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Meet The Partisans Who Wove the Censorship Complex’s Vast and Tangled Web


BY: MARGOT CLEVELAND | FEBRUARY 28, 2023

Read more at https://thefederalist.com/2023/02/28/meet-the-partisans-who-wove-the-censorship-complexs-vast-and-tangled-web/

Yoel Roth at congressional hearing
While federal funding is not solely responsible for the rapid expansion of the Censorship Complex, it is the most troubling because our government is using our money to censor our speech. 

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While the “Twitter Files” and the Washington Examiner’s coverage of the Global Disinformation Index have revealed an expansive Censorship Complex that seeks to silence Americans for money, politics, ideology, and power, much still needs to be unraveled.

search of government contracts and grants for the eight fiscal years from 2016 through today for the keywords “misinformation” or “disinformation” reveals 538 federal government grants and 36 contracts were awarded to a wide range of academic institutions and non-governmental organizations. 

Mapping out the connections among the various award recipients, the government, and the pro-censorship left will require more work. But this simple snapshot confirms taxpayers’ money is funding the expansion of the Censorship Complex, as the prior eight fiscal years, from 2008 to 2015, reveal the federal government awarded only two federal contracts and seven federal grants for “disinformation” or “misinformation” research. 

Likewise, an initial investigation into the nonprofits and academic institutions mentioned in the “Twitter Files” reveals government grants, donations from other liberal nonprofits, and money from leftist billionaires funded the expansion of the Censorship Complex. Research also shows the non-governmental organizations pushing the disinformation narrative are uniformly directed and run by former government employees, left-wing media types, and left-leaning or anti-Trump individuals.

Alliance Securing Democracy

Of the think tanks identified in Twitter communications, Alliance Securing Democracy (ASD) might be the most notorious thanks to Matt Taibbi’s exposé on ASD’s Hamilton 68 dashboard

Devised by former FBI agent Clint Watts and launched in August of 2017, Hamilton 68 proclaimed its digital dashboard an aid to “help ordinary people, journalists, and other analysts identify Russian messaging themes and detect active disinformation or attack campaigns as soon as they begin.” Based on some 644 accounts that Hamilton 68 claimed it had “selected for their relationship to Russian-sponsored influence and disinformation campaigns,” ASD maintained its dashboard allowed users to track online Russian influence. 

The problem is, as Taibbi wrote: “The Twitter Files expose Hamilton 68 as a sham.”

Apparently unbeknownst to ASD, Twitter had reverse-engineered how Hamilton 68 supposedly tracked online Russian influence and found “No evidence to support the statement that the dashboard is a finger on the pulse of Russian information ops.” The entire methodology was flawed. 

Yet ASD played a key role in the push to censor speech as supposed “disinformation,” with the dashboard serving as “the source of hundreds if not thousands of mainstream print and TV news stories in the Trump years” by “virtually every major news organization.” In addition to the media spreading disinformation about disinformation, Watts testified before Congress, telling senators that the Hamilton 68 dashboard provided the means for the U.S. government “to have an understanding of what Russia is doing in social media.” 

Watts further revealed in his testimony to the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, that he “tried to provide to the U.S. government directly through multiple agencies” the Hamilton 68 information, telling the lawmakers they should “want to equip our intelligence agencies, our law enforcement agencies, and the Department of Defense with just an understanding … of what Russian active measures are doing around the world.” 

Whether any of those “multiple agencies” relied on the inaccurate information included on the Hamilton 68 dashboard is unclear.

Members of the House and Senate did rely on Hamilton 68, however. As I reported earlier this month: “Rep. Adam Schiff and Sens. Dianne Feinstein, Richard Blumenthal, and Sheldon Whitehouse, among others, not only pushed the unfounded claims that Russian bots were behind the trending hashtags, but they also demanded that Twitter and other tech companies investigate and stop such supposed interference.” Democrats pushed this false narrative even when Twitter executives warned staffers that the Russian-interference story didn’t stand.

In addition to Watts, the ASD advisory council includes a cornucopia of former government bigwigs from Democrat administrations: Michael McFaul, a former ambassador to Russia in the Obama administration; Michael Morell, former acting director of the Central Intelligence Agency under President Barack ObamaJohn Podesta, former chair of Hillary for America and an official in the Clinton and Obama White Houses; and Jake Sullivan, former deputy chief of staff to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and a key adviser for both Clinton and Obama during their general elections. 

Laura Thornton, who previously worked at the National Democratic Institute, a nonprofit loosely affiliated with the Democrat Party, currently oversees ASD. And Rachael Dean Wilson serves as the managing director for ASD. Wilson previously worked for the late Sen. John McCain for six years, serving as his communications director and adviser to his 2016 re-election campaign. 

German Marshall Fund

According to its website, ASD is a project of the German Marshall Fund, which “is heavily funded by the American, German, and Swedish governments.” The fund has also received grants from eBay founder Pierre Omidyar’s Democracy Fund, and George Soros’ Open Society Foundation. The ASD likewise receives financing from left-leaning foundations, such as the Craigslist founder’s Craig Newmark Philanthropies. 

The Election Integrity Partnership

Another prominent organization the “Twitter Files” revealed as pushing for censorship — including multiple censorship requests flowing through that group to the tech giant — is the Election Integrity Partnership, which is run out of Stanford’s Internet Observatory. 

Stanford’s Internet Observatory launched on June 6, 2019, to “focus on the misuse of social media,” and within two years, the project grew from an initial team of three to a full-time team of 10 assisted by some 76 student research assistants. In 2020, Stanford announced the creation of the Election Integrity Partnership, which “brought together misinformation researchers” from across four organizations: Stanford Internet Observatory, the University of Washington’s Center for an Informed Public, Graphika, and the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab. 

As a private institution, Stanford University is not funded directly with tax dollars, but it receives millions in government grants. Private grants also flow into the California university and directly fund the Election Integrity Partnership, including money from the same foundations that funded the nonprofit behind Hamilton 68, such as money from the Craigslist and eBay founders. 

Atlantic Council Project

Further research on the other members of the Election Integrity Partnership reveals the Atlantic Council receives donations and federal grants, including from Facebook, Google, and the U.S. Department of State. And as will be shown shortly, the Atlantic Council is also connected to the Global Disinformation Index.

Graphika

Another member of the Election Integrity Partnership, Graphika, describes itself as a “network analysis company that examines how ideas and influence spread online.” Graphika’s chief innovation officer, Camille Francois “leads the company’s work to detect and mitigate disinformation, media manipulation and harassment.” Francois was previously the principal researcher at Google’s Jigsaw unit. 

According to CNBC, one of Francois’ first projects at Graphika was a “secretive” assignment for the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. Working with a team of researchers from Oxford University, Graphika analyzed data provided by social media firms to the Senate Intelligence Committee to assess Russia’s exploitation of “the tools and platform of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube to impact U.S. users” and influence elections. 

As a private organization, Graphika’s funding details remain obscure, but in congressional testimony, Dr. Vlad Barash he “oversee[s] our work with DARPA and with our colleagues from leading academic institutions on developing and applying cutting edge methods and algorithms for detecting the manipulation of 21st Century networked communications.” 

According to government data, Graphika — also known as Octant Data, LLC and Morningside Analytics — received numerous Department of Defense contracts. Additionally, Graphika received a $3 million grant from the DOD for a 2021-2022 research project related to “Research on Cross-Platform Detection to Counter Malign Influence.”

