The Defunct Disinformation Governance Board Sought to Censor Opposing Views on Racial Justice, the Afghan Withdrawal and Other Political Subjects

We previously discussed the defunct Disinformation Governance Board and its controversial head Nina Jankowicz. After the outcry over the program, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas finally relented and disbanded the board while insisting that it was never about censoring opposing views. Jankowicz has sued over the portrayal of her views. Now, Americans for Prosperity Foundation (AFPF) has exposed just how broad the scope of the censorship efforts were under the board in combatting “misinformation, disinformation, and malinformation (MDM). This range of authority in what the agency called the “MDM space,” included targeting views on racial justice and the disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan.

New documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests show that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) argued that the agency could regulate speech related to “the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic and the efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines, racial justice, U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, and the nature of U.S. support to Ukraine” as well as “irregular immigration.”

Those subjects stretch across much of the “space” used for political speech in the last few years.

Notably, within DHS, Jen Easterly, who heads the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, extended her agency’s mandate over critical infrastructure to include “our cognitive infrastructure.” The resulting censorship efforts included combating “malinformation” – described as information “based on fact, but used out of context to mislead, harm, or manipulate.” I testified earlier on this effort.

So DHS asserted the authority to target viewpoints on racial justice, Ukraine, and other political subjects, including views based on fact but viewed as misleading in context.

What is also troubling is the continued effort to conceal these censorship activities. Homeland redacted much of this information on a now defunct board under FOIA Exemption 7(E), which protects “techniques and procedures for law enforcement investigations or prosecutions, or would disclose guidelines for law enforcement investigations.” That claim is itself chilling.

After the demise of the board, National Public Radio ran an interview entitled “How DHS’s disinformation board fell victim to misinformation.”

As the title suggests, NPR just repeated the view of Jankowicz despite the objections of many of us in the free speech community. Jankowicz insisted “we weren’t going to be doing anything related to policing speech. It was an internal coordinating mechanism to make sure that we were doing that work efficiently.” Yet, what were the criminal investigations, prosecutions, and enforcement efforts now being claimed as connected to this work?

Recently, a court found that the Biden Administration’s censorship efforts constituted “the most massive attack against free speech in United States history.” Those words by Chief U.S. District Judge Terry A. Doughty are part of a 155-page opinion granting a temporary injunction, requested by Louisiana and Missouri, to prevent White House officials from meeting with tech companies about social media censorship.

Yet, Democrats have gone all in on censorship, blacklisting, and even red-baiting efforts.  The July 4 decision came six months after I testified before Congress that the Biden administration used social media companies for “censorship by surrogate.” Despite furious attacks by congressional Democrats in that and later hearings, a court found that the evidence overwhelmingly shows systematic violation of the First Amendment by the Biden administration.

Now we have a glimpse into the chilling scope of the Homeland Security’s efforts to target opposing viewpoints.  From racial justice to Covid to Ukraine, these subjects involve core political speech. Yet, the Biden Administration felt that it had the right to monitor and combat opposing views in these areas.

In the first censorship hearing, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) criticized me for offering “legal opinions” without working at Twitter. I later noted that it was like saying a witness should not discuss the contents of the “Pentagon Papers” unless he or she worked at the Pentagon. Wasserman Schultz tried to portray the Twitter Files allegations as mere opinions; she cut me off when I tried to explain that the Twitter Files contents — like those of the Pentagon Papers — are “facts,” while the implication of those facts are opinions.

Now there are additional facts showing the massive scope and effort targeting opposing viewpoints. Yet, Democratic members continue to oppose further investigation into these efforts. More importantly, the Biden Administration appears to be using every means to conceal the scope of its efforts. Why? The public should know the range of subjects and claimed authority of these government programs.

This controversy goes to the very core of our constitutional values in protecting free speech. The effort to conceal these efforts and claims reflects the unease of the Biden Administration is telling the public what it has been doing secretly in its name.



155 thoughts on “The Defunct Disinformation Governance Board Sought to Censor Opposing Views on Racial Justice, the Afghan Withdrawal and Other Political Subjects”

  1. Somehow discussion on this topic – the federal government censoring political speech that is critical of the government – has gotten derailed into a discussion of porn books in elementary schools.

    That could only have happened through the work of trolls. Let’s stop feeding them.

    1. I was hoping you’d respond to my critique below regarding Turley’s legally incorrect interpretation of Doughty’s opinion, but the anti-groomer conspiracy theorists have hijacked the conversation. Generally, you seem to care more about the legal issues, which I applaud, even if we have differences of opinion.

