A Republican senator said President Joe Biden is this year’s Grinch for weaponizing the government to censor or attack Americans for engaging in “misinformation” by questioning official government lines.
“You better watch out! President Biden is making a list and checking it twice. Going to find out who is being naughty…exercising their constitutional rights,” Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA) said Tuesday.
Ernst urged the Biden administration’s National Science Foundation to pull funding for a $5 million grant to a group called Hacks/Hackers to make software that would essentially turn American citizens into online bots. The tool will ask them to paste in their friends’ tweets and Facebook posts to be told whether they constituted “harmful” “misinformation.” If so, the software will generate rebuttals offering the official positions of groups like the World Health Organization, and ask them to copy-and-paste them as replies to their friends’ posts as if they were their own words. The grant came to light through a Daily Wire investigation on December 1.
In addition to the software, called the Analysis and Response Toolkit for Trust (ARTT), Hacks/Hackers also hired people for a project to help determine which news outlets are “credible” when it comes to vaccine information and which aren’t. Those who don’t get the seal of approval won’t be able to be cited on Wikipedia.
“To no one’s surprise, liberal outlets, like The New York Times, made Hack/Hackers’ nice list for being ‘reliable.’ The naughty list of ‘unreliable’ or ‘conspiracy’ sources predictably includes conservative-leaning media, like The Daily Wire, which coincidentally exposed this new Washington enemies list!” Ernst wrote.
“I am giving my December 2022 Squeal Award to ‘the minister of misinformation’ himself, President Biden, for promoting blatant falsehoods while his administration is steering tax dollars into these Soviet-style propaganda tactics that target citizens and media who dare question the administration’s narrative,” Ernst said. She bestows the award monthly on an example of pork-like or abusive government spending.
In an effort to “pull the plug on this taxpayer-funded troll service,” she wrote to the National Science Foundation’s director, Sethuraman Panchanathan, that “We really do not need a return to the dark days when some in Washington maintained an ‘enemies lists’ of fellow citizens and journalists with opposing viewpoints. Instead, the NSF would much better serve taxpayers by supporting our nation’s bright young minds with initiatives to improve math and science education rather than these efforts to troll taxpayers online.”
She said that the World Health Organization, which is involved in the ARTT project and which the software’s creators take as the north star of truth, has repeatedly been wrong.
“Bending to China’s propaganda machine, a WHO representatives not only announced it was ‘extremely unlikely’ that COVID-19 might have been leaked from the Wuhan Institute of Virology, which was conducting dangerous studies on coronaviruses in the very city where the pandemic began, but that a lab leak ‘isn’t a hypothesis we suggest implies further study.’ Does NSF believe these are credible statements based on reliable facts and sound scientific evidence?” Ernst asked the director.
“WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has gone as far as saying, ‘We appreciate the seriousness with which China is taking this outbreak, especially the commitment from top leadership, and the transparency they have demonstrated,’” she wrote.
“It is very disappointing that taxpayer dollars would be spent on this project when our nation is facing a dire shortage of STEM teachers who are vital to inspiring others to pursue careers in the sciences,” she added.
In the Biden administration, a full gamut of government agencies have taken it upon themselves to try to stop Americans from spreading what it deems “misinformation” online, despite it repeatedly backfiring.
The federal laboratory that designed the atomic bomb, the Los Alamos National Laboratories, dedicated eight staff to a study on how to “combat” “misinformation” that had nothing to do with its field of energy. One of the “conspiracies” was that the coronavirus had escaped, accidentally or intentionally, from a lab in China. Los Alamos boasted about its study in September, omitting the nature of the “conspiracy” it wanted to learn how to suppress — which by then was widely accepted as likely.
Both Los Alamos and ARTT said they are using coronavirus as just a pilot program to learn how to police Americans’ speech on other topics in the future, and NSF’s “Convergence Accelerator” has funded several programs similar to ARTT.
In announcing her Squeal Award, Ernst wrote: “Here is a fact: Iowans and most Americans don’t trust Washington and don’t want the government or some state-sponsored group to tell us what we can and cannot think, say, or believe. And we certainly don’t want the Biden administration spending our hard-earned tax dollars to keep lists of approved and unapproved opinions or encouraging citizens to troll their friends with government-generated propaganda.”
“If this effort was applied to statements by the Biden administration, the ‘fact checkers’ would be working overtime countering the disinformation being spread by the president himself. Such as the president’s false claim that he ‘cut the federal debt in half — a fact!’”