Former President Donald Trump filed a class action lawsuit July 7 against Facebook, Twitter and YouTube parent company Google under First Amendment freedom of expression grounds over the stranglehold they maintain on information, using a novel, albeit questionable legal theory.
But thanks to the buffoonery and incompetence of the Biden administration, it’s not so questionable anymore.
Although First Amendment restrictions only apply to the government — not to private companies — the Trump legal team argues that Big Tech firms should also be restricted from limiting free speech the moment they act as agents of the state.
"Liberty is under increased threats and attacks by a lot of different sides," Trump said, during an appearance at his golf resort in Bedminster, New Jersey.
"We are the majority side ... social media has given extraordinary power to a group of Big Tech giants that are working with government, the mainstream media, and a large segment of a political party to suppress the views of the American people and they've been very successful at that.”
As attorney Mark Meckler, who is also the Convention of States president and former Parler CEO explained it, “when Twitter acts under the authority, influence or pressure of the government, the theory goes that it becomes a state actor and forfeits the right to ignore the First Amendment protections that Americans expect in the public square.”
He added, “when someone like Twitter cozies up to the government and does its bidding, it could become a government actor.”
This can be especially egregious given that tech giants control the flow of nearly all information that’s available to the public. But proving, for example, that “Twitter cozies up to the government” would have been difficulty at best — until yesterday, when White House press secretary Jen Psaki let the cat out of the bag.
"We are in regular touch with the social media platforms, and those engagements typically happen through members of our senior staff, but also members of our COVID-19 team,” Psaki told reporters at Thursday’s daily briefing.
Just to be clear why they’re in “regular touch with the social media platforms,” she added that "we're flagging problematic posts for Facebook that spread disinformation.”
Kim Jong Un and Xi Jinping must be very proud.
As author, journalist and Intercept co-founder Glenn Greenwald observed, “The Biden administration is telling Facebook which posts it regards as ‘problematic’ so that Facebook can remove them.”
He added, “This is the union of corporate and state power — one of the classic hallmarks of fascism — that the people who spent 5 years babbling about fascism support.”
But more importantly, at least from a constitutional standpoint, the administration openly admitted that Big Tech is now an agent of the federal government, and therefore should be subject to the same First Amendment restrictions that the state is subject to.
That admission just skyrocketed the chance that the Trump lawsuit will succeed up into the stratosphere.
Making things even more problematic — this time from an information standpoint — scientific knowledge is never static, it’s always in flux and developing.
What was considered disinformation yesterday can be taken as scientific fact today.
Social media routinely removed posts extolling the virtues of hydroxychloroquine as a therapeutic for the treatment of COVID patients while Trump was in office; now that its effectiveness has been thoroughly documented — especially when taken in combination with other drugs — social media platforms allow those claims to stand.
Imagine the number of lives of COVID patients that may have been saved had that formerly “false” information been published.
It’s not the government’s function to be the arbiters of truth. Yet that’s precisely what it’s doing when it flags “problematic posts for Facebook.”
The purpose of the First Amendment protections of free speech is to allow all information to be available so that Americans can think for themselves and make their own determination of what’s true and what isn’t.
The French writer and philosopher Voltaire once said, “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it,” and upon that principle James Madison, who wrote the first 10 amendments to the Constitution known as the Bill of Rights, believed that freedom of speech should be nearly absolute.
But within a few short years we’ve gone from “I’ll defend to the death your right” to speak your mind, to “we’ll decide what you may and may not read” — and the Biden administration is helping them do it.
We’ve gone from a free and open society to a sad, dark place, but because of that, the Trump legal team has been handed a key to victory, and with it, a roadmap leading us back to where we once were.
Michael Dorstewitz is a retired lawyer and has been a frequent contributor to BizPac Review and Liberty Unyielding. He is also a former U.S. Merchant Marine officer and an enthusiastic Second Amendment supporter, who can often be found honing his skills at the range. Read Dorstewitz's Reports — More Here.
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