Graphika received a second nearly $2 million grant from the DOD for “research on Co-Citation Network Mapping.” The organization had previously researched “network mapping,” or the tracking of how Covid “disinformation” spreads through social media.

The Center for Internet Security

The “Twitter Files” also made mention of the Center for Internet Security. In 2018, that nonprofit launched the Elections Infrastructure Information Sharing and Analysis Center (EI-ISAC), which “it claims supports the cybersecurity needs of election offices.” As part of those efforts, the Center for Internet Security crafted a one-page document for election officials, with directions for reporting misinformation or disinformation to the EI-ISAC. The federal U.S. Elections Commission would link to the CIS flyer on its government webpage

The CIS flyer directed election workers to submit supposed “misinformation or disinformation” to the EI-ISAC, stating it would then “forward it to our partners at The Cyber and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).” CISA would then “submit it to the relevant social media platform(s) for review,” including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google, TikTok, Nextdoor, and Snapchat. 

CIS further said it would share reports of misinformation or disinformation with the Election Integrity Partnership at Stanford University. And from the “Twitter Files,” we see examples of the Election Integrity Partnership providing the Twitter team CIS’s reports of misinformation or disinformation, prompting the censorship of speech. 

The Center for Internet Security is heavily funded by government grants. According to Influence Watch, the nonprofit “provides cyber-security consulting services to local, state, and federal governments,” and has been awarded $115 million in federal grants by the Department of Homeland Security and Department of Defense since 2010. It has received $3.6 million in cybersecurity contracts from numerous federal agencies, according to its webpage, and a $290,000 grant from the eBay founder’s left-leaning Democracy Fund.

The president and CEO of the Center for Internet Security is another former high-level government adviser, John Gilligan. Gilligan “previously served in senior advisory positions in intelligence and security for the United States Airforce, Department of Energy, and White House Cyber Security Commission under the Obama administration.”

Clemson University

Other emails released as part of the “Twitter Files” reveal Clemson University’s role in the push for censorship at Twitter. And as was the case with Hamilton 68’s dashboard, Twitter’s team had concerns about Clemson’s disinformation research.

In one email, Twitter noted that Clemson’s center had asked the tech company to review its “findings regarding the latest list of accounts.” Internal communications show the Twitter team noting that while they saw “some inauthentic behaviors,” they “were unable to attribute the accounts to the IRA,” the Russian “troll” farm.

After noting that Twitter had already shared information with Clemson researchers, the tech giant’s head of safety, Yoel Roth, sent another email. “There is nothing new we’ll learn here, analytically,” Roth said. “We’re not going to attribute these accounts to Russia … absent some solid technical intel (which Clemson have not ever been able to provide).” 

Defending Democracy Together

Clemson’s research was used by another group joining the “disinformation” trend, Defending Democracy Together (DDT). In 2018, DDT launched the RussiaTweets.com project to supposedly provide “the evidence of Russian interference in American politics.” 

This evidence, according to DDT, came from a list of tweets “compiled and published by Professors Darren Linvill and Patrick Warren,” which purportedly all came from the Russian troll factory, Internet Research Agency (IRA). Both Linvill and Warren hail from Clemson University, raising the question of whether it was the list they provided to Defending Democracy Together that Twitter executives “were unable to attribute” to the IRA. 

Defending Democracy Together was founded in 2018, and its leadership consists of Never Trumpers, William “Bill” Kristol, Mona Charen, and Charlie Sykes, as well as DDT’s co-founder and director Sarah Longwell, who has promoted advertisements “to advocate against the policies of the Trump administration and to weaken public support for the Trump presidency.” 

Funding for DDT, according to Influence Watch, includes money from left-wing mega-donor and eBay founder Pierre Omidyar through Democracy Fund Voice and from the Hopewell Fund, which is “part of a $600 million network of left-wing funding nonprofits managed by Arabella Advisors in Washington, D.C.” Additionally, OpenSecrets reported that DDT was “the biggest ‘dark money’ spender of 2020,” with DDT spending “$15.4 million in ‘dark money’ during the 2020 election cycle on supporting presidential candidate Joe Biden and opposing former President Donald Trump for reelection.” 

Other Academic Institutes

While Stanford and Clemson were the two main universities identified in the “Twitter Files,” Clemson’s Media Forensics Hub webpage identifies members of its “Disinformation Working Group,” revealing academia’s involvement in the Censorship Complex spans much further. It includes: the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Lincoln Lab, the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Duke UniversityBowdoin College, the University of South CarolinaVanderbilt UniversityGeorgetown University, and Wilfrid Laurier, a Canadian University supported by a Facebook grant. 

The University of Buffalo, Lehigh University, and Northeastern University are likewise involved in the disinformation project, with a Clemson News release revealing that faculty at those universities, along with researchers at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, launched a project titled “Disinformation Range to Improve User Awareness and Resilience to Online Disinformation.” The government, through a $750,000 grant from the National Science Foundation, is supporting those efforts.

The Aspen Institute 

The Aspen Institute is also entwined in the Censorship Complex, having hosted in the fall of 2020 “a series of off-the-record briefings to help prepare every major US newsroom and tech platform for potential hack-and-leak operations and a contested post-election environment.” One of the briefings involved a tabletop exercise facilitated by Aspen’s Garrett Graff that posed a hack-and-leak October surprise involving Hunter Biden. 

Twitter’s Yoel Roth attended that event just two weeks before the New York Post broke the Hunter Biden laptop story. And soon after that story broke, Graff and his Aspen Institute colleague Vivian Schiller took to Twitter to frame the story as “crap” and “nonsense.” Schiller’s former jobs include CEO at NPR, head of news at Twitter, general manager at The New York Times, and chief digital officer at NBC News.

Soon after Graff and Schiller pushed the Hunter Biden story as misinformation, Twitter blocked the Post’s story and froze the conservative outlet’s account, even though internal communications revealed the Post had not violated Twitter’s terms of service. Despite its extensive coordination with the FBI to prepare to combat foreign election interference, Twitter didn’t ask the bureau if the scandal was Russian disinformation. Instead, Twitter representatives testified to Congress that the company “relied on the tweets of supposed experts, making the tech giant’s decision to censor the Post’s story even more outrageous.”

After the Post broke the Biden family pay-to-play scandal, several left-leaning “journalists” spent the day speaking of “misinformation,” while uniformly ignoring the substance of the story. One must wonder how many of those so-called journalists had attended Aspen’s training session.

Since then, Aspen has expanded its focus on disinformation and misinformation, launching a “Commission on Information Disorder” to develop what the institute calls “actionable public-private responses to the disinformation crisis.”

The Global Disinformation Index

Another nonprofit, the Global Disinformation Index, has already begun pushing an “actionable response to the disinformation crisis,” by pressuring advertisers to dump news outlets based on GDI’s view of their “disinformation risk.” However, as the Washington Examiner revealed in Gabe Kaminsky’s investigative series, the GDI’s December 2022 report, prepared in partnership with the University of Texas-Austin’s Global Disinformation Lab, brands only conservative outlets as the top “riskiest.” Conversely, the “least risky” outlets all lean left, other than The Wall Street Journal, and are also the same outlets that got the most significant news stories of the last decade wrong.

