House Judiciary Chair Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, said Monday the federal government, disinformation "experts" at universities, Big Tech, and others worked together through the Election Integrity Partnership (EIP) to monitor and censor Americans' speech during the 2020 election.
"The federal government and universities pressured social media companies to censor true information, jokes, and political opinions," said an interim staff report by the House Judiciary Committee and its Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government, both of which Jordan chairs, that was released Monday.
"This pressure was largely directed in a way that benefited one side of the political aisle: true information posted by Republicans and conservatives was labeled as 'misinformation' while false information posted by Democrats and liberals was largely unreported and untouched by the censors."
Among the targets was Newsmax, according to a summary of the report, titled "The Weaponization of 'Disinformation' Pseudo-experts and Bureaucrats: How the Federal Government Partnered with Universities to Censor Americans' Free Speech."
The report revealed how the Department of Homeland Security's Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), and the Global Engagement Center (GEC) within the State Department coordinated with Stanford University and other entities to create the Election Integrity Partnership (EIP) to censor Americans' speech in the lead-up to the election.
It outlines how the EIP was created in the summer of 2020 to provide a way for the federal government "to launder its censorship activities in hopes of bypassing the First Amendment and public scrutiny."
"The EIP targeted Americans across the political spectrum, but especially conservatives," according to the report's summary.
The House committee found that EIP, using Stanford, encouraged social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter, now known as X, to declare conservative news as "misinformation."
The report said, besides Newsmax, targets for censorship included former President Donald Trump, Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C., Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky., Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., former Speaker Newt Gingrich, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, conservative commentators Candace Owens, Charlie Kirk, Michelle Malkin and Mollie Hemingway, and "an untold number of everyday Americans of all political affiliations."
One of EIP's founding partners – the Atlantic Council's Digital Forensic Research Lab – described CISA's central role in the alleged censorship effort in a July 31, 2020, email posted on X by Jordan.
"I know the Council has a number of efforts on broad policy around the elections, but we just set up an election integrity partnership at the request of DHS/CISA and are in weekly comms to debrief about disinfo," Graham Brookie, the lab's senior director, wrote.
In the post on X, Jordan wrote, "according to one EIP member, the EIP was created 'at the request of CISA.' The head of the EIP also said that EIP was created after 'working on some monitoring ideas with CISA.'"
EIP used a tactic known as "switchboarding" to refer to removal requests from state and local officials to Facebook, X and other social media sites, the New York Post reported Monday, which CISA-CFITF Director Brian Scully confirmed in testimony in Missouri v. Biden, which the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in Louisiana ruled in September federal officials colluded with Big Tech social medai platforms to suppress speech.
The report detailed an email chain in which Scully told the Office of the Colorado Secretary of State how Twitter had handled flagged parody accounts previously and how Twitter is likely to handle the accounts being flagged in that chain.
"Email exchanges such as this contradict the descriptions of CISA's 'switchboarding' as a passive role, and that CISA would weigh in on the substance of the post when communicating directly with large social media platforms," the report said.
The revelations about EIP are consistent of U.S. government efforts to fund so-called media monitors like NewsGuard and GDI which rank news websites, podcasts and TV channels.
NewsGuard and GDI have received millions in grants from the State Department and Pentagon.
NewsGuard is headed by its founder, Steven Brill, a well-known Democratic party activist and prolific donor.
Media Research Center said NewsGuard consistently gives conservative media low rankings while bestowing high rankings to liberal media.
The group's rankings are, in turn, used by major ad agencies to block conservative media from airing advertisements and denying them revenue.
Michael Katz is a Newsmax reporter with more than 30 years of experience reporting and editing on news, culture, and politics.
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