Murthy v. Missouri Puts Government Censorship on Trial

On Monday, the Supreme Court will hear arguments in Murthy v. Missouri, formerly Missouri v. Biden, the president whose administration has been accused of strong-arming Big Tech to remove “objectionable posts.” The attorneys general of Missouri and Louisiana, joined by doctors such as Jay Bhattacharya of Stanford, argue that the administration censored dissenting speech on COVID-19 and other policies by pressuring tech platforms to remove or restrict posts.

Consider this account from Martin Kulldorff, former professor of medicine at Harvard and co-author of the Great Barrington Declaration (GBR) with Dr. Bhattacharya and Oxford University’s Sunetra Gupta, a leading infectious-disease epidemiologist. The GBR, signed by thousands of medical scientists, advocated an approach to the pandemic similar to the one taken by Kulldorff’s native Sweden, which declined to shut down schools. 

Kulldorff recalls that although Sweden had the lowest excess mortality among major European countries and “despite being a Harvard professor, I was unable to publish my thoughts in American media. Twitter (now X) put me on the platform’s Trends Blacklist.” Twitter did the same to Dr. Bhattacharya.

“Seeking to prop up Anthony Fauci and the lockdown policies he promoted in response to the COVID-19 pandemic,” the plaintiffs explain, “Twitter (and other Big Tech companies) intentionally blacklisted, censored, suppressed, and targeted the GBD and its signers.” 

National Institutes of Health (NIH) director Francis Collins smeared the GBD authors as “fringe epidemiologists,” but they were far more qualified than Collins, a “lab scientist with limited public-health experience,” according to Kulldorff. Fauci, longtime boss of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, is a nonpracticing physician whose bio shows no advanced degrees in molecular biology or biochemistry. The government’s white-coat supremacists were causing extensive damage, and the GBD scientists called them out. 

“It was also clear that lockdowns would inflict enormous collateral damage,” notes Kulldorff, “not only on education but also on public health, including treatment for cancer, cardiovascular disease, and mental health. We will be dealing with the harm done for decades. Our children, the elderly, the middle class, the working class, and the poor around the world—all will suffer.” 

As the ousted Harvard professor explains, “The pursuit of truth requires academic freedom with open, passionate, and civilized scientific discourse, with zero tolerance for slander, bullying, or cancellation.” That sort of activity has been going on at Facebook for some time. 

In 2018, in his first public testimony before Congress, CEO Mark Zuckerberg admitted that Facebook was collaborating with the investigation of President Trump by former FBI director Robert Mueller. The FBI had interviewed some Facebook employees, but Zuckerberg would not say who they were “because our work with the special counsel is confidential.” 

When Sen. Ted Cruz asked Zuckerberg if Facebook was a “neutral forum,” the CEO seemed puzzled by the concept. Sen. Cory Gardner asked if the government had ever demanded that Facebook remove a page from the site. “Yes, I believe so,” said Zuckerberg. He did not reveal the content of the page or when the removal had taken place. 

Joe Biden has accused Facebook of “killing people” with vaccine misinformation. From the ordeals of Kulldorff, Bhattacharya and others, it’s now clear that the Biden administration was peddling misinformation, slandering the GBD scientists, and blocking them from setting forth the truth to the widest possible audience. 

“In an environment where just about every decision tech platforms make becomes highly politicized,” one article previewing Murthy v. Missouri explains, “lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have grown accustomed to making pointed—if, often empty—threats at Big Tech. Now, the Supreme Court will decide just how far those threats can go.” 

Murthy v. Missouri aside, it’s clear that white-coat supremacy and government censorship are incompatible with a free, safe, and healthy society. 

K. Lloyd Billingsley is a Policy Fellow at the Independent Institute and a columnist at American Greatness.
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