In an interview that aired on Sunday, MSNBC’s Jen Psaki asked Democratic Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez if media organizations should be held accountable if their content “incites violence.”
AOC replied, “I believe that when it comes to broadcast television, like Fox News, these are subject to federal law, federal regulation in terms of what’s allowed on air and what isn’t.”
News and opinion subject to federal law? The government deciding what news is allowed and isn’t? That would have been big news to the men who wrote the First Amendment precisely to prevent such censorship by their new government. That would have been big news to any standard American liberal for most of the history of the United States.
Ocasio-Cortez continued, “When you look at what Tucker Carlson and some of these other folks on Fox do, it is very, very clearly incitement of violence — very clearly incitement of violence.”
It is? Speech is violence?
For context, true “incitement of violence” is already illegal. But, as Cornell Law explains, it’s a very, very high threshold and applies only if the speech is “directed to inciting or producing imminent lawless action,” and is “likely to incite or produce such action.” While one can certainly disagree with lots of what’s said by Tucker and others on Fox News, or even argue it’s inflammatory, nothing comes close to this standard—which, again, is already unlawful. So, what AOC is really arguing is to expand the narrow exception for “incitement of violence” to include speech she just doesn’t like.
The people who endlessly and shrilly insist they are fighting fascism constantly advocate:
* A union of public power (CIA/FBI/DHS) and corporate power (Big Tech) to censor the internet;
* The president ignore court orders;
* Adversary media be banned.
Very odd anti-fascism. https://t.co/T7nXlyjDVm
— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) April 23, 2023
The interviewer, of course, was former Biden Press Secretary Psaki, who didn’t really challenge AOC’s remarks on censoring speech. The same Psaki was asked last year about her former boss’s intent to create a Disinformation Governance Board and how that might be problematic, and she responded, “It sounds like the objective of the board is to prevent disinformation and misinformation from traveling around the country in a range of communities.”
“I’m not sure who opposes that effort,” she added.
A government agency that determines what is “disinformation” and “misinformation,” and Psaki doesn’t see how that could be a problem? Did liberals in the Joe McCarthy era find it problematic that the government could determine who was or wasn’t unAmerican?
Over the last several months, my colleagues and I have documented the existence of a Censorship Industrial Complex. We can't do this work alone. If you work for one of the government or non-government entities "fighting" "misinfo," "disinfo," or "hate" online, please contact us pic.twitter.com/E4D5tx2Gay
— Michael Shellenberger (@shellenberger) April 18, 2023
This exchange between AOC and Psaki took place less than a week after Democrat Stacey Plaskett threatened Twitter Files reporter Matt Taibbi with prison time over his March congressional testimony claiming he had committed perjury. Plaskett was very worried that Taibbi had got two acronyms wrong, a laughable triviality in the grand scheme of this blockbuster story.
What Plaskett wasn’t worried about, and seemingly neither are Psaki or Ocasio-Cortez, was the primary revelation of the Twitter Files: The federal government worked hand-in-hand with U.S. social media companies to suppress news and censor opinions.
A direct violation of the First Amendment.
Psaki didn’t ask AOC if she had concerns about this monstrous affront to Americans’ most basic freedoms on her MSNBC program.
Because AOC doesn’t have concerns about it. She believes the federal government should regulate the press and speech. She just said so. When Psaki was confronted with the unconstitutionality and moral absurdity of her former administration policing speech in April last year, she said she wasn’t sure who would oppose the idea. Obviously, she didn’t.
— Jack Hunter (@jackhunter74) April 24, 2023
To my knowledge, Rep. Plaskett has not apologized or changed her mind for threatening Taibbi.
So, when people tell you who they are, believe them. Time and again, the mainstream Left shows through words and deeds that the most basic precepts of liberalism, free speech and press freedom key among them, no longer matter to many American ‘liberals.’ Worse, these alleged liberals are now firmly on the other side of these principles in many cases.
They want the DHS, CIA, FBI, and other government agencies to make social media censor stories about the First Family that might hurt their political side. The Left wants the federal government to regulate speech and news they don’t like. The Left wants to imprison reporters who shine a light on offenses to the Constitution.
I can't stress this enough: the Dem Party explicitly and passionately supports CIA, FBI, DHS and the rest censoring the internet and specifically the speech of Americans.
— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) April 23, 2023
The reason there has been no outrage on the Left over the Twitter Files is because, between the Donald Trump phenomenon and the COVID-19 pandemic, people who were already warm to central planning now see no reason that principle can’t also be applied to speech and the press.
The Twitter Files reporters thought they were revealing a rogue federal government. The Left was annoyed that these reporters revealed what they now consider good and efficient government.
The Left won’t typically frame what they’re doing in this manner, but it’s unfortunately where we’re at. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez wanting to sic the Feds on Tucker Carlson and his channel because they have opinions or report news she doesn’t like is but the latest reminder of how pervasively illiberal the modern American Left has become. I dare you to find a ‘liberal’ who finds her comments unsettling.
Expect more reminders in the future.