This week, the Joe Biden White House admitted that it is working with Facebook to suppress “misinformation” on COVID-19. On Friday, Biden himself said COVID-19 misinformation is “killing people,” and an infectious diseases expert agreed with him. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said the administration is “flagging problematic posts for Facebook that spread disinformation.” The White House is also working to get people who spread “misinformation” banned from multiple social media platforms.
This led some conservatives to draw attention to misinformation Psaki herself shared last year.
“This person needs to be banned from all social media platforms for spreading misinformation. She might get people killed,” Stephen L. Miller tweeted, somewhat sarcastically. He drew attention to a Psaki tweet from October 2020.
“Hunter Biden story is Russian disinfo, dozens of former intel officials say,” Psaki had tweeted with a Politico article.
This person needs to be banned from all social media platforms for spreading misinformation. She might get people killed. https://t.co/CJSb6fIj2E
— Stephen L. Miller (@redsteeze) July 17, 2021
Technically, this tweet wasn’t misinformation, although it was promoting misinformation. The intelligence officials did claim that the emails from Hunter Biden’s laptop seemed like Russian disinformation, but they also acknowledged that they had no proof that the emails were actually fake.
When The New York Post first published documents from the Hunter Biden laptop in October 2020, Democrats, Big Tech, and the legacy media rushed to suppress the story. Twitter locked The New York Post‘s account for weeks, and it suspended people who dared to share the story.
Yet it appears the emails from the laptop are indeed genuine. Hunter Biden himself has acknowledged that the laptop could “certainly” belong to him, but he laughably insisted, “I really don’t know.”
Biden reportedly dropped off the water-damaged laptop at the Wilmington, Del., repair shop of John Paul MacIsaac in April 2019. MacIsaac provided a hard drive containing the contents of the laptop to former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s lawyer, Robert Costello, and Giuliani gave the Post a copy of the hard drive in October 2020, leading to explosive stories about Hunter Biden’s business dealings in Ukraine and China. The FBI seized the laptop in December 2019, apparently as part of a probe that Hunter Biden characterized as an investigation into his “tax affairs.”
Facebook and Twitter have apologized for suppressing the news of the laptop, but a Media Research Center (MRC) survey found that many Democrats and Biden voters had not heard about the Hunter Biden laptop story. In fact, many Biden voters who had not heard the story told MRC that they would not have voted for Biden had they known the Hunter Biden laptop revelations.
The effort to suppress the story bears the hallmarks of a leftist misinformation campaign — blaming Russia for cooking up a story that ended up being true.
Of course, Miller was not actually suggesting that Twitter should ban Psaki from the platform for promoting this arguable misinformation. Instead, he was adopting the Left’s rhetorical style to demonstrate its absurdity. As PJ Media’s Paula Bolyard has explained, partisan “fact-checkers” “have been working overtime to discredit us and damage our reputation,” targeting many news items that contradict the leftist narratives on climate change, COVID-19, and other issues.
The White House’s effort against COVID-19 “misinformation” illustrates the bankrupt logic. If people on Facebook share something that goes against the official narrative, the surgeon general’s office will flag posts for Facebook to remove, in the name of public health. It will even try to get those supposedly nefarious actors removed from other platforms, as well.
This is an Orwellian attempt to stifle dissent. The fact of the matter is, public health figures like Dr. Anthony Fauci have given conflicting information about COVID-19 throughout the pandemic, sometimes in a blatant attempt to influence the public. When they faced scrutiny for it, they have equated themselves with the authority of “SCIENCE,” suggesting that any disagreement with them constitutes an attack on knowledge itself.
Dissent from the climate alarmist narrative or transgender orthodoxy often meets the same fate, sometimes also in the name of science or health. Yet the truth or falsity of a statement does not depend on whether or not it comports with the leftist or the government narrative, and statements about these issues — even misleading ones — do not “kill people.”
By the White House’s twisted logic on misinformation, even something as downstream as Jen Psaki sharing a story about intelligence officials doubting the Hunter Biden laptop may constitute “misinformation,” and — if the story involved COVID-19 — some might even say Psaki’s endorsement of the officials’ misleading statement is “killing people.”
The attack on the Hunter Biden laptop story was indeed misinformation, and Psaki did endorse it. By the standards the White House appears to have adopted, this is rather problematic. Yet Facebook should allow even misinformation of the type that Psaki shared — and the White House has no business urging Big Tech to censor opinions with which it disagrees.
Imagine the outcry if the Trump White House had flagged Psaki’s tweet for Facebook, urging the company to censor her and then trying to get Psaki banned from other platforms, as well. Yet that’s exactly the kind of thing the Biden administration is doing.