WASHINGTON—The Heritage Foundation revealed Friday new censorship actions taken by Big Tech against the organization’s news outlet—and against American parents speaking out against restrictive and unscientific COVID policies in schools around the country.
On Feb. 2, Merianne Jensen, a resident of Prince William County in Virginia, made a fiery speech at her children’s school board meeting, in which she called out the district’s nonsensical and harmful mask mandates. The speech quickly went viral, amassing more than 1.6 million views. The Daily Signal, the media outlet of The Heritage Foundation, conducted the first on-camera interview with Jensen, posted Feb. 4 on YouTube.
On Thursday, Feb. 18, a YouTube employee informed The Daily Signal that the video had been removed from the platform for “violating YouTube’s COVID-19 medical misinformation policy.” In the video, Jensen states that “COVID is not being spread in the classrooms, it is not being spread by children,” a claim backed up by the available data. Children have not been found to spread the virus nearly to the same degree as adults, nor are classrooms significant sources of transmission or outbreaks.
The video had been published on The Daily Signal’s YouTube channel for nearly two weeks, racking up more than 57,000 views, 5,000 likes, and earning 99.1% likes compared to dislikes. You can view the full interview on The Daily Signal’s new Rumble channel.
YouTube’s action comes just days after Heritage’s tech policy research fellow Kara Frederick, a former Facebook executive, published a blockbuster report, “Combating Big Tech’s Totalitarianism: A Road Map,” warning of the threat posed by Big Tech to American people, and laying out a comprehensive roadmap for ending Big Tech’s influence over American society as we know it. YouTube is owned by Google, one of the Big Tech corporations identified in Frederick’s report.
Heritage Foundation President Kevin Roberts released the following statement Friday in response to YouTube’s censorship:
“This is why Big Tech needs to be held accountable. Merianne Jensen is a loving and caring parent who wants what’s best for her family. Who is YouTube—or any corporate actor—to think they have a right to silence her point of view? As if parents across this country didn’t have enough on their plate in fighting out-of-touch, entrenched elites on their school boards, now they have to worry about Big Tech silencing them when they speak up on behalf of their families, as well. We are not going to stand for this. Big Tech corporations continue to prove they are the enemy of the people, and that they deserve every bit of accountability that is coming to them. Heritage is going to be leading that fight, and we urge those concerned about this trend to come along with us.”
Jensen had the following to say about being censored:
“I am just a parent standing up on behalf of my children, and hopefully giving other parents a voice, as well. I have to wonder why these companies are so intent on silencing those of us who disagree with the bureaucrats who want mask mandates and lockdowns indefinitely. Any parent who has lived through the past two years of this pandemic knows the struggle of trying to make the right decisions for their kids. They feel deeply the frustration, and often helplessness, as our leaders refuse to acknowledge reality and go back to policies that are good for children. It is far past time for us get to back to normal, and if companies like YouTube think they are going to silence parents across this country, they’ve got another thing coming.”
Frederick also released a statement:
“Big Tech is showing us they have no pretense of objectivity anymore. What they offer is a two-tiered ‘justice’ system—one set of rules for those with the ‘right’ opinions and one set of rules for those with the ‘wrong’ ideas. These cases are not just anecdotal or occurring in isolation. Censorship against viewpoints to the right of center runs across platforms and is pervasive and accelerating.”
Heritage and The Daily Signal are no strangers to Big Tech censorship and overreach.
Last year, Amazon removed paid ads promoting a book by Heritage senior fellow Mike Gonzalez titled, “BLM: The Making of a New Marxist Revolution,” because content that “revolves around controversial or highly debated social topics is not permitted.” After a public pressure campaign, Amazon reversed itself and restored the ads.
In 2020, one of Heritage’s YouTube videos on gender dysphoria was censored by the company, while in 2019, The Daily Signal reported that YouTube had also removed a similar video on its YouTube channel.
And in early 2019, then-Heritage President Kay C. James was invited to be a member of Google’s new AI board, only for Google to dissolve the board after an outcry from company employees that James, a conservative, was asked to be on the board.