Musk and Shellenberger: Is Biden Censorship a Threat to Free Speech?


Joe Biden’s administration was slapped with a federal ruling that found the Biden administration violated the First Amendment likely by censoring social media content they didn’t like and pressuring companies to remove posts during the pandemic. The court issued an injunction to prevent federal officials and agencies from discouraging speech protected by the First Amendment or removing it.

This ruling prevents certain federal officials and agencies including members of Biden’s Cabinet, such as Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas and Secretary of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra and United States Surgeon-General Vivek Murthy and Jean Pierre herself, from participating in meetings aimed to suppress speech with social media firms. Contact with government actors is prohibited if they are in contact for the purpose of “urging, encouraging or pressuring them to remove, delete, suppress or reduce content that contains protected free speech”, as defined by the First Amendment’s Free Speech Clause.

In a sharp criticism of the Biden Administration, Judge Terry A. Doughty stated that “the United States Government appears to have assumed a similar role to an Orwellian “Ministry of Truth.” He also noted that government actions “almost exclusively target conservative speech.” His decision was issued on the Fourth of Independence, which is perhaps appropriate.

How committed is the Biden Team to these actions, which the judge deemed likely to be violations of the First Amendment by the Biden team? Now they’re fighting the decision. They have filed an appeal notice and also are reportedly trying to stop the injunction while the appeal is being processed so that they can continue with their actions.

Michael Shellenberger, a journalist, and Elon Musk, a Twitter owner, drew everyone’s attention after the Washington Post covered the decision. They pointed out a certain thing in the Washington Post article.

Shellenberger said that experts thought yesterday’s anti-censorship court decision was too poorly written to be implemented. But it is already working. The State Department has canceled its Wednesday meeting with Facebook and any future meetings “pending further direction.”

Wait, what? You read it correctly. Why are they holding a “regular meeting with Facebook” on Wednesdays? Isn’t this the real problem? An indication that the government is in a cozy relationship with social media companies, forcing them to censor their posts?

Musk asked an excellent question: “I wonder what happens at the regular Wednesday meeting?”

Shellenberger’s response was a wonderful example of how the Biden Administration interacted with social media in the case.

Shellenberger said that this was a good decision. However, we have a lot of work to do to clear up the mess. The government shouldn’t be dictating to us the “truth”, but that is exactly what they tried to do.

It also says a lot that the Biden Department of State canceled the “regular meeting” on Wednesday. They were supposed to be discussing “2024 elections preparations and hacking threats.” The only contact that is prohibited is if it would encourage or encourage censorship. If they are worried about the meeting, then they must believe that their actions in that meeting can be interpreted that way.