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Daily Wire, The Federalist, Ken Paxton sue Biden admin. over ‘egregious’ censorship scheme

Published in Blog on December 06, 2023 by Jakob Fay

Conservative alternative media outlets The Daily Wire and The Federalist joined with the state of Texas, through its Attorney General, Ken Paxton, in a lawsuit targeting the U.S. Department of State and other key figures in the Biden administration over alleged attempts at censorship.

According to the document filed on Tuesday, the State Department has abused its power via the Global Engagement Center (GEC), using the international anti-propaganda agency to crack down on its own citizens’ First Amendment rights. The plaintiffs in the case call to “halt one of the most egregious government operations to censor the American press in the history of the nation,” describing the attacks as “audacious,” “manipulative,” and “secretive.”

“Since the Founding,” the lawsuit states, “Americans have relied on a free and open press to provide a check on government abuses. The independence of the press from government licensing or control was so central to this nation’s founding that many of the former colonies incorporated declarations into their state constitutions.”

It goes on to describe how most Americans now get their news from digital media. However, “As the new media gained strength, the federal government, upon information and belief, conspired with the legacy media, technology giants, social media companies, and software and technology developers to censor the press that do not adhere to the preferred views of federal officials.” They refer to this partnership as a “vast and unprecedented government-censorship complex unparalleled in American history.”

While the GEC was formed in 2011 specifically to counter international terrorist propaganda, the agency, with the help of Joe Biden’s Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, has since turned to censoring domestic speech unfavorable to the administration.

Earlier this year, the GEC listed The Daily Wire, The Federalist, and other popular right-leaning sites as among the ten internet news sources with the “highest level of disinformation.” Reportedly, it then shared the list with would-be advertisers, effectively urging them to, as the Washington Examiner reported, “defund conservative media.”

For the federal government to be involved in this anti-free speech endeavor in any way is shocking and inappropriate. As New Civil Liberties Alliance’s General Counsel Mark Chenoweth put it, “the federal government cannot do indirectly what the First Amendment forbids it from doing directly.”

Although unrelated, this week’s lawsuit followed reports that the FBI had arrested a conservative actor shortly after he attended a Daily Wire movie premiere. A GiveSendGo account for Siaka Massaquoi, who also serves as vice-chair of the Republican Party of Los Angeles, claims that he was arrested at the airport with his pregnant wife while returning from The Daily Wire event in Nashville. Although his wife was not shown an arrest warrant at the time, she was informed that the charges were related to her husband’s presence at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021, raising questions as to why he wasn’t arrested until almost three years later.

One thing is clear — the Biden administration is leveraging the awesome powers of the federal government to conduct a “secret,” backhanded war against conservative speech, opinions, and information. To join us in dismantling this dangerous “government-censorship complex,” sign the Convention of States petition below.

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