      1. Thanks I appreciate that. Somehow I missed your critique but I’ll try to take a look later this evening when I get a few minutes off from family duties.

          1. Thanks Estovir, I just took a look at the comment and it is part of this troll effort to derail the topic by shifting from federal government society-wide censorship of political speech, to the idea that schools shouldn’t be able to protect kids from porn. My entire point is that we shouldn’t be playing into the hands of these trolls.

    2. Counselor Turley you will have to forgive my memory ,DOB 1951 I am a NYU grad but not as keen as a young man like you. Is this the Federal official Nina, who would abruptly break out in show tunes, As a musician and music critic if performing Cole Porter or Ella Fitzgerald tunes was the reason for disbandment GOOD DECISION. This lady was like my cat when it caught its leg on my wire fence.. Les Brown and the Band must have spun in their grave listening to Nina!

    3. OldManFromKS,
      Generally I agree with not feeding the trolls, but when it comes to defending children from their perversion that is a fight I have to take up.
      We have to take evil like them head on to protect the innocent.

  2. Americans have an opportunity to reflect on whether America today, they as individuals, their families, and the future of their children are better off today than 30 years ago. Americans know in their gut that America is in rapid decay because of Democrats and spineless, hypocritical, greedy Republicans. Biden’s corruption, deceit and incompetence, are now known by the majority of Americans, as the polls indicate. Donald Trump was disastrous as a president, with his constant drama, attention seeking behaviors, and debasing the Office, saved only by his advisers and Cabinet members, all of whom have disavowed him or he has disavowed them. Americans deserve better than Left vs Right, Republican vs Democrat, Biden vs Trump. Those who died defending our freedoms should be remembered in that they fought for us to live freely today without such albatrosses like Biden and Trump, and their respective “brown shirts” and “listless vessels”.

    Ronald Reagan’s “The Speech” (aka Time to Choose”) delivered in 1964 on behalf of Barry Goldwater for President, is chilling in how the enemies of Americans he articulated are as palpable and visceral today. If there is one redeeming result of the recent finding of the Democrats “disinformation governance board”, the DOJ and FBI targeting Americans and giving Hunter and Joseph Biden “sweetheart deals”, the MSM and Big Tech censoring Americans at the behest of Biden’s Democrats, is this: Americans now know who is driving our nation into the abyss. Now is a Time to Choose

    1. Estovir, this is the first time I’ve watched that entire speech and I was impressed by how passionately he delivered it without a teleprompter. It’s also a striking reminder at just how relentless the enemies to our country have been and will always be. Thank you for bringing that to my attention.

      1. Olly, I too watched Reagan’s speech for Goldwater for the first time today, and similarly, I nodded in agreement. I did not know RR was a Democrat at one time, nor did I know the Republican party recruited him to run for Governor of CA based on his public speaking abilities. I learned years ago that if one is able to communicate well, and speak persuasively, the audience is won. A Dale Carnegie course on public speaking taught me that and more.

        Although I used to read Peggy Noonan’s columns regularly to perfect my English writing skills, I know very little of her time working for RR as his speech writer. I am curious how it was that RR was so a-tuned to what many Cubans knew from experience about the threat of big governments. Cubans far and wide supported RR in the 1980s, though I was too young to vote nor understand politics. Cubans followed him precisely because he articulated their thoughts on how governments can become our enemies. Now I get it.

        We as Americans are in desperate need of political leaders who will fight for Americans against Big Government. I see few Democrats nor Republicans who are willing to do so. At the very least we as individuals can lead our families, friends and neighbors down a path to virtuous and honorable living despite our surroundings. As you know as a Christian, in the final analysis, our greatest reward is not measured by our standing in this world but hearing in the Master’s voice, well done my good and faithful servant. Nothing is forever, including America.


        1. We as Americans are in desperate need of political leaders who will fight for Americans against Big Government.

          It’s a supply and demand problem. We’d have more of them if the people demanded them. One thing that speech showed is that waste, fraud and abuse within the government is the same today as it was then. Reagan also talked about the enemy within. Why spend billions to fight a proxy war against a tyrannical regime abroad, when our country is being destroyed by a tyrannical regime within what remains of our own borders? That takes a special kind of stupid to support that.

          1. thanks. I never read nor reply to Anonymous

            The fact the Left/Dems support throwing billions of dollars to Ukraine but justify their fiasco in pulling out of Afghanistan “endless war” shows what we already know: theirs is a dictatorship of relativism. Not surprisingly the so called Feminists are silent about the annihilation of women’s rights in Afghanistan. Biden did that too!

