With this post. a follow-up to this one regarding the hypocritical and ominous Presidential attack on vaccine-related “disinformation” on Facebook, Ethics Alarms ends the suspension of George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley, who writes the generally excellent “Res Ipsa Loguitur” blog and who has distinguished himself during the 2016 Post Election Ethics Train Wreck for refusing to follow the unethical lead of his biased and Trump-Deranged colleagues in law and academia, and having the courage to point out many of their worst betrayals of the public trust. I suspended the professor at the beginning of June for carelessly advancing a favorite Democratic party Big Lie on his blog, that a media recount after the 2000 election showed George W. Bush had actually lost the popular vote in Florida, and thus Al Gore was the rightful winner of the Presidency. I wrote, “Ethics Alarms is giving him a month’s suspension, or until he fixes his error and apologizes.” Well, he sort of fixed the error but never apologized, so I made the suspension six weeks. I’m happy to be able to reference his blog again, and as a happy coincidence, one of his recent posts nicely supported what I had just written.
Turley pointed to White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki admitting that the Biden administration is working with Facebook to flag “problematic” posts that “spread disinformation” on the Whan virus vaccine and related matters. She had said that the Administration has created “aggressive” policing systems to spot “misinformation” to be “flagged” for the social media companies. He wrote in part,
“Obviously, anyone can object to postings. There is a greater danger when the government has a systemic process for aggressively flagging material to be censored. The real problem however is with the censorship system itself. We have seen how there needs to be little coordination between political figures and the media to maintain controlled narratives in public debates and discussions.”
By “little” the sometimes obsessively cautious professor means “none.” He continues,
“The concern is obvious that this allows for a direct role of the government in a massive censorship program run by private companies. There have been repeated examples of the censoring of stories that were embarrassing or problematic for the Biden Administration…The concern is that these companies are taking to heart calls from Democratic members for increased censorship on the platform.”
Again—Turley is reluctant to directly accuse Facebook and others of directly enabling government censorship as long as the government is run by the Left. I’m not. But that is pretty clearly what Turley sees as well, as he continues,
“The back channel coordination with Facebook further supports the view that this is a de facto state-supporting censorship program. That is the basis for the recent lawsuit by former President Donald Trump. As I have previously noted, there is ample basis for objection to this arrangement but the legal avenue for challenges is far from clear. The lawsuit will face difficult, if not insurmountable, problems under existing law and precedent. There is no question companies like Twitter are engaging in raw censorship. It is also true that these companies have censored material with a blatantly biased agenda, taking sides on scientific and social controversies. A strong case can be made for stripping these companies of legal protections since they are no longer neutral platforms. However, private businesses are allowed to regulate speech as a general matter. It will take considerable heavy lifting for a court to order this injunctive relief. That is why we need legislative action. That includes removal immunity protections. However, the government should also consider how to incentivize the creation of alternatives to these companies which are now a threat to our political system. A few companies now control a huge amount of the political discourse in this country and have shown a clear bias in taking sides (even on issues later found to be wrong). Since litigation is likely to fail, legislation would seem an imperative. Congress has been spending hundreds of billions with utter abandon. Yet, there is little discussion over a government subsidized platform for social media or other measures to break up this unprecedented level of corporate control over our political discourse. I am no fan of government programs, particularly as it relates to media. However, Apple, Google, and these other companies are now operating like monopolies, including crushing competitors like Parlor. That is a direct and growing threat to our political process. We need to consider a short-term investment in a social media platform that will focus any censorship on direct threats or criminal conduct. There is currently a lack of not only competition but any real opportunity for competition to challenge these companies. Either we have to redefine what we treat as monopolies or we need to invest in the establishment of competing platforms that are content neutral like telephone companies.”
Meanwhile, the point on the Ethics Alarms post preceding this one was bolstered both by the October tweet above by White House paid liar Jen Psaki, and this one, from Ethics Alarms friend Joe Concha today:
Yes, this post is a White House disinformation hypocrisy sandwich….