinformation” to allow the company to review and possibly remove it. It added that “this is similar to how governments and fact-checkers use CrowdTangle ahead of elections….”
That was another eye-raising reference since these companies were criticized for killing the Hunter Biden laptop story before the election. The story was blocked as presumed “Russian disinformation,” a move that Dorsey admitted in the March hearing was a mistake. Now, a year later, the story is accepted not just as legitimate but potentially a serious threat for the Biden Administration.
Whatever the outcome of the litigation, the filing raises, again, whether our concept of state censorship and a state media are outmoded. The last few years have seen a striking uniformity in the barring of certain political and policy viewpoints, including dissenting medical or scientific views that could potentially protect lives. That occurred without any central ministry of information or coercive state laws. It was done by mutual agreement and shared values between the government and these companies.
Discovering the Truth on Corporate Censorship Systems
What was not known were the moving parts in what has been arguably the most successful censorship system in our history. To some extent, no direction was needed beyond the periodic announcements of figures like Fauci or the CDC, which were treated as gospel and not to be challenged. Even when Fauci was criticized for reversing himself on key issues like the wearing of masks or their efficacy, it did not change the concerted effort to suppress opposing views.
The “tricky” part for the public is how to deal with the circumvention of the First Amendment in a system of censorship by surrogates.
This and other cases could well help in understanding the scope of this problem and the possible options in protecting free speech on social media.
52 thoughts on “Fauci and White House Officials Ordered to Testify in Social Media Censorship Case”
Can these companies and government officials be charged criminally for these efforts to violate civil rights under color of law?
Probably not the companies, but certainly the government officials. Just like the government cracked down on the fbi officials that repeatedly lied to the FISA court. /s
“Facebook and Twitter coordinated their censorship programs with government officials.”
Government (including its bureaucrats) is an institution of physical force. It is its police powers. When a tyranical government cannot *directly* criminalize speech, it does so via private individuals and companies. That is textbook fascism.
They’d be more honest censors if they declared openly: “That opinion is banned by the government. And if you express it, we will punish you.” Instead, they hide under the skirts of social media.
Question: Are big tech and the media coordinating with government and Democrat officials in the near total blackout of news coverage of the trial of Darrell Brooks for his role in the horrific Waukesha Christmas Massacre?
Even worse: The orchestrated campaign to silence important information on vaccine safety continues unabated. Earlier today, Twitter censored journalist and former New York Times reporter Alex Berenson for reporting on Covid-19 related mortality data from Australia. It is time for Biden, Fauci and their ilk to be held personally accountable for what they have done. And continue to do. That is the only way it will stop.
Oh, and by the the way, this is why the establishment is petrified that Elon Musk will break their stranglehold on Twitter censorship. Many respected, non-mainstream news sources are pointing out that various media outlets and government agencies, backed by the infinite resources of an unaccountable national government, are ramping up their scrutiny of Elon “the new enemy of the state” Musk and his companies.
Is it any wonder why more and more Americans are recognizing that there is a two-tiered system of justice in this country?
If you don’t vote for me, “you ain’t black.”
-Joseph Robinette Biden, Jr., President of the United States
So when we start bakk knokkin white people TF out ion wanna hear it…the old white ppl 2, KNOKK DEM TF OUT!! PERIOD,
-Darrell Brooks, on trial for murdering six people and grievously injuring sixty others in the Kenosha Christmas Massacre
People will do what they do.
-Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the United States House of Representatives
For the record, it was Waukesha, not Kenosha.
Great catch. But the problem goes far beyond Waukesha, Kenosha, and even Wisconsin.
America is burning. But that’s how forests grow.
– Maura Healy, attorney general and chief law enforcement officer of the state of Massachusetts
How many left wing fools believe that this censorship is really helpful and not just shutting down one’s opposition to wanton murder?
Speaking of censorship of wanton murder, did you know that Darrell Brooks is currently on trial for brutally killing six and injuring sixty more victims in the Waukesha Christmas Massacre? The media’s refusal to cover this horrific crime and the trial rivals their censorship of Hunter Biden’s laptop. At least until after the midterms.
Let’s see if the cross-examiner can do or is allowed to do a competent job.
The evil Darrell Brooks has a fool for a client. He is facing multiple convictions.
