Saturday, July 31, 2021

Jonathan Turley On 'The License Of The Censor'

Our national degradation proceeds apace. Jonathan Turley weighs in on the suspension by Twitter of Alex Berenson but the non-suspension of the NYT and the WaPo. It makes for a good read, and here's a fair excerpt:

Twitter Suspends Science Writer After He Posts Results Of Pfizer Clinical Test

Authored by Jonathan Turley,

Just yesterday, we discussed the censoring of a commentator by Twitter for merely expressing an opinion over the need for a “pause” on any federal mandates on Covid-19 as new research is studied.

Now, a former New York Times science reporter, Alex Berenson, has been suspended for simply quoting the results from a clinical trial by Pfizer and raising questions over any vaccine mandate. In the meantime, the White House accused both the Washington Post and New York Times of irresponsible reporting on Covid, but surprisingly Twitter has not suspended those accounts.  It is the license of the censor. Twitter is unwilling to let people read or discuss viewpoints that it disagrees with as a corporation. Many on the left, however, have embraced the concept of corporate speech and censorship. It turns out that the problem with censorship for many was the failure to censor views that they opposed. With the “right” censors at work, the free speech concerns have been set aside.


Berenson has been effectively confined to Substack by Big Tech due to his discussing dissenting views on the science surrounding Covid-19. His latest offense against Big Tech came when he posted the results published by Pfizer of its own clinical data. He claimed that the research showed little difference in morality [sic! :-)] between those in the trial with a vaccine and those given a placebo.


In the meantime, the White House sent out an all caps [i.e., ALL CAPS] condemnation for “completely irresponsible” reporting on the infliction of vaccinated people according to another study.

Ben Wakana, deputy director of strategic communications and engagement for the White House, blasted the Washington Post over its headline about a study of a COVID-19 outbreak in Provincetown, Massachusetts on July 4th. ...

Now all three posters (Berenson, The Post, and The Times) were citing studies and accused on not putting them into context. However, only Berenson was suspended.

Obviously, none of these posters should be suspended and Twitter should not be enforcing one of the largest censorship programs in history. However, the silence of free speech supports, academics, and journalists to this hypocrisy is deafening.

The rise of corporate censors has combined with a heavily pro-Biden media to create the fear of a de facto state media that controls information due to a shared ideology rather than state coercion. That concern has been magnified by demands from Democratic leaders for increased censorship, including censoring political speech, and now word that the Biden Administration has routinely been flagging material to be censored by Facebook.

I missed an earlier Turley article that eloquently addressed what's going on in plain view--Big Brother conducting its censorship through the intermediary of a pack of corporate Little Brothers.

It's a threadbare and hypocritical excuse for censorship that fools no one, and it's part of the shame of the Roberts Court that it has declined to address this pressing issue in a timely fashion--and continues to do so, even after the addition of Justices Amy and Brett.

Here is another pretty fair sized excerpt from Turley's earlier article, which dates back to May 10--the title doesn't do justice to the substance:

Free Speech Inc.: How Democrats Have Found A New But Shaky Faith In Corporate Speech


Welcome to Free Speech, Inc.: the Democratic incorporation of free speech built around the a presumption of corporate censorship (for some).

Of course, Democrats insist they are not attacking free speech, just combating “disinformation.” After all, they say, private companies have every right to control speech — unless you are, say, a bakery opposed to preparing a cake for a same-sex wedding, or a company contributing to political causes. The current mantra defending Facebook’s corporate speech rights seems strikingly out of sync with years of Democrats and political activists demanding the curtailment of such rights.


When free speech concerns are raised over corporate censorship, Democrats often drop references to “free speech” violations and instead address “First Amendment” violations. ...


What Turley is addressing here is the argument that the First Amendment applies only to government action, and so cannot be applied to private corporations like Facebook and Twitter. It is this threadbare logic that he proceeds to attack:


... Stanford Law Professor Michael McConnell dismissed such concerns by insisting that the First Amendment does not apply to Facebook ...

