Banking on Censorship: Sen. Kelly Becomes Latest Democrat to Suggest Censoring Views on Social Media

Below is my column in the New York Post on the suggested censorship of bank critics by Sen. Mark Kelly (D., Ariz.). It was only the latest example of how censorship has become a reflexive response of many Democrats to opposing views. It is now increasingly common for certain views to be declared as simply too dangerous to be tolerated or allowed on social media, including (it seems) questioning the solvency of banks.

Here is the column:

Concerned about your money after recent bank failures? You might want to keep those thoughts to yourself.

While some rushed to get their money after the collapses, at least one leading Democrat is pushing for censorship of those who do not have faith in the banking industry.

The Democratic Party for more than a decade has alienated many of us in the party with its embrace of censorship and speech controls.

Democratic leaders actively promote censorship on social media and vehemently defend government efforts to target citizens or groups.

Some have even adopted McCarthyite labels like “Russian lovers” to paint free-speech advocates as disloyal or dangerous in opposing censorship efforts.

Subjects from climate change to gender identity to COVID to elections have been gradually added to the list of prohibited thoughts.

Now Sen. Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.) has put bank solvency on the list.

It is only the latest example of censorship’s slippery slope.

Kelly shows how censorship is addictive; it not only builds an increasing tolerance for speech limits but a decreasing tolerance for opposing views.

The immediate inclination becomes to silence those who challenge you or refuse to accept your “truth” on any given subject.

In a Zoom call this week with a couple hundred participants, Kelly asked representatives from the Federal Reserve, Treasury Department and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation about censoring social media to remove those raising doubts over bank solvency in the wake of Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank crises.

Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) confirmed Kelly suggested “that government should work with social media companies to censor information that could lead to a run on banks.”

As in past censorship calls, Kelly reportedly cited the danger of “foreign actors” using social media — to undermine banks. It’s those pesky Russians again.

The list of subjects justifying censorship keeps getting longer.

In a critical November 2020 hearing, tech CEOs appeared before the Senate. Twitter’s then-CEO Jack Dorsey apologized for censoring The Post’s Hunter Biden laptop story but pledged to censor more people in defense of “electoral integrity.”

Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.), however, was not happy. He was upset not by the promised censorship but that it wasn’t broad enough.

He noted it’s hard to define the problem of “misleading information,” but tech companies had to impose a sweeping system to combat the “harm” of misinformation.

“The pandemic and misinformation about COVID-19, manipulated media also cause harm,” Coons said. “But I’d urge you to reconsider” putting in place a “standalone climate change misinformation policy” because “helping to disseminate climate denialism, in my view, further facilitates and accelerates one of the greatest existential threats to our world.”

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) also warned he and his colleagues would not tolerate any “backsliding or retrenching” by firms “failing to take action against dangerous disinformation.”

He demanded companies keep using “the same kind of robust content modification” — the new Orwellian term for censorship — they did in the 2020 election.

History has shown censorship becomes an insatiable appetite. Once you silence opposing views in one area, opposing views in other areas become increasingly intolerable.

Rather than convince citizens that their deposits are safe, it is easier to just silence anyone who disagrees with you.

With Democrats’ vocal support, Twitter’s former censors recently revealed the standard they used to censor citizens.

Ex-Twitter executive Anika Collier Navaroli explained at a House hearing last month that Twitter tried not to just “balance free speech and safety.”

Rather, it asked “free expression for whom and public safety for whom. So whose free expression are we protecting at the expense of whose safety, and whose safety are we willing to allow to go the wind so that people can speak freely?”

Rep. Melanie Stansbury (D-NM) responded: “Exactly right.”

So now “the expense” of free speech is too high if it might undermine faith in our banks’ stability. It is that easy.

Parag Agrawal explained it years ago. After taking over as Twitter CEO, Agrawal said the company would “focus less on thinking about free speech” because “speech is easy on the Internet. Most people can speak. Where our role is particularly emphasized is who can be heard.”

The great civil libertarian Justice Louis Brandeis once warned, “The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding.”

Sen. Kelly is now that man in seeking censorship to protect banks’ assets while leaving free speech insolvent.

Jonathan Turley is an attorney and a professor at George Washington University Law School.

149 thoughts on “Banking on Censorship: Sen. Kelly Becomes Latest Democrat to Suggest Censoring Views on Social Media”

  1. Well I appreciate Justice Brandeis’ warning but I don’t think these people are well meaning. I think they know exactly what they are doing and it is the must crass attempt to manage all communication so only their message is heard. Why? So they can hold on to power. It’s all about power, pure and simple. Secondary is protect your co-conspirators.
    The SVB was managed by idiots with a board that had virtually no investment experience except the CEO, 93% of deposits were uninsured, no risk management director for the 3/4 of a year who could have blown a whistle on a narrow sector lending, using long term bonds in a time of rising interest rates, etc. Or as one analyst said “they failed banking 101”.
    Also it shows 2 tier treatment of who the bank is. On Friday Sec Yellen says “no bailout”, then suddenly all deposits are covered by Sunday. Allegedly a conversation between a certain California Governor and President Biden over the weekend. This certain governor allegedly has a large portfolio at SVB for his winery business. Also many other big time Democrat donors, allegedly, and having alleged large donations into democratic causes. I don’t think bank depositors in Des Moines, Iowa would get that same treatment. Is this the message Senator Mark Kelley is trying to manage?
    Sorry but I respectfully think Sen. Kelley’s brain is Lost in Space.

  2. Moody’s Investors Service just downgraded the ENTIRE banking system from stable to NEGATIVE.
    Does Kelly want to censor that too?

