MRC Free Speech America Exposes TWO MORE Federal Entities Working to Censor Americans

News & Politics

President Joe Biden entered office with the attitude of not letting the powerful COVID-19 crisis go to waste. The pandemic was the perfect cover to unfold his coordinated censorship regime. 

MRC Free Speech America recently detailed the seven censors of Biden’s federal government. Sitting atop that censorship regime, however, is the Biden White House, which attempted to push nearly every major Big Tech company to censor Americans in the name of “safety” in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Biden, his Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Census Bureau worked alongside Meta and Google, and in the case of the White House, Twitter and Amazon as well, to push their desired narrative about the COVID-19 vaccines.

In its recent report, MRC outlined seven federal entities that have worked to censor American citizens’ free speech. These include: the Department of Homeland Security, Department of State, Department of Justice, Department of Defense, Department of Health and Human Services, The National Science Foundation and Department of the Treasury. But there are two others that bear mentioning: The White House itself and the Department of Commerce.

The White House

House Judiciary Committee Chair Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) has released a plethora of reports revealing the Biden administration’s relentless requests for social media companies to censor COVID-19 and vaccine-related content online.

In February 2021, Facebook began coordinating with the Biden White House to censor disfavored opinions related to COVID-19. According to an internal email from Facebook, these topics included the theory that COVID-19 was a man-made virus; that the virus leaked from a lab in China; and other allegedly “false claims on Facebook and Instagram about COVID-19, COVID-19 vaccines, and vaccines in general.” In an email to Mark Zuckerberg, a Facebook employee revealed that Facebook’s censorship of these opinions was prompted by pressure from the Biden White House.

Jordan’s Facebook Files summarized that “the Biden Administration pressured the companies to censor true information, satire, memes, opinions, and Americans’ personal experiences.” The committee report explained that “internal July 2021 Facebook emails obtained by the Committee and Select Subcommittee show that Facebook understood that the Biden White House’s position as wanting ‘negative information on or opinions about the vaccine’ removed as well as ‘humorous or satirical content that suggests the vaccine isn’t safe.’”

The Biden administration even went so far as to ask platforms to remove specific accounts. For example, internal communications at Twitter show that during one of the first meetings the White House had with the platform, it asked why Twitter had not censored COVID-19 vaccine critic Alex Berenson. In another internal note, Lauren Culbertson, then Twitter’s Head of U.S. Public Policy recounted that “The Biden Team was not satisfied with Twitter’s enforcement approach as they wanted Twitter to do more and to deplatform several accounts.” Culbertson further added, “They were very angry in nature.”

The YouTube Files similarly show the White House pushing the Google-owned video platform to censor. On July 20, 2021, Rob Flaherty Digital Director of the White House, emailed the YouTube public policy team a tweet from CNN fact checker Daniel Dale that showed his algorithm was presenting him with “anti-vaccine content.” The White House responded confrontationally: “We had a pretty extensive back and forth about the degree to which you all are recommending anti-vaccination content. You were pretty emphatic that you are not. This seems to indicate that you are. What is going on here?”

And in August, the White House asked how YouTube was “planning to promote” the Pfizer vaccine, which at the time had been just approved. In September 2021, YouTube worked with the White House to change its policies to remove content that questioned vaccines. 

The most recent release of Jordan’s Amazon Files further revealed that Amazon buried 43 book titles offering information and criticism of vaccines in general. Many of the books were written long before the COVID-19 pandemic even began. 

Department of Commerce via The U.S. Census Bureau

The U.S. Census Bureau entered the censorship game by piggybacking off of the CDC’s obsessive control over the COVID-19 narrative, according to Louisiana Chief District Judge Terry A. Doughty’s Murthy v. Missouri July 4, 2023 court ruling. MRC Free Speech America research utilizing our exclusive CensorTrack database was cited in the complaint for the Murthy v. Missouri case. 

“The CDC entered into an Intra-Agency Agreement (“IAA”) with the Census Bureau to help advise on misinformation,” Doughty wrote. “The IAA required that the Census Bureau provide reports to the CDC on misinformation that the Census Bureau tracked on social media.”

Facebook had been cooperating with the CDC Director for the Division of Digital Media Caroline Crawford, the White House and the Department of Health and Human Services in their efforts to guide the platform on what speech to censor relating to COVID-19. 

Crawford received biweekly CrowdTangle reports showing the top COVID-19-related content on Facebook, in January 2021. She made Census Bureau officials privy to these reports. She reportedly said that the Bureau “was asking for regular meetings with platforms, specifically focused on misinformation,” according to Doughty’s ruling. 

Prior to a weekly meeting with Facebook, Crawford even sent a PowerPoint of types of content that the CDC and the Census Bureau sought to censor. “This is a deck Census would like to discuss and we’d also like to fit in a discussion of topic types removed from Facebook,” Crawford reportedly said. 

“The ‘deck’ the Census Bureau wanted to discuss contained an overview of ‘Misinformation Topics’ and included ‘concerns about infertility, misinformation about side effects, and claims about vaccines leading to deaths,’”” Doughty wrote. “For each topic, the deck included sample slides and a statement from the CDC debunking the allegedly erroneous claim.” 

The Bureau prepared similar slide decks for the “COVID BOLO” [Be on the lookout] meetings it arranged for Facebook with the CDC. These meetings were reportedly an effort to “be sure credible information was out there and to flag information that the CDC thought was not credible for potential removal,” according to Doughty. Each meeting “included five ‘hot topics’ (for example, vaccine shedding, death reports in the VAERS database, and various side effects of the COVID-19 vaccines) with a BOLO note for each topic.”

The Bureau and the CDC even held at least one meeting with Google/YouTube on similar topics in March 2021. The ruling further notes that when the Bureau asked for more meetings with the company, Crawford “followed up with Google about using their “regular 4 p.m. meetings” to go over things with the Census. Although misinformation was not the primary topic of conversation in these meetings, they did indeed discuss misinformation. 

Conservatives are under attack. Contact your representatives and demand that Big Tech be held to account to 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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