Like the “disinformation” nonprofits named in the “Twitter Files,” GDI has received federal grants and is connected to other left-leaning nonprofits and individuals seeking to censor speech. Its advisers likewise hew left, such as “journalist” Anne Applebaum, who said Hunter Biden’s foreign business dealings were not interesting, and Finn Heinrich of the leftist George Soros’ Open Society group. 

The composition of GDI’s “advisory panel” is also noteworthy because the same individuals guiding GDI’s mission to starve conservative sites of advertising dollars are connected to three of the organizations behind the Election Integrity Partnership’s push for censorship at Twitter. That fact would be difficult to discover today, though, as GDI scrubbed its “advisory panel” section of its homepage after the blacklist scandal broke. 

According to the archived GDI homepage, advisory panel members include Ben Nimmo, the global lead at Meta; Franziska Roesner, a University of Washington professor; and Camille Francois of Niantic. Nimmo was a founding member of the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab (DFRLab) and a senior fellow for that lab. He was also “the first director of investigations at Graphika.” Francois also serves as the chair of Graphika’s advisory board and is identified on Graphika’s webpage as its chief innovation officer. Roesner is a faculty member at the University of Washington’s Center for an Informed Public. 

Together then, three of the four organizations that partnered with Stanford to run the Election Integrity Partnership, which pushed Twitter to censor speech in advance of the 2020 election, were also connected to the Global Disinformation Index. 

Global Engagement Center

A strong connection also exists between GDI and the U.S. government through an arm of the State Department, the Global Engagement Center, which has also made several appearances in the “Twitter Files.” 

The Global Engagement Center, which proclaims itself “a data-driven body leading U.S. interagency efforts in proactively addressing foreign adversaries’ attempts to undermine U.S. interests using disinformation and propaganda,” awarded the Global Disinformation Index a $100,000 grant as part of the U.S-Paris Tech Challenge. The State Department sponsored that “Tech Challenge” in “collaboration” with, among others, the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab, Park Advisors, and Disinfo Cloud. According to a State Department spokesman, the Global Engagement Center began funding Disinfo Cloud in 2018 and also awarded approximately $300,000 to Park Advisors to manage Disinfo Coud to fight “disinformation, terrorism, violent extremism, hate speech.” 

The “Twitter Files” revealed that, in addition to funding private organizations pushing for censorship, the State Department’s Global Disinformation Center attempted to insert itself into Twitter’s review and censorship process. When those efforts failed, the Global Disinformation Center pressed its unsupported claims of disinformation to the media.

Additional research is needed to understand the full scope of the Global Engagement Center’s role in the Censorship Complex, but what little is known now suggests the State Department provides load-bearing support for the project. A recent report from the Foundation for Freedom Online also exposes the National Science Foundation as a key funder in “the science of censorship.”

While federal funding is not solely responsible for the rapid expansion of the Censorship Complex, it is the most troubling because our government is using our money to censor our speech. 


Margot Cleveland is The Federalist’s senior legal correspondent. She is also a contributor to National Review Online, the Washington Examiner, Aleteia, and Townhall.com, and has been published in the Wall Street Journal and USA Today. Cleveland is a lawyer and a graduate of the Notre Dame Law School, where she earned the Hoynes Prize—the law school’s highest honor. She later served for nearly 25 years as a permanent law clerk for a federal appellate judge on the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. Cleveland is a former full-time university faculty member and now teaches as an adjunct from time to time. As a stay-at-home homeschooling mom of a young son with cystic fibrosis, Cleveland frequently writes on cultural issues related to parenting and special-needs children. Cleveland is on Twitter at @ProfMJCleveland. The views expressed here are those of Cleveland in her private capacity.

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How Trump Derangement Gave Birth To The Censorship-Industrial Complex


BY: MARGOT CLEVELAND | FEBRUARY 24, 2023

Read more at https://thefederalist.com/2023/02/24/how-trump-derangement-gave-birth-to-the-censorship-industrial-complex/

Trump Derangement fake news protest sign in a crowd of people
Unlike the military-industrial complex, the Censorship Complex affects all aspects of governance, controlling the information available to you on every topic.

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The Biden administration may have abandoned plans to create a “Disinformation Board,” but a more insidious “Censorship Complex” already exists and is growing at an alarming speed. 

This Censorship Complex is bigger than banned Twitter accounts or Democrats’ propensity for groupthink. Its funding and collaboration implicate the government, academia, tech giants, nonprofits, politicians, social media, and the legacy press. Under the guise of combatting so-called misinformation, disinformation, and mal-information, these groups seek to silence speech that threatens the far-left’s ability to control the conversation — and thus the country and the world.

Americans grasped a thread of this reality with the release of the “Twitter Files” and the Washington Examiner’s reporting on the Global Disinformation Index, which revealed the coordinated censorship of speech by government officials, nonprofits, and the media. Yet Americans have no idea of the breadth and depth of the “Censorship Complex” — and how much it threatens the fabric of this country.

In his farewell address in 1961, President Dwight D. Eisenhower cautioned against the “potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power” via the new sweeping military-industrial complex. Its “total influence — economic, political, even spiritual — [was] felt in every city, every statehouse, every office of the federal government.” Replace “military-industrial” with “censorship,” and you arrive at the reality Americans face today.

Origins of the Censorship Complex

Even with the rise of independent news outlets, until about 2016 the left-leaning corporate media controlled the flow of information. Then Donald Trump entered the political arena and used social media to speak directly to Americans. Despite the Russia hoax and the media’s all-out assault, Trump won, proving the strategic use of social media could prevail against a unified corporate press. The left was terrified. 

Of course, Democrats and the media couldn’t admit their previous control over information converted to electoral victories and that for their own self-preservation, they needed to suppress other voices. So instead, the left began pushing the narrative that “disinformation” — including Russian disinformation — from alternative news outlets and social media companies handed Trump the election.

The New York Times first pushed the “disinformation” narrative using the “fake news” moniker after the 2016 election. “The proliferation of fake and hyperpartisan news that has flooded into Americans’ laptops and living rooms has prompted a national soul-searching, with liberals across the country asking how a nation of millions could be marching to such a suspect drumbeat. Fake news, and the proliferation of raw opinion that passes for news, is creating confusion,” the Times wrote, bemoaning the public’s reliance on Facebook.

“Narrowly defined, ‘fake news’ means a made-up story with an intention to deceive, often geared toward getting clicks. But the issue has become a political battering ram, with the left accusing the right of trafficking in disinformation, and the right accusing the left of tarring conservatives as a way to try to censor websites,” the Times wrote, feigning objectivity. But its conclusion? “Fake and hyperpartisan news from the right has been more conspicuous than from the left.” 

Two days later, Hillary Clinton repeated the narrative-building phrase, condemning what she called “the epidemic of malicious fake news and false propaganda that flooded social media over the past year.” But then, as if to remind Democrats and the legacy press that he had wrestled control of the narrative from them, Trump branded left-wing outlets “fake news” — and just like that, the catchphrase belonged to him. 

Disinformation Is Scarier if It’s Russian

That didn’t deter the left in its mission to destroy alternative channels of communication, however. The media abandoned its “fake news” framing for the “disinformation” buzzword. “Misinformation” and “mal-information” were soon added to the vernacular, with the Department of Homeland Security even defining the terms.

