The censorship of free speech is hostile toward the preservation of democracy and free thought. So great is the right for free speech that George Washington once remarked that if “freedom of speech is taken away, then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.”
Nevertheless, this is what the government was caught doing through big tech proxy to the speech of many Americans. As the Daily Caller reported, Judge Terry Doughty issued an injunction [an order to refrain from further action in this instance] over the White House’s efforts to censor their own citizen’s speech by getting big tech platforms like Facebook to do so. The government’s defense is that such coordination did not violate these outlets’ content policies.
Here within the injunction, the judge described efforts by the White House to censor a video that popular ex-Fox News show host Tucker Carlson made about vaccines in April 2021. On the 14th of April of that year, Rob Flaherty, Deputy Assistant to the President and Director of Digital Strategy, emailed Facebook with demands that the outlet censor Tucker Carlson and Tomi Lahren for saying things he objected to about the vaccine. He resented that “Tucker Carlson saying vaccines don’t work and Tomi Lahren stating she won’t take a vaccine” made the top posts of the day about vaccines.
Flaherty in that email observed that Facebook already promised him that such content would be demoted. “This is exactly why I want to know what ‘Reduction’ actually looks like – if ‘reduction’ means ‘pumping our most vaccine hesitant audience with Tucker Carlson saying it does not work’… then…I’m not sure it’s reduction” wrote an angry Flaherty. Facebook promptly promised the White House official that they would have a report for him by the end of the week.
The reference to Lahren’s content may be about that Fox News host airing sentiments on April 12, 2021 that “Not one Democrat or Democrat-celebrated health or science official has said the vaccines will end the mask requirements…you know what? I personally will not get the vaccine and I personally will not be forced to get it. If you want to get it, by all means, please do. If you want to wear one, two or five masks while driving or walking alone, by all means, please do.”
Tucker Carlson also aired vaccine-skeptical content on his show Tucker Carslon Tonight on April 13, 2021. During that show, he said, “Before we take this one [the COVID-19 vaccine], a few questions about it. But this specific vaccine, there are two things we’d like to know….The first question, is the vaccine safe? The second question, is it effective, safe and effective? That is all that matters.” Tucker then proceeded to go over the material that made him question whether the vaccine was either safe or effective.