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December 28, 2022

Law Professor Jonathan Turley: FBI Censorship of Citizens is "Menacing"
Dipshit Blogger David French: The Government Has Free Speech Rights to Demand that Tech Companies Censor Citizens, You Know

I think I'll go with the law professor over the dipshit law blogger.

Turley said, "What's interesting is that there is really a loss of space in the last few weeks for many of the censorship apologists that are in Congress and the media. For years, they denied there was any censorship, that there was any shadowbanning, there [were] any blacklists, all of that was just formally denied. And because of Musk, we now know that all of that were lies, that, in fact, there was an extensive censorship system that was being directed in part by the FBI. So, one of the questions that we have is whether Twitter became an agent of the FBI for purposes of the First Amendment. The First Amendment applies to the government, obviously, but it can also apply to agents of the government, people who are acting on the government's behest. You now have the company itself saying, yeah, we did become an agent of the FBI. We were being directed by the FBI. And that makes things tougher for people who have really struggled to tell the public there is nothing to see here. And one of the things that is most disturbing, quite frankly, is that, when these files came out, the FBI attacked many of us who were raising free speech concerns and called all of us collectively conspiracy theorists spreading disinformation. It was highly inappropriate, because the FBI has said that combatting disinformation is one of its priorities. So, it's a menacing thing when you have the largest law enforcement agency attacking free speech advocates."

David French, who has previously claimed that corporations' rights to free speech are greater than citizens' rights, now argues the government's right to "free speech" -- specifically, the "free speech" to demand censorship of citizen speech -- also trumps citizens' free speech rights.

David French @DavidAFrench The Twitter files discussion contains so little nuance because it hasn't distinguished different forms of government power. Lots of folks don't know this, but government actors have their own 1A rights even as they're constrained from violating the 1A rights of others. /1

We all know that.

We also know what you are eager to conceal: The government may not enlist a third party to do what the government itself is forbidden to do.

Such as censor citizen speech.

The government clearly has an interest in correcting misinformation that, for example, led to 300,000+ excess deaths due to vaccine refusal, or misinformation that led to the storming of the Capitol on 1/6. Thus, it makes sense that it would take action in response. /2

"The government clearly has an interest in correcting what the government claims is misinformation."


You do realize that historically, the tonic for "bad speech" has been "more speech" -- speech which corrects what is purportedly erroneous speech -- not censorship of the claimed "bad speech," don't you, Dipshit Blogger?

Nothing prevents the government from "correcting" "misinformation" by publishing its own white papers and fact-checks.

But that's not what they did.

They censored.

And you're claiming, "Of course the American government has a clear interest in censoring dissident views it doesn't approve of."

But you're All-In on the Left's new Big Idea of just outlawing any "misinformation" they don't like, huh?

Fucking Soviet c**t.

But the tools available to the government for correcting misinformation are limited, for good reason. The government itself is often a font of misinformation, both deliberate and accidental. Sometimes it lies. Sometimes it makes mistakes. The 1A is vital in this context. /3

It prevents the government from engaging in coercive viewpoint discrimination and using its police power to dictate the boundaries of the marketplace of ideas. This is the 1A as a shield against government power. But that does not leave the government helpless. /4

At the same time, the 1A also gives the government a powerful sword--its own speech. In fact, it's hard to imagine an elected government without its own voice. We often even consider the power of a person's voice when we vote for them, not just their policies. /5

This is pure dishonesty. He's deliberately conflating two entirely different things: Of course government officials have the right to speak publicly. We expect officials to speak publicly.

French is dishonestly pretending the FBI and "Other Government Agency" (the CIA) were speaking publicly here, like Trump at a rally.

Of course they were not. They were applying pressure secretly. All of this supposed public speech French is talking about was hidden and in fact denied to exist until Elon Musk released these documents.

That's why courts protect the 1A rights of the government *and* private citizens. At the same time, however, there is recognition that "jawboning"--government efforts to convince or cajole private actors to change their behavior--can cross the line from convincing to coercing. /6

You're also not allowed to enlist a private third party to do what the government itself cannot do. Funny you keep forgetting that.

FYI, Dipshit Blogger: The FBI was paying twitter to censor. That's a pretty clear indicator of a client/agent relationship.

The case law generally grants public officials pretty wide latitude to jawbone away. Even public officials with direct regulatory authority are granted considerable leeway. In fact, I think the state of the caselaw in some circuits is too permissive. /7

It's too willing to overlook comments that look a lot like implied threats. For example, I hope SCOTUS hears the NRA's appeal from a decision holding that "guidance letters" issued by NY's financial regulators were government speech and not coercive

But even SCOTUS clarifies its doctrine to draw sharper lines, the government is still going to have considerable leeway to try to convince or persuade private actors to modify their conduct (such as when the government tries to convince a paper not to publish classified info.) /9

Again, this is another case of deliberate deception and conflation -- French here is talking about the government "jawboning" a paper into limiting its own speech based on its own sense of patriotism, not demanding that an organization censor someone else's speech because the government says it's wrongspeech.

And the government's case for protecting national security secrets relies on the paradigmatic example of "troop movements" -- information of such specificity that it has virtually no value to a citizen in making decisions about public policy, but which would be of great value to an enemy targeting American troops.

One of the bits of "information" the government demanded to be censored was a chart from its own CDC showing how few children faced serious threat from covid. This wasn't misinformation -- it was just inconvenient to the "vaccinate the children, vaccinate everyone" propaganda operation the government was running.

And this information was obviously highly useful to any American making choices about vaccinating his children, or voting for officials who would mandate vaccinations for his children.

David French claims that the government "jawboning" Twitter (and all other tech monopolies) into censoring this information is just like the government asking a newspaper, "Hold back on reporting this for forty eight hours until our troops have left the area, and we promise you an exclusive interview with the mission leader."

French is here pretending that the government demanding that Twitter censor true medical information the government finds inconvenient to its propaganda efforts is on the same plane of the "public not needing to know" as the exact coordinates of a SEAL team operating behind enemy lines.

This man is a lost soul, and a corrupted soul.

And possibly corrupted, in the literal way?

I don't know who's on who's pad, but I do know that a lot of "conservative" influencers take positions that just coincidentally offer the highest payouts.

We must pass laws forcing all political influencers to disclose any payors who might be influencing their influencing. Instagram forces all influencers to disclose if their messages are paid endorsements; the FTC fines people for failing to disclose if a statement is paid for or not.

And yet political influencers, like David French, are immune to such laws of simple disclosure.

No matter what the question, he always finds himself making the case for the very deep-pocketed, very throw-their-money around tech sector.

Is this a coincidence?

Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. Three times is undisclosed sponsorship.

In a previous life a long time ago I had a satirical blog that listed friends of the blog as "Enemies of Government Freedom".

It was a joke... sort of. And now we're living it.
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