episode 218: “The Ugly Truth About the White House, the FBI and the Social Media Companies” with Jenin Younes and Todd Zywicki
Newly released documents show that the White House has played a major role in censoring Americans on social media.
Email exchanges between Rob Flaherty, the White House’s director of digital media, and social-media executives prove the companies put Covid censorship policies in place in response to relentless, coercive pressure from the White House—not voluntarily as the government has claimed.
The emails emerged last month in the discovery phase of Missouri v. Biden, a free-speech case brought by the attorneys general of Missouri and Louisiana and four private plaintiffs, including leading epidemiologists Stanford’s Jay Bhattacharya and Harvard’s Martin Kulldorff.
Government’s role in social media censorship has been just as bad as we feared and worse.
So what are the details, and what’s at stake? To explain, Jenin Younes, litigation counsel at the New Civil Liberties Alliance which is representing the private plaintiffs in Missouri v. Biden, joins me on this episode with
Todd Zywicki, Professor at George Mason’s Scalia Law School and who was last on the show exploring with me whether “Chinese-Style Social Credit Will Be Coming to America”
The ugly truth.
We also now know that not only the White House, but also the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Department of Homeland Security, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and other agencies have all played a major role in censoring Americans on social media, directing tech companies to remove certain types of material and even to censor specific posts and accounts.
Apparently they even censored this show.
“If you recall Bill,” reminds Todd, “the last time Jenin and I were here with you, was about when I sued my employer over trying to force me to get vaccinated even though I had natural immunity. And why that’s so relevant to the conversation we’re having today was that quite quickly that episode was removed from YouTube. It was taken down as violating the terms of service of YouTube. And to this day, we have no idea why.”
People were censored for saying things that we now know to be true.
“Martin Kulldorff is among the most cited scientists in the world when it comes to infectious disease issues and vaccine safety,” says Jenin. “And he was censored on Twitter for saying that people with natural immunity and children don’t need the vaccine.”
The censorship regime has been widespread and relentless. Our argument here is that the companies, as private actors, have a right to do that, but that the government does not have a right to coerce private actors to do what the government wants them to do.
The White House emails demonstrate that the federal government unlawfully coerced social media companies in an effort to ensure that Americans would be exposed only to state-approved information about Covid-19.
The government’s unlawful, deceptive and dangerous conduct is the biggest issue of our day. We cover a lot in this episode: the First Amendment issues, public choice (government officials don’t have a monopoly on truth), shadow banning, Section 230 (protects the social media companies but is now abused by them) and how Twitter has changed with Elon Musk in charge.
This is a fascinating and entertaining overview of the sometimes hard-to-understand issues. We taped this in-studio to amplify its importance, but if you don’t have time to watch, be sure to listen in.
episode 218 transcript
Episode 218: “The Ugly Truth About the White House, the FBI and the Social Media Companies” with Jenin Younes and Todd Zywicki
Welcome to The Bill Walton Show, featuring conversations with leaders, entrepreneurs, artists and thinkers. Fresh perspectives on money, culture, politics, and human flourishing. Interesting people, interesting things.
Bill Walton (00:25):
Welcome to The Bill Walton Show, I’m Bill Walton. Recently revealed emails emerging from the discovery phase of Missouri v. Biden, a free speech case, show that the White House has played a major role in censoring Americans on social media. That social media companies like Twitter and Facebook intensified their efforts to silence speech and to remove people from their platforms in response to government demands. Email exchanges between Rob Flaherty, the White House’s director of digital media, and executives in charge of the social media companies prove that COVID censorship policies were put in place in response to relentless coercive pressure from the White House. Not voluntarily, as the government has claimed.
Government’s role in social media censorship has been just as bad as we feared and worse. We also now know that not only the White House, but also the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Department of Homeland Security, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and other agencies have all played a major role in censoring Americans on social media. All Americans have been deprived by the United States government of their First Amendment rights to hear the entire range of dissenting views. America’s founders recognized that sunlight is the best disinfectant, that the cure for bad speech is good speech, and that the cure for lies is truth. Government actors are just as prone to bias, hubris and error as the rest of us.
To dig into this and to explore the unfortunately wide range of related issues, I’m delighted to be rejoined by my frequent guests, Todd Zywicki and Jenin Younes. Jenin Younes is litigation counsel, as you all remember, with the New Civil Liberties Alliance, which is representing the private plaintiffs in Missouri v Biden. Todd Zywicki is a professor at George Mason’s Scalia Law School and was last on the show exploring whether Chinese-style social credit will be coming to America. Both of their impressive resumes can be found on The Bill Walton Show website. So Todd, you mentioned something about our show and its potential before we got started. What do you-
Todd Zywicki (02:58):
It’s great to be with you again, Bill. And we were reminiscing, if you recall, the last time Jenin and I were here with you, was about when I sued my employer over trying to force me to get vaccinated even though I had natural immunity. And why that’s so relevant to the conversation we’re having today was eventually, quite quickly, actually, that was removed from YouTube. It was taken down as violating the terms of service of YouTube. And to this day, we have no idea why.
What we do know is that the evidence now that’s just come out in the last two weeks confirms everything we said in that broadcast, which is that natural immunity is at least as protective, if not more protective, than vaccination, as well as the reasons why that was, according to, of all people, Anthony Fauci, who published an article on the failures of the vaccines as well as an article on natural immunity. But the point is, to this day, that interview we had was removed from YouTube. We have no idea why. We had no opportunity to contest it or anything else. And that shows the scope of the problem we’re talking about today.
Bill Walton (04:10):
So does that mean the goal for this show ought to be removal or…
Todd Zywicki (04:18):
Only if we say true things will we be removed.
Bill Walton (04:21):
Well, I think we do. That’s sort of the point of what we’re endeavoring to bring about here. Jenin, this is the case that you’re leading the charge on. Talk about the White House and social media companies.
Jenin Younes (04:35):
Yeah, so I think when this happened, I believe that was about a year and a half ago, probably the fall of 2021. I think what a lot of people thought was, well, if this is private companies, they can do what they want. And that was sort of the defense of this type of action. And I think reasonable people can differ on whether that should be the case, given that in reality these platforms sort of control the public discourse.
But on the other hand, I am sympathetic to the idea of private companies getting to do what they want, essentially. But now we know that that’s not true, and the government was coercing these companies to remove content that conflicted with the government messaging on COVID. So from lockdowns to mask mandates to natural immunity, really a wide range of things. And that includes scientists. So in Missouri v. Biden, we’re representing Jay Bhattacharya and Martin Kulldorff, who are two of the co-authors of the-
Bill Walton (05:25):
Jay Bhattacharya is at Stanford. And Martin was at Harvard.
