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A former Biden administration official who recently left a major anti-free speech federal agency, Department of Homeland Security, went on legacy media to push social media companies into more election censorship.

Samantha Vinograd, a national security contributor for CBS News, appeared on CBS’s “Face the Nation” on May 26 to fearmonger about so-called election “disinformation,” claiming it is not “cost-free.” Until recently Vinograd worked for Biden's Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which has been accused of coordinating censorship with Big Tech.

Margaret Brennan, the moderator for the show, noted that “spreading lies about candidates is not illegal, it is protected free speech” even though it can present what she described as a “threat” to elections. “Whose job is it to set the record straight?” Brennan asked Vinograd. The former DHS official immediately piled on. “Just because speech is protected by the First Amendment does not mean that it’s cost-free,” Vinograd asserted.

She continued, “We know that, in today’s threat environment, disinformation is unfortunately becoming the norm rather than the exception when it comes to election security.” Of course, the Constitution aimed to protect free speech precisely because citizens should be able to assess information and decide for themselves. Leftists often label anything with which they disagree as “disinformation,” and Vinograd did not dispute that some speech she considers objectionable is protected by the First Amendment.

”We know that there’s been an unprecedented level of physical threats arising out of election-related disinformation,” she claimed, citing the events of Jan. 6, 2021, as her alleged proof. She then bragged about highly controversial government actions. “The Department of Justice’s Election Threats Task Force has made 17 arrests, 13 convictions in their ongoing investigations.” 

She further alleged, “And, when election-related disinformation spreads, every American needs to understand that [that] does give a benefit to our adversaries, Russia, China.” Previously, the Twitter Files exposed how Western media figures were mistakenly censored under the excuse of targeting Russian assets.

Vinograd continued her concerning lecture by claiming that the U.S. “information ecosystem remains incredibly vulnerable.” She did admit that the federal government “is not and should not be the omnipresent fact-checker for the American people,” but then immediately added a justification for federal censorship work. “The federal government is undergoing rigorous processes to debunk specific inaccurate information about elections,” along with state governments, she stated.

Ultimately, however, Vinograd aimed to pressure tech companies to target speech. “Social media companies should be thinking about what kinds of election disinformation violate their terms of service, and every American, frankly, as a patriotic duty, to engage in additional security checks when it comes to the information that they are digesting and sharing.” 

Vinograd added that Americans take “security precautions” in other spheres, for example, wearing seatbelts or locks on doors, and suggested a need for similar “rigor” in suppressing allegedly dangerous online speech. She seems to forget that the First Amendment was aimed not at absolute security but at protecting free and open discourse.

Conservatives are under attack. Contact your representatives and demand that Big Tech be held to account to mirror the First Amendment while providing transparency, clarity on so-called “hate speech” and equal footing for conservatives. If you have been censored, contact us using MRC Free Speech America’s contact form, and help us hold Big Tech accountable.