That headline sounds like a joke.
The White House has begun an extraordinary assault on free speech in America. It is no longer content merely to force social media companies to suppress dissenting views. It appears to be setting the stage to use federal police powers.
How else to read the “National Terrorism Advisory System Bulletin” the Department of Homeland Security issued on Monday? Its first sentence:
SUMMARY OF THE TERRORISM THREAT TO THE UNITED STATES: The United States remains in a heightened threat environment fueled by several factors, including an online environment filled with false or misleading narratives and conspiracy theories... [emphasis added]
You read those words right.
The government now says “misleading narratives” are the most dangerous contributor to terrorism against the United States.
The bulletin’s next sentence:
These threat actors seek to exacerbate societal friction to sow discord and undermine public trust in government institutions to encourage unrest, which could potentially inspire acts of violence. [emphasis added]
You read those words right too.
A federal agency says that to “undermine public trust in government institutions” is now considered terrorism. Speech doesn’t even have to encourage rebellion or violence generally, much less against anyone specific. It just has to “potentially inspire” violence.
Later, the bulletin explains exactly what speech the government now considers a terrorist danger:
Widespread online proliferation of false or misleading narratives regarding unsubstantiated widespread election fraud and COVID-19.
There’s that word misleading again.
Who’s defining “misleading”? Misleading to whom? Misleading how?
I have no doubt whatsoever that I fit as a terrorist threat under these guidelines.