Jenin Younes (05:29):
Was at Harvard, yeah. He’s on leave right now.
Bill Walton (05:31):
So these are fairly impressive doctors.
Jenin Younes (05:36):
I believe Martin Kulldorff is among the few most cited scientists in the world when it comes to infectious disease issues and vaccine safety. And he was censored on Twitter for saying that people with natural immunity and children don’t need the vaccine. So I think this shows just how ridiculous.
Bill Walton (05:53):
And back in, what is it, November 2020 or October 2020, they gathered with our friend Jeffrey Tucker at American Enterprise… AEIR, [inaudible 00:06:10] the acronym.
Jenin Younes (06:09):
American Institute for Economic Research.
Todd Zywicki (06:09):
Jenin was there too, so she remembers it as well.
Bill Walton (06:09):
And they spent a weekend talking about this and they were like a hundred impressive people that they created the… What was it, the Great Barrington Declaration?
Jenin Younes (06:18):
Yeah, well, it was just the three, Jay, Martin and Sunetra Gupta, who’s an epidemiologist at Oxford. So they wrote it and then it was very shortly thereafter, it was signed by a lot of doctors, scientists and then laypeople as well. And then sometime after that was really… It was hard to find it through a Google search and that sort of thing because it was clear that Google had downgraded it. And then at some point Facebook actually removed the Great Barrington Declaration’s page.
Todd Zywicki (06:46):
Jenin Younes (06:48):
Bill Walton (06:50):
So you were involved in this.
Todd Zywicki (06:53):
In these various things.
Bill Walton (06:55):
Todd Zywicki (06:57):
Well, I was sort of fighting my own fight with respect to vaccine safety.
Bill Walton (07:02):
With your very able attorney.
Todd Zywicki (07:03):
Yes, with my very able attorney. And Jenin and I, I guess, had the distinction being twice removed since we also did a program for AIER that was removed from Facebook and on YouTube for exactly this same subject. So it’s really quite striking how heavy-handed this was. And as Jenin said, the fact that these were very distinguished scientists, raising very rigorous questions was beside the point. And I think as we saw on the discovery that Jenin came out with, what was it that Anthony Fauci said, that they needed a takedown of the Great Barrington Declaration?
Jenin Younes (07:43):
That actually came out through Phil Magness at AIER’s FOIA request.
Bill Walton (07:48):
So now, well, we were saying this two, three years ago. I mean, we were early into this, but now we have proof. You guys, I’m talking with a couple good lawyers, what’s the evidence here?
Jenin Younes (08:01):
There’s a lot of evidence. So first of all, members of the Biden administration made public threats. That was what convinced me that a lawsuit could be brought. So I actually brought an earlier lawsuit called Changizi v. HHS. It was a much smaller, more limited lawsuit on behalf of three Twitter users who’d been suspended for saying things like they don’t think masks work or lockdowns work.
So the members of the administration, including the president himself, his press secretary then at the time, Jennifer Psaki, the surgeon general, were making statements saying that the social media companies were responsible for people’s deaths from not getting the vaccine and that they would be held accountable, basically. And they implied it would be through regulatory action or repeal of Section 230, which the companies-
Bill Walton (08:44):
Well, Biden said that.
Jenin Younes (08:45):
Biden, yeah. Biden said they were looking at ways to hold the companies accountable.
Todd Zywicki (08:50):
They were killing people.
Bill Walton (08:51):
Biden said they were killing people.
Jenin Younes (08:51):
Yeah, yeah, yeah. That’s right. Yeah. So those are obviously very coercive statements. And the government has been claiming-
Bill Walton (09:01):
Well, you wrote about it. I don’t mean to interrupt, but I already have. But Facebook got very defensive, saying, “Well, gee, we don’t like being charged with killing people.” So they responded directly to that off-the-cuff press conference.
Jenin Younes (09:18):
Exactly. So the government has been defending these lawsuits. There’s the two that I’m involved in, Changizi and Missouri, and then there are a couple of others. They’ve been saying, “No, no, no, we were just making suggestions for the companies. They wanted our input.” But these emails that came out in January from Rob Flaherty, who’s director of digital media at the White House, I think put an end to that, or should put an end to that.
Bill Walton (09:44):
Is he still there?
Jenin Younes (09:45):
Yes, he’s still there, last I checked, like a couple weeks ago. Because he’s very heavy-handed. He tells the companies, “You’re killing people. I want to see changes. There better be changes.” And then they’re writing back, tech executives, especially at Facebook and Google, and they’re saying, “Okay, okay, we changed our policies, we’re removing more people.” I mean, how can you claim that-
Bill Walton (10:05):
And he was relentless.
Jenin Younes (10:06):
Bill Walton (10:07):
And this went on for weeks, months.
Jenin Younes (10:09):
Bill Walton (10:09):
Jenin Younes (10:09):
Yeah. And it’s important. Another document dump that came out in the Missouri case was from later, so like spring of 2021 on. And these are a lot of emails from the CDC where it looks as though the tech companies want to be doing this. They’re collaborating and saying, “Okay, how can we help? We want do this. We want to help censor vaccine misinformation. What should we be censoring?”
And so that in many ways has been the government’s argument, that the companies want to do this, we’re just helping them. But the fact is that this occurred after these extremely coercive and threatening statements. So against the backdrop of that environment, I don’t see how you can argue that the companies wanted to be doing this. It’s clear that they were responding to pressure from the government and fear of repercussions.
Bill Walton (10:59):
And I want to hear you both on this. You’re not saying the companies don’t have the right to ban people from their service. I mean, if Twitter wants to throw somebody off, they’ve got a right to do that. Because presumably you can go to Gettr, some other sort of… What’s Trump’s-
Jenin Younes (11:18):
Todd Zywicki (11:20):
Jenin Younes (11:20):
Todd Zywicki (11:23):
Bill Walton (11:23):
Jenin Younes (11:23):
Todd Zywicki (11:25):
Bill Walton (11:27):
And Trump’s going to pull the plug on that anyway, but anyway, that’s a subject for another day. But you believe in free speech and liberty and companies’ right to do things. The argument here is the companies, they had a right to do that, but the government didn’t have a right to use the companies to coerce private actors to do what the government wanted them to do.
Jenin Younes (11:48):
Todd Zywicki (11:49):
Yeah. I would say that yes, it’s a matter of first principles. Private companies can control access to their platform. But I think it is actually more complicated than this, which is these platforms want to have it both ways. They want to claim that they’re just a platform so they’re not responsible for what people say on their platform, which is what was argued in the Supreme Court yesterday, if you noticed, with respect to Section 230.
