We, a former adviser to President Bill Clinton’s campaign and a former member of the George W. Bush administration, may not agree on many public policy issues. Figuratively speaking, we wear different colored hats. But we have joined together to sound the alarm against censorship.
Viewpoint censorship threatens to destroy the country as it was intended to be—a beacon of freedom of speech, religion, and assembly. The First Amendment protects citizens from the government controlling speech, and the principle of free speech permeates our founding principles.
Just recently, the White House press secretary bragged that the Biden administration is working with social media companies to flag speech they find unacceptable. They label it “misinformation,” while a better description would be “inconvenient information.”
Corporations may think they are free to censor speech because the First Amendment was written to constrain government, but when they conspire and collude with the government to censor, they have crossed the line and leave themselves open to litigation that could destroy their companies.
Last month, emails were made public that seemed to provide evidence that Dr. Anthony Fauci and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg were colluding to control the information on COVID-19. On March 15, 2020, Zuckerberg emailed Fauci suggesting they partner on COVID information. Within this email, there is a portion that is redacted. We see no reason for redaction except that it might expose infringements of free speech.
On April 16, 2020, Facebook announced that it would “combat COVID-19 related misinformation.” We now know that much of what was deemed “misinformation” by Facebook was in fact true information that would have exposed the government’s disinformation.
All censorship is troubling, but the recent suppression of medical information is outrageous. The American Constitutional Rights Union was contacted by the mother of a 17-year-old boy who spent six days in the intensive care unit of a hospital, suffering from a serious side effect of the vaccination. He developed myocarditis, an inflammation of the heart, that almost caused him to lose his life. She was troubled by the censorship of the information on side effects and wanted to sound the alarm so that other parents would have the information they needed to make decisions for their children.
This collusion between the private sector and government is indicative of America’s freefall into fascism. It seems to go unnoticed by public officials, but it’s obvious to the American people, who are resorting to using abbreviations and code words to avoid censorship on important medical data, mainstream political ideas, and the Constitution itself.
Last month, the Twitter account of one of the authors of this editorial, Dr. Naomi Wolf, was blocked because she shared a public statement from Oregon legislator Sen. Kim Thatcher (R-Ore.) that provided information about a bill banning COVID passports and mandatory vaccinations.
Blocking the release of information from duly elected U.S. representatives is a level of censorship that is new to the United States—and more typical of Poland in the 1970s or North Korea today. Big Tech also blocked the communications of a former president, conveniently deplatforming former President Donald Trump through the midterms. They continue to censor the public policy work of elected representatives across the United States.
Many entities have a glaring conflict of interest that keeps them from investigating and reporting censorship. CNN, The New York Times, and leaders on the left, as well as on the right, should be calling foul. But few are willing. Fox News host Tucker Carlson is one of few who are brave enough to sound the alarm.
Politicians are also painfully quiet about the attack on core freedoms. With few exceptions, such as Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), it seems that political contributions are silencing politicians. Or maybe they are just cowards.
The elite have failed us. This means that it’s up to the American people. An immediate groundswell of citizen outrage is necessary if there is any hope of stopping this mad march toward totalitarianism.
Please heed our warning. We may be the Oscar and Felix of public policy; there are many issues on which we disagree. But we are united in calling for citizens of every political persuasion to stand up for a free exchange of ideas, which is our heritage as Americans, one that transcends partisanship.
Lori Roman is the president of the American Constitutional Rights Union.