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Texas AG Files Motion To Stop State Department Censorship Program

A multi-agency government organization has been targeting news outlets publishing content that counters Biden administration narratives

Texas AG Files Motion To Stop State Department Censorship Program

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has filed a memo supporting a preliminary injunction against a Biden administration initiative that censors media outlets disfavored by the federal government.

The memorandum was submitted to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas in support of a lawsuit filed in December by two news organizations accusing the federal government of a mass censorship operation the group said was “one of the most audacious, manipulative, secretive, and gravest abuses of power and infringements of First Amendment rights” in U.S. history.

At the center of the operation are the U.S. State Department and its Global Engagement Center (GEC), a multi-agency organization whose stated mission is to address “foreign state and non-state propaganda and disinformation efforts” against the U.S. and its allies.

In practice, the organization has generated blacklists of American news companies in order to discredit and demonetize American media outlets that report on topics that counter official government narratives, according to the lawsuit.

Paxton says that “without authority” and “in direct violation of Congress’ statutory appropriation” the State Department converted “resources and tools of warfare — information warfare — which were developed in the context of national security, foreign relations, and to combat American adversaries abroad, to use at home against domestic political opponents and members of the American press with viewpoints conflicting with federal officials holding the reins of this unlawful administrative power.”

The memo also accused the federal government of limiting the publications’ reach and advertising revenue, while adding that none of the appropriated funding for the GEC were intended for the purpose of targeting domestic companies.

“I am proud to lead the fight to save American’s precious constitutional rights from Joe Biden’s tyrannical federal government,” Paxton said in a press release. “The State Department’s mission to obliterate the First Amendment is completely un-American. This agency will not get away with their illegal campaign to silence citizens and publications they disagree with.” 

The motion asks the court to stop the Biden administration from continuing to engage in activities that target free speech and the American press.

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