MRC UnCensored: Mike Benz Maps Out Fight Against Big Tech Gov’t Collusion

News & Politics

Mike Benz, a free speech advocate and former State Department official, said there is still hope for free speech on MRC UnCensored. 

MRC Free Speech America Vice President Dan Schneider spoke with Benz about the devastating impact of the Murthy v. Missouri decision on free speech. In its final decision, the Court refused to stop the U.S. government from inappropriately asking that Big Tech companies do what it cannot–censor Americans. But Benz was undaunted by the Murphy results, telling Schneider, “I’ve not given up hope in any way on the case, even though this hearing, this result is not what we would have wanted. I think the most damaging aspect of it is the time sensitivity in light of the election.”

Benz offered a myriad of ways that Americans can fight back against censorship and Big Tech collusion with the government. 

“A lot of our work in terms of taking on the censorship industry can be done with or without whatever the Supreme Court’s current ruling is,” Benz said. He suggested that free speech advocates could work on “[c]reating civil lines of action as the states of Florida and Texas have done, creating pressure to be able to pry these censorship mercenaries off their institutions, using the legislative power to be able to hold hearings and investigations and subpoenas and essentially raising the cost of doing the censorship business.”

Benz also argued that the Murthy decision would not be the end of the matter, suggesting that the Supreme Court would ultimately have to revisit the issue.

The majority opinion for the Supreme Court’s Murthy decision, published on June 26, greatly impacts victims of government-coerced censorship as it largely eliminated their ability to get court injunctions against future government targeting.  The Court did not, however, eliminate censorship victims’ ability to gain retroactive relief, such as receiving monetary compensation from the specific bureaucrats who colluded with tech firms to silence their voices 

Benz told Schneider that the ruling “[g]ives us an opportunity” as this case or future cases suing the federal government retroactively make their way through the courts. Free speech advocates and journalists can “actually provide that firepower so that a much stronger case can be brought when the merits are reached on the case,” he said. “I actually do think at that time, the evidence will be so overwhelming that we may be actually able to get a win on the merits,” Benz added.

The former State Department official also bashed the “whole of society framework” used by the federal government, describing it as the government acting as the “quarterback” of a censorship team of civil society organizations, fact-checking organizations and media outlets. 

Earlier in the discussion, Schneider pointed out an awful example of this collaborative work between the government and the private sector, blasting the Department of Homeland Security over its abuse of the Targeted Violence & Terrorism Prevention Grant Program (TVTP).

Schneider noted that TVTP “was using our tax dollars, supposed to be used catching terrorists and instead was training people on how to infiltrate the Heritage Foundation, and Prager University and the Trump campaign with our tax dollars.” He added, “the State Department working with the US Embassy in Germany in Würzburg to train U.S. teachers on how to propagandize kids–in what you and I know as media literacy and then how the Homeland Security Department–then supercharged that effort to bring that training across classrooms all over America.” 

In this case, the State Department advanced its censorship program by showing trainees how to bring propaganda tools from leftist “media literacy” groups Ad Fontes and NewsGuard into American classrooms. MRC Free Speech not only exposed this abuse, but had earlier successfully pushed for a provision prohibiting the Department of Defense from working with groups like NewsGuard or Ad Fontes which was signed by President Joe Biden.

Conservatives are under attack! Conservatives are under attack! Contact your representatives and demand Big Tech be held to account to mirror the First Amendment while providing transparency on WEF partnerships, clarity on so-called hate speech and equal footing for conservatives. If you have been censored, contact us at the Media Research Center contact form, and help us hold Big Tech accountable.

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