            Peter Shill likely has no idea where Ukraine is located nor Putin’s full name. All they know are talking points, a special kind of stupid as you noted

      2. “Supporting Zelensky is . . .”

        Zelensky-Biden: A grifter grifting a grifter. Paid for by hard-working Americans.

        Such is the state of a world run by those who control and loot.


      3. Putin is not spinning his wheels.
        The longer he can drag this out, the weaker the US continues to become.
        We are short on ammunition to the point we are sending cluster munitions.
        We are spending billions in dollars.
        Meanwhile Putin and the rest of the world see weakness in the US, is pivoting away from the US/Western lead uni-polar world to a multi-polar one. De-dollarization is accelerating as other countries join the BRICS+, or are actively seeking to conduct international business in their own currencies or other means of not using the US dollar.
        The writing is on the wall, the US empire is coming to an end and appears to be accelerating. They are all positioning themselves to mitigate the collapse as much as possible.

        1. “the US empire”

          UF, I wonder why some use the word empire to describe American power, even though I understand its use.

          It confuses American power with that of past empires, such as the Romans and British, that had sovereign authority over the lands they controlled. Maybe there is a better word for previous American power combined with a moral authority separating us from the past.

  3. Dear Prof Turley,

    There is nothing defunct about disinformation. Did you see Merrick Garland’s testimony before the congress yesterday!?

    *that was mis, dis and Mal information wrapped in a fortune cookie served on a platter – ‘I Promised The Committe Not To Interfere with Trump’s USA – David Weiss – No Matter What He May, Or May Not, Do.’

    ps. USA Weiss had full authority on wither, whether and why for on all these matters

    pps.. USA Weiss did it.

  4. To the likes of Wasserman Shultz the Constitution is irrelevant.; the Party is everything. She is of the type had she lived in Russia in the 1930s, she would have reported her own family if the party told her to do so. And is she has lived in the US prewar, she would have opposed the rearming of Great Britain up to the minute the Germans invaded, even if her relatives were already in concentration camps. She is emblematic of the modern democratic party; soulless, amoral, power obsessed authoritarians who seek total control over the body politic.

  5. Jonathan/Anonymous: Sorry about my post at 1:18 pm. I forgot to put in my name. That said, I was not exaggerating in referring to the threats of censorship in Missouri. There is an AP news report from St. Louis today titled “A flame thrower and comment about book burning ignites a political firestorm in Missouri”. The AP article is about Bill Eigel, a candidate for MO Governor next year. Eigel was at a “Freedom Fest” event outside St. Louis on 9/15. An accompanying photo of the event in the AP report shows Eigel taking a flamethrower at night to a pile of boxes that metaphorically contained books. In a statement Eigel after his stunt he said that if he is elected governor: “Let’s be clear, you bring those woke pornographic books to brainwash our kids, and I’ll burn those too–on the front lawn of the governor’s mansion”.

    That incident reminded me of another book burning–this time the real thing. You guessed right if you thought of May 10, 1933 in Berlin, Germany. That was when the Nazi student association burned upwards of 25,000 books there an in other cities across Germany. Among the books burned were by authors like Thomas Mann, Erich Marie Remarque–even books by American authors Ernest Hemingway and Jack London. It was part of Joseph Goebbels campaign to purge “un-German” literature.

    So who says history doesn’t repeat itself? In Germany and now in Missouri. First, you start with banning “degenerate” books and authors. That leads to actual book burning of books by authors you claim are trying to “brainwash” the children. There are some in this country who would like a fascist state led by their cult leader who has probably never read a serious book of literature in his entire life. So if you are really into book banning and burning you know who to vote for next year!

    1. (1) There’s a huge difference between Nazis burning books in the 1930s in an attempt to assure that nobody can read them and wanting age-inappropriate books removed from schools. The ONLY connection between the two issues is in YOUR twisted sophistry.

      (2) There is NO connection between Trump and book burning that I’m aware of. That is a complete fabrication cobbled together in your “mind” (for lack of a better word).

      1. Not really. The primary purpose of both is the restriction of the free flow information via books and literature.

        The secondary purpose is to “synchronizing” of culture with a preferred ideology. Whether that ideology is German National Socialism or Christian fundamentalist values, the puritanical goal is the same.

        And in fact there is some content overlap. The Nazi regime burned books pertaining to homosexuality, which is the same focus of Moms For Liberty. See, And Tango Makes Three as a particularly extreme example. Moms For Liberty has even quoted Hitler…

        1. 180 degrees different. I guess both is the government stripping citizens of their rights

          One is govt banning speech, the other is govt compelling speech.

