Brownstone Institute has repeatedly reported on the unholy alliance between the administrative state and Big Tech with the censorious results of free speech suppression. We’ve published a full articles of inquiry as a template for further investigation into these unprecedented actions.
The cooperation between these people during the pandemic response became intense and pervasive. This model is being deployed in other areas too, with a symbiotic relationship between power centers that ends in suppressing dissent. This is contrary to the First Amendment.
The state attorneys general of Missouri and Louisiana have filed suit against the Biden administration. Among the plaintiffs are Brownstone Senior Scholars Martin Kulldorff, Jay Bhattacharya, and Aaron Kheriaty who have experienced this censorship first hand. The case is joined by the New Civil Liberties Alliance and filed in the US District Court for the Western District of Louisiana Monroe Division.
The text of the lawsuit is embedded below. Here is an excerpt.
The aggressive censorship that Defendants have procured constitutes government action for at least five reasons: (1) absent federal intervention, common-law and statutory doctrines, as well as voluntary conduct and natural free-market forces, would have restrained the emergence of censorship and suppression of speech of disfavored speakers, content, and viewpoint on social media; and yet (2) through Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act (CDA) and other actions, the federal government subsidized, fostered, encouraged, and empowered the creation of a small number of massive social-media companies with disproportionate ability to censor and suppress speech on the basis of speaker, content, and viewpoint; (3) such inducements as Section 230 and other legal benefits (such as the absence of antitrust enforcement) constitute an immensely valuable benefit to social-media platforms and incentive to do the bidding of federal officials; (4) federal officials—including, most notably, certain Defendants herein—have repeatedly and aggressively threatened to remove these legal benefits and impose other adverse consequences on social-media platforms if they do not aggressively censor and suppress disfavored speakers, content, and viewpoints on their platforms; and (5) Defendants herein, colluding and coordinating with each other, have also directly coordinated and colluded with social-media platforms to identify disfavored speakers, viewpoints, and content and thus have procured the actual censorship and suppression of the freedom of speech. These factors are both individually and collectively sufficient to establish government action in the censorship and suppression of social-media speech, especially given the inherent power imbalance: not only do the government actors here have the power to penalize noncompliant companies, but they have threatened to exercise that authority.