OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
You might think that journalists, out of any other group of Americans, would appreciate and defend the First Amendment’s freedom of speech and expression protections to a member, but increasingly, that is not the case.
As was revealed by Elon Musk and the serial releases of what became known as “The Twitter Files,” that platform, under previous management, coordinated and cooperated with various government agencies to quash certain users espousing opinions, viewpoints, and now-established factual information because it was disfavored or not in line with official narratives, even though those narratives turned out to be false or wrong.
This growing issue of censorship under the guise of preventing the spread of “misinformation” — which is increasingly dependent on one person or another’s political views, it seems — was the subject of a heated debate on Fox News’ popular pre-prime-time show “The Five” on Friday.
During one segment, the panel focused on the recent congressional testimony of Robert F. Kennedy Jr., a longshot Democratic presidential candidate who raised concerns about being censored on social media platforms for sharing content related to COVID and vaccines. At the time, the information was deemed to have violated content policies. He argued that government requests to social media companies to remove misinformation, a practice spanning multiple administrations, amounted to government censorship.
Last week, RFK Jr. said he believed that, based on evidence he claims to have seen, the virus was “targeted” to spare Chinese people and Ashkenazi Jews.
That led congressional Democrats to call on Republicans to cancel his testimony — on censorship, no less — before a committee this week, but GOP leaders refused to do so.
“Jessica, why is it that the Democrats all of a sudden have this totalitarian instinct to shut people down, to claim that what they are saying is disinformation, misinformation, or malinformation, where they admit that what Kennedy is saying is true but it doesn’t jive with their ideology?” co-host Jeanine Pirro asked co-host Jessica Tarlov.
“So first of all, when we’re talking about the censorship – and I mentioned this yesterday, but it is important to reiterate – RFK Jr. began his statement by saying, ‘I was censored by the Trump administration and I was censored by the Biden administration.’ The Hunter Biden laptop story happened in October of 2020, when Donald Trump was the president. His administration made the same kinds of requests of big tech to take things down that the Biden…” she began.
“We agree — the FBI is out of control,” co-panelist Jesse Watters chimed in.
“It wasn’t Trump,” co-host Greg Gutfeld added.
“Yeah, the Trump-appointed FBI director,” Tarlov responded.
That led Watters to say, “No, no, no, no, the FBI that’s been against Trump and for Biden for six years.”
Tarlov responded sarcastically: “I forgot, the ultimate victim.”
“Don’t even go there!” Pirro said.
“You guys went there,” Tarlov said.
GUTFELD: We know what it was like when Trump was president. He didn’t have a friend among Republicans.
PIRRO: Especially the State Department, especially the FBI.
TARLOV: Ugh, Donald Trump, my heart breaks for you. Ok–
PIRRO: Well you brought him up! Let’s talk about Kennedy.
TARLOV: All right, let’s talk about your guys’ boyfriend, RFK Jr. So, first of all, he’s polling at 14%, not 17%. The reason it’s going down is people are hearing him and they don’t like what he has to say because he has no agenda that speaks to the Democratic Party and our values.
He wants to talk about being anti-vaxx, which is not what we think come he wants to do, videos at the border. And I think the border is an important issue, but you know what I want to hear them talk about? Talk about your work as an environmental lawyer, talk about what’s going on with climate change–
PAVLICH: He did. He did!
TARLOV: No, lead with it. Have a set of economic policies.
PAVLICH: It’s also 17%.
PIRRO: Fox today said 17.