    2. Dennis – pornography is not political speech. The S Ct has long held that pornography may be banned. See, e.g., Roth v. United States, 354 U. S. 476 (1957), Please stop using pornography as an excuse for controlling speech and thought regarding public affairs.

  6. Anyone else find it disturbing to what lengths some will go to defend pornography in elementary schools? The sexualization of children?
    Their sick justification?
    Those who do, just remember, you are a groomer. Should not be allowed near children, children’s schools and in all possibility, not allowed into polite society.
    I can understand why some get deleted and with good cause.
    Evil is what happens when good men/women stand by and do nothing.

    1. Which is more sexually explicit, the Biblical story of Lot’s incestuous relationship with his daughters or the story of two male penguins raising a child penguin (And Tango Makes Three)?

      The book bans are not about protecting children from pornography. This is anti-intellectual propaganda fit only for the Pravda (as you like to state in other contexts). Only one of these books contains sexually explicit content, and it isn’t the one that Moms for Liberty is going after.

  7. Has there been a change to the comment process? It seems as I have to log in if I don’t want my name to be seen as Anonymous?

    1. HullBobby,
      JetPack update.
      I do not log in, so I cannot say what the updates are, but I can see there has been a change.
      If I get a chance later, I will look into it.
      Reading The Free Press’s TGIF.

  8. The censoring of information regarding the Afghanistan withdrawal should worry everyone. Censoring just to assist the party in power is what the 1st A is all about. Biden’s team (he has no clue) is a fascist a rogue government.

    1. Odd.
      That was me.
      I entered all my info as I usually do.
      This JetPack update appears to be a bit buggy.

  9. Anonymous- when the FBI, the most powerful police agency in the world, “makes a suggestion” and “points things out”, is not simply making suggestions or the l observations. It is putting pressure on the target of the suggestion or observation.

  10. Professor Turley writes a ton of malinformation the majority of the time. I agree that this is aimed at the poorly educated and the gullible who don’t or will never understand the distinction. This is exactly what pundits and so-called intellectuals on the right use to keep their ‘base’ of gullible idiots and conspiracy theory nuts satisfied with their own distorted views.

    It’s easier and more attractive than just discussing legal issues. It’s less boring and more engaging like a sophisticated tabloid.

  11. “book depicting the masturbation of a young boy by an adult “

    TIT, let me include a Tweet that includes the book Lawn Boy that Tom has familiarized ourselves with.

    In that Tweet they include the story and pictures. The text and graphics are worse than most would believe. It demonstrates the nature of some on the blog.

    1. This is from 2021?

      Regardless, I would advise you to read Board of Education v. Pico, a Supreme Court case, which cautions against a school board removing a book simply because they dislike the ideas contained in it. They cannot remove a book to “prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion.”

      Lawn Boy won the American Library Association’s 2019 Alex Award as one of the top ten books written for adults that have special appeal to young adults, ages 12 through 18.

      As an advocate for free speech, these books should remain in the library.

        1. If you define “Lawn Boy” as “porn,” then they absolutely can. It is available at Target, which is apparently now a porn shop.

      1. Lawn Boy won the American Library Association’s 2019 Alex Award

        Is that a good thing? When Fidel Castro sentenced independent librarians in Cuba to decades in prison, the ALA sided with Castro and invited his government to its annual convention. You can look it up.

        1. This is as irrelevant as it is factually incorrect. The ALA sided with neither the “librarians” (who considered themselves political dissidents not librarians) nor the Castro regime.

          For those who care to inform yourselves, here is the ALA’s historical position:

          Regardless, the American Library Association’s “foreign policy” stances are not a central focus of their efforts. That is like criticizing the NFL Players Association for their stance on climate change.

          1. It’s not irrelevant. You used ad hominem (the ALA gave the book an award, so it must be good). I responded in kind: the ALA has a soft spot for Marxism, so is their giving an award to a book an outgrowth of that ideological leaning?

            Neither one of us evaluated the book’s contents. So my point was no less relevant than yours.

            1. You didn’t even read your own article. The convention was planned before the gov’t crackdown. So your original statement, “When Fidel Castro sentenced independent librarians in Cuba to decades in prison, the ALA sided with Castro and invited his government to its annual convention” is factually untrue.

              Temporarily, this is not the order of events.


      2. They cannot remove a book to “prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion.” ?

        Libraries cant shelve every book printed. The school board has the power to make the decision what those books are.

        1. This misses the point. A ban RESTRICTS the purchase of books. The act of not purchasing every book in the world is not a book ban.