Best line in this commentary:
“The First Amendment was never the exclusive definition of free speech. Free speech is viewed by many of us as a human right; the First Amendment only deals with one source for limiting it. Free speech can be undermined by private corporations as well as government agencies. This threat is even greater when politicians openly use corporations to achieve indirectly what they cannot achieve directly.”
Exactly – the current Democratic Party modus operandi: weaponize anything they can to seize and maintain power.
I’ve wondered more than once during the COVID19 era how many times Fauci was dead wrong during the HIV/AIDS era when he was the one of the leading ‘voices’ at the time.
Instead of ‘Follow the Science’ we should ‘Follow the Money’.
Besides being the highest paid member of government, according to Robert Kennedy Dr. Fauci also receives royalties for some of the pharmaceutical products approved [or compelled] for public use. The doctor could be entirely on the up and up, but the optics of his receiving royalties that he may, in some degree, have a duty to the public to monitor without bias are not good.
The mRNA Covid vaccines are very new and they are experimental. If you get it, know that you are part of an experiment. At first nobody could be certain of the benefits and risks. Now the benefits are looking like ‘not much’ and every day the risks look more dire. Kids are dropping over with heart attacks.
ATS once argued with me here that the Tuskegee Study was practically a horrible crime against humanity. But that was an observational study and the volunteers weren’t given anything more than lunch. They certainly were not injected with a potentially dangerous experimental drug. For that you need to look at the Covid vaccine experiment on much of the world’s population.
As an experimental drug, the Covid vaccine can’t be used if there is an effective and safe treatment for Covid. I think there are several, including Ivermectin, and I have used one myself. I had early doubts about the vaccine and I resisted the massive propaganda and social pressure to get it.
Follow the Money. If Ivermectin [among others] treats Covid safely, then billions of dollars in sales of an EXPERIMENTAL vaccine vanish.
The massive effort to crush any news that Ivermectin actually works seems to have come from the government, Big Tech, media, and even professional journals. Notice how many news programs are ‘Brought to You by Pfizer’ and how many Pfizer ads appear in professional journals. If your business thrives on that ad revenue [or is it bribe] income you are likely to have a presumption in favor of the drug companies.
A lot of very smart people have unwrapped the coverings meant to conceal the truth about Covid, vaccine, and treatment, and censorship. Two worth looking at are Phil Harper who posts on substack as ‘The Digger’ https://philharper.substack.com/ and Doctor Kory who posts on substack as ‘Pierre Kory’s Medical Musings’ https://pierrekory.substack.com/
And watch Dr. Tess Lawrie’s short video letter to Andrew Hill on Rumble to get an idea of what is happening. rumble.com/vwfia3-a-letter-to-andrew-hill-dr-tess-lawrie-oracle-films.html Note how she asks Dr. Hill, “How do you sleep at night?” I was wondering that myself after hearing the evidence that life saving information was being smothered.
There are others, and for some mysterious reason they have trouble posting on Twitter or You Tube or anything else connected with big tech.
It seems likely to some that hundreds of thousands of lives could have been saved if people like Dr. Fauci and others had not suppressed a safe and effective treatment for Covid. Even Dr. Mengele didn’t rack up a score like that. I suppose that is some achievement. Follow the Money.
DARREN, Thank you for fixing this. When it didn’t post I realized that I had thoughtlessly included 3 links even though I know only two are allowed. I didn’t ask for help because I didn’t want to bother you for my stupid mistake. You fixed it anyhow. Thank you.
For anyone interested, here is the link to the short video of Dr. Lawrie and Dr. Hill:
Lawrie and Hill had worked together on a careful study of Ivermectin and both agreed that the evidence indicated that Ivermectin was a very effective, inexpensive and safe medicine that should be used immediately to treat Covid patients.
Then Dr. Hill rushed to publication without Dr. Lawrie [ethically questionable, meaning he is a sleaze] and his original report had been revised to suggest that Ivermectin should be used only after further study which, of course, could take a long while.
It is then that Dr. Lawrie gets Hill to admit that in the UK about 15,000 people a day were dying of Covid that likely was treatable with Ivermectin. Dr. Lawrie asks Hill how he can sleep at night knowing that his report is suppressing treatment that could save lives. I couldn’t, I know. Hill did admit that if a family member got Covid he would treat him with Ivermectin, so he hadn’t changed his mind that it worked but he was willing to let 15,000 people a day die while he diddled with the original findings..
Hill admits that someone else had edited his report to make it appear that Ivermectin treatment should be delayed until more studies were completed. [Look at Dr. Kory’s substack cited above to see how that’s worked out.]
