The Censorship ‘Switchboard’: A New Layer to the Biden Administration’s ‘Orwellian Ministry of Truth’
Free speech is in a free fall as millions embrace censorship as a political cause, including some now running for federal office on a pledge to silence others. One of the most alarming aspects of this period has been the emergence of a type of triumvirate of censorship, an alliance of government, academic, and media corporations. Together they have established the most comprehensive censorship system in the history of this country.
That system is being forced out into the public by the investigation of House committees. This week the House Judiciary Committee released a 103-page staff report on the academic prong of the triumvirate. What is most chilling about this report is that it adds yet another layer of government-supported speech controls. It also reflects a conscious and coordinated effort to carry out censorship through allies in a labyrinth of academic and public interest groups.
Earlier this year, I testified at the first hearing by the special committee investigating the censorship system. I warned that there was ample evidence of a system based on “censorship by surrogate” where government agencies used academic and media allies to silence those with opposing views.
The latest report reveals details of the critical role played by government officials in “switchboarding” the censorship system by channeling demands for removal or bans from state and local officials. In addition to the direct targeting of individuals by federal agencies, switchboarding allowed the agencies to operate as a control tower in this sprawling system.
This switchboarding system was confirmed by Brian Scully of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) in the Department of Homeland Security. CISA has emerged as one of the critical control centers in this system.
CISA head Jen Easterly declared that her agency’s mandate over critical infrastructure would be extended to include “our cognitive infrastructure.” That includes not just “disinformation” and “misinformation,” but combating “malinformation” – described as information “based on fact, but used out of context to mislead, harm, or manipulate.”
Despite the determined opposition by Democratic members and the Biden Administration, the investigation has revealed a wide array of grants to academic and third party organizations to create blacklists or to pressure advertisers to withdraw suppo
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