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Tony Perkins / Sep. 17, 2020

Facebook Attaches an Asterisk to Free Speech

The transgender lobby has taken to blocking their opponents' free speech for made-up reasons.

The transgender lobby has taken to blocking their opponents’ free speech for made-up reasons. Tuesday, Facebook put its thumb on the scale of the Michigan Senate race in favor of Democratic incumbent Gary Peters by blocking a $4 million ad campaign from the conservative American Principles Project (APP) PAC.

John James, the Republican challenger to Senator Peters, has been closing the polling gap, which now sits at a mere 3.5 percentage points in the Real Clear Politics average.

The ad criticized Senator Peters’ support for the radical, left-wing Equality Act, which would enact a laundry list of the LGBT lobby’s policy objectives. Particularly, the Equality Act will allow biological males to compete in women’s sports. This would “destroy women’s sports,” said the video, by taking away from female athletes “a fair shot at competition, at a scholarship, at a title, at victory.”

As the ad began to run, the establishment media quickly rushed out a negative review. Facebook contracts with some 60 organizations to flag false information — the vast majority of them on the Left. In response, Facebook placed a warning on the ad that it was “missing context” and “mislead people” and later banned it entirely.

However, the “fact-check” by PolitiFact was anything but. It admits, “Their specific criticism is … a prediction we can’t fact-check.” That’s because you can’t fact check the truth. Instead, PolitiFact opted for the weasel words “missing context” and “mislead people” — whatever that means.

It seems the “missing context” Politifact thought the ad should include was opinions in favor of the transgender push to destroy women’s sports. Evidently, they think all conservative candidates should give their opponents airtime in ads they pay for within 60 days of the election. And it seems they thought the ad might “mislead people” to vote for candidates who oppose the radical Equality Act.

APP PAC Executive Director Terry Schilling summarized: “Our ad campaign makes a very simple claim: policies supported by Joe Biden, Sen. Gary Peters and other Democrats would destroy girls’ sports. There is ample evidence for this claim and more coming in every day. Nothing in the PolitiFact review shows this claim to be false.”

Of course, Facebook shares part of the blame. Although they enjoy special legal immunity based on the notion that they provide a platform for open, public discourse, and although they have even been criticized for ignoring maliciously false fact-checks before, in this case their response was decidedly uninterested in uncovering the truth.

A Facebook spokesperson said, “This content was reviewed by PolitiFact, an independent, third-party fact-checking partner of Facebook’s. If you’d like to dispute the rating, we’d encourage you to do so directly with them.” Never mind the brazenly partisan “fact-check” that found no factual errors; Facebook still deems PolitiFact a legitimate gatekeeper on information on their platform.

Silencing dissent and only recognizing the facts that fit your predetermined ideological outcome — not only is this at odds with America’s tradition of free speech and public debate, it’s also bad science.

Tuesday night, I interviewed Dr. Andre Van Mol on Washington Watch. We discussed a study in The American Journal of Psychiatry, which was hailed as ground-breaking in 2013. It supposedly found that sex-change surgeries significantly improved mental health, but, after other researchers found errors with their methods, they issued a major correction admitting their data showed no mental health benefit.

While advocates for the Equality Act play fast and loose with the truth, they’re content to silence opposing voices by exerting political power over institutions. That’s not free speech and that’s not how America is supposed to work.

Originally published here.

This is a publication of the Family Research Council. Mr. Perkins is president of FRC.

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