Ever since taking office, President Joe Biden has shown that he is not a fan of the First Amendment. Given his actions over the past three years, it has become clear that this administration is quite hostile to the notion that the government should not have the power to regulate speech.
In fact, Biden just might be the most anti-speech president in recent history.
The latest example showing the animus this administration has for free speech can be found in the revelation that the White House pressured Amazon to censor specific books for purely political reasons. Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) published materials showing that a former official leaned on Amazon to suppress content that went against the state-approved narrative on COVID-19 and the vaccines. RedState’s Bonchie wrote:
Rep. Jim Jordan released some of the details on Monday, which included former Biden official Andy Slavitt pressuring Amazon to censor books that questioned the efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccines.
As Jordan shows in the chain of emails, Amazon did hold off for a short period, but it wasn’t long before they relented to White House demands, censoring search results for books deemed to be “disinformation” regarding COVID-1.
THE AMAZON FILES – “feeling pressure from the White House”
— Rep. Jim Jordan (@Jim_Jordan) February 5, 2024
This is far from being an isolated incident. Indeed, even a quick glance at the Biden administration’s history would reveal that this is standard operating procedure. There has been a clear pattern of censorious conduct from this president that will likely only get worse if he wins a second term.
In July 2023, the extent to which the White House applied similar pressure to Facebook to censor content related to the pandemic. Information revealing a widespread concerted effort to influence public discourse on the coronavirus by limiting dissenting views was leaked, putting the administration’s anti-speech crusade on full display.
But it doesn’t stop there. The administration even went so far as to collude with a Ukrainian spy agency to censor American social media accounts.
A 27-page report released on Monday by the House Judiciary Committee revealed more alleged social media censorship from the Biden administration, this time in a concerning collaboration between the FBI and the Ukrainian spy agency the SBU to go after and flag U.S. social media accounts, including multiple journalists and even a U.S. State Department account.
The FBI was essentially doing the bidding of a foreign spy agency, according to the report, which should concern everyone. The report was based on subpoenaed documents.
Of course, we would be remiss to forget the ill-fated Disinformation Governance Board that was proposed by the Department of Homeland Security back in 2022. This was rightly seen as a not-so-subtle effort on the part of the White House to exert state control over what people are allowed to say and read online. Fortunately, there was enough of an outcry to get the administration to back off the idea – for now.
The Twitter Files exposed more widespread censorship efforts from the Biden White House. They showed that the FBI was actively pressuring the social media company to suppress certain viewpoints on COVID-19, the 2020 election, and others. It highlighted a disturbing level of influence over social media platforms and their content moderation policies.
The White House has not only directly pressured companies like Amazon, Facebook, Twitter, and others to crack down on speech. It has even paid private actors to promote censorship in these companies. Several nonprofit organizations claiming to combat misinformation and disinformation on the internet have received millions in funding from the State Department. However, their actual aim is to target conservative news sites and social media accounts for censorship and blacklisting.
Earlier this year, multiple reports surfaced focusing on these groups, which have been working with Big Tech companies for years to suppress opinions on issues like COVID-19, elections, and others. What was truly galling about this is that the State Department has been shelling out millions of taxpayer dollars to fund these groups’ efforts to silence those expressing opinions that are not government-approved:
Conservative media outlets and journalists are fighting a network of organizations working to kill their advertising revenue by slapping them with misinformation labels.
The World Federation of Advertisers and its subsidiary, the Global Alliance for Responsible Media or GARM, have led the charge in steering blue-chip advertisers away from news outlets whose content it subjectively deems harmful, sensitive or “misinformation.” The British-based Global Disinformation Index and the U.S. company NewsGuard also have developed lists and ratings systems that attack credibility and scare advertisers away from top conservative news outlets.
House investigators have questioned Biden administration officials about funding the efforts and subpoenaed two of the organizations to determine whether their practices are violating antitrust laws.
This is but a very small sampling of instances in which the Biden administration has sought to silence opinions and information being disseminated on Big Tech platforms and elsewhere. There are plenty more to choose from.
Even one of these incidents would be troubling. But the clear anti-speech pattern the White House has shown under President Biden reflects a disturbing trend towards authoritarianism under the guise of protecting the public. Indeed, those defending the president’s censorship initiatives might argue that this information should be suppressed for the good of the people, which is precisely the same argument other authoritarians have used to justify their violations of natural rights.
This problem will only get worse if Biden manages to win reelection. In his second term, he can get even more ambitious in his effort to expand the government in a way that allows it to dictate what we can and cannot say. At this point, it is apparent that this administration cares nothing for the Constitution and will do whatever it can to subvert the limitations it places on the government – especially when it comes to regulating speech.