We have been discussing a series of false statements made by President Biden about election law, border agents, Second Amendment, gun capacity, and a variety of personal facts, including all of the falsehoods addressed on this blog earlier. Now, the Washington Post has awarded President Biden a “bottomless Pinocchio” for his repeating of clearly false facts — a distinction that he now shares with his predecessor former President Donald Trump. For those in the free speech community, it is a highly ironic moment given the President’s recent defense of censorship because citizens need “editors” to tell them what is real and what is not. Indeed, he asked, if we did not censor social media, “how will people know the truth?”
President Biden is arguably the most anti-free speech president since John Adams. The President often sounds like the Censor-in-Chief, including claiming that social media companies are “killing people” by not engaging in more robust censorship.
Post fact-checker Glenn Kessler listed various examples of Biden spreading false claims that have been repeatedly and publicly debunked. You draw this rare rebuke if you repeat false statements more than 20 times. That includes his claim on meeting with the Chinese leader: “Folks, I spent a lot of time — more time with Xi Jinping than any other head of state. … I’ve traveled 17,000 miles with him.”
The Post also noted how the president claimed that he is responsible for seniors getting an increase in their Social Security checks for the first time in 10 years: “On our watch, for the first time in 10 years, seniors are going to get the biggest increase in their Social Security checks they’ve gotten.” The Post noted “the reason Social Security payments are going up is because Social Security benefits, under a law passed in 1972, are adjusted every year to keep pace with inflation.”
The President has also continued to claim that the Republicans want to end social security, which the Post has previously declared to be false.
Despite his own pattern of false statements (some might call it “disinformation”), the President seems most alarmed that a single social media platform is moving to restore free speech protections. For years, Twitter has joined companies like Facebook in barring or removing dissenting views in some of these same areas like election reforms. Biden warns that the pubic will simply not know what is true without such editing of the material that they are allowed to read.
The President could cite his own history of false statements as an example for his call for greater censorship to protect voters. Yet, despite his history as a serial spreader of disinformation, I would still oppose any effort to ban him from social media or even remove his comments. It is false that Republicans want to end social security but others can counter such bad speech with good speech. Readers can discern what is true and false from their sources and their support. As shown by the President himself, the governing principle remains “caveat emptor,” or buyer beware.