          Who in the world has advocated the purchase of all books? If no one has, why make the above statement?

      3. We are not talking about a public library but a school library and aiming this grooming culture at diverse young children attending school by law.

        We already know the sicknesses you promote, but thanks for confirming it. You can show your youngsters anything you wish, but others consider your morality in the toilet. Grooming is not acceptable, but that is your vicarious pleasure and what you advocate.

        Here is some of the dialogue.

        “Another line in Lawn Boy read, “What if I told you I touched another guy’s dic.k? What if I told you I sucked it? I was 10 years old but it’s true. I sucked [Doug]’s dic.k, the real estate guy, and he sucked mine too.” The “real estate guy” was a reference to an adult man, Nomani reported.”

        Reading skills can be poor in the public school system, but they ensure an understanding of the text with explicit drawings.

        The Tweet showed these pictures. You may be sick enough to sit down and read this to your grandchildren, but the only thing that tells us is you are sick enough to be a Democrat President.

        1. A public library generally has more capacity than a school library where young children go to read, but even in a public library, the shelves limit the number of books. How to choose? You would like to force your deviant behavior onto others. However, others think you are sick. Therefore, the library might, at least in part, represent the community. After all, who reads the books? The community.

          You are still free to buy or borrow the book of your choice from a friend. You are even free to teach your own children how to have sex at age 5, as long as you keep it quiet. You wish to stretch the envelope. That is fine as long as it is your envelope.

          You should expand your reading into normalcy.

  12. Meanwhile, in late-breaking Friday news, New Jersey Senator Menendez has been indicted for bribery. Apparently the evidence includes gold that he has taken and stashed away, as opposed to the Biden bribery method of opening a few dozen bank accounts to conceal the bribes under a mountain of shifting paperwork.

  13. Well, I’m just glad a court stepped in to temporarily enjoin the DGB. I have nothing but the highest confidence that the current executive administration will fully abide by this and any future order — including an order to formally disband the board, should it be issued. I also have confidence that the administration will wash its hands of the entire topic, and withdraw their interest in monitoring citizens’ speech, for our own good of course. I’m sure they will see how misguided this notion was and not pursue it any further.

    Anyway, I can’t wait for Santa, the Easter Bunny, and the Great Pumpkin this year!!

    1. @ KY Dave 40601

      This is dgsnowden (no matter what word press says) @ Ky 40503

      Rest assured, the Disinformation Governance Board is still alive and well and kicking in this Administration. They have wholly owned media subsidiaries ready to write the press releases and print the Op Eds.

      North Fork Press
      Hazard, Ky.

  14. So part of the Biden Administration’s plan was to have its disinformation shock troops fan out across the nation to make sure that the citizenry comply to its mandates. Go ahead. Fill out the little ovals and make sure to keep the government issued tape (masks) across your mouth as you enter your local polling place.

  15. Jonathan: Censorship is in the eye of the beholder. During the height of the Covid-19 pandemic government agencies tried to counter the misinformation and disinformation about the virus that was all over social media platform. Even you contributed to the misinformation with your false claims about the efficacy of face masks and vaccines. This misinformation was partially successful despite all the efforts by Dr. Fauci and the CDC to present the facts.
    A lot of Americans followed the advice of the anti-vac crowd and unnecessarily died as a result.

    Judge Terry A. Doughty, a hard-right Federalist/DJT appointee, was the perfect judge to overturn Biden administrative policies. In a previous decision in Brick v Biden, Doughty permanently enjoined 24 states from requiring Head Start programs to require vaccinations against Covid-19. It should be recalled that it was right-wing Missouri AG Eric Schmitt who originally brought the lawsuit to challenge Biden administration officials contacting social media companies re Covid misinformation and disinformation. He was afraid he could not get a receptive response in Missouri’s judiciary so he joined Louisiana’s AG so they could get Judge Doughty. A perfect example of “judge shopping”.

    After Doughty issued his country-wide injunction the Biden Administration appealed. That’s because the Biden administration alleges Doughty’s injunction is “vague” and he could not point to one instance in which a government agency actually “censored” any social media content. On 9/8 the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed Doughty’s injunction re only to the WH, the Surgeon General, the CDC and FBI but reversed as to other government officials. The Court also stayed it’s order pending an appeal to the SC by the Biden administration.

    What is interesting and coincidental is that Missouri is one of the leading states engaging in actual “censorship”. The state now ranks third in banning books from school bookshelves. Florida is No. 1, banning 1,406 books, followed by Texas with 625 book bans–and then Missouri with 333. In Missouri’s Wentzville School District it removed 200 titles–including Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, the Children’s Bible and the works of Shakespeare and Mark Twain–the latter ironically born in Florida, MO!

