By Virginia Kruta
President Joe Biden’s administration appears to be making a concerted effort to criminalize — and penalize — political dissent.
The most recent step down that road came in the form of a letter from Attorney General Merrick Garland, indicating the Justice Department’s plan to coordinate with local law enforcement in order to quash protests at school board meetings. (RELATED: ‘We Don’t Take Anything Down’: Jen Psaki Dodges Peter Doocy’s Question On Flagging Misinformation For Social Platforms)
In a Monday memorandum, Garland directed the FBI to “use its authority” to investigate parents who protested at school board meetings, citing a “disturbing spike in harassment, intimidation, and threats of violence against school administrators, board members, teachers, and staff.”
Trending: Cartoon of the Day: Biden Burnout
Garland’s memo was a response to a letter from the National School Board Association (NSBA) comparing protesting parents to domestic terrorists and asking the federal government to step in and handle the situation.
The protests that inspired the NSBA’s letter have largely centered around politically charged issues such as mask mandates and the implementation of lesson plans that align with Critical Race Theory — and many saw Garland’s response as an effort to intimidate parents and discourage them from taking action on behalf of their children.
Manhattan Institute Senior Fellow Christopher Rufo responded to the move, tweeting, “The Biden administration is rapidly repurposing federal law enforcement to target political opposition. They want to reclassify dissent as “disinformation” and “domestic terrorism,” justifying an unprecedented intervention, both directly and in partnership with tech companies.”
BREAKING: Attorney General Merrick Garland has instructed the FBI to mobilize against parents who oppose critical race theory in public schools, citing "threats."
The letter follows the National School Board Association's request to classify protests as "domestic terrorism." pic.twitter.com/NhPU03YOYq
— Christopher F. Rufo ⚔️ (@realchrisrufo) October 4, 2021
But Garland’s memo was not the Biden administration’s first attempt to reclassify political opposition as “misinformation.”
Hunter Biden’s laptop:
Even before Biden won the 2020 presidential election, such efforts were apparent when the New York Post uncovered a laptop that had allegedly been owned — and left at a repair shop — by Hunter Biden.
While it was the social media giants Facebook and Twitter that took action — first by blocking certain links and stories from being shared or sent via direct message and eventually by banning or deleting accounts that had attempted to do so — Biden’s campaign team capitalized on the windfall and encouraged the idea that any subsequent story about Hunter was rooted in the same “misinformation.”
Even Hunter himself, after admitting in an interview that he did not know whether or not the laptop in question was his, floated the suggestion that it was just as likely it was the product of Russian disinformation.
Once it was clear that Biden had won the presidency, any questions or concerns about election integrity or voter fraud were labeled “misinformation” — and former President Donald Trump’s continued insistence, despite a lack of evidence, that the election had been “stolen” only made it easier for legitimate concerns to be dismissed.
When Trump supporters rioted on January 6 at Capitol Hill, Democrats and media began to paint every Trump supporter who had gone to Washington, D.C., that day — even if they had only gone to attend former President Trump’s speech — as a conspiracy theorist at best and at worst, the equivalent of a domestic terrorist.
CNN’s Don Lemon took it so far as to argue that not only was everyone “in the crowd” that day aligned with the KKK and those who actually breached the Capitol, but that all Trump voters had signaled their acceptance of such behavior when they voted for him.
COVID-19 — therapeutics, masks and vaccines:
Much of the first nine months of Biden’s presidency has been consumed by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic — from arguments over masks and potential therapeutics to the vaccines and their effectiveness and safety. (RELATED: ‘We’re Not Going To Get Better If We Just Keep Blaming Fox News’: Meghan McCain Torches Her Own Show)
During the early months of the administration, vaccination rates soared and Biden set lofty goals for getting a majority of eligible Americans vaccinated — and getting to effective herd immunity — by July 4.
But as vaccinations began to taper off, the White House and many in media again blamed “misinformation” — which they almost universally claimed was coming from Fox News — for the people who were either hesitating or outright refusing to get the vaccine.
Ana Navarro even went so far as to suggest on ABC’s “The View” that Republicans were avoiding getting the vaccine in order to prevent Biden from reaching his July 4 goal.
In order to stem the tide of “misinformation,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki announced a plan to coordinate with social media companies in order to “flag” questionable content and even possibly ban “offenders” from the platforms.