Bill Walton (12:19):
I was going to mention that. We ought to talk about Section 230 because the Supreme Court just-
Todd Zywicki (12:24):
And so that’s the legal issue. But the principle is, we’re just a platform, we’re inviting all comers. But then they also want to act like they’re The Washington Post and say that we can control what is said on our platform. And so from that sense, they’re not just like a regular company, because a regular company doesn’t have the right to allow people to libel other people, to say the things that are said on their platforms.
And so there’s a double-edged sword here. So yes, the principle is private companies can decide who comes or goes. But when private companies decide who comes or goes, they’ve got to take the consequences that come with that. If The Washington Post prints something that’s libelous, then The Washington Post can be sued for that. And what these platforms are trying to say is, well, we’re going to control what people say, but at the same time we’re going to pretend like we’re not.
Bill Walton (13:21):
In Missouri v. Biden, which court are you in, and when do you win?
Jenin Younes (13:28):
We’re in the Western District of Louisiana, in front of [inaudible 00:13:33].
Bill Walton (13:32):
That sounds like a good jurisdiction.
Jenin Younes (13:35):
Bill Walton (13:36):
Sarah and I were just reading about Andrew Jackson. He’s from there. Spent some time there.
Jenin Younes (13:44):
So we’re actually in the preliminary injunction phase, which it’s very rare for a court to order this amount of discovery and depositions for preliminary injunctions. But he did, the judge did in this case. So we’ve actually been doing preliminary injunction related discovery since May. And we finally are going to have a hearing probably in the next month or so. So then we’ll get a ruling, which hopefully will be helpful.
Bill Walton (14:07):
You guys have actually taken some depositions in the case.
Jenin Younes (14:09):
Bill Walton (14:10):
This is The Bill Walton Show and I’m here with Jenin Younes and Todd Zywicki. And we’re talking about a very interesting lawsuit, Missouri v. Biden, which the essence is the White House has been directing the social media companies to censor speech and kick people off their platforms for the last two years, ever since they came into office.
Jenin Younes (14:32):
Yeah, that’s right.
Bill Walton (14:33):
Is that about when this started, or was this sort of like, okay, we’re in charge now. Now we’re going to start bringing about the regime that we want?
Jenin Younes (14:40):
So it’s actually, really, that’s one of the key sticking points, that the companies came up with COVID misinformation policies in March of 2020. And so the government is arguing, well, they already had these misinformation policies.
Bill Walton (14:51):
But they were listening to Fauci. The social media. I mean, you still had the same people in charge of-
Jenin Younes (14:59):
Sure. So they were doing some of this, even when Trump was in charge. The CDC especially was sort of on its own. I doubt that the president had anything to do with that.
Bill Walton (15:09):
So we had Twitter being leaned on. It was Facebook mainly being leaned on by all of them.
Jenin Younes (15:13):
All of them.
Bill Walton (15:15):
But then we had Fauci doing that. We had the FBI, I understand we had 20 FBI agents in the Twitter offices.
Jenin Younes (15:23):
Yeah, that’s right.
Todd Zywicki (15:25):
Just at Twitter. Who knows that Facebook [inaudible 00:15:27].
Bill Walton (15:28):
Were the government people talking to each other? Was this just all independent?
Jenin Younes (15:33):
That remains a little bit unclear. It looks to me like they were acting independently, the separate agencies. I don’t think that they were coordinating. So I think that’s why the CDC was doing this even under Trump and just continued doing it under Biden, but ramped up its efforts in response to the government’s pressure. And then I think some of it, like the White House’s involvement obviously started under Biden.
Bill Walton (15:57):
So when you win, what’s the remedy? What are the damages?
Jenin Younes (16:03):
So, we’re actually not suing for damages right now, although that could change. We’re asking for declaratory and injunctive relief. So we basically want to-
Bill Walton (16:11):
Sounds dramatic. What does that mean?
Jenin Younes (16:14):
We need a court to say that the government can’t do this, it cannot coerce or pressure-
Bill Walton (16:20):
For the future.
Jenin Younes (16:20):
… the work with the companies. Yeah. And that that constitutes a First Amendment violation. It’s really important to create that precedent.
Bill Walton (16:26):
And this would set a standard and then they’d appeal it and take it to the Supreme Court?
Jenin Younes (16:30):
I think that’s likely. Yeah.
Bill Walton (16:32):
So this could be the case that opens all this up.
Jenin Younes (16:37):
I think so. I think it’s likely to be the case that sets these boundaries. And I mean, it’s obviously new because this has never happened before. I mean, social media is pretty new in and of itself. And then the government using social media companies to accomplish its aims to this degree, although I think there was some of it going on before.
Todd Zywicki (16:54):
That’s my guess, but not the [inaudible 00:16:57].
Bill Walton (16:57):
You’ve been in this world, what’s your take? I mean, this has been going on for a while.
Todd Zywicki (17:01):
That’s my guess. I mean, first, it’s pretty amazing. I’m glad the FBI was able to spare people, FBI agents spying on parents going to PTA meetings, to allow them instead to read all of our social media postings and the like.
Bill Walton (17:19):
You’re in FBI, you get a call. “Am I going to the parents’ night or am I going to the offices of Twitter?”
Todd Zywicki (17:24):
Bill Walton (17:25):
The food’s a lot better at Twitter.
Todd Zywicki (17:26):
That’s right. I think we just uncovered the cause of the crime spree in America. They didn’t have any agents left over. But what I think is striking about this, Bill, is this has probably been going on in the past. We know, for example, during times of war, the government has always leaned on media companies not to print things that could affect national defense and that sort of thing. But this is so brazen and on a scale that I think really is novel. And the heavy-handedness, the pure ideological discrimination of it. So for example, July 2021, President Biden in a town hall said to people, “If you get vaccinated, you will not get COVID.” Right? That was 100% misinformation. Everybody knew by that time that if you got vaccinated, you could still get COVID. Yet Joe Biden wasn’t banned from Twitter for having that statement be put on Twitter.
So it was clearly ideologically motivated. Didn’t have anything to do with national defense or the kind of things that we talked about in the past. And what I think we’re seeing here is this administration, the left generally, is trying to figure out where the line is. We’ve always thought in terms of state action censorship versus private action. And what they’re doing now is using the power of the government to lean on these guys, to talk to these guys. And don’t forget that the same time they’re doing this over here, they’re also holding hearings over here. Is Twitter a monopolist? Should we be bringing antitrust action against Twitter? Should we be bringing antitrust action against Facebook? FTC’s investigating Facebook for privacy issues and all these sorts of things. And so in the world of the regulatory state, these comments are not in isolation. They’re against this backdrop of all these other threats.
Bill Walton (19:28):
And your organization, Jenin, is really every day up against the administrative state and dealing with it. But you mention a line to this man on the street who’s not a lawyer, I don’t think they care about a line. I think they’re just pushing it as far as they can to get away with it. But they can, as long as they’ve got the power. I mean, are they really dealing with any niceties of the law? Is Merrick Garland really concerned about it?
