The ranking Republican members of four different House oversight committees want answers from Surgeon General Vivek Murthy about his office’s involvement in Biden administration pressuring of Big Tech companies to censor messages it doesn’t like.
In a letter dated March 11, Breitbart News reported last week, the Congress members warned Murthy that courts have found such government-applied pressure on private entities to censor on their behalf unconstitutional.
“The Biden Administration continues to attack our fundamental right to free speech as they collude with Big Tech to carry out their censorship campaign,” Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.) told Breitbart. “This is the type of behavior we would expect from an authoritarian dictator, not a sitting U.S. President and his Surgeon General.”
From the members’ letter, as reported by Breitbart:
On July 15, 2021, you issued a Surgeon General Advisory on “health misinformation” in which you demanded “tech and social media companies must do more to address” perceived health misinformation. At a press conference that same day, you decried technology companies facing “little accountability” for the spread of health misinformation. At the same press conference, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki disclosed that your office is monitoring content on technology platforms and that the Administration has been in “regular touch with” social media platforms to pressure them to “move more quickly to remove harmful, violative posts.”…
Your objective is clear: ensure private actors implement policies that censor certain speech and silence certain individuals…
To demand information about Americans engaged in “wrongthink” and ask that private actors identify individuals who the government considers to be a “source[s] of COVID-19 misinformation” is un-American and an affront to free speech and expression. It seems the Biden Administration may be engaged in its own “scheme of state censorship.”
The members seek extensive documentation of communications between the Department of Health and Human Services, including the Surgeon General’s Office, and Big Tech companies.
As a shareholder in Alphabet, NLPC’s proposal would require the company to disclose communications with the administration about requests to remove “politically problematic” content from their platforms. If approved by shareholders, NLPC’s submission would require Alphabet to report on its website the Company’s policy regarding “requests to remove or take down material from its platforms by the Executive Office of the President, Centers for Disease Control, or any other agency or entity of the United States Government.”