12 Mar 2023 Horace Cooper and Paul Teller: How Big Tech Censorship Harms Black Americans
Free Speech is and always has been the foundation of American democracy. Our founding fathers knew better than anyone that it was one of the most powerful tools against tyranny, which is why the world over, then and now, free speech is nowhere to be found in nations where the people aren’t free.
Naturally, the First Amendment remains one of, if not, the most important elements of the Bill of Rights for preserving our freedom and keeping the federal government in check. Our Constitution and its protection of freedom of speech is the envy of many nations. Thus, it is all the more disappointing that American corporations – especially Big Tech seem so eager to dispense with it.
Just last year, a report from the Media Research Center found more than 640 instances of bans, deleted content and restrictions placed on social media accounts that criticized Biden over the previous two years. Posts that were punished did not even need to be actual “disinformation.” The Heritage Foundation, for instance, was censored by Facebook for explaining that high gas prices and inflation were a result of Biden administration policies. Big Tech bans against speech from conservatives have even gone so far as to target conservative comedians on YouTube and posts that selected Joe Biden quotes that made him look bad.
The mission to snuff out “disinformation” at the expense of free expression is shared by both Big Tech and the Biden administration.
After the release of the “Twitter Files,” it was clear that Twitter began functioning as a subsidiary to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, spreading Russian propaganda to create a cover to dismiss the Hunter Biden laptop story, and locking out conservatives like Kayleigh McEnaney from their accounts for speaking out of turn.
And as it turns out, the State Department has sent over $300 million dollars to a non-profit that funds the British owned Global Disinformation Index (GDI). The GDI feeds blacklists to ad companies with the intent of starving websites and outlets that peddle “disinformation.” The list includes the conservative Washington Examiner and at least 2,000 other websites. The GDI also reportedly attempted to convince companies to punish conservative websites that suggested the coronavirus may have leaked from a lab in Wuhan, which has now been backed by the Energy Department and the FBI.
GDI also listed the 10 “riskiest” news organizations including the New York Post. The freedom of the press is very much at stake.
In a lawsuit filed last year, state officials named Joe Biden, the Surgeon General, the head of the Department of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas and many others as defendants. The lawsuit alleges that the federal government threatened Big Tech companies to censor conservative speech in ways that they could not. But the untold story is how willing these corporations were to carry out these tasks as reports show they worked in tandem to censor conservative views online. The censorship even included biblical viewpoints on marriage, sexuality and gender.
Americans, especially black households, suffer as a result of the extreme censorship of Big Tech.
Families that can’t afford to pay for subscriptions to news organization sites like the Wall Street Journal, the New York Post or the Washington Times, rely on social media to get badly needed information about the issues and public policy debates of the day. Censorship means that task is harder and biased. And because black households tend to have lower incomes, they need this access most.
Sadly, many on the Left are still willing to dismiss this on the basis that it is “necessary to protect American democracy.” This line of thought, unsurprisingly, has become the unique calling card of the progressive Left, and is often used to justify unprecedented levels of government control that ignore public consent, ultimately hurting Americans and especially black Americans.
Just like the myth that black people are not capable of getting an ID, posts and reports that reveal a record number of blacks voted in the last election in Georgia are treated as disinformation by Big Tech.
Ultimately, what the Left fails to understand is that free speech is, as Fredrick Douglass put it, “The dread of tyrants.” Many malevolent rulers across the globe wish they operated in an environment where Big Tech and progressives were working together to limit free speech.
When we cede power to the federal government and Big Tech to restrict speech, everyone loses. Black Americans and America at large have nothing to gain from giving others more power over how they think, speak or see.
Horace Cooper is chairman of Project 21 and a board member at the National Center for Public Policy Research. Paul Teller is the Executive Director of Advancing American Freedom, Mike Pence’s nonprofit organization. This first appeared at The Daily Caller.