Todd Zywicki (19:55):
Well, I think they know-
Bill Walton (19:58):
I don’t mind if the show gets kicked off. I don’t want you guys to get debarred.
Todd Zywicki (19:59):
Well, but I think the point is, Bill, they know that they couldn’t just pass a regulation or an executive order that says, “The following content must be banned from your site.” That would be a clear violation of the First Amendment because it would be content-based discrimination as a matter of state action. State action is the magic word here, which is when the government acts versus just a determination by the private actors. And so they’re not going to pass a regulation, they’re not going to issue an executive order, they’re not going to pass a law. But what they’re going to do is use all this soft power, all this sort of-
Bill Walton (20:39):
The social media companies?
Todd Zywicki (20:42):
Yeah, the government on the social media companies.
Bill Walton (20:45):
Who tend to agree with the government on these issues anyway.
Todd Zywicki (20:48):
Right. Yes, exactly. And so in the past, what you’ve had in a case like the Pentagon Papers case, a famous case during the Vietnam War, was the government just said, “We will prosecute you if you publish those. We will prosecute you criminally if you say the following things.” And that’s always been barred by the First Amendment except for these small exceptions for libel or creating a riot, that sort of thing. And so what they understand now is they can’t do that, but they also understand they don’t need to do that.
Jenin Younes (21:25):
Todd Zywicki (21:26):
And when I say they, I mean the government here, that the government doesn’t need to actually pass laws to get what they want here.
Bill Walton (21:34):
But the things we believed two years ago was that the lockdowns were not helpful, they were hurtful. The masks didn’t really… They were decorative, but they didn’t really stop this virus. Then later on, the vaccine, which is not really a vaccine, which was purported to do all this good stuff, really doesn’t. And in fact, a lot of evidence that it does harm. And I think Jay, back in that day said something very true, that he said, “Well, this vaccine, you might want to use it for an older population, but you don’t want to use it for everybody, especially kids.” And that got banned. And that got canceled. So it seems like almost everything everybody was saying two years ago, we now know to be true.
Jenin Younes (22:23):
Yeah, that’s right.
Bill Walton (22:23):
Am I missing anything? Is there any gray area that we’re still-
Todd Zywicki (22:26):
That’s the joke now, right? What’s the difference between a conspiracy theory and reality? About three months.
Jenin Younes (22:36):
And I think that this illustrates the purpose of the First Amendment, or why we have a First Amendment. Because I think a lot of people think, oh, there are these gods in the government who are just infallible and they know what’s true and what’s not. And they should be removing the microchips people and stuff like that. But actually what happens in reality, it’s just human beings in government, and they’re often not the smartest human beings, actually. They have their own biases and often don’t want to admit error. And those are the people making these decisions.
And then you end up with some, or people at Twitter or a combination of those things. Some 22-year-old who got a liberal arts degree somewhere is censoring Jay Bhattacharya and Matin Kulldorff, who are top epidemiologists, talking about things in the area of their expertise. And that really strangled public debate on these topics. The public got the impression there was a consensus on lockdowns, mandates, the vaccines, when there actually wasn’t. It was just that scientists who disagreed were being silenced.
Bill Walton (23:40):
Did you listen to Naomi Wolf’s podcast on this yesterday?
Jenin Younes (23:43):
Bill Walton (23:43):
Two days ago?
Jenin Younes (23:43):
Bill Walton (23:44):
It’s stunning. She’s very accomplished. What does she have, two PhDs, a couple of doctorates? Gotten all this done, this incredible career. And she said she watched the Twitter hearings and looked at the people who were censoring her and the people who ruined her. And they’re these… What did you call it, 22 year old graduate of Michigan State?
Jenin Younes (24:07):
Bill Walton (24:07):
With all due respect to Michigan State, I went to Indiana, but it could be anybody from anywhere. Are we going to get to do a primer on public choice theory now?
Todd Zywicki (24:17):
Yeah. It seems like we could.
Bill Walton (24:18):
This is The Bill Walton Show. I’m here with Todd Zywicki and Jenin Younes, and we’re about to talk about the fact that people in government are just regular people like the rest of us. And they don’t have any superpowers and they have the same personal interests that the rest of us do. And they may not be acting in the disinterested… What do we call it? Disinterest-
Todd Zywicki (24:42):
Bill Walton (24:43):
Help me out here.
Todd Zywicki (24:44):
The public interest, broadly defined.
Bill Walton (24:47):
So did I capture the public choice theory?
Todd Zywicki (24:52):
That’s right. That’s right. In fact, I teach a class on public choice in the law. And that’s exactly right. And both politicians, bureaucrats have-
Bill Walton (25:01):
Give us a better definition.
Todd Zywicki (25:02):
Yeah. So public choice is basically the idea that people are people. And you don’t magically become wiser or more selfless simply because you get elected to Congress. And so you have the same limits of information, you’re the same person intellectually and everything else. You may have different incentives. The incentives of politicians is to get elected. How do we know that? Because if they don’t, then they are ex-politicians. The incentive of bureaucrats seems to be to expand their empires, their domains. So, is William Niskanen, the former chairman of the Cato Institute-
Bill Walton (25:42):
Well, they may be ex-politicians, but they never leave Washington.
Todd Zywicki (25:45):
But they never leave Washington. That’s right. They just become lobbyists. And I think Anthony Fauci’s a good example of the type. I’ve worked twice in the federal government. And I ask people this question, it’s like, what is the odds that the best immunologist in America is a senior bureaucrat in the federal government, rather than a professor at Harvard or making a couple million dollars a year or whatever? Basically, Anthony Fauci got to the top because he was a great bureaucrat. And what’s happened was for decades people sucked up to Anthony Fauci, told him how great he was, how brilliant he was. Why? Because he had billions of dollars of research money to give them. And they understood that’s how the game was played.
Bill Walton (26:28):
They were giving out what, 2 billion? No, much more than that. How much research money did he have power over in [inaudible 00:26:34]?
Todd Zywicki (26:34):
I don’t know, billions of dollars a year. And so for decades, all they heard was people tell them how brilliant they were. And he just kept aggregating more and more power to himself. And pretty soon these guys just feel like they run the world. And so Collins and Fauci will get together and basically say, “We’re going to do a hit job on Jay Bhattacharya and Martin Kulldorff.” And they’re completely frank about it. It’s like, we’ve got to take these guys out.
Jenin Younes (27:05):
We deposed Anthony Fauci the day before Thanksgiving in 2022, and he was asked about that, and he said, “Oh, we were just talking about writing an article to explain why they were wrong.”
