June 9, 2023

The Biden Justice Department Tried to Stop Us From Getting Records on Government Censorship Efforts

Many organizations that promote censorship get giant checks from the feds.

By The Daily Caller News Foundation Editorial Board

Earlier this week, The Washington Post let the American people know whose side they’re on when it comes to free speech versus government-backed censorship; they’re on the side of the censors.

To summarize, the Post’s lengthy piece frames efforts by Republican lawmakers, conservatives and media organizations, like the Daily Caller News Foundation, to hold a well-heeled and growing industry dedicated to fighting so-called mis- and disinformation accountable as “harassment.” We’re not making this up.

Of course, after everything we’ve learned from the Twitter Files and other investigative reporting into how these groups actually operate, it’s clear that fighting disinformation is almost always a euphemism for censoring facts and opinions they don’t like, especially from conservatives.

It’s no coincidence that conservatives are overwhelmingly the ones being deplatformed, shadowbanned, fact-checked and censored on social media and Google. It’s no coincidence that conservative news outlets, not corporate or liberal ones, always make it onto the secret blacklists put together by pro-censorship groups and sent to ad agencies to deprive those sites of revenue.

The DCNF recently revealed a major group dedicated to demonetizing conservative sites was actually funded by the Biden State Department. In fact, many similar organizations that promote censorship also get giant checks from the feds. This should alarm every American regardless of party affiliation or ideology.

But WaPo wants you to ignore all that and believe it’s the government-funded censors who are the real victims, not the people they’re trying to silence. Sadly, the Biden Justice Department seems to agree.

Right after WaPo dropped its “censors are the real victims” piece, journalist Lee Fang published an email showing the Biden DOJ intervening to impede DCNF records requests regarding a little-known Department of Homeland Security panel advising the agency on combating mis- and disinformation.

Given everything we’ve learned over the years — especially from the Twitter Files — about federal government efforts to censor and silence opinions they don’t like, we wanted to see what this secretive panel was up to. It is, after all, our duty to inform the public about threats to their fundamental rights, especially freedom of speech.

A key member of this panel was Kate Starbird of the University of Washington, who founded the Center for an Informed Public. Not only does she sit on this committee, but she’s also raking in government research grants. Starbird actually featured prominently in WaPo’s piece defending the pro-censorship industry, but the paper conveniently left out Starbird’s role in advising DHS’s secretive little committee. I wonder why?

We thought the public had a right to know what this DHS advisory panel was up to, which apparently alarmed the Biden DOJ.

In a fawning email sent in September 2022, Assistant U.S. Attorney Annalisa Cravens asked the University of Washington to delay the release of records to the DCNF “so that we can have time to review them and assess whether we’ll have to file suit to protect them from disclosure.”

To be clear, we did get records from the University of Washington; it just took six months to get them all. Of course, now we’re wondering if we truly got all the documents we asked for. Rest assured, we’ve already filed follow-up requests to get to the bottom of it.

Someone has to. As WaPo’s puff piece made clear, the corporate and legacy media aren’t interested in holding the Censorship Industrial Complex accountable. In fact, major media outlets are often this insidious industry’s biggest enablers.

And now we know the Biden administration is a willing participant in the cover-up and apparently willing to use whatever legal channels available to keep the public in the dark about what their own government is doing to undermine core constitutional protections.

If there’s one issue that should unite Americans of all stripes, it’s government officials colluding with an industry dedicated to censoring ideas and information inconvenient to the party in power. If we don’t hold these powerful, secretive groups accountable today, we all run the risk of being silenced down the road.

Democracy dies in darkness, indeed.


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