Holy constitutional conflagration, Batman. What just took place in Louisiana is a real barn burner. A federal judge restricted the Biden administration from communicating with social media platforms “about broad swaths of content online, a ruling that could curtail efforts to combat false and misleading narratives about the coronavirus pandemic and other issues,” according to the New York Times.

See this for exactly what it is, which is an unqualified disaster. If this ruling isn’t overturned, then not only will vaccination disinformation flourish, but election denialism will run rampant. The Guardian says the “Injunction amounts to unusual intervention by the courts in communications between the government and tech companies.” It goes on to say,

Restricting the ability of the Biden administration to work with social media companies in countering online conspiracy theories is a “weaponisation of the court system” that could devastate the fight against misinformation ahead of the 2024 presidential election, a leading expert has warned.

Nina Jankowicz, a specialist in disinformation campaigns, told the Guardian that an injunction imposed by a federal judge on Tuesday against key federal agencies and officials blocking their communication with tech platforms could unleash false information in critical areas of public life. She said that election denialism and anti-vaccine propaganda could be the beneficiaries.

“This is a weaponisation of the court system. It is an intentional and purposeful move to disrupt the work that needs to be done ahead of the 2024 election, and it’s really chilling,” she said. [bold emphasis theirs]

The Times goes on,

The ruling on Tuesday, in a lawsuit brought by the attorneys general of Louisiana and Missouri, is likely to be appealed by the Biden administration, but its impact could force government officials, including law enforcement agencies, to refrain from notifying the platforms of troublesome content.[…]

In granting a preliminary injunction, Judge Doughty said that the agencies could not flag specific posts to the social media platforms or request reports about their efforts to take down content. The ruling said that the government could still notify the platforms about posts detailing crimes, national security threats or foreign attempts to influence elections.

“If the allegations made by plaintiffs are true, the present case arguably involves the most massive attack against free speech in United States’ history,” the judge said. “The plaintiffs are likely to succeed on the merits in establishing that the government has used its power to silence the opposition.”

This is getting very simple and that’s what scary: Free speech, opinion, is one thing. Actual falsehoods are another. Twitter, under Elon Musk, recently allowed (or perhaps welcomed)  a Ukraine-disinformation specialist on the platform. Just the other day he tweeted, “They’ve all (meaning Ukrainian soldiers) been killed. It’s over.”

At least the moderators chimed in with some actual facts about the war. The day may come over there when there are no moderators to correct the false narrative. The Guardian continues,

Jankowicz was initially named as a defendant in the Louisiana-Missouri case but was removed from the suit on grounds that she no longer has a governmental role. In April 2022, she was appointed to lead a new Department of Homeland Security unit devoted to combating online conspiracy theories and false information.

The board was shut down days later, after it came under a massive storm of rightwing criticism accusing it of censoring conservative speech. She believes that was the start of an orchestrated rightwing campaign that culminated with this week’s court order.

“They got a win in shutting us down, so why would they stop there?”, she told the Guardian in an interview. “This is why the lawsuit continues – because they’ve won – and nobody knows how to deal with it.”

The disinformation expert predicted that one of the most insidious effects of the ruling would be a rash of self-censorship on the part of civil servants. They will stop doing their jobs “because they don’t want to be on the end of a lawsuit like this”.

Jankowicz added that “nothing that the government has been doing is actually censorship. The claims that all this legal action is based upon are absolutely false. I think this is a really dark moment for the United States that such a broad injunction would be granted.” [bold emphasis theirs]

This is as good a thumbnail sketch of the gravity of this issue as you are liable to get. I never ask anybody to distribute anything written on this platform but I’m going to ask you to bookmark and share this, if and when you have the chance. This is a volatile issue.

Civil War II may be a war of ideas and beliefs. We are in a fight, not to defend opinions or the right of Americans to hold diverse and divergent ones, but in a fight to defend reality. The anti-COVID people are anti-science. The election deniers are anti-truth. We are told by this ruling that these forms of communication are now supposed to be protected under the First Amendment.

Here’s another lie posted to Twitter recently.

This is the Tower of Babel. This is sheer madness.


Help keep the site running, consider supporting.


  1. Given how cult members operate, I guess it’s futile to point out that SCIENCE created cell phones, microwave ovens, the engines and computers in their cars, and a thousand other systems they use daily. I guess it would also be pointless to point out ALL the vaccinations they’ve received to go to elementary school, to travel overseas; or the FIRST major vaccination effort against smallpox general Washington did at Valley Forge to save his army and defeat the British.
    The whole idea that one is free to believe anything they want is also untrue and dangerous. When a person was brought by the police, under involuntary committment, to the psychiatric hospital, we were charged with determining if they were dangerous to themselves or others. Some indeed either had done something, or were acting irrationally to the degree someone filed papers with the magistrate to take them into custody. For example, if a person with schizophrenia stops their medicine, and who has auditory hallucinations, they lose the ability to distinguish what’s real. There have been cases of people acting on their delusions, even murdering others. No Virginia, there is no white fat man at the north pole, and you are not free to just believe anything you want. Then it seems reasonable for the law to require truth to be a requirement for social media, or to clearly label information as false or unproven. The whole premise that lies, delusions, false conspiracies are allowed to be broadcast without regulation will just quicken the extinction of democracy, the planet’s ecosystems, and us. If the whole purpose of the law is to promote Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness, then this ruling is on the wrong side of the line. Of course, the greed and venality of the ruling class doesn’t care about tomorrow, except whether it will bring more profit. You would imagine they would think of their children and grandchildren, but, after seeing the Trump family in action, I realize they are too self absorbed to think of anyone else but themselves. As the Boss sang in Born To Run, ‘its a death trap. A suicide rap. We better get out while we’re young, cuz tramps like us…baby we were born to run’.

