State of Texas, Conservative Outlets Sue U.S. State Department over ‘Censorship Enterprises’

The Federalist, the Daily Wire, and the state of Texas are reportedly suing the U.S. State Department over funding and blacklisting “censorship companies.”

The three are participating in a lawsuit against the U.S. State Department's Center for Global Engagement, alleging that censorship techniques funded by the agency were aimed at bankrupting the nation's media with political opinions they dislike. There is.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton speaks at a rally featuring former President Donald Trump on October 22, 2022 in Robstown, Texas. (AP Photo/Nick Wagner, File)

of complaint In a statement, the U.S. State Department cited a law that says the authority is limited to “foreign affairs” and does not have authority over domestic affairs. released Written by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton.

However, the agency is using the Global Engagement Center (GEC), a government agency designed to counter foreign terrorist propaganda, to target Americans who engage in what it claims is “disinformation.” the suit alleges.

This is “one of the most brazen, manipulative, secretive, and most significant abuses of power and violations of First Amendment rights by the federal government in American history,” the complaint says.

The lawsuit alleges that GEC, while having a reputation as a censor of conservative media, “funds, promotes, and promotes NewsGuard and the Global Disinformation Index (GDI), two major organizations that claim to be neutral arbiters of news.” , and/or marketing.

The complaint states:

The full extent of Defendant GEC's censorship scheme is currently unknown. At a minimum, Defendant GEC funds, promotes, and /or doing marketing. . These organizations ostensibly aim to discredit unfavorable news outlets, cut off revenue, and direct funds and audiences to news outlets that publish favorable views. Creates a blacklist of U.S. news organizations with low rankings.

The complaint, which also names Secretary of State Antony Blinken and five other officials as defendants, was filed Tuesday night in federal court in the Eastern District of Texas by the New Civil Liberties Union.

“The State Department's mission to control foreign affairs is clear, and its role in the censorship system is doubly illegitimate,” said Margot Cleveland, a lawyer with the New Civil Liberties Union who represents The Federalist and the Daily Wire. said.

The GEC was originally called the Strategic Counterterrorism Communications Center. It was established in 2011 to counter the propaganda of foreign terrorists such as Al Qaeda.
Congress has already made clear that “none of the funds authorized” for the agency “shall be used for any purpose other than to counter foreign propaganda.”

“The federal government cannot indirectly do anything that is directly prohibited by the First Amendment,” said Mark Chenoweth, an attorney with the New Civil Liberties Union.

The group reportedly offers a so-called “dynamic exclusion list” of news organizations it deems to be at “high risk of disinformation.” It then licenses that list to advertisers, who adopt it as an easy way to avoid left-wing boycotts.

The case is Daily Wire vs. State Department United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, Tyler Division

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