    And guess what, it is the banking system that did it to themselves.

  3. So they want to change your use of pronouns. A little change in the use of nouns should be included. Every time they say the “Federal Government” is bailing out the banks they should be required to change it to say “The American People” are bailing out the banks. I feel threatened by their macro-aggression commonly known as censorship.

  4. Russian lovers is just the latest in a long line of pejoratives used by the left. over time “Russian lovers” will lose whatever value it had much like we rarely if ever see anyone called a nazi or fascist

  5. So an ex-astronaut now thinks he knows what is good, bad or indifferent about the USA’s financial services industry? So much so that he know what information about this industry should be banned from spoken and written words? and which of those who offer information at odds with his random and uninformed thoughts should be silenced? This is what AZ’s foolish voters did to the USA.

    1. >This is what AZ’s foolish voters did to the USA.

      This is what Election Fraud in AZ did to the USA.

    1. “Here is the latest in a long line of wrong predictions by environmentalists.”

      There is one absolute about the climate-armageddon predictions: For some 50 years, years they have been spectacularly wrong, and farcically self-contradictory.

      The only interesting question is: Why do people continue believing those shysters?

  6. “The Democratic Party for more than a decade has alienated many of us in the party with its embrace of censorship and speech controls.”

    In all candor, what is it exactly that’s keeping you in the Party of Censorship, Professor/Counselor?

    1. You beat me to the question. The attacks on Taibbi and Shellenberger were very Orwellian. I could not believe my eyes.

      1. The continuing lack of any self awareness on their part; it boggles a rational person’s mind, for sure.

        1. Not to mention the attacks by Dems on Turley himself when he was testifying in their own hearings, not that long ago.

  7. Democrat lunacy, if the banks are making a mess out of things or stealing money, don’t let anyone know, or there might be a run on the banks.

    Are Democrats ostriches? If so in 2024 we should skin them and make coats and purses out of them. The nation will be better off.

  8. “Kelly suggested ‘that government should work with social media companies to censor information that could lead to a run on banks.’”

    Some banks are failing.

    Some banks are failing.

    Some banks are failing.

    Censor that, you tin-pot tyrant.

  9. The good news is that all the good woke elites in Wellesley near me (this has nothing to do with the earlier TERF post) who banked at Silicon Valley Bank until last Friday lined up in droves for hours in the snow the last two days to get their millions out of the Woke Bank and rushed it over to some guy across Rte 16 whose forebears owned slaves (or shipped them to Charleston in return for mollasses or funded United Fruit’s takeover of Honduras or… or… you know, good old fashioned Boston Brahmin bankers that won’t let you into The Country Club unless your forebears came over on the Mayflower)
    It was hilarious to watch

  10. If it wasn’t real, it would be funny.

    The key issue here is that while you can use social media to help spread FUD, it goes both ways. The government under the Dems have been doing just that. Only their FUD is their version of the ‘Truth’.

    Kelly is an idiot.
    I believe he knows what he is saying is wrong, but must do so in order to keep sucking on the teat of easy income for him.

  11. Dem-Deep State Banking Censorship;
    Step 1. SHUT-UP !!!.
    Step 2. Bend-over and spread-em.
    Step 3. Get ready for the biggest rectal-colon invasive impact of your Life.
    Step 4. Forget about it, like it never happened.
    Step 5. Smile mindlessly without a thought in your head.
    Step 6. Be like “The Big Guy” have not a care in the World.
    Step 7. Repeat.

  12. Ah yes….. it’s always about protecting us and their “concerns” for our safety. Lance Corporal Kelly must be the newest member of the Democratic Thought Police Team. Thank you, Jonathan, for an excellent article and for keeping this critical issue front and center.

  13. How soon before noting the special treatment SVB received becomes misinformation? The FDIC takeover instead of an immediate sale – thereby guaranteeing all deposits. Deposits by tech companies – that back and donate to progressives. CEO and CFO dumping shares just before the crash. The ESG focus of SVB. It definitely is not narrative friendly.

  14. He’s a democrat, you don’t need to say anything else. We know what they want and we can allow them to dominate this once great nation or we can fight back to protect the constitution. Which shall it be – I’m growing weary of debating the obvious.

  15. It has suddenly become a popular opinion that social media was responsible for teh SVB and Signature Bank failures, or at least tat social media accelerated them, so the government didn’t have time to respond. I am seeing this everywhere.

    It is false. The failure of Knickerbocker Trust, which set off the Panic of 1907, happened just as fast. A few rumors and in about 2 days the start of a run on the bank.

    This is yet another example of how we are being lied to, so we will support government taking away our rights in the interest of “safety.”

    1. And if you believe Katie Hobbs actually won an honest election, you probably don’t doubt that this little weasel of a climber/politician “won” fair and square too.

  16. Democrats are fighting a Civil War…their 2nd
    Democrats are fascists…using government, banks, tech, law, healthcare, education, etc to destroy opponents and GET RICH! The Democrat Party should be Abolished. Fed Gov…spending cut 50% and 75% moved out of DC. Take away their money and centralized power!

    1. The National Socialist Democrat WOKE Party, today’s NAZI Party seeks War against Russia, China and We the People. The only thing keeping us out of a complete totalitarian state are 100+ million gun owners with 700 million guns.

      Biden if you had gone to Vietnam like the rest of us did you would understand what a man with a rifle can do. The push for gun control is for TOTAL CONTROL of We the People.

      Biden and the rest of the NAZI Party can go POUND SAND! Many of us will not go silently into the night.

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