Bill Walton (27:17):
Just academics, wanting to do another research paper.
Jenin Younes (27:21):
Yeah, exactly. And he was asked about his involvement in the social media censorship and he kept saying he didn’t have time for social media because he was running a $6 billion institute. So I think that’s the number.
Todd Zywicki (27:31):
6 billion, that’s right.
Bill Walton (27:33):
Billions. Well, so the related issues are that we’ve chilled speech, not with just regard to the whole COVID issue, but nobody’s allowed to talk about the 2020 election. And I guess now 2022 is nobody mentions it, whether that was all kosher, we don’t know. January 6th, we haven’t been able to talk about it. It’s an insurrection. Six police officers were killed, where in fact nobody was killed. But Tucker now has videos. Have you been following that where-
Todd Zywicki (28:07):
I just saw the news on that.
Bill Walton (28:08):
They’ve got how many hundreds of thousands of hours of videos?
Todd Zywicki (28:12):
8,000 hours or something. I saw part of that in the paper today.
Bill Walton (28:18):
Any thoughts on that?
Todd Zywicki (28:22):
And I think the scope of this continues to expand, I think is your point. Which is once the government gets a hold of a lever like this, gets a hold of a power like this, then they expand. And you forgot one of the big ones, of course, was the Hunter Biden laptop story, prior to the last election when the FBI is… Mark Zuckerberg, I mean, it went to Facebook and said, “Look out for Russian disinformation coming down the pike.”
And of course we all know what happened to The New York Post there and not being able to spread that story, which of course is another example of something that’s true. And this, Bill, is where this really becomes urgent. And you ask the question, are these just private companies? Yes, they’re just private companies, but they’re special private companies. And this is what we need to start thinking about, which is that this affects the democratic process. This affects our power as citizens.
If we can’t speak as citizens without the risk of losing our job, losing our bank account, losing our Twitter account, now, you’ve really got private companies leveraging power over the democratic process. And so this is what I think that those of us who believe in free speech and private property need to understand, is there are spillover effects here. That there are spillover effects on the democratic process when Twitter, a private company, decides to censor the Hunter Biden laptop story. Most obviously could affect the election. But all of these questions we’re having now with respect to vaccine policy, with respect to other questions of public import.
Bill Walton (30:16):
Well, the big issue for me is that it’s not what people are saying, it’s what people are afraid to say, they won’t say. And increasingly you get people not willing to say what they think. The chilling effect. I think you’ve got lawyers who’ve even got a legal term for it. That’s the thing we’ve really got to fear, is that people are not offering up what they really think.
Todd Zywicki (30:37):
And I’ll jump in here. I mean, those who think cancel culture’s no big deal, show me the people who have been canceled. That’s the point. Every time they do this, it has a deterrent effect. It’s the person who won’t say something because they’re afraid of getting canceled. So that person never gets canceled because they don’t say it. And so we see this on university campuses, for example, which is maybe a controversial speaker comes to campus, creates a big uproar. Maybe that person ends up coming, but the next time that student group, that conservative student group or the Federalist Society, whoever, is thinking about inviting that person, they say, it’s not worth it. And so then they invite a less inflammatory speaker. So it’s what you don’t see that happens, what’s not said, the speaker who’s not invited. That’s the unmeasurable, but highly crucial and important part of what this chilling effect has on people’s free speech.
Jenin Younes (31:41):
Well, I mean, with respect to whether the tech companies should be able to do what they want, I would say that’s one of the most divisive topics in the libertarian community.
Bill Walton (31:50):
Well, let’s talk about 230. Let’s do 230. First, could we do a quick explanation of what 230 is?
Jenin Younes (31:59):
Sure. Essentially, insofar as it bears on this issue, it protects the companies from liability for what people publish on their platform. So they can’t be held responsible if somebody posts a threat or something defamatory. I don’t know if you have anything to add.
Todd Zywicki (32:17):
Yeah. And so the-
Bill Walton (32:18):
Section 230 of the Federal Communication Act, what, 1978, 1986, something like that?
Todd Zywicki (32:24):
Bill Walton (32:25):
It was put in place when these tech companies had about $8 million in revenue total. And they were operating these bulletin boards, electronic bulletin boards, and nobody thought it would really amount to much. But they wanted to protect these little companies from getting sued by people for what they’d put on the platform.
Todd Zywicki (32:42):
And so, interestingly enough, since you’re a financial services guy like me, you’ll remember this background. The first case that triggered all this involved commentary on an early board involving stock tips and Stratton Oakmont.
Bill Walton (33:02):
Oh my goodness, isn’t that the movie?
Todd Zywicki (33:05):
That’s the movie. The Wolf of Wall Street. Somebody went on one of these platforms and said, “Stratton Oakmont is a bunch of fraudsters. They’re ripping you off.” And Stratton Oakmont sued, as I recall the facts, I’m maybe a little off in the details. Stratton Oakmont sued and said, “Those people are libeling us,” and wanted to hold the platform liable. Well, turns out obviously that was true. And so they put this provision in that would protect the media companies for things that people said on their platform, with the exception that they could remove things like true threats, child pornography, illegal acts, like I wanted to sell you a pound of heroin or whatever.
Bill Walton (33:54):
But that imposed an obligation on them to remove bad stuff, and then that morphed into…
Jenin Younes (33:59):
Todd Zywicki (34:00):
Well, it’s not clear whether it imposed an obligation on them. I think what it did was create a safe harbor. If they said, we’re removing this because we consider it to be dangerous, to be a threat or to be illegal. And that’s what they’re standing behind now is they’re saying, well, that little thing, there was a carve out the safe harbor for that allows us also to remove things like COVID misinformation.
Jenin Younes (34:26):
Masks don’t work.
Todd Zywicki (34:28):
Masks that don’t work, because that’s dangerous. It’s creating a public danger. And so that’s where the line comes in. But what I think is important about it, Bill, is that traditional exemption, that’s basically how the First Amendment is structured. The First Amendment, you’re not allowed to falsely cry fire in a crowded theater. You’re not allowed to engage in a criminal conspiracy and say you’ve got a First Amendment right to plot somebody’s murder.
Jenin Younes (35:05):
Or post child porn.
Todd Zywicki (35:07):
Or post child porn or whatever. That’s what they were getting at with that, it looks like, to me, that doesn’t apply to just a broad ranging thing to say, well, that speech, that comment you made is dangerous too because people won’t wear masks.
Bill Walton (35:24):
Well, it looks like the Supreme Court, based on the oral arguments, isn’t going to weigh in on this. Doesn’t it look like they’re going to send it back to Congress, at which point nothing happens?
Todd Zywicki (35:37):
I’ve not looked at the oral argument transcript yet.