    • Oh Sam… As MAGA gals around here would say in “that” tone (you know the one!) “Well bless your heart.” JEEBUS is responsible for those wonders you cite, not scientists! He MIRACLED them into existence. Science is the DEVIL’S playground, and all those “scientists” are just the Devil’s spawn repeating his lies!

      I swear dude that’s how these idiots think. Though I don’t think there’s a god or a heaven or hell I learned religion. Some of what I learned seemed kind of “out there” from an early age but there was a time in my life when I was a person of faith. And I learned a philosophy similar to what Eric Lidell expressed in Chariots of Fire when his father answered a question about whether God’s kingdom was a dictatorship with yes, but a benign and loving one. And after a follow up question from the trainer Lidell said “No one’s forcing you to follow.” And the New Testament offers a different view of god than the old. I wonder if the reason the Old Testament was kept in the bible wasn’t so much for the prophecies of Jesus’ coming one day, but a reminder that when folks got out of hand Old Testament god was quite capable of some serious “smiting!” From where I sit if I’m wrong and there is a god out there he/she needs to go “Old Testament” on these a$$hats and send them to hell in a cloud of fire & brimstone.

  2. Who was the judge that did this? Did the AGs of Louisiana and Missouri go “judge-shopping” (as right-wingers are soooooo fond of doing) to find a judge likely to find their way?

    I’m only curious about this (I know the article gives the name “Doughty” but it doesn’t give a first name or what court this “judge” oversees) because Missouri and Louisiana are in DIFFERENT circuits (MO in the 8th, LA in the 5th) and there’s no “Doughty” presiding over a circuit court (per Wikipedia’s article .

    I did find a “Terry Doughty” who’s the Chief Judge of the Western District of Louisiana (a Trump appointee, unsurprisingly) which suggests to me some “judge shopping” is involved. The Western District does NOT cover Baton Rouge–the capital of Louisiana–which is where one would reasonably expect a case being brought by the Louisiana Attorney General to be heard. Of course, the current chief judge of the Middle District of Louisiana (where Baton Rouge is located) is an Obama appointee (as is the current chief judge of the Eastern District of Louisiana) so it does seem a bit odd that the REPUBLICAN AG of Louisiana wouldn’t file a suit that would be heard in the city in which his office is located but has the “unfortunate” circumstance of an Obama-appointed judge as its head. Unless, he went “judge-shopping” for someone more likely to find for him.

    • Doing a little checking on the Missouri aspect, it seems that there’s a similar situation with the Missouri judicial system. (I’m guessing the MO AG just filed a “friend of the court” brief rather than a full-on suit.) Anyway, the capital of Missouri lies in the Western District of Missouri and the chief judge of that district is another Obama appointee (the Eastern District’s chief judge is another Trump appointee but, the capital doesn’t lie in that jurisdiction).

  3. Of course, it goes almost without saying that Judge Terry A. Doughty is a Trump appointee.

    Perhaps we should look at his previous rulings? From Wikipedia:

    In 2021, Doughty issued a nationwide injunction against a federal mandate that health care workers be vaccinated against COVID-19.[14] His opinion includes many false and misleading claims about COVID-19 vaccines, including an incorrect suggestion that vaccines are not useful because booster shots are recommended after six months, a misleading statement that vaccines “do not prevent transmission of the disease”, and the falsehood that “the virus has achieved an immune escape from COVID-19 vaccines”. Doughty’s opinion uncritically cited the views of a doctor known for making false claims about the vaccine.[15][16]

    On January 1, 2022, Doughty issued an injunction on a federal mandate that would require workers at Head Start (a pre-K program) to be vaccinated from COVID-19. His ruling applied to the 24 states whose attorneys general signed on to the lawsuit.

    On September 21, 2022, Doughty entered a permanent injunction against a federal vaccine and mask mandate for the Head Start program in 24 states, which would have required its teachers, contractors, and volunteers to be fully vaccinated, stating that President Joe Biden did not have constitutional authority to issue such a mandate.

    It certainly appears that , like most republicans, he has great difficulty seeing the difference between actual facts and mere opinion.

    On this basis, he should be impeached, though given the political mileau he inhabits, this is unlikely.

    Incompetent, corrupt, biased activist judges imposed by the Trump administration, (aka The Federalist Society funded by RWNJ billionaires.) are going to be severely limiting the application of true justice for a while yet.

    Dealing with this problem is urgently required!

  4. Conservatives were never bothered by government pressure on the media when it came from Trump. From abcnews.com, 5/28/2020:
    “President Donald Trump on Thursday signed an executive order targeting Twitter and other social media giants, saying he is taking action to ‘defend free speech from one of the gravest dangers it has faced in American history,’ after Twitter called two of his tweets “potentially misleading.”
    We also know Trump accused CNN and MSNBC of being “fake news.” There are no doubt other examples of conservatives trying to pressure or control the media.

  5. Everyone seems surprised at the weaponization of the courts. What the hell did they think McConnell has been doing all these years? Of course it is weaponized F.F.S. McConnell is a cagey old bastard and knew the gop’s policies were as popular as the plague. He needs the courts weaponized to keep the ‘pubes in power.

    • Instead, however, their judicial activism draws attention and publicity to repellent republican policies, making it less likely the republicans can win elections.

  6. It seems like this judicial ruling falls into the same bucket with recent Supreme Court rulings that have earned the advice to the Administration that they deserve to be ignored.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

The maximum upload file size: 128 MB. You can upload: image, audio, video, document, spreadsheet, interactive, text, archive, code, other. Links to YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and other services inserted in the comment text will be automatically embedded. Drop files here