Plaskett Defends Democrat Censorship of Political Opponents: ‘Free Speech is Not an Absolute’

Radical delegate Stacey Plaskett (D-VI) predictably defended censorship on Thursday, declaring that “free speech is not an absolute” and that certain views should not enjoy First Amendment protections.

Plaskett, the ranking member of the minority on the House Weaponization Subcommittee, attacked the views of witness and Democrat Party presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy, calling them hateful.

“This is not the free speech that I know of,” she said. She recalled a recent controversy over remarks Kennedy made about the coronavirus affecting some population groups more than others, among other past comments.

Plaskett continued: “Free speech is not an absolute. The Supreme Court has stated that.” (The Court has not restricted the content of speech, but a “time, place, and manner” exceptions for the way speech is expressed.)

She went on to claim falsely that Republicans had not invited Kennedy to testify because he had been censored on social media, but rather to associate themselves with his controversial views. She also claimed that past witnesses interviewed by the committee, such as would-be “disinformation czar” Nina Jancowicz, had been subjected to death threats, and implied that committee chair Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) supported those threats.

Republicans were not interested in defending free speech, Plaskett continued to rant, but in forcing social media companies to promote “any conspiracy theories, no matter how harmful” because “they think that’s the only way their candidate can win the 2020 [sic] election.”

In response, Kennedy devoted his opening statement to defending his record and noting that he had also been censored for talking about ordinary subjects. The purpose of free speech, he noted, was to protect speech that people did not agree with.

That concept runs counter to the worldview of a totalitarian like Plaskett, who dismisses the speech of her political opponents as “conspiracy theories.”

Stacey Plaskett

5 Known Connections

Defending Twitter’s Collusion with the Federal Government to Censor & Suppress Free Speech

After the multi-billionaire Elon Musk purchased the social-media platform Twitter in 2022, he permitted a small group of investigative journalists to access to a vast collection of internal and external communications that had been transmitted over the years among the company’s employees and officials. The journalists, in turn, distilled and presented those communications to the public in a series of separate installments starting on December 2, 2022. These so-called “Twitter Files” proved that Twitter – prior to being purchased by Musk — had actively cooperated with federal law-enforcement agencies to censor certain information that conflicted with the company’s leftwing political orthodoxy, and to create “secret blacklists” targeting prominent conservatives.

To investigate this improper collusion between a private-sector company and the federal government, House Republicans in January 2023 established a “House Judiciary Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government.” Just prior to a March 9, 2023 hearing held by that Subcommittee, Matt Taibbi — one of the journalists to whom Elon Musk had granted access to the aforementioned Twitter communications — released a new installment of the Twitter Files. That installment revealed that the social-media giant had established a “Censorship-Industrial Complex” whereby Twitter leaders consulted on a regular basis with the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and nongovernmental organizations like the Atlantic Council and the National Endowment for Democracy, to censor information – even if it was accurate – that might make some people reluctant to be inoculated with COVID-19 vaccination shots.

During the first round of questioning in the March 9 hearing, Rep. Plaskett, the ranking member of the Select Subcommittee, sought to dismiss witnesses’ concerns about the fact that the FBI and other federal agencies had pressured Twitter to suspend or ban the accounts of users who were guilty of spreading so-called “disinformation” vis-a-vis the COVID vaccines and other politically charged topics.

As National Review noted: “Instead of expressing outrage at the government’s role in censoring political speech, Plaskett attacked the witnesses for allegedly endangering Twitter employees by publishing their redacted internal communications.”

For example, the congresswoman cited the testimony of Yoel Roth, Twitter’s former head of trust and safety, who, during a previous committee hearing, said that he had been the target of threats and online harassment after some of the Twitter Files had exposed his role in censoring content at the behest of the FBI. Plaskett told Republican Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio, the chairman of the Subcommittee: “I am not exaggerating when I say that you have called before you two witnesses who pose a direct threat to people who oppose them.”

Plaskett further claimed that there was no “real evidence” that Twitter and the federal government had colluded in any way. Instead, she argued that the hundreds of internal Twitter communications that journalists like Matt Taibbi had exposed to the public, were nothing more than examples of benign efforts by Twitter to practice “content moderation…”

To learn more about Stacey Plaskett, click here.


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EDITORS NOTE: This Discover the Networks column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

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