Bill Walton (35:39):
Okay, well, you guys have been too busy, right?
Jenin Younes (35:41):
I had a brief through yesterday.
Bill Walton (35:42):
Jenin Younes (35:43):
I wasn’t listening.
Todd Zywicki (35:44):
That’s right. But it is a thicket. And I think Jenin puts her finger on it, which is this is a real dividing line within libertarians and conservatives right now, which is what do we do about this? What do we do about treating these things as platforms when they’re acting like a-
Bill Walton (36:05):
Leaning libertarian, personally, I would opt for more speech, and I don’t really care that it gets [inaudible 00:36:11]. But I think conservatives, they want to weigh in on certain types of speech as well.
Jenin Younes (36:14):
Well, so there are laws in Texas and Florida that basically said that the platforms can’t censor people. They can get in trouble.
Todd Zywicki (36:25):
Based on content.
Jenin Younes (36:26):
Based on viewpoint or content. So the federal court in Florida struck the law down and said it was unconstitutional. The federal court in Texas came to the opposite conclusion and basically said that these platforms are common carriers. They’re like telephone companies or railroads, and there are laws saying that common carriers can’t discriminate against certain groups of people. Like the railroad can’t kick you off because you’re black or gay or whatever.
Same thing. According to this law, the platforms can’t kick you off because you express unpopular views or views that differ from the government’s. And I would say I’m sympathetic to the argument. I’m also a little wary of more laws and regulation because that just allows the government to get involved in everything. So I’m personally conflicted and I think there’s a lot of division within libertarianism and the conservatives.
Bill Walton (37:15):
So part of our problem is we can’t make up our own minds.
Todd Zywicki (37:17):
Right. Well, and I-
Bill Walton (37:19):
I do know we don’t need another law to tell us [inaudible 00:37:23].
Todd Zywicki (37:23):
And there’s two ways you could get at this, right? You could try to get rid of 230, which is I think probably not the best way to do it, because I think these platforms are really marvelous. And the ability of people to be able to speak-
Jenin Younes (37:35):
They’ll say then not let people just post very easily because they’ll get [inaudible 00:37:40].
Todd Zywicki (37:39):
That’s my intuition. But what they could do, as Jenin was saying, like they did in Texas, which is they say, if you’re going to be a platform, you’ve got to be open to all comers. And so the common carrier approach is exactly the right approach. She gave the example of a railroad, but think about this. The post office, most people don’t know, the post office is a private company.
The United States Postal Service is actually a private company. It’s got a dotcom email address, not a dotgov email address. But the post office cannot refuse to deliver a Nazi pamphlet, for example. The post office can’t say, we don’t want to facilitate the speech of Nazis or communists or whatever the case may be. And that’s basically what the argument here would be, is that social media companies, like the post office have this special… And then the post office also has a safe harbor if they deliver something from A to B that doesn’t get people in trouble.
Bill Walton (38:37):
Well, the post office is a private company, but the American taxpayers are the equity holder. And we never get asked about whether we want a dividend or return on capital. We just keep putting more in.
Todd Zywicki (38:50):
Just keep putting more in.
Bill Walton (38:50):
As a venture capitalist, that dog… Anyway.
Todd Zywicki (38:53):
And so that’s what Jenin means by being a common carrier, which, is it unreasonable to say that you have to delivers Nazi speech on Twitter just like you do for communist speech or whatever? And that doesn’t strike me as inherently objectionable.
Bill Walton (39:14):
But I just want to come back to reestablish that what the White House was doing and what Fauci was doing and what the FBI was doing, putting their people in, coercing these social media companies to do their bidding, that seems to me that’s a bright line. We can talk about all these other things, but that seems wrong.
Jenin Younes (39:34):
Yes. I mean, I very strongly believe this is a really significant First Amendment violation, and probably the most important First Amendment issue of our time, I think. Because in the digital age, if this comes out the wrong way and the courts say the government can basically coerce, pressure, encourage, even work with private industry to accomplish what it can’t do directly, then the First Amendment is really dead.
Bill Walton (39:59):
Jenin Younes (40:00):
Bill Walton (40:00):
Todd Zywicki (40:00):
And the counterargument that some conservatives have made is, well, the government has First Amendment rights too.
Bill Walton (40:07):
No. Who are these people?
Jenin Younes (40:12):
I know. You could probably guess. But they say, “Well, the government’s allowed to tell you what they think. They’re allowed to criticize you if you-“
Bill Walton (40:18):
Power has the ability to tax us to death and put us in jail. But that’s a little different. With that kind of power comes responsibilities, and one of the responsibilities is to withhold from that kind of behavior, refrain.
Todd Zywicki (40:32):
I would agree.
Bill Walton (40:33):
That would be [inaudible 00:40:35].
Todd Zywicki (40:35):
Last time I was here, Bill, we talked about cancel culture in banking, where they’re doing the same sort of thing, using this vague concept of reputation risk to get banks… First was Operation Choke Point, but now it’s to get banks to debank gun companies, to debank oil companies.
Bill Walton (40:55):
Well, the big one’s fossil fuels.
Todd Zywicki (40:56):
Bill Walton (40:58):
They’re using banks to promote the climate change agenda.
Todd Zywicki (41:02):
Right. And it’s walking along this same line that these guys are doing, which is they’re saying, well, we’re not telling you have to do it. We’re going to just say it’s risky. Right?
Jenin Younes (41:12):
I think the best analogy comes from a lot of Fourth Amendment cases, that’s searches and seizures, where the government can’t hire a private company or encourage or coerce them to go search your home without a warrant. So likewise, why should the government be able to do those things with respect to censoring people based on viewpoint? I mean, if people in government got up and said, “Private companies should really go break into people’s homes and try to find evidence of crimes,” we would all agree that’s not a First Amendment right that government officials have.
Todd Zywicki (41:40):
And this was the logic of the old Ku Klux Klan Act, which is the government couldn’t terrorize black people in the South, and they can’t just say nod and a wink. Well, if you private actors terrorize black people, we might just decide not to investigate. Right?
Bill Walton (42:05):
Okay. We’ve got time for another segment here. This is The Bill Walton Show. I’m here with Jenin Younes and Todd Zywicki and we’re talking about really the arcana of whether we can manage the speech on social media. It’s an important issue. But I want to talk about life on Twitter. You both are very active on Twitter, and we’ve had some regime change at Twitter. And so let me open with that. Who wants to go first? Life on Twitter.
Jenin Younes (42:37):
Well, it’s really weird. So Elon Musk took over and I think his goal was to make it a real free speech haven. Weirdly, my engagement has gone down. I don’t know, I was certain that I was being shadow-banned, meaning that my account was sort of being deplatformed because I say all sorts of controversial things about COVID. But I have far fewer impressions and likes, but my follower count is rapidly going up. So I don’t know. I don’t understand what’s going on.
