In the News
Delaware Valley Journal: PA School Boards Group Disavows National Organization’s ‘Domestic Terror’ Claims
By Linda Stein
The Pennsylvania School Boards Association tells Delaware Valley Journal it disavows a letter last week from the national school board group asking that parents protesting education policy be investigated as possible violent domestic terrorists…
David Keating, president of the Institute for Free Speech, is currently helping [Simon] Campbell and other Lower Makefield residents take the Pennsbury School District to court over allegations that that district denied their free speech rights.
“Citizens who are peacefully advocating for change in our nation’s schools should be undeterred. What’s most disturbing about the memo is that it was triggered by a thinly documented letter from a special interest group,” said Keating.
“School boards need to do a better job of listening to the public. Too many school boards create unnecessary tensions by ignoring First Amendment rights during public comment time and discriminating against dissenting viewpoints. Maybe the attorney general should remind the nation’s schools of their constitutional obligation to respect free speech and the right to petition the government,” said Keating.
Newsmax’s National Report: News Interview: First Amendment Lawsuit Against Pennsbury School Board
[Ed. note: Here’s a clip of a recent Newsmax interview with our client Simon Campbell. Read more about our case against the Pennsbury School Board here.]
Wall Street Journal: Merrick Garland Has a List, and You’re Probably on It
By Gerard Baker
Mr. Garland’s list of society offenders is compendious. At the top are right-wing extremists who’ve been officially designated the greatest domestic threat to U.S. security, but whose ranks seem, in the eyes of the nation’s top lawyer, to include some less obviously malevolent characters, including perhaps anyone who protested the results of the 2020 election…
But, let’s be fair. With limited resources, Justice has to prioritize. Mr. Garland and his federal henchmen must ensure that only the gravest threats to the republic are neutralized.
Which is presumably why the latest names on his roll are those parents who have had the temerity to challenge local school boards about the mandates they are imposing on their pandemic-ready classes and what the children are learning.
By Nihal Krishan and Jerry Dunleavy
Former President Donald Trump asked a federal judge Thursday to force Facebook to reinstate him as he seeks to use the social media giant to influence elections in 2022 — and possibly a 2024 bid of his own…
Thursday’s filing, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, was for a preliminary injunction on Facebook’s ban while he continues to try to get permanent access…
In the preliminary injunction, Trump’s legal team argued that by “cutting him off from the most effective and direct forms of communication with potential voters,” Facebook is “threatening irreparable damage to the Republican Party’s prospects in the 2022 and 2024 elections.”
It also says that Trump faces irreparable harm and significant losses due to being cut off from his donors and merchandising platforms as well as his ability to communicate his views and endorse local candidates.
Online Speech Platforms
By Caroline Vakil
Facebook’s vice president of global affairs, Nick Clegg, said on Sunday that people would encounter more hate speech and misinformation if algorithms ranking content were removed from the social media platform.
Clegg said on ABC’s “This Week” that one of the recommendations he had received from Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen and her team was to remove algorithms that help rank content.
“If you were just sort of, across the board, remove the algorithm, the first thing that would happen is that people would see more, not less hate speech. More, not less misinformation. More, not less harmful content,” the Facebook executive told host George Stephanopoulos.
“Why? Because those algorithmic systems precisely are designed like a great sort of giant spam filter to identify and deprecate and downgrade bad content.”
The Atlantic: It’s Not Misinformation. It’s Amplified Propaganda.
By Renée DiResta
[We] have a very old word for persuasive communication with an agenda: propaganda. That term, however, comes with historical baggage. It presumes that governments, authority figures, institutions, and mass media are forcing ideas on regular people from the top down. But more and more, the opposite is happening. Far from being merely a target, the public has become an active participant in creating and selectively amplifying narratives that shape realities. Perhaps the best word for this emergent bottom-up dynamic is one that doesn’t exist quite yet: ampliganda, the shaping of perception through amplification. It can originate from an online nobody or an onscreen celebrity. No single person or organization bears responsibility for its transmission. And it is having a profound effect on democracy and society.
By Jeremy Duda
Legislative attorneys believe a Corporation Commission policy intended to restrict campaign contributions by regulated utilities violates the Arizona Constitution, and the lawmaker who requested that opinion is hoping it will persuade the commission to change course for next year’s election.
Sen. Rick Gray, R-Sun City, asked Legislative Council to review the commission’s 2019 code of ethics. Specifically, he wanted the council’s opinion on whether a policy that prohibits commissioners from taking campaign contributions from regulated utilities, their employees and their lobbyists violates either the Arizona or U.S. constitutions.
Under the rule, commissioners cannot knowingly take contributions from regulated public service corporations, their lobbyists, employees or officers, nor can they accept money from any intervenor in a case that’s before the commission. The commission’s intention in passing the rule was to require commissioners to recuse themselves if they’ve taken money from people involved in cases they’re hearing.