Common sense opposition isn’t ‘disinformation’

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At this point in his administration, President Biden and Washington Democrats have made clear they will not stop with their big government agenda until they control every aspect of our lives. At every turn, whenever they’ve run into opposition to their policies – whether it’s mask mandates, vaccine mandates, limiting parental involvement in our kids’ education, or any of their other policies aimed at greater control – Washington Democrats have labeled commonsense opposition as “disinformation.” Their strategy isn’t just to disagree – it’s to silence those who speak out. Now they want to control the truth. From former President Obama to Congressional Democrats to national media outlets, there is a coordinated attempt to bully anyone who publishes or states opinions that are contrary to the Left’s stated beliefs and agenda. Obama recently gave a speech calling for a crackdown on technology companies to stop the spread of “disinformation.”
Earlier this Congress, two powerful Democrats tried to bully cable providers into dropping conservative news outlets from their channel lineup, citing “misinformation” that appeared on their networks. National intelligence figures stopped the spread of a story discussing the problematic contents of Hunter Biden’s laptop – an entirely true story – by claiming it was “Russian disinformation,” and television networks like MSNBC and CNN quickly had anchors amplify this view. Now, the Biden administration has taken these efforts a step further by creating what they’ve deemed a “Disinformation Governance Board.” This board will be based out of Biden’s Department of Homeland Security (DHS) – and there’s no doubt this board was created with political bias in mind. How do we know? Just look at who he selected to run this board. Nina Jankowicz, a leading advocate for censoring conservative voices, was selected to head this tyrannical board. Jankowicz in the past has called the truthful Hunter Biden laptop scandal “disinformation.” Just last October, Jankowicz gave a speech where she said Republicans who opposed the use of critical race theory in classrooms were engaging in “disinformation,” simply by exposing what was happening. If that’s the new Democrat standard for “disinformation,” anything could be labeled as “disinformation.”
I am not going to stand for these efforts to chill our First Amendment rights. I have coauthored two pieces of legislation to put a stop to it. The first prohibits the establishment of the Disinformation Governance Board altogether. The second, the Protecting Free Speech Act, also ensures no federal funds can be used by this administration to carry out any board or entity that seeks to attack free speech by targeting disinformation. I also joined 175 of my colleagues in writing DHS questioning their legal authority to establish such a board.
It is particularly ironic that the Disinformation Governance Board is being established by the agency that routinely lies about having our southern border under control. This administration actively suppresses the truth about the harm and dangers being caused by bad guys who are exploiting our border weakness to traffic humans, flood our country with illegal drugs like fentanyl, and even to help individuals on the terrorist watch list evade our law enforcement. The fact that President Biden refuses to hold Homeland Security Secretary Alexander Mayorkas accountable for his stunning failure to protect our homeland is a complete disgrace.
In America, government doesn’t get to decide what’s true or what’s false, and it doesn’t get to decide who can speak. Because of its potential to allow the government to regulate speech, some have compared this board to the “Ministry of Truth” from George Orwell’s book, 1984, a science fiction novel warning about the dangers of totalitarianism. Free speech, guaranteed by the First Amendment to our Constitution, makes America a great nation and we cannot allow the federal government to choose what speech gets to be free. Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union, the People’s Republic of China and even recent dictatorships in Venezuela and North Korea all have one thing in common: they allow government to regulate the truth. I will keep fighting against their never-ending efforts to seize control of our lives.
Congressman Jason Smith (R-Salem) represents Missouri’s Eighth Congressional District. He can be reached by email at RepSmithPress@mail.house.gov.

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