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The Federalist’s Mollie Hemingway on First Amendment lawsuit against State Department: ‘We say it’s enough’

The Federalist editor-in-chief and FOX News contributor Mollie Hemingway joined “The Ingraham Angle” to speak about the lawsuit her news site and others filed against the State Department, alleging the Biden administration violated its First Amendment rights. 

“We filed a lawsuit against the State Department for their illegal and unconstitutional violation of our free speech rights, of our First Amendment rights. And we did it with The Daily Wire, with the state of Texas, with the New Civil Liberties Alliance,” Hemingway told FOX News’ Laura Ingraham Wednesday.  “And what the suit shows is that the State Department was engaged in setting up, funding, marketing, promoting and continuing to work with these private companies that are engaged in censorship of speech. They privilege left-wing media outlets like The New York Times and The Washington Post, they helped advertisers meet those people, and they unconstitutionally go after -“

“[They] purposefully sought to deprive you of your civil rights,” Ingraham said. 

“Yes,” Hemingway responded. “And those media outlets that actually debunk some of the fake news that’s coming from the left, whether it’s the Russia collusion scam or the Kavanaugh smear or COVID hysteria, they’re trying to shut them down, and we say it’s enough. They should not be able to participate using our tax dollars and the power of the federal government.”


In the suit filed Wednesday in the U.S. District Court in Texas, the State Department is accused of “funding and promotion of censorship technologies and private censorship enterprises that blacklist” conservative news sites The Federalist and The Daily Wire, which negatively impacts the platforms’ “ability to circulate and distribute their publications to both current and potential audiences.”

The lawsuit claims that the State Department technologies are “intentionally destroying” the conservative sites’ ability to obtain advertisers.

“Defendants have been granted no statutory authority to fund or promote censorship technology or censorship enterprises that target the American press, tarring disfavored domestic news organizations as purveyors of ‘disinformation,’” the lawsuit states.


“There is no enumerated general power to censor speech or the press found in the United States Constitution, and the First Amendment expressly forbids it, providing: ‘Congress shall make no law… abridging the freedom of speech or of the press,’” it continues.

“The State Department’s use of tax dollars to fund the silencing of a segment of the American press is appalling—and terrifying. A free and open press is foundational to our constitutional Republic, which is precisely why the Bill of Rights guarantees freedom of speech and freedom of the press in the First Amendment,” Margot Cleveland, counsel at NCLA, said in a statement.

State Department building

According to the lawsuit, the State Department uses its Global Engagement Center (GEC) to finance the development and promotion of censorship technology and enterprises, including NewsGuard and the Global Disinformation Index. 

“These entities generate blacklists of ostensibly risky or unreliable American news outlets for the purpose of discrediting and demonetizing the disfavored press and redirecting money and audiences to news organizations that publish favored viewpoints,” the lawsuit states.

Mark Chenoweth, president and general counsel at NCLA said, “The federal government cannot do indirectly what the First Amendment forbids it from doing directly. The chilling censorship machinations alleged in this complaint will frighten all liberty-loving Americans to the core.”


Blinken speaking in Tokyo

The GEC’s stated mission is to “direct, lead, synchronize, integrate, and coordinate U.S. Federal Government efforts to recognize, understand, expose, and counter foreign state and non-state propaganda and disinformation efforts aimed at undermining or influencing the policies, security, or stability of the United States, its allies, and partner nations.”

The lawsuit notes that while Congress dramatically expanded the breadth of GEC’s mission, its purpose remained limited to combating “foreign” disinformation. 

“Congress explicitly included a limitation in the spending bills that provided: ‘None of the funds authorized to be appropriated or otherwise made available to carry out this section shall be used for purposes other than countering foreign propaganda and misinformation that threatens United States national security.’”

“While Congress forbade GEC from using funds appropriated or otherwise made available to it to counter Americans’ speech… many of GEC’s activities and initiatives targeted speech spoken in America among Americans, including Media Plaintiffs’ speech and press rights,” the lawsuit says. 

The State Department did not respond to FOX News’ request for comment. 

Fox News’ Brianna Herlihy contributed to this report.

Read the full article here

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