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UPDATE: The Left’s War on Free Speech Continues

Posted on Friday, November 24, 2023
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by Shane Harris
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52 Comments

AMAC Exclusive – By Shane Harris

Close up of Censored free speech grunge concept

Even amid positive developments like a resurgence of free speech on X (formerly Twitter) and lawsuits against the Biden administration for colluding with Big Tech to intimidate, silence, and censor their political opponents, the left is continuing to double down on its efforts to weaponize government power to curb Americans’ First Amendment rights.

Greater public awareness about government attempts to silence free speech, thanks in large part to the Twitter Files and revelations from Republicans on the House Weaponization of Government Subcommittee, has meant that the left now has to rely on more subtle ways to implement their censorship operations. One of their favorite tactics is to use appeals to “public safety” concerns and warnings about “hate speech” as cover for mass surveillance and censorship.

Last week in New York, for instance, Governor Kathy Hochul unveiled a new “counterterrorism” effort to respond to a reported rise in anti-Semitic and anti-Islamic incidents in the Empire State – a legitimate concern that on the surface seems like it warrants a governmental response. The governor’s office specifically touted funding for investigations of suspected hate crimes and to deploy more state troopers to protect synagogues and other houses of worship.

But as part of the new program, Hochul also quietly allocated $700,000 to the Social Media Analysis Unit within the New York State Intelligence Fusion Center – a division of the New York State Police that works in coordination with federal intelligence agencies like the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI.

The Surveillance Technology Oversight Project (STOP) a government watchdog group dedicated to exposing unlawful censorship and free speech violations, called Hochul’s move a “gimmick” that further paves the way for “blanket social media surveillance.”

“As a Jewish man who has represented dozens of Muslim survivors of hate crimes, I know all too well how alarming the recent surge in anti-Semitic and Islamophobic threats have been, but these surveillance stunts are not the solution,” said STOP Executive Director Albert Fox Cahn. “For years we’ve been told that ever more invasive social media scraping will somehow magically keep us safe, predicting crimes before they happen. It’s failed.”

Shortly before the funding announcement, Hochul openly admitted that state law enforcement agencies were “ramping up” social media surveillance efforts. “We’re very focused on the data we’re collecting from surveillance efforts, what’s being said on social media platforms,” the governor said. “We have launched an effort to be able to counter some of the negativity and reach out to people when we see hate speech being spoken about on online platforms.”

For free speech advocates, that’s a chilling statement – that a state government is now “reaching out” to (read: directly threatening) citizens for things they post online.

As the case of conservative activist Douglass Mackey shows, the left has already taken things one step further and is prosecuting Americans for posting disfavored speech online. Earlier this week, Mackey was sentenced to seven months in federal prison for posting a joke about candidate Hillary Clinton online in 2016 – even though at least one liberal activist made the exact same joke about Trump and faced no consequences.

There has been no clearer example of the left’s ceaseless push to silence anyone they disagree with than the effort to silence former President Donald Trump. Following Trump’s challenges to the 2020 election, every major social media platform banned Trump’s accounts.

Now, amid a deluge of spurious lawsuits designed to keep Trump off the ballot in 2024 – and possibly send him to prison – Democrat prosecutors and partisan judges have placed a “gag order” on the former president to prevent him from defending himself publicly.

All of these developments are also occurring against the backdrop of an ongoing court case, Missouri v. Biden, where a federal judge has already found that the Biden administration “likely violated the First Amendment” by colluding with social media giants to shut down certain narratives disfavored by the Biden administration like the COVID-19 lab leak theory. Court documents show that Biden administration officials provided a veritable hit list of everyday Americans to Big Tech companies.

There are also some alarming signs that Democrats’ disregard and even open disdain for free speech is trickling down to their voters. According to public polling released by Pew Research earlier this year, 70 percent of self-identified Democrats support the government restricting what appears on social media in order to combat so-called “disinformation” – a subjective term that modern leftists use to refer to anything that doesn’t fit their narrative. Just 39 percent of self-identified Republicans surveyed by Pew said the same.

In September, another survey from RealClear Opinion Research found that a full 47 percent of Democrats – nearly a majority – believe that Americans should have a right to free speech “only under certain circumstances.” Meanwhile, 74 percent of Republicans said free speech rights should exist “under any circumstances.”

These survey results raise the troubling question of whether it is Democrat elites who are turning their supporters against free speech or the masses of Democrat voters who are signaling to their leaders that they no longer value the First Amendment.

If the latter situation is indeed the case, the country may have a much deeper crisis to deal with than just a few authoritarian-minded politicians and bureaucrats.

Shane Harris is a writer and political consultant from Southwest Ohio. You can follow him on Twitter @ShaneHarris513.

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Wayne
Wayne
4 months ago

Remember that the Communists, Leftist, Liberals and Democrats ALL play the Long Game and if they lose now or only lose a little, they will keep coming back until they win. This has been going on since or before FDR was President. Every time Government grows, More FREEDOM is Lost.

Stephen Russell
Stephen Russell
4 months ago

Has NOT stopped since Trumps first campaign to date
Beware online censorship

Robert Zuccaro
Robert Zuccaro
4 months ago

I still can’t log onto YouTube because in 2020 I posted comments about Hunter Biden’s “ficticious” laptop. I still can’t log onto Twitter (X) since 2016 for posting links to a NY Times article entitled “Cash Flowed to Clinton Foundation Amidst Uranium One Deal”. They call it “violation of community standards”!