    What is also ironic it that you constantly complain about the alleged “censorship” by the Biden administration but you are strangely silent about book banning that is “censorship” in spades and an existential threat to “free speech”. For me, book banning is a more threatening because it is eating away at the foundations of our Democratic rights–our freedom to read what we want. Book banning is one of the first steps of creeping fascism! Bizarrely, that is not on your radar.

    1. Anonymous, you left out a book depicting the masturbation of a young boy by an adult male. Thank you for your incite. We are happy to know that you are in favor of such books in a school library. Why is it that you rail about banning books but you never discuss the actual contents of the books that are being banned. It can only be that you have no problem with adult males such as yourself masturbating children. One again, thank you for telling us who you are.

      1. Not the same anonymous, but I am unequivocally a fan of such content in a school library. I support the First Amendment, and I do not support safe spaces in schools. If you want to baby your child through age 18, take them out of public schools. Shielding them from the real world sounds like a great way to mold a well-adjusted young adult.

        1. A book is not “banned” if it is removed from a school library. If the movie “Deep Throat” is removed from a school film collection, but can still be purchased online or in an adult bookstore, it is not “censored” for purposes of the 1st Amendment. There is a time and place for everything.

          1. I don’t understand this commonly used refrain by conservative media. Can another copy of the book be purchased by the library, or has a governing authority (school board) prohibited the purchase?

            If the library cannot make said purchase, it is a BAN on said book. That is the literal definition of the word. Perhaps more dictionaries are needed in libraries too.

            Find me a definition of “ban” that takes into consideration third party access. Whether the ban is limited to the library, the city, the state, or the country, it is still a ban. Book burning in Nazi Germany was a book ban even if the book was available in France. Illicit drugs are banned even if you know where to buy it on the street.

            1. I don’t understand this commonly used refrain . . .

              It’s not all that hard to understand. The word “ban” has a flexible meaning; a book can be banned from a single classroom inside a school, but be read anywhere else in the school. Or it can be banned from the school and read anywhere else in society. Or it can be banned anywhere in society. You’re using the word “ban” for the second meaning — to mean the book can’t be in the school, but it can be obtained anywhere else in society.

              The argument you have trouble understanding is that that isn’t equivalent to the type of censorship promoted by the “Joe Biden” administration, which is society-wide and has nothing to do with protecting vulnerable kids, but rather suppressing political ideas. A person who advocates keeping porn out of elementary schools is talking about a completely different type of regulation than the outright suppression of political speech from society at large, because the topic is little kids and pornography.

              It is disingenuous to claim conservatives who oppose governmental censorship on a society-wide basis in relation to political speech are hypocrites for also wanting little kids to be protected from porn at school. In fact it is so transparently disingenuous that I don’t believe you actually have trouble understanding the argument.

              1. So many issues:

                First, you’ve proven my point re the definition of “ban.” A book is indeed a “ban” if it accessible elsewhere. Whether it is ban pertains only to the scope of the authority, which has instituted the ban, whether that be a teacher, a school board, etc. So IT IS A BAN, despite what edwardmahl said.

                Second, I have no agenda with defining “ban’ with its dictionary agenda (except perhaps the furtherance of the English language).

                Third, you assume I support the Biden censorship efforts. I generally do not.

                Fourth, even if I did, what you said makes no sense. If the Biden administration reaches out to Xwitter to ask them to refrain from discussion of a topic on its platform, then it asking Xwitter to BAN the topic with respect only to the content on its platform. It is a localized ban, not some societal outright ban.

                Fifth, whether something is a ban is a separate consideration from the merits of said ban. You may prefer to limit a child’s access to Mein Kampf because you are scared they will grow up as a Communist. A school board that prohibits access to Mein Kampf for this reason would absolutely be banning the book. Taking the same action because the content involves homosexual intercourse is the same act – a ban on certain content. The fact that it involves topics you disapprove of is thus irrelevant to whether it is a ban.

                Sixth, my concern with the conservative movement’s actions is the political nature of what they choose to ban. Just as you may object to prohibition of Mein Kampf or Adam Smith’s The Wealth of Nations (because it would mean a school board is effectively preferring one form of government to another), banning a book about two male penguins raising a child penguin (And Tango Makes Three) but not a book about a heterosexual family is the same problem. It assumes one family structure (through the context of penguins!) is better than another, and a school library should not take a political position like this. A child should be free to draw their own conclusion, not be directed to an opinion because he/she has been limited by access to an alternative one.

