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March 7, 2022

Vivek Murthy Chills Free Speech

Biden’s surgeon general is demanding social media hand over COVID “misinformation” data.

Just when you thought this administration got the message that the American people don’t care for its extravagant government overreach, U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy is pressuring Big Tech to hand over COVID misinformation data.

According to The New York Times, “The surgeon general’s office demanded that tech platforms send data and analysis on the prevalence of Covid-19 misinformation on their sites, starting with common examples of vaccine misinformation documented by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.” The ostensible purpose is to determine just how much this affected users and their actions. The Office of the Surgeon General also wants to know which sources were the major aggregators of the “misinformation.” Companies have until May 2 to submit their data, which makes this a dictate, not a request.

Dr. Murthy has been pushing for Big Tech to do more to suppress free speech — in this case, what has very broadly been deemed “COVID misinformation.” The problem, as political pundit Matt Welch states, is that throughout this pandemic, the difference between most “misinformation” and information on COVID is a matter of a few months (or years, in some cases). In a recent post, Welch writes, “If you define COVID ‘misinformation’ as being against what the CDC currently recommends, timing will mean everything when it comes to stuff like masking.”

This comes on the heels of the State of the Union Address at which people in the gallery were finally unmasked. President Joe Biden is eager to claim anything positive in his dismal first year of office. Yet when the House GOP moved to have the COVID state of emergency lifted, it was ferociously shot down.

Apart from being a thinly veiled witch hunt against sources that this administration disagrees with politically, it is also yet another sally against Big Tech. Big Tech does have a lot to answer for, especially since it’s supposed to be neutral on political matters. Yet almost all Big Tech platforms have bowed down to the leftist mobs in terms of censorship and partisan politics. In the last election, these organizations (along with mainstream media) were particularly bad about suppressing information and electioneering for the Left.

Big Tech is caught between a rock and a hard place, though. On the one hand, it’s partisan against conservatives. On the other hand, it’s not doing enough to suppress for the Left. Facebook has been one of the bigger targets for this sort of attack. Francis Haugen, the infamous Facebook “whistleblower,” told a tale of the social media platform’s negligence and directly accused it of relaxing its censorship after the election, which led to the January 6 riot. Haugen showing up at the State of the Union and hobnobbing with the political elite speaks to just how biased her accusation really is.

The Left is in control of the mainstream media, education, and Hollywood. Social media is not entirely under its thumb, and as long as that’s the case, it will be a thorn in its side. Social media is hardly a bastion of free speech, but this sort of encroachment that the surgeon general is demanding is a crackdown on any political dissent. It’s a tyranny of censorship that Big Tech overlords are probably going to cave to — if only to forestall more leftist attacks.

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