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Moderator and Political Analyst at MSNBC, Richard Stengel speaks onstage at Day 1 of the Vanity Fair New Establishment Summit 2018 at The Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts on October 9, 2018 in Beverly Hills, California. Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer / Getty Images

November 14, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Former Vice President Joe Biden’s selection of a transition chief for government-owned media entities is raising concerns over a potential Biden administration’s commitment to free speech, in light of Richard Stengel’s past calls for new laws recognizing that “all speech is not equal.”

Biden’s presidential transition website – which has been launched despite the presidential election having yet to be certified in his favor – identifies Stengel as leading his team that will “reflect the values and priorities of the incoming administration” in transitioning the United States Agency for Global Media (USAGM) from President Donald Trump’s hands. USAGM oversees Voice of America, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, the Office of Cuba Broadcasting, Radio Free Asia, Middle-East Broadcasting Networks, and the Open Technology Fund.

Stengel, a journalist, former Obama administration official, and former head of the National Constitution Center, is an alarming choice to critics due to a Washington Post op-ed he wrote in October 2019 calling for a federal “hate speech” law. In the piece, he argues that America’s broad protections for even hateful speech are a global outlier, and that protecting “hateful speech that can cause violence by one group against another…seems like a design flaw.”

He declared that “it’s time to consider” emulating laws other countries have passed since World War II to “curb the incitement of racial and religious hatred,” defining “hate speech” as “speech that attacks and insults people on the basis of race, religion, ethnic origin and sexual orientation.”

“All speech is not equal,” Stengel concludes. “And where truth cannot drive out lies, we must add new guardrails. I’m all for protecting ‘thought that we hate,’ but not speech that incites hate.”

At the time, Brookings Institution visiting fellow James Kirchick responded with his own Post op-ed, noting that “you’d think that a man who worked so closely with the most famous political prisoner in the world [Nelson Mandela] would be the last person to advocate criminal prosecution of his fellow Americans for their expression.”

“Stengel never adequately defines what constitutes ‘hate speech,’ because he can’t. The concept is inherently subjective,” Kirchick argues. “Investing government bureaucrats with the power to determine what constitutes legally proscribed ‘hate speech’ presents many problems, foremost among them the lack of a neutral arbiter.”

“Stengel offers post-World War II European hate speech laws as positive examples that the United States should emulate,” he writes. “Yet there is no evidence that speech regulations do anything to dampen political violence and extremism, maladies that contemporary Europe boasts in abundance. On the contrary, one could argue that, by rendering certain views and expressions criminally taboo, hate speech laws only encourage the very phenomena they are designed to combat.”

Regardless, Stengel’s selection appears to signal a dramatic shift in how government-owned media outlets like VOA will be operated and supervised. The New York Post notes that President Donald Trump’s USAGM head, Michael Pack, fired several bureaucrats at the outlets it owned for their role in the creation of a pro-Biden video appealing to Muslim voters and for neglecting security procedures in hiring foreign workers.

The pick also hints at a continuation and worsening of free speech issues that persisted under the Trump administration, such as the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) holding a hearing in August to promote a greater role for tech companies in policing “hate speech” worldwide.

Several Biden picks have shed light on what a Biden administration would look like recently, from prospective White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain, who has declared himself a “soldier” for abortion-on-demand, to coronavirus strategy advisor Michael Osterholm, who claimed America “could lock down for four to six weeks” to “drive the numbers down,” during which the federal government “could pay for a package right now to cover all of the lost wages for individual workers.”

Help stop voter fraud: The Trump Campaign has created “Defend Your Ballot” to report election issues. Report fraud here or call 888-630-1776. Project Veritas is also accepting voter fraud tips here. The FBI says to report suspected instances of voter suppression/fraud to your local FBI field office or at tips.fbi.gov.

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PETITION UPDATE (1/15/2021) -

The events of the past month, and especially the past 10 days, have shaken the faith Americans have in their elected and appoint officials.

We continue to call for investigations to be made into allegations of election fraud. Texas is in the process of prosecuting one political operative for illegal ballot harvesting, and multiple state legislatures have called for investigations, too.

However, the judiciary has severely let down the American electorate.

As we have said all along, the integrity of the election is much bigger than President Trump. Election integrity is at the heart of republican democracy, and if we don't have it, we no longer have a functioning republic.

