For as ugly as the worst acts of those who descended on Washington, DC, on Jan. 6, 2021, were, none could justify the chilling assault on liberty and justice that has followed in their wake.
The Ruling Class has used Jan. 6 to wage a jihad against its political opposition, including an assault on our most basic rights such as free speech.
Big Tech has reinforced the narrative that views antithetical to regime orthodoxy are dangerous and must be policed accordingly.
In the latest example, YouTube deleted a Jan. 6, 2021, interview conducted by a Post reporter with a Capitol breach participant.
In the video, Aaron Mostofsky, son of a Brooklyn Supreme Court judge, explains why he was compelled to come to the Capitol, namely “to express … [his] opinion as a free American … that this election was stolen.”
To Google-owned YouTube, the footage contains dangerous “misinformation” — speech that it equates with harm — meriting removal. In its removal notice, it asserts that “it’s our job to make sure that YouTube is a safe place for all,” arguing that “content that advances false claims that widespread fraud … changed the outcome of the US 2020 presidential election is not allowed …”
In so doing, Google would appear to be doing the administration’s bidding.
The Biden administration’s June 2021 National Strategy for Countering Domestic Terrorism states that “narratives of fraud in the recent general election … will almost certainly spur some DVEs [domestic violent extremists] to try to engage in violence.”
Relatedly, the FBI classified the Capitol breach as an act of domestic terrorism, and the Justice Department has linked defendants’ views on the 2020 presidential election to wrongdoing.
The administration’s domestic terror strategy had called for “enhancing faith in government” by countering “dangerous conspiracy theories that can provide a gateway to terrorist violence,” and vowed to “collaborate on addressing terrorist content … with technology companies.”
Repeatedly, the administration has used the bully pulpit to badger social media companies to censor and deplatform such “wrongthink,” and indicated it has done the same in private.
YouTube’s move is as hypocritical as it is detrimental to our discourse. Don’t hold your breath looking for instances of it disappearing corporate media interviews in which prominent Democrats lie, let alone Xi Jinping’s speeches.
Big Tech is selectively censoring that which is obviously journalism, coinciding with the broadcasting of the Democrats’ hearings about January 6.
The committee will make the case that claims like Mostofsky’s of a stolen election constituted dangerous misinformation, inciting a violent insurrection. It will try to link individuals and organizations through communications and dollar flows to Donald Trump, demonstrating a conspiracy. In essence, it will be acting as if, and perhaps arguing that, MAGA equals terrorist.
YouTube reinforces this effort by purging “dangerous” rhetoric on election fraud, which must not be allowed to persist lest it incite violence.
Big Tech has become a significant partner in enforcing regime orthodoxy by suppressing dissent under the guise of national security.
Ironically, of course, the censorship on election integrity — an issue manifestly at the heart of our politics, robust speech about which is core to the First Amendment — will only further erode trust for the millions who have lost faith in our system.
Benjamin Weingarten is RealClearInvestigations deputy editor, a senior contributor to The Federalist and a Claremont Institute fellow.