EXCLUSIVE: China Expert Gordon Chang Rips WashPost for Defending Gov’t-Big Tech Collusion

The Washington Post Editorial Board went to bat for the federal government colluding with Big Tech to police so-called disinformation online. Gatestone Institute Senior Fellow Gordon Chang was having none of it.

“Don’t defund the fight against Russia and China’s disinformation,” decried the Board in the editorial. In the editorial, the Board defended the State Department-tied Global Engagement Center’s financing of the now-infamous Global Disinformation Index (initially based in the U.K.), which has since been panned for blacklisting right-leaning American media. The Post propagandized how the GEC “deploys a $61 million budget and a staff of 125 to counter disinformation from Russia, China, Iran and terrorist organizations.” The only problem, as Chang pointed out in an exclusive interview with MRC Free Speech America, is that these pretexts are smokescreens the federal government has consistently deployed to violate the First Amendment rights of U.S. citizens.

Chang rebuked The Post for parroting the government’s excuse of fighting “disinformation” to police online speech: “You have a clear attack on the First Amendment, and you have mainstream media supporting it. I mean, these guys [The Post] — aren’t they going to find out that at some point the government can use it against them?” Chang doubled down: “The First Amendment is absolutely essential for the preservation of democracy. And we should not have, especially newspapers, advocating unconstitutional restrictions on the First Amendment. It’s just as simple as that.” 

In Chang’s view, “The most important thing is [that] we must delegitimize the concept of disinformation” in order to de-fang the government from using the evergreen newspeak concept as license to infringe on free speech. Rather, Chang argued that the marketplace of ideas is the best arena where false information can be filtered out, not through the police state tactics of coercive government oversight. 

Despite the glaring evidence The Post, true to form, dismissed members of Congress and other entities who “have complained that the [GEC] is part of an effort to muffle conservative speech and ideas in the United States.” The leftist newspaper attempted to distinguish between what the GEC specifically financed GDI for — a disinformation tool in Asia — and the latter’s blacklisting of U.S.-based “conservative” media outlets. In its ludicrous justification, The Post wrote that GDI’s targeting of “conservative” media and what the government specifically funded were “separate projects,” completely dismissing the reality that money is fungible. 

Similarly, The Post also slapped down The Daily Wire and The Federalist’s lawsuit against the GEC for allegedly infringing on their First Amendment rights as “misguided” because The Global Engagement Center supposedly “does not look at what goes on inside the United States — all its programs are for fighting disinformation abroad. The GEC also instructs its grantees not to work in the United States.” President Joe Biden’s press team couldn’t have generated a better public relations campaign on behalf of the GEC.

But as the House Judiciary Committee summarized in a Nov. 6, 2023 report, “The GEC and GEC-funded entities have, on multiple occasions, flagged content to social media platforms that included Americans engaged in constitutionally protected speech.” Twitter Files journalist Matt Taibbi directly illustrated GEC’s targeting of domestic actors, rendering The Post’s gaslighting to the contrary a total crock. 

GDI was also just named in another House Judiciary report for co-authoring a “hate groups” blacklist featuring “conservative” and faith-based organizations. The report documented how the Department of Treasury used such a blacklisty to pressure banks to surrender customer data. These allegations further illustrate how the federal government doesn’t have any issues using GDI, including the GEC by extension, to target U.S. citizens. GEC is even on record defending its GDI funding, even after the uncovering of the latter’s dystopian vendetta to target the advertisers of “conservative” American media.

To be clear, said Chang, the communist Chinese regime (and the Russian government by extension) doesn’t have a First Amendment right in their malicious info operations, “and we can deal with that in other ways that are constitutional, but that’s not what is really at stake here.” He further warned, “What we’re talking about is the U.S. government funding an attack on the First Amendment.” Chang rebutted the GEC and The Post’s attempts to make it seem like the GEC is predominantly focused on speech happening abroad in light of numerous instances of anecdotal evidence showing the Biden administration targeting domestic speech: “These are purely domestic actors in a purely domestic context, and the First Amendment clearly protects speech and clearly — in my mind — prohibits what the Biden administration is doing.” 

Chang argued that the obsession with so-called disinformation — especially amongst the younger generation of Americans — stems from what he called a “fundamental misunderstanding of the marketplace of ideas.” Chang argued that the First Amendment “protects disinformation” and  “what people call ‘hate speech’ because we believe the best ideas will work out.” 

What the Biden administration is doing in fomenting government oversight of online speech (e.g. The Disinformation Governance Board) is “starting a slippery slope” towards even more draconian measures down the road. In essence, this is “clearly prohibited conduct. It’s just unconstitutional,” Chang continued. 

But The Post, which is the epitome of a First Amendment beneficiary, still found justification for some kinds of government infringements to root out the so-called “purveyors of lies,” and even used chilling, counterinsurgency language to make its case:

The House Republicans who are taking down the GEC could, more constructively, reauthorize the program with legislative language that would ban any operations in the United States. By eliminating the program altogether, they would deny the United States a vital tool in a contest for hearts and minds around the world — while rewarding the purveyors of lies, [emphasis added.] 

Chang retorted by pointing out that “the First Amendment protects almost all speech” and that it has “very few restrictions on it.” There’s just “very few things that the First Amendment actually allows the government to prohibit, and that’s the way it should stay,” he continued. The China expert pointed to instances where social media companies censored that turned out to be accurate — such as the notion that the COVID-19 virus had originated from a lab in Wuhan, China and the Hunter Biden laptop bombshell story — as evidence illustrating the underlying truth that “nobody gets to determine what is a falsehood,” especially the federal government.

Conservatives are under attack. Contact your representatives and demand that the State Department be held to account to adhere to the U.S. Constitution and that Big Tech mirror the First Amendment while providing transparency, clarity on so-called hate speech and equal footing for conservatives. If you have been censored, contact us using CensorTrack’s contact form, and help us hold Big Tech accountable.

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