For those of us who have been critical of the growing anti-free speech movement in the Democratic Party, the Biden transition team just took an ominous turn. The New York Post reports that Biden tapped Richard Stengel to take the “team lead” position on the US Agency for Global Media, including Voice of America, the Middle East Broadcasting Networks and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. As I previously addressed in a column, Stengel has been one of the most controversial figures calling for censorship and speech controls. For a president-elect who just called for everyone to “hear each other,” he picked a top aide who wants to silence many. Since it would be difficult to select a more anti-free speech figure to address government media policy, one has to assume that Biden will continue the onslaught against this core freedom as president. This is not the first Biden aide to indicate a crackdown on free speech in the new Administration and Biden himself has called for greater censorship on the Internet.
Last year, Stengel wrote a chilling Washington Post op-ed that denounced free speech as a threat to social and political harmony. Like a number of liberal and Democratic figures, Stengel struggled to convince readers that what they need is less freedom: “All speech is not equal. And where truth cannot drive out lies, we must add new guardrails. I’m all for protecting ‘thought that we hate,’ but not speech that incites hate.”
It is the European view that has destroyed free speech on that continent. We have previously discussed the alarming rollback on free speech rights in the West, (here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here). It is a trend that seems now to be find support in the media, which celebrated the speech of French President Emmanuel Macron before Congress where he called on the United States to follow the model of Europe on hate speech.
In January, Biden called for greater speech controls on the Internet and denounced Twitter for allowing others to speak freely. In insisted that tolerating such views in the name of free speech is same as “propagating falsehoods they know to be false.” Biden called for companies to bar Trump views on such things as mail-in voting as an invitation for fraud. He is not alone. Congressional leaders like House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff have called for labeling and removal of material with some members directly threatening a legislative crackdown. This week, Speaker Nancy Pelosi denounced Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg for resisting speech monitoring and censorship as a matter of free speech. Pelosi lashed out that those who want to preserve a free speech zone are “all about making money,” ignoring free speech advocates who have no financial interest in these companies. Pelosi said that opposing such monitoring means that social media companies simply want “to make money at the expense of the truth and the facts” and are trying to “hide under the freedom of speech.”
Who knew the Left was so hilarious? I wrote an article yesterday about a recent interview with “funnyman” David Letterman in which he took issue with Donald Trump calling the media the “enemy of the people.” Letterman said, with a straight face: “The press educates and informs people.” Funniest thing I read all day.
Today’s comedy bit comes from MSNBC host Hallie Jackson, who asked Robert Gibbs, one of former-President Obama’s press secretaries, how Joe Biden as president could fight against conservative media bias. [ROFL emoji] Yep, the jokes just keep coming.
Ladies and gentlemen, stand-up comic, Hallie Jackson:
“I want to ask you about something the president (Obama) said in an interview with The Atlantic… He talks about this knowledge crisis he believes we’re entering. If quote, ‘We don’t have the capacity to distinguish what’s true from what’s false, then by definition the marketplace of ideas doesn’t work and by definition, our democracy doesn’t work.’ (A call for censorship)
“That’s interesting in light of the fact that we’re seeing more fringe networks, more conservative social media platforms pop up and get more popular in the wake of the election as Politico puts it, ‘trying to be at the center is an impulse for confirmation bias,’ right, according to misinformation and extremist researchers.
“I wonder as someone who’s dealt with the media and knows President Obama, where we are as a country right now, looking for information? How you see this sort of conservative confirmation bias if it exists shaking out?“
As Jon Gabriel tweets, “You’ll never see anyone angrier on Twitter than Democrats after winning an election.”
You’ll never see anyone angrier on Twitter than Democrats after winning an election.
— jon gabriel (@exjon) November 8, 2020