Choosing not to Understand

The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals has broadened an existing injunction that bars various Federal agencies from colluding with social media to censor speech to include the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency. The court wrote, in part,

CISA used its frequent interactions with social-media platforms to push them to adopt more restrictive policies on censoring election-related speech. And CISA officials affirmatively told the platforms whether the content they had “switchboarded” was true or false….
Thus, when the platforms acted to censor CISA-switchboarded content, they did not do so independently. Rather, the platforms’ censorship decisions were made under policies that CISA has pressured them into adopting and based on CISA’s determination of the veracity of the flagged information. Thus, CISA likely significantly encouraged the platforms’ content-moderation decisions and thereby violated the First Amendment[.]

Here’s the Federal government’s overt decision to not understand the matter of free speech as it appeals the ruling to the Supreme Court [paraphrased by Fox News]:

the government faced “irreparable harm” because [5th Circuit Federal Judge Terry, who ordered the first injunction] Doughty’s order may prevent the federal government from “working with social media companies on initiatives to prevent grave harm to the American people and our democratic processes.

This is, to use the legal jargon’s term, a steaming crock. The order in no way bars the Federal government—its bureaucrats and its political appointees—from working with social media companies. It only bars the Federal government’s from defining what speech constitutes “grave harm,” and it bars those personnel from pressuring social media to implement those definitions and then to censor speech based on those definitions.

The order in no way bars the Federal government’s personnel from working with social media companies to publish, also (not instead of), those folks’ own, answering, speech that debates the information an original speaker has offered and with which the Federal government’s bureaucrats or politicians disagree.

The Biden administration personnel know that full well; hence their conscious decision to pretend to not understand the basic principle of free speech and why the Federal government is Constitutionally barred from interfering with it. The grave harm stems from those government personnel’s attempt to disregard the First Amendment.

The 5th Circuit’s ruling can be read here.

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