But silencing conservatives would require more than merely labeling their speech as disinformation, so the various elements of the Censorship Complex deployed what they called “the added element of Russian meddling” in the 2016 election, with Clinton amplifying this message and blaming the spread of social media misinformation for her loss. 

Priming the public to connect “disinformation” with Russia’s supposed interference in the 2016 election allowed the Censorship Complex to frame demands for censorship as patriotic: a fight against foreign influence to save democracy!

The Censorship Complex Expands

The Censorship Complex’s push to silence speech under the guise of preventing disinformation and election interference hit its stride in 2017, when FBI Director Christopher Wray launched the Foreign Influence Task Force (FITF) purportedly “to identify and counteract malign foreign influence operations targeting the United States.” 

The “most widely reported” foreign influence operations these days, Wray said, “are attempts by adversaries — hoping to reach a wide swath of Americans covertly from outside the United States — to use false personas and fabricated stories on social media platforms to discredit U.S. individuals and institutions.” Wray’s statement perfectly echoed the claims Clinton and Democrats had peddled ad nauseam in the press, and it foreshadowed how the Censorship Complex would soon mature. 

The launch of the FITF in 2017 brought together numerous representatives from the deep state. The FBI’s Counterintelligence, Cyber, Criminal, and Counterterrorism Divisions worked closely with the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the Department of Homeland Security, and other intelligence agencies, as well as “state and local enforcement partners and election officials.”

Significantly, the FITF viewed “strategic engagement with U.S. technology companies, including threat indicator sharing,” as crucial to combatting foreign disinformation. That perspective led to the FBI’s hand-in-glove relationship with Twitter, which included monthly and then weekly meetings with the tech giant, some of which CIA representatives attended. This symbiotic relationship also led to the censorship of important — and true — political speech, such as the New York Post’s reporting on the Hunter Biden laptop, which exposed the Biden family’s pay-to-play scandal right before a critical presidential election.

State Department Renovates Its Wing 

In 2011, by executive order, the Department of State established the Center for Strategic Counterterrorism Communications to support government agencies’ communications “targeted against violent extremism and terrorist organizations.” While renamed the Global Engagement Center in 2016, the center’s counterterrorism mission remained largely unchanged. But then at the end of that year, Congress expanded the Global Engagement Center’s authority, directing it “to address other foreign state and non-state propaganda and disinformation activities.” And with language straight out of the Russia hoax playbook, the John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2019 further refined the Global Engagement Center’s mission:

The purpose of the Center shall be to direct, lead, synchronize, integrate, and coordinate efforts of the Federal Government to recognize, understand, expose, and counter foreign state and foreign non-state propaganda and disinformation efforts aimed at undermining or influencing the policies, security, or stability of the United States and United States allies and partner nations.

Together, the State Department and the many intelligence agencies behind the FITF worked not just with Twitter but with the array of tech giants, such as Google and Facebook, pushing for censorship of supposed mis-, dis-, and mal-information. But the deep state was not alone. The “disinformation” contagion also reached the Hill, nonprofits, think tanks, and academic institutions with both politics and a desire to suckle at the federal teat driving a frenzied expansion of the project. Together these groups pushed for even more silencing of their opponents, and the Censorship Complex boomed.

The danger Eisenhower warned the country of in 1961 is mild in comparison to the threat of the Censorship Complex. Unlike the military-industrial complex that reached only one function of the federal government, the Censorship Complex affects all aspects of governance, controlling the information available to you and your fellow Americans on every topic.


Margot Cleveland is The Federalist’s senior legal correspondent. She is also a contributor to National Review Online, the Washington Examiner, Aleteia, and Townhall.com, and has been published in the Wall Street Journal and USA Today. Cleveland is a lawyer and a graduate of the Notre Dame Law School, where she earned the Hoynes Prize—the law school’s highest honor. She later served for nearly 25 years as a permanent law clerk for a federal appellate judge on the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. Cleveland is a former full-time university faculty member and now teaches as an adjunct from time to time. As a stay-at-home homeschooling mom of a young son with cystic fibrosis, Cleveland frequently writes on cultural issues related to parenting and special-needs children. Cleveland is on Twitter at @ProfMJCleveland. The views expressed here are those of Cleveland in her private capacity.

‘Anonymous Sources’ Are How Corporate Media Launder Smear Operations as News


BY: JORDAN BOYD | FEBRUARY 10, 2023

Read more at https://thefederalist.com/2023/02/10/anonymous-sources-are-how-corporate-media-launder-smear-operations-as-news/

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It happened with the Russia hoax, it happened all during Trump’s time in the White House, and it happened again with the Chinese spy balloon.

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Anonymous sources were once rarely used in journalism. They would only be cited when trying to preserve someone’s physical safety or report on the most sensitive national security matters, and there was an expectation that such unusual sourcing be reviewed by editors and carefully corroborated whenever possible.

Now anonymous sourcing has become the norm in reporting and is frequently used as a political weapon to disseminate Democrats’ talking points and smear their enemies. The illicit use of anonymous sources to launch libel against Democrats’ enemies ballooned after Donald Trump won the presidency in 2016, and the tactic was used to develop the Russia-collusion hoax and multiple other smears.

The most recent example may be the Chinese spy balloon news cycle. When word reached the public that Red China spent days hovering over the United States collecting sensitive information, public outrage ensued. Dozens of legislators and governors and Trump demanded President Joe Biden shoot down the balloon as soon as possible.

The Biden administration refused, claiming that neutralizing the airborne threat could cause harm to civilians. This initial claim aired in corporate media, sourced to an anonymous “official” who offered no evidence, that “the balloon did not pose a military or physical threat” to the United States. This decision, once again, drew ire from Americans.

Once the administration finally did shoot down the balloon over the Atlantic, the Biden administration pointed fingers. An unnamed official at the Department of Defense allegedly told reporters at an off-camera press briefing on Feb. 4 that Chinese balloons like this one “transited the continental United States briefly at least three times during the prior administration.” 

That admission kicked off a corporate media frenzy. The press took the Pentagon’s word for it and accused Republicans of a “double standard.” Those who called for the end of the balloon, the press claimed, were hypocrites and Trump even more so because he “failed” to shoot down the spy equipment while in office.

Less than one day later, Trump and several high-level Trump national security officials who would have been briefed about a security breach during their tenure went on the record, with their names behind their statements, to deny any knowledge of Chinese spy balloons surveilling the United States under their watch. https://truthsocial.com/@realDonaldTrump/109812699029727017/embed

“I don’t ever recall somebody coming into my office or reading anything that the Chinese had a surveillance balloon above the United States,” Mark Esper, who was defense secretary from 2019 to 2020, told CNN.

Christopher Miller, who was acting defense secretary from 2020 to 2021, admitted “the first time I ever heard of anything like this was this weekend.”

“Had not a clue,” Miller said. “If something like that had happened, that’s like a national security threat.”

“I certainly never became aware that there was a three-bus-sized floating device coming across our country for five days, either as CIA director or secretary of state. [And] I’ve talked to others who are on my teams — they don’t know anything about it either,” said Mike Pompeo, who served as director of the Central Intelligence Agency and secretary of state under Trump.

Robert O’Brien, another former Trump national security advisor, said, “Unequivocally, I have never been briefed on the issue.” Former Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe outright stated the Biden administration’s anonymously sourced claim was “not true.”

