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Speaking to USA Today, former Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) blasted the Biden administration for its attack on podcaster Joe Rogan, declaring that their effort pointed “to a bigger issue, which is “the power elite trying to silence and cancel people who dare to question the establishment narrative.”
Yeah, I mean, I’ve gotten to know Joe and consider him a good friend; he’s like the nicest, most generous, humble guy, and I think he’s done the right thing in addressing these issues that have come up; very directly, very honestly and been very ready to admit how he can be better and apologizing. I think it’s what we would hope to get from anyone, really.
And I think how not only a lot of the kind of the corporate response has been, but also, frankly, the White House inserting itself into trying to cancel Joe Rogan points to the bigger issue, which is really the attempts by the power elite trying to silence and cancel people who dare to question the establishment narrative, who dare to maybe hold a different view. And that response, trying to cancel people. Silence them and smear their character, is the age-old tactic. I’ve been on the receiving end of it, so I know exactly how that feels. And it is so dangerous because it undermines free speech in America.
On February 1, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki had urged Spotify to take further action against Rogan after Spotify announced it would tag alleged controversial episodes with a new warning label, which Gabbard referenced in her statement.
Gabbard tweeted, “I may disagree with what you say, but I’m willing to sacrifice my life to protect your right to say it. The campaign to silence @JoeRogan shines a light on the bigger issue: the power elite will silence anyone who dares challenge or question their power.”
I may disagree with what you say, but I’m willing to sacrifice my life to protect your right to say it. The campaign to silence @JoeRogan shines a light on the bigger issue: the power elite will silence anyone who dares challenge or question their power. @MMAJunkie pic.twitter.com/E1OVrdChMC
— Tulsi Gabbard 🌺 (@TulsiGabbard) February 14, 2022
Earlier in February, after a reporter asked if Spotify “should go further than” just applying a new warning label, Psaki answered:
Well, last July, I, you probably know, but the Surgeon General also took the unprecedented step to issue an advisory on the risk of misinformation in public health, which is a very significant step. And amid that, he talked about the role social media platforms have, so our hope is that all major tech platforms, and all major news sources for that matter, be responsible and be vigilant to ensure the American people have access to accurate information on something as significant as COVID-19. That certainly includes Spotify.
So this disclaimer, it’s a positive step, but we want every platform to continue doing more to call out misinformation and disinformation will also uplifting, accurate information. But ultimately, you know, our view is it’s a, it’s a, it’s a good step. It’s a positive step, but there’s more that can be done.
The next day, asked about the attempts to censor Rogan, Gabbard answered:
It is yet the latest indicator about the real danger we are facing as a society right now in this country, is that this fundamental freedom guaranteed to every one of us as Americans, this freedom of speech, is being threatened. People are being intimidated, their financial security is being threatened. They are being censored or being intimidated into censoring themselves. This freedom is the fabric of our Constitution, and the fact that this is what we are facing, that the powers that be decide if we don’t like the things that you are saying then we will find a way to silence you and censor you.
This is something that every single American should be afraid of because we need to have the confidence in America that we can express ourselves, that we have the freedom to speak without the threat of punishment looming over us. That right there is literally the difference between living in a democracy or living in a dictatorship.
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