by Kari Donovan
July 21, 2022
OPINION: This article contains commentary which may reflect the author’s opinion
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Dr. Anthony Fauci, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, other Biden administration officials, and five social media companies have 30 days to respond to subpoenas in a major lawsuit alleging the actors colluded to suppress the freedom of speech of Americans.
Missouri Republican Attorney General Eric Schmitt and Louisiana Republican Attorney General Jeff Landry were granted permission to proceed with the discovery phase of the trial last week in a ruling by U.S. District Court Judge Terry Doughty.
“Missouri and Louisiana just filed suit against Joe Biden, Jen Psaki, Dr. Fauci, and other top-ranking officials for allegedly colluding with social media companies to suppress freedom of speech under the guise of combating “misinformation,” Schmitt posted about the lawsuit in early May.
“The lawsuit, filed, alleges that the Biden Administration colluded with and pressured social media giants Meta, Twitter, and Youtube to suppress and censor free speech on topics like the Hunter Biden laptop story, the Lab Leak Theory, and more,” Schmitt said, adding “Here are just a few examples included in the lawsuit that show that top ranking government officials colluded with social media companies to censor and suppress freedom of speech”:
“Over a year and a half later, the Washington Post and the NY Times acknowledged the truth and reliability of the story, but not before the damage was done and free speech was suppressed by Twitter and companies, Schmitt said in his thread introducing the lawsuit.
“Beginning in February 2020, Facebook and other social media platforms began aggressively censoring speech about the Lab Leak Theory, and Facebook updated its content moderation on COVID-19 to include “false” and “debunked” claims that COVID-19 was man-made or manufactured,” Schmitt said.
According to the lawsuit, Dr. Anthony Fauci, who as director of the NIAID funded “gain of function” research, was exchanging emails with Mark Zuckerberg regarding “public messaging and the dissemination of COVID-19 information on social-media.”
In a March 15, 2020 email, Zuckerberg proposed to coordinate with Fauci to “make sure people can get authoritative information from reliable sources” and proposed including a video message from Fauci because “people trust and want to hear from experts.”
According to UnHerd, Facebook slapped “warnings” on posts related to the veracity of the Lab Leak Theory, and Facebook itself claimed, “when people saw those warning labels, 95% of the time they did not go on to view the original content.”
As a candidate, Joe Biden repeatedly threatened social media companies for not doing enough to combat “misinformation.” In a January 17, 2020 interview with the New York Times editorial board, then-candidate Biden stated that Section 230 of the CDA should be “revoked.”
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Only after major media outlets confirmed that COVID-19 escaping from a lab is a feasible possibility did Facebook and others stop censoring speech related to the Lab Leak Theory. Even the WSJ writes, “Facebook acted in lockstep with the government.”
According to the lawsuit, “Candidate Biden also threatened that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg should be subject to civil liability and even criminal prosecution for not censoring such core political speech.”
Further, “In or around June 2020, the Biden campaign published an open letter and online petition calling for Facebook to engage in more aggressive censorship of core political speech.”
Even further, “On September 28, 2020, the Biden-Harris campaign sent a letter to Facebook accusing it of propagating a ‘storm of disinformation’ by failing to censor the Trump campaign’s political speech, including social-media political ads.”
Just the News reported on the update to the lawsuit this week:
In addition to Fauci, who announced earlier this week he would retire in 2025, and Jean-Pierre, discovery requests were served to ask for information and documents from the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Jen Easterly and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, and Nina Jankowicz, who led the DHS Disinformation Governance Board until it was disbanded. Third-party subpoenas were served to Twitter, YouTube, Meta, Instagram and LinkedIn.
A media release from Schmitt, a candidate for the Republican Party’s nomination for the seat of retiring U.S. Senator Roy Blunt, said information was requested in identifying all communications with any social media platform relating to content modulation and/or misinformation.
The suit requests all communications with Mark Zuckerberg from Jan. 1, 2020, to the present. Also requested were any communications to any social media platform relating to the “Great Barrington Declaration,” a letter published in October 2020 in response to COVID-19 policies that recommended “focused protection” — an approach to reaching herd immunity by allowing those at minimal risk of death to live normal lives by building up immunity through natural infection while protecting those at highest risk.
“Earlier this month, a federal court granted our motion for expedited discovery, allowing us to collect important documents from Biden Administration officials. Yesterday, we served discovery requests and today served third-party subpoenas to do exactly that. We will fight to get to the bottom of this alleged collusion and expose the suppression of freedom of speech by social-media giants at the behest of top-ranking government officials.”