Biden White House Hounded Facebook to Censor Tucker Carlson, New Emails Show
BY: SHAWN FLEETWOOD | JANUARY 10, 2023
Read more at https://thefederalist.com/2023/01/10/biden-white-house-hounded-facebook-to-censor-tucker-carlson-new-emails-show/
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President Joe Biden’s administration actively pressured Facebook to censor Fox News host Tucker Carlson for criticizing the Covid shots, according to internal White House communication records obtained by the attorneys general of Missouri and Louisiana.
In an email dated April 14, 2021, then-senior adviser to the president’s Covid response team, Andrew Slavitt, voiced dissatisfaction to a Facebook official that a video of Carlson questioning the left’s universal demand that people get the Covid jab was “Number one” on the platform, to which said official responded that they’d look into the matter. Later that same day, the Facebook representative informed the White House that while the “Tucker Carlson video does not qualify for removal under [Facebook’s] policies,” the company would label the clip with “a pointer to more authoritative COVID information” and work to limit its reach on the platform.
Facebook’s efforts did not meet the administration’s demands for greater censorship, however. In response to the representative, White House Director of Digital Strategy Robert Flaherty questioned how Carlson’s video didn’t violate Facebook’s existing policies and pressured the company to turn over information on the efficacy of its censorship practices.
“How was this not violative? The second half of the segment is raising conspiracy theories about the government hiding that all vaccines aren’t effective,” Flaherty claimed. “Moreover, you say reduced and demoted. What does that mean? There’s 40,000 shares on the video. Who is seeing it now? How many? How effective is that?”
“Not for nothing but last time we did this dance, it ended in an insurrection,” Flaherty added in an apparent reference to the platform’s handling of claims pertaining to the outcome of the 2020 presidential election and subsequent riot at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.
But the Biden White House’s habit of using Big Tech to silence dissenting voices on Covid-related information didn’t just stop at Carlson. A separate batch of emails released by the Missouri and Louisiana attorneys general reveals a concentrated endeavor between the administration and Facebook to reduce the “virality of vaccine hesitancy content,” even if such posts contained factually accurate information.
“As you know, in addition to removing vaccine misinformation, we have been focused on reducing the virality of content discouraging vaccines that does not contain actionable misinformation,” a Facebook representative told Slavitt in a March 21, 2021, email. “This is often-true content, which we allow at the post level … but it can be framed as sensation, alarmist, or shocking. We’ll remove these Groups, Pages, and Accounts when they are disproportionately promoting this sensationalized content.”
In addition to Facebook, Twitter was also a major player in the collusion efforts between the federal government and Big Tech to further squash free speech online. In an email dated August 11, 2022, Flaherty admonished Twitter for allowing posts contradicting White House claims to circulate on the platform, writing that “if your product is appending misinformation to our tweets[,] that seems like a pretty fundamental issue.”
Flaherty separately accused Twitter in a December 2021 email of “Total Calvinball” and “bending over backwards” to tolerate disfavored speech after the company refused to comply with demands from the administration to censor a video.
“This case is about the Biden Administration’s blatant disregard for the First Amendment and its collusion with social media companies [to] suppress speech it disagrees with,” said Missouri AG Andrew Bailey in a statement. “I will always fight back against unelected bureaucrats who seek to indoctrinate the people of this state by violating our constitutional right to free and open debate.”
The bombshell emails come as a result of an investigation launched last year by Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry and then-Missouri AG and now-U.S. Senator Eric Schmitt to uncover collusion efforts between the federal government and Big Tech companies to censor Covid-related posts they deemed misinformation. In addition to obtaining communication records unveiling such corruption, the investigation has scored numerous legal wins allowing Louisiana and Missouri to depose high-ranking administration officials such as Anthony Fauci under oath about their role in these efforts.
According to a transcript of Fauci’s November testimony, the man claiming to “represent science” somehow couldn’t recall relevant information about his role in the federal government’s disastrous Covid response “at least 174 times.” The deposition ranged from topics such as Fauci’s bid to smear authors of “The Great Barrington Declaration,” to his role in attempting to “discredit any theory” that Covid resulted from a lab leak in Wuhan, China.
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