Daily Caller News Foundation reporter Katelynn Richardson laid out the Biden administration’s funding of research to suppress “misinformation” online during a congressional hearing on Tuesday.
The National Science Foundation (NSF) received the funding for its research plan titled “Track F,” the DCNF reported in February 2023. During the Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government hearing, Richardson detailed her findings that the multi-million dollar program, which she dubbed a “Censorship Industrial Complex,” used taxpayer dollars to fund numerous projects that censored American speech.
“The effort fits within the broader trend of the federal government’s increasing involvement in online censorship, from the Center for Disease Control flagging posts during COVID-19 to the FBI working with social media companies to suppress the Hunter Biden laptop story,” Richardson said.
The NSF had spent $38.8 million on its “misinformation” efforts since Biden took office in 2021, according to a November 2022 report by the Foundation for Freedom Online (FFO). However, the DCNF uncovered more grants indicating the NSF allocated additional funding since the FFO’s report to target mis- and disinformation.
“The NSF swears it does not engage in censorship and that it does not partner directly with social media platforms,” Richardson added. “But taxpayer dollars spent on projects that do are still troubling, as were the agency’s responses to straightforward questions about its programs.”
Emails released by the Judiciary Committee and Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government ahead of the hearing found that NSF program manager Michael Pozmantier sent a message of his intentions “to see about pulling them [the videos] down or locking the page ASAP” the day after the DCNF’s report was published.
“If the agency’s reaction to fair questions from journalists is to strategize ways to rebrand to avoid attention, why does it have any business funding tools that tell reporters what is true and what is false? If their impulse is to hide information, how can projects it backs be trusted to sort out what information is authoritative?” Richardson said.
“The government is not the arbiter of truth. Our Founders understood this, which is why we have a First Amendment,” Richardson added. “They understood the danger of the government telling people what they should believe and targeting opinions that cut against the official narrative. Pursuing information control by funding outside organizations is no less a threat to free speech and freedom of the press than a tyrannical government.”
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Republished with permission from Daily Caller News Foundation