Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, dropped a bomb Thursday at the daily press briefing when she acknowledged the Biden administration is working alongside social media companies to direct and control the accepted narrative over the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We're flagging problematic posts for Facebook,” she told reporters, “that spread disinformation.”
Facebook not in bragging mood about who gets most clicks
What if a bunch of far-left executives operated a mega-popular social media site only to witness it being overrun by icky conservatives?
The dominance of right-leaning posts by right-leaning people on Facebook has been documented for months by Kevin Roose, a New York Times tech columnist. He has used an analytical tool called CrowdTangle, which is owned by Facebook, to track the popularity of stories and comments.
Back in 2020, Roose was informing readers that posts from Donald Trump, Franklin Graham, Ben Shapiro and Fox News --- all of them loathed, or worse, by the Left --- were the most popular.
An internal fight is going on at Facebook, Roose now reports, over how CrowdTangle filters information and how that benefits right-leaning posters.
Dan Gainor of MRC TechWatch says Facebook’s indirect association with such names made heads explode in Facebook’s corporate offices.
“This is Facebook executives who didn't want to be blamed for Trump winning,” Gainor tells One News Now, “who then turned around and censored the Hunter Biden story to make sure Trump didn't win.”
That eye-opening statement raised alarm bells, and generated thousands of online comments, news stories, and op-eds, for the obvious admission that the federal government is deciding what comments and posts are harmful, then directing a private company to take action.
“What’s the word,” wrote Federalist editor Sean Davis, “for when corporate monopolies use their power, at government’s request or behest, to suppress the rights of the ruling regime’s political opponents?”
That word is “fascism,” of course, and a number of very smart and observant people have since pointed out Psaki’s confession meets the very definition of a word that thrown around hourly by the Left.
Approximately 24 hours later, on Friday morning, Psaki was challenged about her Thursday comments by Peter Doocy of Fox News.
"For how long has the administration been spying on people's Facebook profiles," he queried, "looking for vaccine disinformation?"
"That was quite a loaded and inaccurate question," Psaki unhappily replied.
In his back-and-forth with the press secretary, Doocy pointed out that she had also acknowledged the previous day the White House is watching 12 unnamed individuals who are accused of spreading "disinformation" online.
The press secretary's response? There is no "secret list" of those people, she claimed, even though the names have not been disclosed, and she went on to blame the 12 individuals for their actions that harm others.
"Our biggest concern here, and I frankly think it should be your biggest concern," she lectured Doocy, "is the number of people who are dying around the country, because they are getting misinformation, that is leading them to not take a vaccine."
In comments Friday morning to Fox News, made before Psaki's press briefing, radio host Tammy Bruce described the Facebook-White House partnership as “very classically fascism.”
Bruce also pointed out that Democrats repeatedly used that word to describe Donald Trump and his administration on now, in real time, the public is watching it literally happen with Joe Biden in the White House.
Investigative journalist-attorney Glenn Greenwald, a longtime critic of government power and secrecy, fired off a number of Twitter posts in response to Psaki’s admission. In one pointed he pointed out, like Bruce, that the collaboration meets the very definition of fascism.
“There is no circumstance –none—in which it’s acceptable for the White House, or any other agency of the government,” he wrote, “to be providing lists to Facebook of ‘problematic’ content it wants removed…”
Responding to Psaki’s revelation this week, Curtis Houck of Media Research Council tells One News Now that her comments come only days after the White House admitted it is working with private companies to police private text messages, too.
That admission was buried in the seventh paragraph a July 12 Politico story, which can be read here, which stated the Democratic National Committee is planning to “work with SMS carriers to dispel misinformation about vaccines that is sent over social media and text messages.”
“SMS” stands for short message service, more commonly known as text messaging.
So days before Psaki admitted publicly the White House is working with Facebook, the Politico story reported the Democratic Party is working with corporate providers such as Verizon and AT&T to police private content.
“It should not take a whole lot to be frightened,” Houck says, “by this Orwellian decision.”
Returning to social media hours after Psaki’s statement went viral, Glennwald somberly summarized the Left’s defense of the White House plans: The censorship is being done, he warned, to protect the public and to keep us safe because President Biden and the White House really care about us all.
“They read Orwell,” he wrote, “as a how-to manual.”
Editor's Note: This story has been updated with news from the White House press briefing on July 16, 2021.