Bill Walton (43:01):
Your followers are going up, but the number of impressions are going down.
Jenin Younes (43:04):
Exactly. It’s really strange.
Bill Walton (43:06):
Is that because he’s getting rid of the bots?
Jenin Younes (43:08):
But that would mean the follower count would go down, I think, so I’m not sure.
Todd Zywicki (43:15):
I think it’s a fascinating ecosystem, Bill. I’m slightly older than Jenin, so I’m later uptake to this social media stuff. And I didn’t start actually tweeting until I brought my lawsuit in 2021. And basically what happened was I published an article in the Wall Street Journal, and it got edited down so much they cut out a bunch of my citations. So I just said, well, I’ll just put it up on Twitter. And it kind of went from there because nobody else was saying what I was saying.
So here’s my observation, which is first, when I post commentary I post almost exclusively on Twitter, not on Facebook. Why? Because Facebook engages in ruthless shadow-banning, which is that I don’t know exactly how their algorithm works. They don’t tell you it’s working. But basically, anything I publish on Facebook does not get read if it’s on anything related to COVID. It just goes into some black hole.
Bill Walton (44:14):
So you can still find it. You can find it but nobody else can find it.
Todd Zywicki (44:18):
But nobody else can see it.
Jenin Younes (44:18):
It doesn’t appear.
Todd Zywicki (44:19):
It doesn’t appear in anybody else’s feed.
Bill Walton (44:21):
Quick definition of shadow-banning.
Todd Zywicki (44:22):
Basically, they suppress, they dampen the ability for other people to see it. And so they’ve got basically a dial.
Bill Walton (44:33):
And so is that an algorithm or is that a human being?
Todd Zywicki (44:36):
It’s an algorithm, I think, primarily.
Jenin Younes (44:38):
Yeah. But I think you could be identified by humans, and then they make sure that the algorithm deplatforms you. So Jay Bhattacharya, who we talked about earlier, was shadow-banned from his first day on Twitter. So somebody saw he joined Twitter, because he did that about a year ago. And then he was put on a blacklist so his tweets aren’t seen as much as other people’s.
Todd Zywicki (44:57):
Yeah. And so they have this ability to highlight or depress certain postings that people have. And so my case, when I would post on COVID stuff, at some point they just basically said, nobody’s going to see this. And so at least I understood. So basically if nobody’s going to read it, so then I switched over to Twitter, which is arbitrary in its own way. But they would just ban people. And so what I will say is Twitter’s a lot more fun now that Elon Musk is there and we don’t have this-
Bill Walton (45:28):
How so? How is it more fun?
Todd Zywicki (45:30):
It just feels more fun. People can say more things. People have been reinstated who were long gone. It’s just a little more freewheeling and doesn’t feel quite as constricted to me. That might just be psychological. But what I would say is if people have been putting off joining Twitter because they think it’s sort of a communist, Stasi-controlled site, join Twitter now. Even if you just read, it’s a heck of a lot more fun.
Bill Walton (46:01):
[inaudible 00:46:01] Donald should rejoin Twitter?
Todd Zywicki (46:02):
I think Donald probably doesn’t need encouragement. But it really is a fascinating… And this is why it is so powerful. It really is the vehicle for bypassing the elite media. It really is the vehicle for hearing directly from people you want to hear from without them having to go through the gatekeepers of the traditional media, whether it’s Jay Bhattacharya and Martin Kulldorff, or people who are flakier. And this is why the left fears it so much, because it allows people to evade the gatekeepers in the media and the government and the universities and the big corporations and everybody else that they have control over.
Bill Walton (46:48):
Well, on the left and among the elite media, Elon Musk has become almost as bad as Donald Trump.
Jenin Younes (46:58):
It’s really funny how they just pick up on someone, decide they’re the devil, and then everybody goes along with it.
Todd Zywicki (47:04):
He was a hero. He was saving the planet.
Bill Walton (47:06):
I see him as a hero, but he’s been really eviscerated.
Jenin Younes (47:08):
Todd Zywicki (47:09):
But it’s really quite remarkable, Bill. I don’t have a huge number of followers. Jenin has a lot, right? But somebody like Jenin or a larger [inaudible 00:47:19] could be seen millions of times on Twitter. And millions of people will see it all around the world. By contrast, CNN, an average show on CNN gets what? A couple hundred thousand viewers. The reach of these platforms is mind-boggling.
Bill Walton (47:33):
Unless it’s Don Lemon talking about women.
Todd Zywicki (47:35):
Jenin Younes (47:35):
I have to watch that because I-
Bill Walton (47:42):
That’s right. Anyway. Yeah, but you’re right.
Todd Zywicki (47:42):
But the point is, this really is a very powerful thing. But Elon Musk, and I give Elon Musk credit, which is that Elon Musk saw this and said, “I don’t know whether I’m going to make any money off of this, but this is really important for society that we have a place where this can be done.” That place used to be universities and everybody knows it’s not universities anymore. And Twitter and social media, in theory, is the last place where people can theoretically speak freely and evade these gatekeepers.
Bill Walton (48:18):
You say some very blunt things on Twitter. What’s your subjective experience of this? I know we talked about your numbers, but how do you feel about the experience now versus a year ago?
Jenin Younes (48:27):
It’s much better. So I mean, I think one thing a lot of people don’t necessarily realize is how important it is, although Todd just got to the heart of that. It’s also important for my job. I tell people what I’m doing, they’re interested, that helps my organization and me continue to do the work. So I really didn’t want to lose my account, but people were being censored so much for saying anything critical about the vaccines or anything good about natural immunity. I was afraid, so I got creative.
Bill Walton (48:53):
So you had the chilling cloud covering over what you’re saying? I got to stay on this but…
Jenin Younes (49:00):
Yeah, no, I really didn’t want to lose my account. And at some point they were suspending people so much, this was actually right around the time the Biden administration started threatening the companies, which I think is further evidence that the companies were reacting to that. But yeah, I really didn’t want to lose my account so I would say things like, “Here’s an article about the vaccines. You should read it.”
Todd Zywicki (49:18):
Jenin Younes (49:20):
Because it said things like, “You know the vaccines don’t stop transmission,” or something, because I was afraid to actually say it. So it’s really refreshing to not have to… I don’t worry about it anymore because they’re not enforcing their COVID misinformation policy under Elon. He said explicitly they’re not doing it. Now the government is using that to say that our cases are moot, which is what happens when the conduct you’re complaining of has ceased. So they’re saying that, well, Elon Musk did away with the COVID misinformation policies. Your plaintiffs have nothing to complain about. In one of my cases. Missouri is broader, but my Changizi case is just Twitter. So we’re over [inaudible 00:49:56] dealing with that.