Who did that editing? The brilliant Phil Harper goes to the origin in his substack, The Digger, that I linked in my original post. Phil doesn’t argue; he shows. One hint, drug companies seem to have had a say.
We have been and are being lied to while thousands died. Fauci is a prominent part of that corrupt system.
“This threat is even greater when politicians openly use corporations to achieve indirectly what they cannot achieve directly.”
This can apply to many things, and, in the reverse, so it could read:
“This threat is even greater when corporations openly use the government to achieve indirectly what they cannot achieve directly.”
Referring to the original quote, is it just politicians doing this? I’d hazard bureaucrats are a big part of the problem, too.
In a sane and just world, Fauci would be tried, convicted and imprisoned for life. But Fauci knows he’s a One-World-Government-approved Untouchable. Fauci is completely comfortable lying under oath, knowing full well there will be no consequences.
It’s far different world today and the Authoritarian One-World-Governmentalists are more in control than ever before.
While the deranged dupes and Leftist ideologues posting on this blog will applaud the latest example of Climate Change Activism, as shown below, the sane among us know that Civilization is doomed unless the Left and its fanatical terrorists are permanently crushed. Yes, there’s a war going on and the stakes are Civilization itself.
The Fauci Phenomenon is not only illusory and chimerical, it is completely false.
Fauci et al. enjoyed and cited no constitutional basis to impose lock downs, closures, mask-wearing, etc., because no constitutional basis for those actions exists.
The Constitution confers no “emergency powers” while it does enumerate the power of Congress to suspend habeas corpus during a rebellion or invasion.
Fauci had no authority to declare martial law or otherwise impose dictatorship by proclamation.
Fauci may have, in the extreme, conceivably referred charges to the DOJ, to include probable cause, that being the provable deliberate spread of lethal toxins causing injury or death to a particular victim.
The Constitution provides the freedom to be self-reliant, the freedom of travel, staying home, protecting oneself, seeking medical attention, purchasing health and disability insurance, etc.
The Constitution provides Congress, in the extreme, the power to provide an equal amount of money to all citizens as “…general Welfare…”
Not to be an Eeyore, but that’s not the worst part.
Fauci will continue to dissemble. Do know how he’ll be punished?
He’ll have to pose for another Vanity Fair cover. And then he’ll get a book deal for authoring a book on ethical leadership. With a forward by Jim Comey.
Exactly. Fauxi punished? Ha. Since Fauci can’t slide right into a cushy board seat with Pharma like the rest of the corruptocrats, he will be offered lucrative gigs with the Bill Gates Foundation or World Health Organization, etc. Fauxi knows he has many soft landings. The forces behind him are too big and strong to let topple their dutiful little servant-turd.
Censorship by Social Media is an oxymoronic contradiction in terms.
That concept is akin to the incoherence of dictating his narrative to an author.
Social media platforms are private property and only the owners may “claim and exercise” dominion.
The right to private property is absolute or the right to private property does not exist.
Examples are how unconstitutional electric vehicle and solar panel requirements, workforce housing, rent control, minimum wage, “Fair Housing” and “Non-Discrimination” laws illicitly nullify and deny private property rights while nonsensically imposing the PUBLIC exercise of dominion over the PRIVATE property of private individuals.
Private is private, public is public and never the twain shall meet, per fundamental law.
That one disagrees with the Constitution does not nullify the Constitution.
“[Private property is] that dominion which one man claims and exercises over the external things of the world, in exclusion of every other individual.”
– James Madison
“You are horrified at our intending to do away with private property.”
“In one word, you reproach us with intending to do away with your property. Precisely so: that is just what we intend.”
– Karl Marx, The Communist Manifesto
Karl Marx wrote the Communist Manifesto 59 years after the adoption of the Constitution because none of the principles of the Communist Manifesto were in the Constitution. Had the principles of the Communist Manifesto been in the Constitution, Karl Marx would have had no reason to write the Communist Manifesto. The principles of the Communist Manifesto were not in the Constitution then and the principles of the Communist Manifesto are not in the Constitution now.
lol. You completely missed the point in your deranged rant. First, free speech is more than the First Amendment it is an ENLIGHTMENT VALUE. Second, the government MAY NOT INFLUENCE OR ASSIST ANYONE IN SQUELCHING SPEECH which is the basis of this case.