Biden Administration Partnered with Big Tech to Suppress Dissenting Opinions: Senator
The Biden administration has turned the federal government into a “vast censorship enterprise” intent on silencing dissenting opinions, U.S. Senator Eric Schmitt (R-Mo.) said Thursday.
“The federal government [has] engaged in a vast censorship enterprise, colluding, cajoling, and pressuring Big Tech,” Schmitt told Family Research Council President Tony Perkins on “Washington Watch,” asserting that the world’s largest social media companies “willingly” went along with the government demands.
“And these are some of the biggest companies in the history of the world to suppress the speech of millions of Americans,” Schmitt said.
Schmitt has been investigating the federal government’s efforts to eliminate contrary viewpoints before Missouri voters elected him to the U.S. Senate last November. In a suit Schmitt filed against the federal government while he was attorney general of Missouri, he alleged the Biden administration had “colluded with/and or coerced social media companies to suppress disfavored speakers, viewpoints, and content on social media platforms.” The state of Louisiana joined with Missouri in the May 12 complaint, Missouri v. Biden.
Schmitt told FRC’s Perkins that the lawsuit might just be the “most important civil liberties free speech case we've had in generations.”
“The federal government, with its vast power and authority, colluding with some of the biggest companies in the history of the world, ought to scare everybody in this country, regardless of what your political affiliation,” Schmitt told Perkins. “It's a very dangerous road to go down.”
When the House Judiciary Committee’s Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government met in late March, Schmitt was a star witness.
In written testimony before the subcommittee, Schmitt said: “The Biden Administration has led the largest speech censorship operation in recent American history. Since taking office, President Biden and his team have labored to suppress viewpoints with which they disagree. And in so doing, they have infringed upon the individual freedoms of millions of Americans.”
Schmitt told Perkins the censorship was widespread from the restriction on the voices of medical experts who questioned then-White House Chief Medical Advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci’s statements to government actors who claimed Hunter Biden’s laptop was simply Russian disinformation.
“They knew the laptop existed. And it wasn't a fake story,” Schmitt said of the facts that are now public.
“This laid the groundwork for the censorship that followed,” he continued, explaining the Big Tech companies had weekly censorship meetings.
Schmitt said the coordination was incredibly refined and purposeful: “They had a special portal. The surgeon general of the United States was texting a senior Facebook official demanding things be taken down. And then the response was, ‘Okay, we took it down. What else can we do?’”
“It’s important for people to understand the federal government can’t censor speech,” Schmitt stressed, adding, “That, of course, violates the First Amendment. They also can’t outsource that censorship to third parties, which is exactly what they were doing here.”
Perkins noted that the FBI had the Hunter Biden laptop before the presidential election, and that they made the decision to tell social media companies to “shut down this [news] because it’s a part of Russian disinformation.”
“So they were lying?” Perkins said tongue-in-cheek.
“In 2020, leading up to the presidential election, the FBI had monthly and weekly meetings with Big Tech companies,” Schmitt agreed. “The FBI has no business being involved with elections like that, especially in the sense that they had the laptop. Who knows what people would have done with it?”
“Whether it’s information about masks, whether it’s information about vaccines, whether it’s information about the origins of COVID, whether it’s information about the Hunter Biden laptop story, whatever it is — the people in this country get to decide how they weigh that [viewpoint] versus other information and how they make their decisions,” Schmitt insisted.
“They’re going to vote. The government should not be making these decisions about what people can hear,” he added.
“No one has had the chance to look under the hood before — now we do,” Schmitt tweeted July 12 after the U.S. District Court of Western Louisiana granted Schmitt and the other plaintiffs the rights to discovery of federal government documents related to the case.
The states of Missouri and Louisiana decided to sue the federal government over these free speech issues involving social media, taking a different tack than earlier cases. Schmitt explained to Perkins that typically these suits would be filed in courts based in California in a “liberal jurisdiction” where the Big Tech companies are located and the cases were “never to be seen again.”
“We took a different approach. We sued the federal government. And so it wasn’t a private company. We were suing the federal government for actual censorship” Schmitt said, noting the legal discovery process so far has reaped “bombshell revelations.”
Yet undoing the damage that has already been done cannot be accomplished with a quick fix, Schmitt said.
“We just have to fundamentally dismantle the administrative state,” he said, suggesting there are too many bureaucrats in the federal government that are not accountable to anyone, but who hold sway over institutions that can stifle dissent and free speech.
“We have to change that dynamic,” he concluded.
K.D. Hastings and his family live in the beautiful hills of Middle Tennessee. He has been engaged in the evangelical world as a communicator since 1994.