Even former National Security Advisor John Bolton, who has a history of fabricating intel and smears about Trump, said the Biden administration’s conveniently timed revelation was news to him.

“I don’t know of any balloon flights by any power over the United States during my tenure, and I’d never heard of any of that occurring before I joined in 2018,” Bolton told Fox News. “I haven’t heard of anything that occurred after I left either.”

Gen. Glen VanHerck, commander of North American Aerospace Defense Command and U.S. Northern Command, “clarified” two days after the Pentagon’s initial accusation that “we did not detect those threats” at the time Trump was in office. The Narrative™ that Trump failed to shoot down Chinese spy balloons had already made its way onto the pages and TV screens of millions by the time the Biden administration decided to walk back its smears against the previous administration filtered through an anonymous source to compliant media outlets.

On Feb. 7, days after Trump staff denied on the record and one day after the Pentagon claimed Red China’s repeat airborne espionage was only discovered retrospectively, corporate media still insisted spy balloons were “spotted on several occasions during President Donald Trump’s administration, including three instances where they traveled near sensitive US military facilities and training areas.”

The source? “People familiar with the matter” who worked under Trump. The people making these claims were conveniently not named, giving them cover to make any accusations they liked and media to air them with no accountability for either entity.

The Smear Operation Playbook

Classic journalism ethics state anonymous sourcing should be rare because the “public is entitled to as much information as possible on sources’ reliability.” Yet the practice of relying on unnamed information suppliers to communicate breaking news has become commonplace, especially when fronting smears against Democrats’ opponents. As a matter of fact, anonymously sourcing what later prove to be complete lies is often rewarded by the journalism industry today.

The most notable example of anonymous sourcing as a weapon was the Russia hoax. That is a years-long coup led by Democrats and intelligence agencies with the eager help of the corporate media to disqualify Trump from the White House and prevent his presidency from being effective. The Russia hoax also resulted in failed impeachments. It’s fair to say it never could have been pulled off without outlets such as CNN, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and more using unnamed sources to discredit their political enemies.

The Trump years were rife with media manipulation involving anonymous sources. In one dramatic episode, the media claimed to prove that Donald Trump Jr. was sent an email by Wikileaks giving him early access to leaked emails from top Democrats. Not only was the report untrue — CNN never saw the source email to Donald Trump Jr. and instead relied on the word of two anonymous sources who got the date on the email wrong — but the botched CNN report dramatically exposed how anonymous sources can lead to misinformation.

CNN’s faulty reporting was immediately “confirmed” by MSNBC and CBS. Of course, confirming erroneous reporting is an impossibility unless all three news outlets were relying on the same sources, confident that their anonymity would create the false impression that multiple sources could verify the story. In this case, the sources appear to have come from the office of Rep. Adam Schiff, a known liar and key perpetrator of the Russiagate hoax. This issue of multiple news outlets citing the same anonymous source has happened more than once, and it continues to be a problem.

But that failure was just the tip of the iceberg. During the Trump years, the media also claimed Trump’s national security adviser illicitly reached out to Russia’s government before Trump took office; that Trump aide Anthony Scaramucci was linked to the Russian Direct Investment Fund; that Trump attorney Michael Cohen confessed that Trump “directed” him to lie about contacting a Russian official; that Russia offered members of the Taliban bounties in exchange for killing American soldiers and Trump knew about it; that Trump pressured the Georgia secretary of state’s office to “find the fraud”; and many, many more complete fabrications relying on sources who hid their smears behind anonymity.

All of these claims were unvetted, untrue, and should have never been published. Instead, some were showered with praise and status. Others were barely corrected long after the coverage served its political purpose.

Real reporting requires due diligence. Corporate media, desperate to aid Democrats in their conquest of any Americans who disagree with them, have become pipelines of government information manipulation, especially from intelligence agencies. As a result, anonymous sources are easily duplicated and repackaged as “independent confirmation,” and so-called “news” sites are plagued with unverified intelligence and information — or, worse, allegations they verifiably know are untrue.

And they are happy about it. In 2019, then-New York Times Public Editor Liz Spayd denounced her employer for being “too timid in its decisions not to publish the material it had” quickly about Trump’s nonexistent connection with Russia.

“The idea that you only publish once every piece of information is in and fully vetted is a false construct,” she wrote. “If you know the FBI is investigating, say, a presidential candidate, using significant resources and with explosive consequences, that should be enough to write.”

Her call to normalize the unprofessionalism of partisan actors in newsrooms received amplification from fellow journos. The ubiquitous use and elevation of this unethical practice may have been popularized during the rise of Trump, but it has far outlived his presidency, something that independent media have routinely observed for years.

Today’s media complex relies on readers to keep trusting what it says, regardless of its extremely tainted records. The press doesn’t deserve that kind of benefit of the doubt.

Americans are still unclear on how many Chinese aircraft have compromised U.S. airspace and who let them. What they shouldn’t be unclear about is that the corrupt, untrustworthy, and democracy-threatening corporate media use anonymous sources to advance disinformation operations and push political narratives that often have no relationship to the truth.


Jordan Boyd is a staff writer at The Federalist and co-producer of The Federalist Radio Hour. Her work has also been featured in The Daily Wire, Fox News, and RealClearPolitics. Jordan graduated from Baylor University where she majored in political science and minored in journalism. Follow her on Twitter @jordanboydtx.

Elon Musk Fires Former FBI Lawyer Behind Russiagate Hoax Following ‘Unconvincing’ Explanation for Hunter Biden Laptop Censorship


BY: TRISTAN JUSTICE | DECEMBER 07, 2022

Read more at https://thefederalist.com/2022/12/07/elon-musk-fires-former-fbi-lawyer-behind-russiagate-hoax-following-unconvincing-explanation-for-hunter-biden-laptop-censorship/

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Jim Baker was the Clinton campaign’s ‘go-to, speed-dial contact’ to plant false claims about Trump collusion with the Kremlin.

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Twitter CEO Elon Musk fired Jim Baker, the company’s deputy general counsel, on Tuesday after an “unconvincing” explanation of the terminated employee’s role in the suppression of the Hunter Biden laptop story.

On Sunday, independent journalist Matt Taibbi posted a link to an article from attorney Jonathan Turley published in the New York Post which connected Baker’s work at Twitter with his prior operations peddling the Russia hoax at the Department of Justice. In 2016, Baker was the Clinton campaign’s “go-to, speed-dial contact” to plant false claims about Kremlin collusion and the Trump White House effort. Clinton campaign lawyer Michael Sussmann picked Baker to give junk intelligence about a purported connection between President Donald Trump and the Russian Alfa Bank.

He was effectively forced out due to his role and reportedly found himself under criminal investigation. He became a defender of the Russian investigations despite findings of biased and even criminal conduct,” Turley wrote. “After leaving the FBI, Twitter seemed eager to hire Baker as deputy general counsel.”

The first batch of “Twitter Files” out on Friday revealed how Baker went on to play an instrumental role in suppressing blockbuster stories from the New York Post about Hunter Biden’s laptop and the Biden family business ventures — stories containing emails that implicated then-candidate Joe Biden in the dealings.

