With the election still far from over and not one state certified in the ballot counts, Democrat presidential candidate Joe Biden has pre-maturely started assembling a “transition team.” And while he bloviates about unity and the United States not being “Red” or “Blue,” the picks for his team are saying something completely different.
One of the newly created positions Biden has crafted – and one that no other transition team has ever had, is the position of “Team Lead” for the US Agency for Global Media.
If you’ve never heard of the US Agency for Global Media, you are not alone. But some of the entities that come under that brand are the Voice of America, the Middle East Broadcasting Networks, and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.
Biden has tapped Richard Stengel, a former Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs in the Obama administration. He held this position from 2014 to 2016.
During his time at the State Department, Stengel led the department’s counter-disinformation efforts. This effort included starting the first counter Russian disinformation hub at the department.
The creation of this propaganda arm of the State Department led to an Obama executive order creating the Global Engagement Center. The center’s sole task is to deal with disinformation globally.
Shockingly, Stengel advocates for certain restrictions on free speech.
Last year, Stengel wrote an op-ed for The Washington Post declaring that US freedom of speech was too unfettered and that “changes must be considered.”
In The Post op-ed Stengel argued, “ [A]s a government official traveling around the world championing the virtues of free speech, I came to see how our First Amendment standard is an outlier…All speech is not equal. And where truth cannot drive out lies, we must add new guardrails.”
“I’m all for protecting ‘thought that we hate,’” Stengel continued, “but not speech that incites hate.”
Biden appoints “anti-free speech” & pro-censorship Richard Stengel to transition team media post
“All speech is not equal…I’m all for protecting thought that we hate, but not speech that incites hate”
He also praises social media censorshiphttps://t.co/b6JMOBOUzZ
— ELIJAH SCHAFFER (@ElijahSchaffer) November 17, 2020
Hate, just as in the act of defining hate speech, is subjective and, therefore, the meaning is not common among all peoples.
In in May, Stengel, who until his appointment was employed as an MSNBC analyst, defended restrictions on speech regarding the coronavirus saying, “The First Amendment doesn’t protect false speech about a virus or false speech that endangers the health of your users. And by the way, Facebook and Twitter have been taking things down, but they need to be even more vigilant about it, and Google needs to be even more vigilant about what they prioritize in their search results.”
Constitutional scholar Jonathan Turley sounded an alarm about Stengel’s appointment Tuesday, saying “[I]t would be difficult to select a more anti-free speech figure to address government media policy, one has to assume that Biden will continue the onslaught against this core freedom as president.”