Bill Walton (49:58):
We got a couple minutes left. So where are things now? I mean, we’ve now seen these shocking reports of the Twitter offices housing all these FBI agents and all the other stuff we’ve been talking about. Has all this disclosure changed anything? Is the government backing off, or do we still think they’re doing it in maybe a less obvious way?
Jenin Younes (50:19):
I doubt they’re backing off. I mean, I can’t know exactly what’s going on behind the scenes right now, but in the middle of the Missouri lawsuit when some of this really big information came out, the current press secretary, Karine Jean-Pierre, was going back on during her press conferences and saying, “We have our eye on Elon Musk and Twitter. And if he’s not censoring misinformation, we’re going to be doing something about it.”
Bill Walton (50:44):
Is she a dim bulb or is she a dim bulb?
Jenin Younes (50:46):
She’s a dim bulb. Yeah. So I don’t think they care at all. They’re very brazen.
Todd Zywicki (50:53):
Yeah, they are. And I think there’s an important lesson here, which is first I agree with Jenin that this line of cases that they’re pursuing right now is the most important First Amendment cases of our generation and for the future. Precisely because in the world of the regulatory state, this ability of the government to have so many different ways to exercise influence over supposedly private companies is really powerful.
And everybody knows it’s in the background. And a lot of times they don’t even hide it, they’re just rattling their saber over these banks and that sort of thing. And so figuring out and coming up with a way of the First Amendment preventing the government from end running the protections for free speech, essentially doing like the Ku Klux Klan Act and basically empowering and encouraging private actors to do the government’s bidding, that is a really important precedent here. And especially important because we can’t get our hands around the regulatory state.
And what we’re hearing here from them, the rationales are really scary, which is they say, well, this is just good for the public if we do this. We don’t allow people to have misinformation about our policies. You know who else said that was Vladimir Putin when he was censoring people in Russia because they were undermining faith in the war effort against Ukraine. He’s like, “They’re spreading misinformation about our war effort in Ukraine. And so as a result, we’re going to keep them from speaking.”
And so that’s the first part. The second thing is I think we need to think more creatively, not just about using the First Amendment as a shield, which is a very important shield, but to think more about the kind of things we’ve been weaving into, which is common carrier regulation, things like that where we can actually affirmatively promote free speech rather than constantly be responding to what the government’s doing here.
Bill Walton (52:49):
But when do we have the power to do that? I mean, when Jenin wins her case, we’re going to win that in the next six months, we hope?
Jenin Younes (52:58):
Well, that’s just a preliminary injunction. The whole case will probably take years.
Bill Walton (53:01):
So we may be into another administration. So we’re going to need a new administration to make these kind of changes.
Todd Zywicki (53:08):
Yeah. And so last time I was here, again, Bill, we talked about the fair access to financial services rule in banking, for example.
Bill Walton (53:15):
It’s getting worse. It’s getting much worse.
Todd Zywicki (53:16):
Yeah, which prohibit banks from discriminating against fossil fuels, discriminating against gun companies, discriminating against individuals based on anything other than financial risk. Do I like that? No. Do I think it might be necessary? It might be, because it’s clear the banks aren’t going to police themselves on this. And it’s clear that the government is probably doing the same thing to the banks. We know during the Obama administration, they did exactly to the banks what the government is doing here under Operation Choke Point.
Bill Walton (53:46):
It’s much less easy. It’s much less easy to detect that.
Todd Zywicki (53:50):
And it’s much less easy to detect that because of the supervision process. They basically took that model, moved it over here to social media. And they’re going to, I think, keep pushing the boundary if they think they can get political elements out of this. And if we’re constantly having to bring lawsuits to stop them over and over again, that’s not that effective.
Bill Walton (54:11):
So we got to wrap up. What didn’t we get a chance to talk about that we need to talk about next time?
Jenin Younes (54:18):
Well, we didn’t talk about the California misinformation law, which I think is important because-
Bill Walton (54:23):
Jenin Younes (54:24):
That was California passed a law recently saying that doctors should be disciplined for spreading misinformation about COVID to patients, and misinformation is very poorly defined.
Bill Walton (54:35):
We’ll put that on our list. That’s one. What else do we do? We got to talk about the banks. It’s just not the banks, it’s all financial services industry.
Todd Zywicki (54:42):
That’s right. It’s financial services. It’s these guys. And I think it’s a model that if it’s allowed to stand here, it’s a model that’s going to spread.
Jenin Younes (54:52):
That’s right. Yeah.
Todd Zywicki (54:54):
If the government realizes that there’s a line here and the line’s out here, they push right up to that line.
Bill Walton (55:02):
Is your group doing anything in financial services?
Jenin Younes (55:06):
Not that I can think of at the moment off the top of my head. There could be something, but we have a lot of lawsuits.
Bill Walton (55:12):
Because, I mean, the administrative state’s very active at the Fed, for example, where they want to create central bank digital currencies.
Jenin Younes (55:18):
Bill Walton (55:19):
Talk about coercion. I mean, your bank account’s going to be at the Fed.
Jenin Younes (55:24):
Yeah, so I don’t think so. We have some lawsuits against the student loan handout, the $10,000 or whatever.
Bill Walton (55:32):
Jenin Younes (55:32):
But that’s not exactly what you’re getting at.
Todd Zywicki (55:34):
But that gets straight to the social credit questions that we’re all nervous about.
Bill Walton (55:39):
Okay, there’s a lot to cover. And we will, there’ll be a next time. This is too chock-full with good stuff, or at least sobering stuff. So this has been The Bill Walton Show, and I’ve been here with Jenin Younes and Todd Zywicki. And we’ve been talking about Missouri v. Biden, which is the opportunity to rein in the White House’s coercion through social media companies.
And anyway, thanks, you guys, for joining. And also thank you all for joining. And as usual, you can find us on all the major podcast platforms. YouTube, I think, unless we get banned this time. The last one got banned, we may be pulled. Hello, YouTube. And Rumble, and we’re on social, we’re on Substack and also on CPAC now on Monday nights. And so join us then and send us your comments via either Substack or the website, thebillwaltonshow.com. We pay a lot of attention to what you’re interested and what we’re hearing us talk about, and we’ll follow up accordingly. So anyway, thanks for joining and talk soon.
I hope you enjoyed the conversation. Want more? Click the subscribe button or head over to thebillwaltonshow.com to choose from over a hundred episodes. You can also learn more about our guests on our Interesting People page. And send us your comments. We read every one and your thoughts help us guide the show. If it’s easier for you to listen, check out our podcast page and subscribe there. In return, we’ll keep you informed about what’s true, what’s right and what’s next. Thanks for joining.
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