Philip Seth Hammersley
Philip Seth Hammersley
4 months ago

DIMMs hate free speech. That’s because when the truth is known, they don’t stand a chance in an election. Did you see Senile Joe’s Thanksgiving talking points about how much better the economy is now compared to 3 years ago? Like Himmler said, “Tell a BIG lie.”

Rik
Rik
4 months ago

The Democratic run Government really doesn’t want to silence Free Speech, they really don’t want to silence Free Speech, they WANT TO CHARGE FOR IT!

Thinking
Thinking
4 months ago

Gen Z say that is the way the world is and live happily on. They are okay with shutting up the opposition. They are okay with the first amendment be ignored or in total be removed from the constitution. That is the way it is. They don’t see the danger of free speech be taken away or being monitored. They don’t see the communism creeping into our government. That is the way the world is. The most dangerous words ever spoken.

Garyk
Garyk
4 months ago

Free speech, Faith,Family and Freedom are under assault from the marxist democrat party and all their whacko fringe groups.
They are anti American and their immoral support for killing babies ,gender whacko, divisive racism and overrun borders are reason to THROW THEM OUT!

sue
sue
4 months ago

Battle of the wills…who will outlast who. Free speech and and freedom are pretty strong. STAND FIRM or you will stand for nothing. United we are stronger than the opponent.

Steven
Steven
4 months ago

This all started with censoring us with Political Correctness. Heaven forbid that we use our rights to free speech to point out the corrupt agenda of the left. Political Correctness is an antidote for those who cannot defend the indefensible.

M.B.
M.B.
4 months ago

“anything that doesn’t fit their narrative” This is what it’s all about.

Neal M Christensen
Neal M Christensen
4 months ago

Democrats’ fee speech is not curtailed, only that of those who disagree with them.

BACKWOODS
BACKWOODS
4 months ago

FOR ALL THE FREE SPEECH HATERS OUT THERE JUST MOVE TO NORTH KOREA THEY ARE LOOKING FOR USEFUL IDIOTS!
HAVE YOU THANKED A DEMOCRAT TODAY???

David Millikan
David Millikan
4 months ago

Excellent article.
The Left are nothing but Fascist. The Left believes they are above the law by committing crimes with corruption, espionage, treason, and can say anything they want but nobody else can.
I am a firm believer in the 1st Amendment and the entire U.S. Constitution. I will NEVER comply to the Fascist Left. I will continue to say what I want against the Fascist Left since they are Communists and hate God and the United States of America.
The faster Americans WAKE UP and take our country back the better off we will be.
STAND UP AMERICA and tell the Fascist Left to go choke their chicken.
Freedom of Speech is an American Right and the Fascist Left can move to Communist China or with their loving Terrorist buddies in Iran where they belong.
This is another reason I will vote for President Trump because he believes in God, Freedom of Speech and the U.S. Constitution and in the United States of America FIRST.

Mike
Mike
4 months ago

If you look at history, the democrats in the south enslaved the blacks in the 1800’s and tried to keep them down after the Civil War and into the 1960’s. Now the democrats are trying to enslave all of us. The difference is that in the process, the democrats are shredding the Constitution and replacing it with a totalitarian government. My hope is that the people wake up before it’s too late and start electing those who would uphold and respect the Constitution.

BEA
BEA
4 months ago

Yes, as long as we have BIG government, things will get worse. The founding fathers did warn the American people. They did believe in small government. Always small government!

JML
JML
4 months ago

Well, my lips are sealed because I am scared shiffless!
Seriously, I am 73 yrs. old and to see what is now going on in our country brings tears to my eyes and skid marks to my skivvies!
Time for me to “move on”. The good Lord is waiting…

Michael Warren
Michael Warren
4 months ago

I truly enjoy reading from the Newsline and wish I’d caught on to this sooner. From what I’ve seen on the Newsline and heard on the street, not only does AMAC watch out for their members, Ms. Rebecca Weber is a lady that shoots straight with her members as well. Now the bad news, I truly wish that I could put something in the kitty but right now I am flatass busted.
PS, Thank all of you for your time and hard work, and as we celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ soon may you be Blessed.
Michael Warren
Stoney Creek
Tennessee.

Rik
Rik
4 months ago

TRUMP HATING LYING, FACTLESS JERK!

Rik
Rik
4 months ago

GOSH YOU’RE STUPID! . . . HE JUST KEEPS REPEATING HIS LYING, FACTLESS ACCUSATIONS BECAUSE HE HATES TRUMP AND CAPITALISM so much that he is blinded by his ignorance!

Noname
Noname
4 months ago

There is no such thing as a hate crime.

Old angry conservative
Old angry conservative
4 months ago

This generation is too sensitive. And so is my boss that fired me after he told my free speech was Costing his money. So I was as well.

johnh
johnh
4 months ago

Bullying is a big problem with teenagers on social media & has led to some suicide victims. Freedom of speech does not give you the right to bully others in my opinion. And Social Media should have the right to censor comments that they do not feel are in the best interest of their company or they do not want to be associated with radicals.

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