Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center's penchant for embracing the most fringe, extreme figures to further its highly flawed victimization narrative of "censorship" by "Big Tech" even extends to a group it can (falsely) portray as "liberal."
Under a "Fight for Free Speech" headline, Kayla Sargent wrote on May 6:
An alleged “vaccine safety” organization has fought to have its case against Facebook censorship heard in court.
The Children’s Health Defense (CHD) appeared in court May 5 to fight a motion to dismiss its lawsuit against Facebook, CEO Mark Zuckerberg and several of the platform’s fact-checkers for censorship. San Francisco, California Senior District Judge Susan Illston heard arguments from Facebook and CHD as to whether the lawsuit should be dismissed. “A ruling is expected soon,” according to the release on PR Newswire.
CHD’s complaint centered around an alleged First Amendment violation. The organization argued: “This is a case about how an officer and an agency within the U.S. Government ‘privatized’ the First Amendment by teaming up with Facebook to censor speech which, under the Bill of Rights, the Government cannot censor.”
Sargent repeated CHD's claims that "Facebook’s fact-checking does not accurately describe the website’s content" -- then admitted it has made false claims, while also trying to tag the group as liberal because of its "leftist" founder:
CHD was established by its leftist president, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. The organization falsely claimed on its website that “vaccines can and do cause injuries including autism and many other adverse health outcomes.” It also claimed that 5G technology “poses health risks, encourages debris-generating satellite collisions, causes depletion of the ozone layer by the huge number of launches planned and is a major factor in the weaponization of space.”
But no mainstream liberals endorse Kennedy and CHD -- indeed, even Kennedy's relatives have renounced his anti-vaxxer activism. So it's wrong for Sargent to suggest he's a mainstream "leftist"when he has no consitituency there.
Why has Sargent embraced a group even she admits spreads falsehoods?Because she can exploit it for the MRC's narrative. She went on to laughably declare: "Facebook has the power to choose who can participate in debate in the public square." If Facebook were the only way to participate in the public square, she might have a point -- but there are myriad ways to participate in the public square without Facebook. And she's also forwarding the argument that Facebook, as a private company, has no right to have terms of service for its users, let alone be able to enforce them.
Sadly for Sargent, CHD's lawsuit failed. She lamented in a June 30 post:
In a second major legal win for Facebook this week, a federal judge dismissed another lawsuit that would have held Facebook accountable for censoring content it disagreed with.
California Senior District Judge Susan Illston dismissed the leftist Children’s Health Defense’s (CHD) lawsuit against Facebook. CHD had alleged that Facebook violated the First and Fifth Amendments by “labeling CHD’s content ‘False Information,’ and taking other steps to effectively to censor or block content from users,” according to the ruling.
Illston ruled that Facebook’s application of fact-check labels to CHD’s page did not violate the First Amendment because the government did not direct Facebook to do so. “CHD does not allege that Schiff (or anyone from the government) directed Facebook or Zuckerberg to take any specific action with regard to CHD or its Facebook page,” the ruling explained.
She copied-and-pasted the paragraph about Kennedy being "leftist" and CHD making false claims, which would seem to also undermine the lawsuit.
Apparently, Sargent believes that "free speech" means never having to be held accountable for falsehoods and misinformation -- a theory that can't be found anywhere in the First Amendment. But she's advanced her employer's narrative, even if she had to effectively endorse another extremist to do it.
CHD got even more narrative-advancing love in a July 23 post by Gabriela Pariseau:
YouTube applied its so-called “medical misinformation” policy more broadly than ever when the platform removed and then later restored content criticizing laws allowing 11-year-olds to be vaccinated without parental consent.
The platform removed an interview that Family Research Council President Tony Perkins had with liberal anti-vax group Children’s Health Defense (CHD) President Mary Holland.The two discussed a recent law bypassing parental consent for vaccines in Washington, D.C. FRC’s legislative affiliate FRC Action reported that YouTube flagged the video for allegedly spreading “‘medical misinformation.’” “‘[T]ech giants, like YouTube, are allowing social media to be weaponized by the Left to eliminate all counter views,’ Perkins said in a press release.
Holland told Perkins that CHD filed a lawsuit against the city for its Minor Consent for Vaccinations Amendment Act of 2020. The law, Perkins summarized, allows 11-year-old children and older to receive federally recommended vaccines "without parental knowledge or consent if the health care provider believes the [minor] is capable of meeting the informed consent standard."
Again: CHD is not a "liberal" group. Its anti-vaxxer agenda happened to cross over with right-wing narratives claiming parents have total control over their children and that they must not be allowed to do anything without parental consent, even when those parents are potentially harming the child by denying them vaccines.
Pariseau omitted the fact that Perkins and Holland falsely fearmongered over COVID vaccines, with Holland falsely claiming they have caused 9,000 deaths and ranting that "your child could die" from the vaccine, neither of which Perkins pushed back against -- which would seem to be the actual reason the video may have been removed.
Holland also ranted against HPV vaccines and the alleged need for religious objections to getting one. If you'll recall, the MRC went anti-vaxxer on HPV vaccines because they would purportedly turn children promiscuous.