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Brownstone Institute - New Media Sues the State Department over Censorship

New Media Sues the State Department Over Censorship


The State Department is censoring and limiting the circulation of disfavored press outlets.

According to a new lawsuit filed in December on behalf of two media organizations, those being The Daily Wire and The Federalist, as well as the State of Texas and AG Ken Paxton versus the US Department of State (the State Department) through its Global Engagement Center (GEC) and various US government officials, it is alleged that the defendants are actively intervening in the news media market to both censor and limit the circulation of disfavored press outlets.

These illegal activities are being done covertly to suppress speech of the American press, and are a direct violation of the First Amendment of the US Constitution. Furthermore, as the State Department is only authorized to spend taxpayer dollars for the administration of foreign affairs, this program also violates its Congressional mandate.

The lawsuit states:

The Daily Wire, LLC (“The Daily Wire”), FDRLST Media, LLC (“The Federalist”), (jointly “Media Plaintiffs”), and the State of Texas bring this civil action to halt one of the most egregious government operations to censor the American press in the history of the nation against the above-named Defendants for declaratory and injunctive relief, and other appropriate relief, and allege as follows:

1. The US Department of State (“State Department”), through its Global Engagement Center (“GEC”), is actively intervening in the news-media market to render disfavored press outlets unprofitable by funding the infrastructure, development, and marketing and promotion of censorship technology and private censorship enterprises to covertly suppress speech of a segment of the American press.

2. Defendants have been granted no statutory authority to fund or promote censorship technology or censorship enterprises that target the American press, tarring disfavored domestic news organizations as purveyors of “disinformation.” There is no enumerated general power to censor speech or the press found in the United States Constitution, and the First Amendment expressly forbids it, providing: “Congress shall make no law…abridging the freedom of speech or of the press.” U.S. CONST. amend. I.

3. The full breadth of Defendant GEC’s censorship scheme is currently unknown. At a minimum, Defendant GEC has funded, promoted, and/or marketed two American censorship enterprises: the Disinformation Index Inc., operating under the name Global Disinformation Index (“GDI”), and NewsGuard Technologies, Inc. (“NewsGuard”). These entities generate blacklists of ostensibly risky or unreliable American news outlets for the purpose of discrediting and demonetizing the disfavored press and redirecting money and audiences to news organizations that publish favored viewpoints.

4. Media Plaintiffs are branded “unreliable” or “risky” by the government-funded and government-promoted censorship enterprises of GDI and NewsGuard, injuring Media Plaintiffs by starving them of advertising revenue and reducing the circulation of their reporting and speech—all as a direct result of Defendants’ unlawful censorship scheme…”

“Yet, without authority and in direct violation of Congress statutory appropriation, Defendants have converted State Department resources and tools of warfare—information warfare—which were developed in the context of national security, foreign relations, and to combat American adversaries abroad, to use at home against domestic political opponents and members of the American press with viewpoints conflicting with federal officials holding the reins of this unlawful administrative power…” 

“This lawsuit seeks injunctive relief to halt the unconstitutional and ultra vires actions of the State Department and put an end to one of the most audacious, manipulative, secretive, and gravest abuses of power and infringements of First Amendment rights by the federal government in American history.”

On February 6, 2024, the plaintiffs (Daily Wire, The Federalist and the State of Texas) filed a Motion for Preliminary Injunction to stop “the Department of State, the Global Engagement Center, Antony Blinken, Leah Bray, James P. Rubin, Daniel Kimmage, Alexis Frisbie, and Patricia Watts, who are sued in their official capacities, from continuing to research, assess, fund, test, market, promote, host on its government platform, and/or otherwise assist with or encourage the development or use of technology that targets in whole, or in part, Americans’ speech or the American press.”

The lawsuit itself is a fascinating read. It is a detailed, accurate, but only partial history of the PsyWar (information warfare) that the US government has unleashed upon its own citizens. The other important document is the Motion for Preliminary Injunction.

Republished from the author’s Substack

Published under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
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