“Baker soon weighed in with the same signature bias that characterized the Russian investigations,” Turley wrote. Internal documents made public last week show Baker pressed colleagues at Twitter for more information that Biden’s emails had been hacked.

“Caution is warranted,” Baker wrote, despite there never being evidence the emails were illegally hacked.

Musk responded to Taibbi’s post on Tuesday with the announcement that Baker had been fired.

“In light of concerns about Baker’s possible role in suppression of information important to the public dialogue, he was exited from Twitter today,” Musk wrote.

“Was he asked to explain himself?” inquired a user.

“Yes. His explanation was …unconvincing,” Musk replied.

In a “Twitter Files Supplemental” thread, Taibbi explained that last week’s delay in publishing the first round of files was due to Baker reviewing them without new Twitter leadership knowing.

“Twitter Deputy General Counsel (and former FBI General Counsel) Jim Baker was fired. Among the reasons? Vetting the first batch of ‘Twitter Files’ — without knowledge of new management,” Taibbi wrote.

The post suggests Baker was running interference behind Musk’s back to minimize the fallout over the reveal of Twitter’s behind-the-scenes operations to elect Joe Biden in 2020.

While general counsel at the FBI, Baker was central to the agency’s deep-state operations to undermine Trump as an agent of the Russian government. According to former FBI Deputy General Counsel Trisha Anderson in her testimony before House lawmakers in 2018, Baker “personally reviewed and made edits to the [Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act]” warrant on Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.

The ex-FBI counsel would later defend the agency’s conduct, telling Yahoo News that officials took “seriously” the uncorroborated dossier commissioned by the DNC that alleged collusion, but “we didn’t necessarily take it literally.”

The agency’s legal chief, however, took it seriously enough to sign off on warrants to spy on political opponents. At least two of the warrant applications to conduct government surveillance on Page were declared illegal by a federal judge.


Tristan Justice is the western correspondent for The Federalist. He has also written for The Washington Examiner and The Daily Signal. His work has also been featured in Real Clear Politics and Fox News. Tristan graduated from George Washington University where he majored in political science and minored in journalism. Follow him on Twitter at @JusticeTristan or contact him at Tristan@thefederalist.com.

The FBI And DOJ Criminalizing Opposition to the Regime Is How the Republic Ends


BY: JOY PULLMANN | AUGUST 08, 2022

Read more at https://thefederalist.com/2022/08/08/criminalizing-opposition-to-the-regime-is-how-the-republic-ends/

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On Thursday, Barack Obama’s Attorney General Eric Holder decided it was the time to bring the subtext of the Jan. 6 show trials and related domestic security state activities into the open.

“My guess is that by the end of this process, you’re going to see indictments involving high-level people in the White House, you’re going to see indictments against people outside the White House who were advising them with regard to the attempt to steal the election, and I think ultimately you’re probably going to see the president, former president of the United States indicted as well,” Holder told SiriusXM host Joe Madison.

Holder noted that the U.S. Department of Justice he formerly headed is working with the illegally constituted Jan. 6 Commission towards this goal. We know these entities are also working with the FBI, whose head bit his thumb at congressional oversight repeatedly in a public hearing last week.

Locking Up Opposition Politicians Is What Putin Does

An indictment of former President Donald Trump would be a breathtakingly authoritarian turn. It would amount to the U.S. security state refusing to accept “no” from America’s voters yet again. An indictment would be an unelected and unaccountable federal agency overruling voters’ two-time rejection of impeachment through their elected representatives.

This is the core danger of the administrative state: Its now open propensity to go rogue. It is apparently hellbent now on turning the United States into a banana republic.

Democrats called Donald Trump a fascistauthoritarian, and wannabe dictator for chants at his rallies of “Lock her up,” referring to his opponent Hillary Clinton. At the time, leftists pointed out that imprisoning, interrogating, investigating, and otherwise using government resources to harass and prosecute one’s political opponents was the mark of tyrannical regimes such as Vladimir Putin’s and Adolf Hitler. “Democracies don’t lock up political opponents,” the Washington Post editorial board told us in 2016.

That is still true when the ones pushing the interrogations, investigations, entrapments into committing felonies, show trials in unusual venues with no cross-examination or due process, early morning home raids, excessive detainment, and asymmetrical punishments are Democrats. Democrats are trashing republican institutions, expectations, and guarantees for political purposes, most visibly now in their Jan. 6 effort to destroy the lives of protestors largely charged with misdemeanors and to expand Spygate tactics more broadly.

Spygate Is Setting Up Field Offices In Swing States

It’s not just the de facto head of the opposition party whom powerful government agencies are putting in their sights, it’s down-ballot party leaders. The FBI has gone from using its spy resources to affect the results of presidential elections with Spygate and its Hunter Biden laptop disinformation to using its police powers to affect gubernatorial elections. And these are just the operations we know about.

In Michigan, the FBI openly meddled in the upcoming election by affecting the selection of candidates, arresting and charging the formerly leading Republican candidate for governor for misdemeanors. The FBI raided Ryan Kelley’s home while polls showed him leading the primaries. In the primary election last week, he came in fourth.

The Jan. 6 Committee is now demanding documents and interviews with Republican candidate for Pennsylvania governor Doug Mastriano, who attended the Jan. 6, 2021 rally. The sole allegation against him is that he walked past “police lines,” which could mean anything, as the scene was chaotic and police were woefully understaffed.

This means Mastriano is being targeted for peacefully exercising his rights to free speech and public assembly. The Jan. 6 Committee won’t allow him to record their planned interrogation, a basic feature of legal self-defense and impartial justice. In fact, selectively excerpted video clips and quotes from these secret interrogations have been a constant feature of the commission, further reinforcing its use as a political weapon against the right rather than a pursuit of justice.

Of the 120,000 people the FBI alleges were present on Jan. 6, 2021 — perhaps 1 percent of whom entered the Capitol building — the vast majority were garden-variety Trump supporters, which include numerous state and local officials. State and local lawmakers are a party’s farm team. Subjecting them to investigation for peacefully protesting is a way to kneecap their entire party.

Asymmetric Justice Is Injustice

Put all of this against the systematic refusal of Democrat DAs, judges, and juries to prosecute people who openly engage in political violence from the left. In 2020, leftist rioters who coordinated across state lines and in far greater numbers and criminal activity than Jan. 6 attendees firebombed federal buildings, murdered people, looted, burned down downtowns, and assaulted police officers. Of course, essentially nobody involved in perpetrating the Spygate setup of an American president has been brought to justice, most recently including Michael Sussmann.

This summer, a leftist group has allegedly attacked two dozen pro-life maternal care centers in multiple states and a congressional office and promises to continue, but Wray couldn’t provide almost any information on alleged FBI investigations into it. Despite an assassination attempt on one Supreme Court justice this summer, the DOJ has still not filed charges against the people harassing and threatening justices and their families at their homes. U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland failed for weeks on end to enforce laws against such harassment of justices, creating the conditions for the aggression to intensify.

This is unacceptable, and Wray and Garland should be fired. They won’t be, though, and that’s the problem.

Amplifying pre-existing double standards of justice is far beyond troubling, it’s a destruction of the justice system. A country that harshly prosecutes people or lets them off Scot-free based on their political affiliation is a banana republic.

A two-tier justice system is not a justice system. It is a totalitarian system. Its purpose is not justice but population control. The more people see that moving into place, the more likely it is that some guy gets raided by the FBI for political reasons one morning and — God forbid — goes postal because he has no hope for a fair trial after they take him in.