          2. edwardmahl: What don’t you understand about the English language? If you take a books off the shelves of public school library shelves, they have been BANNED and that’s CENSORSHIP!

            1. Dennis – Parents and schools have the right and obligation to “ban” books that harm the moral development of children, who are under their care. How can you dispute such an obvious fact? The Biden adminstraton is attempting to control the information, and opposing opinions, regarding public affairs that reach the adult population of the entire country. You really don’t see the difference or you paid to confuse the two?

            2. If you take guns out of the hands of an 18 year old, then guns have banned

              You confuse the banned and age restricted

            3. If you take guns off the shelves of retail chains like Walmart or dicks but can still buy them from a licensed dealer you have banned guns by your definition

            4. What don’t you understand about the English language? If you take a books off the shelves of public school library shelves,

              Irony is Dennis’ super power.

        2. but I am unequivocally a fan of such content in a school library.

          If I handed that book out at the local play ground, I would be charged with distributing child pornography.

          1. Incorrect. You must also think distributing an anatomy textbook of the famous anti-Vietnam War image of the naked child would be illegal.

            There are clear defenses for works with literary, artistic, political, or scientific value. Try again.

            1. We are talking about the Government pushing content onto children. The govt has zero interest in any of these matters. This is the exclusive domain of families…not government

              This has less to do with content, than the Government being far from their mission.

              1. What? Are you saying that having a wider selection of books is somehow more government inculcation than a school board the bans content that runs contrary to extremist Christian values?

                That’s rich

                1. wider selection of books is somehow more government inculcation than a school board the bans content that runs contrary to extremist Christian values?

                  This is not the debate.
                  Under what Constitutional power is the govt allowed to push these ideas on students? There is ZERO govt purpose.

              2. This is so backwards.

                By restricting access to literature that disagrees with Christian fundamentalist values, the government is absolutely “pushing content onto children.” Specifically only content that is deemed acceptable by Christian fundamentalists.

                Think about in the inverse. If a family with same sex parents objected to Romeo and Juliet because it involves heterosexual love, would that be acceptable?

                1. Again, we are talking about books in schools targeting minors. Those minors and their parents are free to seek out and read anything they want.

                2. By restricting access to literature that disagrees with Christian fundamentalist values,

                  This has zero to do with Religion. Nice try to move the goal post. Religion does not hold exclusive claim to protecting children from pornography. It used to be the whole of society working together on simple things like this.

                  1. Iowan2,
                    As I have stated many times here on the good professor’s blog, I am not religious.
                    As a society we do need to work together to fight against this kind of perversion, targeting children.
                    Unfortunately the Democrat party has been hijacked into supporting this kind of evil.
                    We must fight against it to protect children.

    2. “. . . you constantly complain about the alleged “censorship” . . .”

      “Alleged” *and* scare quotes.

      That’s a good little bootlicker. You’ve earned one get-out-of-jail-free card.


  16. I applaud prof. turley for opening his blog to any and all writers of commentary and opinion, including notably those who find flaws in his arguments —
    I can only surmise these ‘critics’ vote Democrat across the board — as few if any Republican voters would support or tolerate the Biden administrations full on assault on the US Constitution — Biden will without doubt go down in history as …..(fill in the blank)

    1. Anonymous, you just can’t accept that the court found against the government concerning censorship on social media. The finding is an order to cease and desist such activity. Your attempt to belittle the actions of the court is poorly thought out and or dishonest. As with all court findings if the government persists in its effort to control social media to further its political agenda the force of law will be applied. I say let it go to the Supreme Court. Undoubtedly you hold a contrary opinion because as you have shown in the past you are very much in favor of government censorship of those you do not agree with. Thank you for reaffirming where you stand.

  17. Professor Turley,

    You write: “Recently, a court found that the Biden Administration’s censorship efforts constituted ‘the most massive attack against free speech in United States history.’”

    This is false. As you know, the Court was “only examining [the case] in terms of Plaintiffs’ likelihood of success on the merits” because this was a preliminary injunction. The court uses the “massive attack against free speech” language twice, and in neither circumstance does it find that the Administration’s efforts constituted such an attack on free speech.

    Initially, on page 2, the full quote is: “If the allegations made by Plaintiffs are true, the present case arguably involves the most massive attack against free speech in United States’ history.” It is not stating that Plantiffs’ allegations are true.

    The second reference: Although the COVID-19 pandemic was a terrible tragedy, Plaintiffs assert that it is still not a reason to lessen civil liberties guaranteed by our Constitution. “If human nature and history teaches anything, it is that civil liberties face grave risks when governments proclaim indefinite states of emergency.” Does 1-3 v. Mills, 142 S. Ct. 17, 20–21 (2021) (Gorsuch, J., dissenting). The “grave risk” here is arguably the most massive attack against free speech in United States history.”