The First Amendment is not the full or exclusive embodiment of free speech, however. It addresses just one of the dangers to free speech posed by government regulation. Many of us view free speech as a human right. Corporate censorship of social media clearly impacts free speech, and replacing Big Brother with a cadre of Little Brothers actually allows for far greater control of free expression.

This is even more concerning when politicians openly pressure companies to increase censorship. In one hearing last year, Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) actually warned Big Tech CEOs that he and his colleagues were watching to be sure there was no “backsliding or retrenching” from “robust content modification.”


In fact, it's well established that government cannot hide behind such subterfuges--if government coerces censorship by private companies, that amounts for legal purposes to illegal abridgement of free speech.


Obviously, these politicians would insist that the Masterpiece Cakeshop case is about discrimination while the Facebook controversy is about disinformation. However, some of us have long viewed all of these controversies as about free speech. Indeed, taking a free speech approach avoids the hypocrisy on both sides.

Under a free speech approach, cakeshop owners have a right to refuse to prepare cakes that offend their deep-felt values, including religious, political or social values. ... While these bakers cannot discriminate in selling prepared cakes, the act of decorating a cake is a form of expression, and requiring such preparation is a form of compelled speech.


Free speech also allows the rest of us to oppose these businesses over their policies. We have a right to refuse to subsidize or support companies that engage in racial or content discrimination. Thus, with social media companies, Congress should not afford these companies legal immunity or other protections when they engage in censorship.

These companies once were viewed as neutral platforms for people to exchange views — people who affirmatively “friend” or invite the views of others. If Big Tech wants to be treated like a telephone company, it must act like a telephone company. We wouldn’t tolerate AT&T interrupting calls to object to some misleading conversation, or cutting the line for those who misinform others.

As a neutral platform for communications, telephone companies receive special legal and economic status under our laws. Yet, it sometimes seems Facebook wants to be treated like AT&T but act like the DNC.



  1. "Thanks to the Pfizer vaccine, which uses MRNA technology to instruct human cells to carry out “a certain task” 5 people are now blind and a further 31 have had their vision impaired. In total there have been 634 eye disorders reported so far.":

    The tables:

  2. asking a favor, for a friend - report from Texas and from panhandle of Florida of covid 'on the ground' - close friends in Texas all came down with covid over this weekend (family of 4), and one of the parents is now in ICU with bad case of pneumonia, not in one of 3 risk groups, and was in a shop this morning in NW Florida, murmurs in stores by locals of the ventilators in local hospital filled, 'that it's coming back...' - any other local updates or anecdotes from 'the field'?

    imho, just more reason to get iver from the many sources shared here (we used my free with great success, super easy), to have on hand for if/when we get it - really, not trying to avoid it b/c we want the natural immunity, and better now than later right?
    sand in the gears...

  3. I agree wholeheartedly Tom. Natural immunity is best.
    God is in control,

  4. Turley is making sound argument, what I note and he is not getting into is that this type of coordination is by classic definition true fascism. Unfortunately that subject label has been so misapplied and beaten like a dead horse that if falls on deaf ears today.

    The other thing that comes to mind is that this is less about the obvious censorship of voices and more about the classic strategy of information warfare.

    psychological operations - I don't think anyone could doubt the motive, but you're welcome to argue it. Not just the fear factor but also the overselling of hopium, the false savor that can only come from government.

    electronic warfare - That's our medium of choice here, from news to social media and everything in between.

    military deception - Can we say this yet conclusively? I think we can when you look at out upper brass and their constant infection into politics, yes. Specifically in the subject of covid by pushing mandatory vaccination on troops. It seems more of a weeding process of identification than a health initiative.

    physical destruction - There has been plenty of this going around for some time in the classic sense of rioting. But what about the destruction of data, an individual's life, careers?

    security measures - We have seen dozens of over reactive measures put into place. The easiest has been the walling off of our nations capitol. Specifically to covid the means to control people, places and things. Face to face interaction, gathering, worship, etc.

    information attacks - Gaslighting anyone!?! Killing off a data driven narrative and replacing it with political science?

    It's classic IO, PSYOPS and MILDEC.