Capehart Claims Biden Needs to Urge Tech Censorship in the ‘Middle of a Pandemic’

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On Friday’s PBS NewsHour, co-host Amna Nawaz expressed alarm that a federal judge issued a ruling that “essentially bans the Biden administration from communicating with social media companies about misinformation or disinformation online.” PBS political analyst Jonathan Capehart found it mind-boggling “in the middle of a pandemic.”

What time machine is he traveling in? The Biden administration declared an official end to the pandemic on May 11. There’s no acknowledgment of that, or that certain COVID subjects — start with the COVID lab-leak theory — were declared “misinformation” and now it’s apparent that it wasn’t. They left out any mention of suppressing damaging information on the Biden scandals.

As Nawaz introduced the subject, PBS put on screen bland headlines from AP and Reuters that played down the “pressure to censor/remove content” angle. Team Biden is just “working with social media companies,” wants around a ban on “social media company contacts.”

AMNA NAWAZ: Jonathan, this comes the same week we saw a man armed to the teeth show up at the Obama residence because he saw the address posted online. Where are we right now in this conversation between what happens in the online world and real-world violence?

JONATHAN CAPEHART:  I — this decision boggles the mind. You have an administration that is in the middle of a pandemic. The Biden administration comes in, in the middle of a pandemic with disinformation, misinformation. They’re trying — literally trying to save people’s lives and see that all that misinformation and disinformation is happening on social media platforms.

A responsible, functioning government would go to those social media companies and say, hey, could we have a conversation about this? We understand your First Amendment rights, but we’re trying to save people’s lives.

I don’t understand how the arguments from the fever swamps have made their way into judicial decisions and are now preventing the administration from combating things that are doing real harm to the American people. And now — I’m glad you made the link to Mr. Taranto, the guy who was arrested outside of the Obamas’ homes — home with ammunition and guns and a machete. And who’s to say, had he not been caught, that he wouldn’t have acted on that information?

NAWAZ: This is the question.

CAPEHART: That is the question. And we’re in a time now, Amna, where we shouldn’t have to ask these questions, because I think we know what the answer would be.

It’s a weird flex for PBS to insist that a potential assassin showing up is a big deal…when they thought the attempted assassin of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh didn’t deserve a full minute of coverage.

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At least David Brooks struck a middle ground on this: “Obviously, they need to pull stuff down. There are 40,000 people at Google and Meta pulling stuff down. They have pulled over a billion things down. I don’t really trust big tech to be in charge of this, and I don’t, frankly, trust government in cahoots with big tech in private to be in charge of this…it is a problem for democracy to have elites in Washington and elites in Silicon Valley making decisions about what’s out there.”

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