Federal judge rejects feds' attempt to get out of censorship fight

March 20, 2023
by
World Net Daily

This story was originally published by the WND News Center.

A federal judge has rejected the federal government's attempt to get rid of a censorship lawsuit that Joe Biden faces.

According to a report from the New Civil Liberties Alliance, Judge Terry A. Doughty of the U.S. district court for the Western District of Louisiana rejected permission sought by the government for the case to be dismissed.

NCLA represents renowned epidemiologists Drs. Jay Bhattacharya and Martin Kulldorff, as well as Dr. Aaron Kheriaty and Ms. Jill Hines, in the lawsuit, the State of Missouri et al v. Joseph Biden.

It already "has exposed an elaborate, multi-agency federal government censorship regime," the legal team said.

In fact, Doughty said, "The court finds that the complaint alleges significant encouragement and coercion that converts the otherwise private conduct of censorship on social media platforms into state action, and is unpersuaded by defendants’ arguments to the contrary."

NCLA reported that discovery already underway in the case "unequivocally" established that at least 11 federal agencies and sub-agencies, including the Centers for Disease Control and the Department of Homeland Security, ordered, "social media companies to censor viewpoints that conflict with the federal government’s messaging on topics ranging from COVID-19 to elections."

NCLA reported, "Federal officials engaged in a lawless, expansive censorship campaign that employed illicit tactics – including coercion, collusion, and coordination – on social media companies to suppress the airing of disfavored perspectives on COVID-19 and other topics. As a direct result of state action, NCLA's clients were blacklisted, shadow-banned, de-boosted, throttled, and censored, merely for articulating views opposed to government-approved views…"

The judge ruled, "Plaintiffs have plausibly alleged state action under the theories of joint participation, entwinement, and the combining of factors such as subsidization, authorization, and encouragement."

He said, "The threat of future censorship is substantial, and the history of past censorship is strong evidence that the threat of further censorship is not illusory or merely speculative."

In a statement released through the NCLA, Bhattacharya said, "The U.S. government used its vast power over social media and big tech to censor legitimate scientific and policy discussion about Covid during the pandemic. This was a gross violation of basic American civil liberties. Had free speech been permitted instead, perhaps many fewer Americans would have been harmed by destructive and epidemiologically useless policies like lockdowns, school closures, vaccine discrimination, toddler masking, and much else. Missouri v. Biden is the most important First Amendment legal case in a generation, and I am pleased that it will be proceeding forward."

John Vecchione, senior litigation counsel with NCLA, added, "The court has seen through the government’s unrelenting efforts to deny responsibility for using its vast power to silence thousands upon thousands of Americans online, often removing factually true information the government did not like. The ruse that it was just a coincidence that all the tech companies silenced the same people saying the same things at the same time has been exposed for the canard it is. This was a whole-of-government effort to take true information from the public square, which the Constitution does not countenance."

Joe Biden was caught some months ago trying to establish a government "Disinformation Governance Board" that apparently would establish what opinions are allowed, but it was "disbanded" after word came of his scheme.

However, investigations into "disinformation" agendas on the part of the government already have confirmed U.S. officials, in fact, were funding, through two State Department-backed groups, the Global Disinformation Index of the U.K.

That group fed blacklists to ad companies, trying to force those with messages that disagreed with the Biden administration out of business.

WND’s longtime vice president and managing editor, David Kupelian, explains how the site that was begun in 1997 has been in the bull's eye.

"In late 2020, three major international online ad companies that had long served ads on WND – our main source of revenue and sustenance – all suddenly decided, at almost the exact same time, to cancel WND in the run-up to the most important presidential election of our lifetimes. The ad companies blacklisting WND – namely Xandr, TripleLift, and Teads – all cited vague breaches of their terms of service, including, and I quote, ‘any content that is illegal or otherwise contrary to any applicable law, regulation, directive, guideline or order, including without limitation any misleading, unethical, obscene, defamatory, deceptive, gambling-related or hateful content,’ etc. So it has nothing to do with 'disinformation.' If they don’t like your politics, you’re cancelled."

Dozens of other websites, including Epoch Times, Hannity, Washington Times, Lifezette, Bill O'Reilly, Daily Signal, Judicial Watch, Chicks on the Right, Mike Huckabee, OANN, RSB Network, Charlie Kirk, Glenn Beck, American Thinker, Townhall, Newsbusters, Wayne Dupree, Louder with Crowder, CNS, Twitchy, Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, Free Republic, Law Enforcement Today and Drudge also were targeted.

At the time, Johnson said, "Free speech is fundamental to preserving our liberty. … If taxpayer dollars are being used to censor voices because they are critical of the administration’s disastrous policies, every American should be concerned. We need to further investigate this potential First Amendment violation."

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