Certainly even more ordinary Americans are realizing through all of this that the entire federal deck is prejudiced against them. Desperation makes people do wild things. Whatever happens, Republicans can be sure it will be wrapped around their necks with ropes of lies to further subjugate them and everyone who votes for them with the further erasure of our constitutional rights and way of life.

Equality Under the Law Is the Nonviolent Way Out

Remember, 75 million people voted for Trump in 2020. This isn’t some fringe Davidian cult, it’s half of the nation’s voters. Democrats are scaring them, for good reason. And Republicans are doing jack nothing to calm things down.

We’re watching federal agencies use their powers not to catch criminals but to criminalize peaceful political views and actions. We’re witnessing a growing campaign to lock people up for their opposition to the ruling political party, which is not only profoundly un-American but profoundly dangerous societally. This is the prosecution of a political cold civil war that could very easily heat up again in another January 6-like outburst, or worse.

As Mike Anton writes, Democrats may want that. But do Republicans? Any who thinks he might after what we’ve been through in the past seven years is either fool or quisling.

If Republicans think this is all going to blow over just because they haul in the FBI director for another no-consequences hearing, or even if they promise yet another goes-nowhere, punishes-nobody investigation of agencies we know are meddling in elections, framing elected officials, and telling elected members of Congress what to do instead of the reverse, they’re idiots. Their only hope of averting even worse political circumstances is to make damned sure they kneecap these scary federal agencies as their top priority ASAP.

We aren’t in business-as-usual Kansas anymore, Toto. We’re in crisis times that call for serious leadership, not LARPing as leaders on screens.

Sending billions to Ukraine while China grows stronger and every domestic sector is on fire isn’t serious. Lambasting Joe Biden for inflation while not pledging to pass the policies that reverse it, starting with slashing the federal government’s spending, isn’t serious. Yelling at the FBI director Republicans helped confirm isn’t serious (get better vetting staff, folks). Confirming a Supreme Court justice who obviously hates the Constitution isn’t serious. Not going on a crusade to clean out the FBI and DOJ Agean-stables-style isn’t serious. And pretending the Jan. 6 commission is anything but a miscarriage of justice is disqualifying.

We need the GOP to provide serious leadership, because Democrats are a serious threat to equal justice for all, and that’s going to destroy the country for good if it’s not stopped post-haste. Americans desperately need swift and prudent action to avert even more unthinkably dangerous events. Those who refuse to plan and take that action despite accepting from voters the responsibility to do so will be infamous to history as cowards and traitors.


Joy Pullmann is executive editor of The Federalist, a happy wife, and the mother of six children. Sign up here to get early access to her next ebook, “101 Strategies For Living Well Amid Inflation.” Her bestselling ebook is “Classic Books for Young Children.” Mrs. Pullmann identifies as native American and gender natural. She is also the author of “The Education Invasion: How Common Core Fights Parents for Control of American Kids,” from Encounter Books. In 2013-14 she won a Robert Novak journalism fellowship for in-depth reporting on Common Core national education mandates. Joy is a grateful graduate of the Hillsdale College honors and journalism programs.

The Trump Purge Makes Living In America More Like Living In China 


The Trump Purge Makes Living In America More Like Living In China 

After the terrifying ransack of the U.S. capitol Wednesday during a Donald Trump “stop the steal” rally, big tech companies are joining leftist elites in the media and government in their effort to squash the Trump movement once and for all. Seizing on the backlash from the riot, they have seamlessly banned President Trump from TwitterFacebook, Instagram, and Snapchat.

What happened at the capitol was an embarrassment for our country. Now, the hypocritical outcries from Democrats, who proudly condoned left-wing Antifa and Black Lives Matter rioters as they terrorized American cities all summer, are ushering in a great reckoning.

The Jan. 6 demonstrators, the vast majority of whom were peaceful, were there to protest legitimate claims of election irregularities and voter fraud. But Google-owned YouTube doesn’t want you to know that. They announced Thursday that they will ban all videos about voter fraud in the 2020 election.

The one free speech haven, Parler, Apple is keying up to ban from its app store and bar from iOS devices, claiming content on the website contributed to the capitol unrest. Google has already jumped the gun, banning Parler yesterday.

Every corner of the Trump movement is being publicly purged from the internet. Thursday, Shopify stripped all online stores for President Trump, including the Trump Organization and Trump’s affiliated campaign account.

Anyone who has supported the president is in for it, as well. Rick Klein, the political director at ABC News, in a now-deleted tweet said that getting rid of Trump is “the easy part.” The more difficult task will be “cleansing the movement he commands.” Democrats have already created a “Trump Accountability Project,” an enemies list to ban, cancel, or fire anyone who staffed, donated to, endorsed, or supported President Trump and his administration.

Trump subverted the elites who run our country. He took on big pharma and China. He negotiated, renegotiated, and destroyed trade deals in his mission to put America and American workers first. He went to war with critical race theory institutionalized in our schools and in government.

He stood for things that those who run our biggest corporations and hold our highest government positions detest. For virtually his entire presidency, they tried everything to delegitimize his administration, beginning with the now-debunked Russiagate. Trump showed their corruption, and now he will pay.

The man, the administration, and his supporters will likely go down in history books as delusional and dangerous. Why? Because the left has a monopoly on power, so they can control what people see and therefore think.

As the left’s arbiters of “truth,” big tech has been banning users they don’t agree with and suppressing stories like The New York Post’s blockbuster investigation into Hunter Biden‘s laptop and sketchy deals with foreign governments and companies with ties to the Communist Chinese government. With the help of their partisan “independent fact checkers,” big tech and the media made sure average Americans never knew about this before they went to the polls.

Following the riot among Trump supporters in the capitol, Facebook removed President Trump’s video calling for peace and rule of law, claiming it instigated violence. Then Facebook de-platformed him. Trump’s speech didn’t fit the narrative that he was a pro-violence, lawlessness insurrectionist.

This disturbing reality we live in, where one political party now has the power to control the narrative in all aspects of our lives — school, work, social media, and government — might make us feel eerie echoes of living under Chinese Communist Party influence instead of in the United States of America.

Perhaps what’s most troubling, and something that we might not have even considered in the chaos of the last few days, is the long-term impact this will have on American children. Generation Z or Zoomers, aged 13 to 21, may be one of the first generations that is more influenced by what they see and read on social media and the internet than what they hear at the dinner table from mom and dad.

A Business Insider’s poll found that 59 percent of Zoomers listed social media as their top news source. While technology used to serve as a way to make information accessible, a way to have the world at your fingertips with just a quick search, it has become something much different. It is teaching the youngest and most impressionable among us that suppression is normal and personal censorship is an important survival mechanism.

Children are being taught to watch what they say and think, lest they be labeled a racist, white supremacist, homophobe, or xenophobe. Indeed, making a pro-Trump TikTok video can get your college admission rescinded and subject you to intense personal harassment. A three-second insensitive or politically incorrect Snapchat video from 2016 can get you featured in a New York Times article and your college admission rescinded, and subject you to bitter bullying.

For young people today, it’s becoming normal to see political leaders in our country deemed “dangerous” to be ousted from public platforms and ostracized from society. They watch their parents self-censor at work, fearful of backlash from employees or coworkers that could get them fired.

