Thursday, December 7, 2023

Jim Jordan Subpoenas Ex-White House Censorship Chief Rob Flaherty Over ‘constitutionally protected’ Expression; White House Worked with YouTube to Censor COVID-19 & Vaccine 'misinformation': House Judiciary Committee, and other C-Virus related stories

Jim Jordan subpoenas ex-White House censorship chief Rob Flaherty over ‘constitutionally protected’ expression:
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan on Thursday subpoenaed President Biden’s former White House director of digital strategy Rob Flaherty to testify about his actions to pressure digital platforms to censor content — ahead of what is expected to be a landmark Supreme Court case centered on his actions.
Flaherty must sit for committee questions on Jan. 11, Jordan (R-Ohio) wrote in the legally binding demand for testimony, which follows unsuccessful attempts to force the ex-administration official to testify in a state lawsuit brought by Missouri and Louisiana, which the Supreme Court will consider in its coming term.
“The Committee has obtained documents that demonstrate the central role you played in communicating the Biden White House’s censorship efforts to social media companies, including the White House’s demands to censor true information, memes, satire, and other constitutionally protected forms of expression,” Jordan wrote to Flaherty, who left the White House in June for a position with Biden’s 2024 re-election campaign.
“Your testimony will inform the Committee’s legislative reforms aimed at preventing the Executive Branch from wielding its immense power to pressure social media platforms to censor disfavored viewpoints,” Jordan wrote.
The pending Supreme Court case, for which oral arguments have not yet been scheduled, follows a lower court ruling restricting the government’s ability to pressure companies to squelch disfavored speech. That ruling came in response to a lawsuit brought by the Republican state attorneys general of Missouri and Louisiana, who argued that the Biden administration was violating Americans’ First Amendment free speech rights.
The lawsuit turned up a large number of documents showing that Flaherty and his team leaned on platforms like Facebook and Twitter, particularly to limit the spread of alleged misinformation about the safety and efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines.
However, attempts to force Flaherty’s testimony in the case, as well as an appearance from former White House press secretary Jen Psaki, who proclaimed in July 2021 that Biden aides were “flagging” content for removal, were unsuccessful. --->READ MORE HERE
AP Photo/Susan Walsh / AP Newsroom
White House worked with YouTube to censor COVID-19 & vaccine 'misinformation': House Judiciary Committee:
The Biden administration worked together with employees of Google-owned YouTube in 2021 to target alleged "misinformation" relating to the COVID-19 virus and its vaccinations, according to documents obtained by FOX Business.
The documents, acquired through a source close to the House Judiciary Committee, reveal a level of correspondence previously unknown to the American public, as President Biden and his aides sought to promote coronavirus vaccinations in efforts to quell the raging pandemic.
The campaign was led by former White House Director of Digital Strategy Rob Flaherty, who has since left the administration to help run Biden’s 2024 re-election campaign as a Deputy Campaign Manager.
Flaherty emailed Google team members in April 2021 to "connect […] about the work you’re doing to combat vaccine hesitancy, but also crack down on vaccine misinformation," according to the documents.
Flaherty continued, asking for trends surrounding vaccine misinformation on the website, while offering government assistance in the form of COVID experts at the White House to partner in product work with YouTube.
Google, in an internal email, noted that after a subsequent meeting with Flaherty, the White House staffer "particularly dug in on our decision making for borderline content" — which is content that doesn’t cross Community Guidelines but rather brushes up against it, according to YouTube.
A week later, Google acknowledged that it sent the White House the total amount of videos removed for COVID vaccine misinformation, while discussing the government’s desire for even more data.
"Really [Flaherty’s] interested in what we’re seeing that is NOT coming down," read an internal Google email between employees, seemingly referring to videos that had not yet been removed.
The next day, YouTube’s Government Affairs team emailed YouTube’s Product team flagging the interactions with the White House.
"…there is a very high degree of interest now coming from the White House now regarding vaccine misinfo/vaccine hesitancy and our work around borderline content," the internal email from YouTube read.
"Unfortunately, the role of tech in addressing vaccine hesitancy is about to come under a massive spotlight particularly as the supply of the vaccine is soon to outpace demand," the April 2021 correspondence added. --->READ MORE HERE
Follow links below to relevant/related stories and resources:

Biden White House Directed YouTube to Censor COVID ‘Misinformation’

The Top COVID-19 Hot Spots in the U.S.

USA TODAY: Coronavirus Updates

WSJ: Coronavirus Live Updates

YAHOO NEWS: Coronavirus Live Updates

NEW YORK POST: Coronavirus The Latest

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