    The context here clarifies that the grave risk ASSERTED BY THE PLAINTIFFS is the most massive attack against free speech in US history. The Court makes no conclusion here regarding whether such assertion is accurate.

    Please revise your blog post. if you read a paper by one of your law students, which made the same conclusion that you just did, how would you grade the paper? This is the type of elementary flaw that a 1L makes in a legal writing course. I expect better from a law professor.

    1. This is a prime example of what malinformation looks like. Turley engages in this type of argument all the time. The gullible and easy marks won’t understand the distinction and that’s what he counts on.

    2. “The Court makes no conclusion here regarding whether such assertion is accurate.”

      Granting the Preliminary Injunction is a preliminary conclusion. I know that “preliminary conclusion” sounds like an oxymoron, but it serves the practical purpose of setting the context for continuing litigation while putting a hold on conduct that APPEARS to be illegal and the court has decided is likely to be determined to be illegal when the litigation has run its course.

      So oxymoron notwithstanding, the court HAS reached a PRELIMINARY conclusion.

      1. Your post is imprecise. Of course, the judge presiding over a pretrial motion makes a conclusion. However, the conclusion pertains to a different question than the question(s) presented in the underlying case. The conclusion the judge must make for a preliminary injunction is specific to the four prerequisites needed, namely (1) a substantial likelihood of success on the merits; (2) irreparable harm in the absence of an injunction; (3) the balance of equities tips in the movant’s favor; and (4) that an injunction is in the public interest.

        Generally, courts view this first prong as met if the movant shows that the merits are “so serious, substantial, difficult and doubtful as to make the issue ripe for litigation and deserving of more deliberate investigation.” The circuits all use different language to approximate the same standard. In the applicable Fifth Circuit context, this is the standard, as identified by seminal (and binding for precedential purposes) case, State of Texas v. SeaTrain International:

        “The prerequisite, as an absolute, is more negative than positive: one cannot obtain a preliminary injunction if he clearly will not prevail on the merits; however, that he is unable, in an abbreviated proceeding, to prove with certainty eventual success does not foreclose the possibility that temporary restraint may be appropriate. In its negative sense, the factor is critical; but viewed positively, the importance and nature of the requirement can vary significantly, depending upon the magnitude of the injury which would be suffered by the movant in the absence of interlocutory relief and the relative balance of the threatened hardship faced by each of the parties. Canal Authority, supra. This is so because, as we have noted, none of the four prerequisites has a fixed quantitative value. Rather, a sliding scale is utilized, which takes into account the intensity of each in a given calculus. Siff v. State Democratic Executive Committee, 500 F.2d 1307 (5th Cir. 1974).”

        Thus, I would strongly push back on the assessment you make above, because the Court has an entirely different objective when it addresses a pretrial motion, as is the case here. As SeaTrain International clarifies, although each factor of the four must be met, the Court views them as balancing test (“sliding scale” as the Court puts it).

    3. Anonymous your channeling a “barrack room lawyer.” A court grants a “preliminary injunction” if and only if on the balance of probability the petitioners would succeed in at trial. Which is to say that at trial the Judge would in all likelihood find the petitioners had sufficiently made their case. But that seldom involves absolute “proof” (smoking guns are rare), rather it usually is another balance of probably equation. If the balance is low enough then that is enough to invoke reasonable doubt. It doesn’t require a genius mind to interpret that this particular judge had no “reasonable” doubts regarding the petitioner’s evidence and their probable success at trial.

  18. The Sky is blue! Yea I agree but what shade of blue is the sky? How to account for the clouds? Are they white or a shade of white? Are white clouds racist, they do block out the darker clouds? Subjective truth clouded by facts. They left have submitted that they believe in truth over fact and have distorted any dialogue to arrive at a conclusion what is a fact. Their vanity has closed their minds, made them rigid in their dogma of a supreme belief of a faraway Utopia of singular rule. They’ve abandoned civility, moral standards, respect for others, laws and God. Their quest for power has blinded them to the failures of past generations, governments and a civil society. Their adulterants of teaching subjects not germane to basic education, [math, reading, history] are and will continue to be a failure of the basic principles of leadership. They nurture their minions with illusions of grandeur of some collective of government(s) making life as easy as pie in the sky, where you can skip and waltz and be whisked to oblivion without a care to the ruin been done to this great country, The United States of America. May God help us all!!!

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