Americans used to support the right of people to hold and express opinions others disagree with. Yet the newest generation believes feelings are more valuable than freedom. Study after study finds that younger people are more supportive of limiting speech than are older generations.

A recent survey found that an overwhelming majority of students at the University of Wisconsin-Madison think the government should be able to punish “hate speech.” Of course, “hate speech” is simply the left’s ambiguous term for anything veering from the leftist orthodoxy on issues such as abortion, sex, race, and immigration.

Silicon Valley oligarchs have an agenda. They aren’t platforms, they are publishers, which should nullify the privileges they enjoy under Section 230. Will the Democrats who are now running our government do anything to stop big tech tyranny? Of course not.

This problem is not going away. America’s ethos of free speech and expression is going extinct at the hands of big tech and the leftists controlling media and government.

The U.S. Capitol riots are over, thanks to law enforcement. However, the censorship that followed has created a dangerous precedent.

For young people, their “normal” is beginning to feel increasingly like it’s heading towards life in China. It’s less free and tolerant than the America their parents grew up in. Imagine how much worse things will be when today’s youths are running the country.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Evita Duffy is an intern at The Federalist and a junior at the University of Chicago, where she studies American History. She loves the Midwest, lumberjack sports, writing, & her family. Follow her on Twitter at @evitaduffy_1

Flashback: Adam Schiff Hijacked House Intelligence Hearing on China to Subpoena a Russian Translator


Reported by KRISTINA WONG | 

URL of the originating website: https://www.breitbart.com/politics/2020/04/19/flashback-adam-schiff-hijacked-intel-hearing-china-subpoena-russian-translator/

Schiff / Drew Angerer /Getty Images

“The House Republicans have been running an investigation into China on the Intelligence Committee for many, many years…so we’ve been on this for awhile, and remember, we were dealing with the Russian hoax in Congress at the same time the House Republicans were trying to run an investigation into China,” he said on Fox and Friends.

“And the Democrats — finally we had a public hearing on this — and they hijacked the hearing to try to subpoena whatever Russian of the week they were looking after. So this has been a challenge for us, to get Russia on the forefront, and now, both Republicans and Democrats realize this,” he said.

Nunes was referring to the July 19, 2018, hearing on China held by Nunes, when he was the chairman of the Intelligence Committee. The hearing’s topic was “China’s threat to American government and private sector research and innovation leadership.” During the hearing, then-Ranking Schiff began his opening remarks, not on China, but with his concerns about President Trump meeting alone with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, Finland, earlier that month, and then raised a motion to subpoena the interpreter who attended the meeting. The hearing then devolved into confusion over whether Schiff was able to raise that motion, forcing Nunes to call for a recess. The witnesses — four top China experts — were left to talk to committee staff and among themselves, as Breitbart News reported at the time.

After the recess, Republicans voted to table the motion. Schiff demanded a recorded vote.

“Schiff has decided to turn this hearing into a Russia clown show,” a house staffer said.

Schiff, or his staff, later tweeted about his failed attempt to subpoena the interpreter at the China hearing.

“BREAKING: @RepSwalwell and I just made a motion in House Intel Committee to subpoena the American interpreter during the summit — the only witness to Trump’s meeting with Putin. This is an extraordinary remedy, but Trump’s actions necessitate it. Republicans voted it down.”

Republicans also say Democrats’ singular focus on impeaching Trump also distracted Congress earlier this year, when the coronavirus spread. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) scheduled a vote on impeachment articles on Trump the same day the first person from Wuhan, China, arrived to the United States, on January 15. She passed out commemorative signing pens and encouraged Americans to watch the House impeachment managers bring the articles over to the Senate.

The White House stood up its coronavirus task force on January 29, and ordered a ban on travel from China on January 31, the same day the World Health Organization acknowledged that the coronavirus was a global health emergency. However, the Senate impeachment trial continued until February 5.

Follow Breitbart News’s Kristina Wong on Twitter or on Facebook.

BREAKING: DOJ Declassifies 3 Footnotes From Horowitz’s Report Revealing FBI Assessed Steele Dossier Was ‘Russian Disinformation’ – Used it Anyway


Reported By Cristina Laila | Published April 10, 2020 at 4:33pm

CBS News reporter Catherine Herridge obtained an April 2 letter responding to Senators Ron Johnson and Chuck Grassley over four key footnotes in IG Horowitz’s report.

The Senators stated that the classified footnotes contradict what is publicly available in Horowitz’s report related to Crossfire Hurricane, the CI investigation opened into Trump’s campaign in July of 2016.

Grassley and Johnson wrote, “The American people have a right to know what is contained within these four footnotes and, without that knowledge, they will not have a full picture as to what happened during the Crossfire Hurricane investigation.”

The DOJ declassified 3 footnotes with minimal redactions and kept the fourth footnote completely blacked out citing, “unique and significant concerns. The redacted information refers to information received by a member of the Crossfire Hurricane team regarding possible previous attempts by a foreign government to penetrate and research a company or individuals associated with Christopher Steele,” Herridge reported.

One declassified footnote revealed Comey’s FBI knew the Hillary Clinton-funded dossier compiled by former British spy Christopher Steele was bogus Russian disinformation — but they used it anyway to spy on Trump’s campaign.

“The (redacted) stated that it did not have high confidence in this subset of Steele’s reporting and ASSESSED that the referenced subset was part of a Russian disinformation campaign to denigrate US foreign relations” — Catherine Herridge said.

Catherine Herridge

@CBS_Herridge

READ footnote 350 FBI effort to verify Steele Dossier “The (redacted) stated that it did not have high confidence in this subset of Steele’s reporting and ASSESSED that the referenced subset was part of a Russian disinformation campaign to denigrate US foreign relations”

View image on Twitter

Herridge: READ FULL footnote 302 Steele dossier sub-source “According to a document circulated among Crossfire Hurricane team members and supervisors in early October 2016, Person 1 had historical contact with persons and entities suspected of being linked to RIS (Russian Intel)

Catherine Herridge

@CBS_Herridge

READ FULL footnote 302 Steele dossier sub-source “According to a document circulated among Crossfire Hurricane team members and supervisors in early October 2016, Person 1 had historical contact with persons and entities suspected of being linked to RIS (Russian Intel)…

View image on Twitter

Enter Bruce Ohr (who STILL has a job at the DOJ):

In addition, in late December 2016, Department Attorney Bruce Ohr told SSA 1 that he had met with Glenn Simpson (Fusion GPS) and that Simpson had assessed that Person 1 was a RIS (Russian intel) officer who was central in connecting Trump to Russia.”

Catherine Herridge

@CBS_Herridge

…In addition, in late December 2016, Department Attorney Bruce Ohr told SSA 1 that he had met with Glenn Simpson (Fusion GPS) and that Simpson had assessed that Person 1 was a RIS (Russian intel) officer who was central in connecting Trump to Russia.” @CBSNews

View image on Twitter
Attorney General Bill Barr told Fox News host Laura Ingraham there was ‘no basis’ for the FBI’s ‘Crossfire Hurricane’ investigation into then-candidate Donald Trump.

Barr said what happened to Trump was one of the greatest travesties in American history.

Even more alarming was the pattern of events after the campaign to sabotage Trump’s presidency.

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