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Biden’s and Musk’s Approaches to Speech Censorship

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The creation of the Disinformation Governance Board (an advisory board of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, announced on April 27 and often dubbed the “Ministry of Truth”) triggered an enormous backlash.

However, Biden’s decision should not come as a surprise. A week earlier, former President Barack Obama had hinted such possibility. “If properly structured —Obama said— regulation can promote competition and keep incumbents from freezing out new innovators.”

Funny enough, as part of that same statement, Obama expressed, “I’m pretty close to a First Amendment absolutist.”

Everyone finds it cool to be a “freedom absolutist” these days, but hardly anyone is.

The New York Times, which seems to be rather angry at a young Elon Musk for not single-handedly preventing apartheid from happening, suggested that the billionaire’s takeover of Twitter might be detrimental because his youth was “largely shrouded in misinformation.”

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When it comes to freedom of speech, we usually come across two approaches: the “let everything pass”, which will certainly include truths and lies and all that goes in between; and the “only what I say should pass, will pass.”

Biden, through his “Disinformation Governance Board,” chose the latter. The New York Times evidently hopes for the latter as well. 

Pre-digested information is a threat to us all, regardless of where you happen to find yourself in the political spectrum. If we can get this one thing straight, the world will be a better place.

This article originally appeared in El American’s newsletter on May 7, 2022. Subscribe for free here!

Pris Guinovart is a writer, editor and teacher. In 2014, she published her fiction book «The head of God» (Rumbo, Montevideo). She speaks six languages. Columnist since the age of 19, she has written for media in Latin America and the United States // Pris Guinovart es escritora, editora y docente. En 2014, publicó su libro de ficciones «La cabeza de Dios» (Rumbo, Montevideo). Habla seis idiomas. Columnista desde los 19 años, ha escrito para medios de America Latina y Estados Unidos