Therefore, we continue to seek the truth for the election outcome. Perhaps that will only be known in the future when state or federal commissions are established to investigate the instances of election fraud which were witnessed and sworn to, by thousands of Americans of all political persuasions.

In the meantime, you may still sign this petition. Thank you!

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PETITION UPDATE (12/10/20)

On Wednesday, President Trump tweeted: "We will be INTERVENING in the Texas (plus many other states) case. This is the big one. Our Country needs a victory!"

He is referring to the lawsuit which the state of Texas has filed against Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Georgia in the Supreme Court over changes those states made to their election rules, claiming they violated the U.S. Constitution in the process.

Here is the central part of the argument: if Texas were to allow possible voter fraud to go unchecked in Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Georgia, it would be akin to committing fraud upon the people of Texas, who cast their ballots within the framework of the law.

Indeed, this would apply equally to all citizens who voted within the framework of the law across the United States!

President Trump also tweeted that this case is, "very strong...ALL CRITERIA MET."

Please continue to SIGN and SHARE this urgent petition, now.

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PETITION UPDATE (12/7/20) - Since this petition was launched, President Trump's legal team, as well as other concerned citizens, have discovered what appears to be irrefutable evidence of voter fraud in several of the key battleground states, and have initiated legal challenges in six states.

While the situation continues to evolve, this remains a hugely important petition which we encourage you to SIGN and SHARE.

Below, please WATCH and READ about the mounting evidence of voter fraud and how the mainstream media seem determined to ignore even the most egregious instances of vote tampering. Then, please SIGN and SHARE this petition.

'Trump: ‘Our election system is now under assault and siege’ and as president I must defend it'

'Tens of thousands 2020 election votes illegally scanned in Detroit, says Dominion IT contractor'

'Trump campaign files lawsuit demanding ‘a new statewide election for president’ in Georgia'

'Experts flag over 500k ballots in PA with new evidence of major 2020 election voter fraud'

''Smoking gun'? Pennsylvania vote fraud hearing gets gasps from audience'

'FBI and Justice Department have dragged their feet investigating 2020 vote fraud'

''CNN top brass in leaked tape: We won't give Trump 'too much of a platform on his not conceding'

'Twitter censored Trump 63 times over Thanksgiving holiday, Biden untouched'

LifeSite supports President Trump with this petition because we believe he is trying to defend the Constitution, ensuring that electoral fraud does not taint the result of the 2020 general election.

But, since starting this petition, we have launched a separate petition related to the disputed election outcome, calling on the Department of Justice to 'do their job' and engage in meaningful investigations of the mounting evidence of voter fraud.

We believe that conducting forensic audits of ballots and voting machines, as well as issuing subpoenas to collect more evidence, would be a good start.

Thankfully, some of the state started to demand investigations independent of federal agencies. But we still believe that the DoJ needs to use its enormous fact-finding resources to help resolve allegations of election fraud.

Thank you for continuing to SIGN and SHARE all our election-related petitions.

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Please SIGN and SHARE this urgent petition which calls on all Americans to Stand With President Trump as he uses every legitimate means to find out if voter fraud played any role in the election outcome.

Amid allegations of voter fraud, and at a time when the situation with COVID has been used by many of the states to facilitate the use of mail-in ballots on a massive scale, we need to be very careful in dismissing the possibility of voter fraud.

The fact is, the possibility of wide-spread fraud with mail-in ballots is significant.

But, this is not about Donald Trump or Joe Biden! This about whether or not the sanctity of the ballot box has been tampered with!

Please Stand With President Trump as he attempts to defend the integrity of this election, as well as well as the right to vote itself!

Indeed, this is so important, not so much because one election hangs in the balance, but because our democracy, itself, hangs in the balance.

Americans not only have a right to know, but should demand that every legitimate means be used to discover the truth about these elections!

Please SIGN this petition and Stand With President Trump to ensure that these elections were conducted freely and fairly!

While most all Americans believe in playing by the rules, we also know that some very devious, politically-motivated operatives have been trying to harm the Trump administration from before he even took the oath of office.

This fact should lead us to question how some allegations of voter fraud can be so easily dismissed by state election authorities.

We demand to know the truth, and, for the sake of our democracy, we demand that President Trump keep fighting to learn the truth.

Thank you for SIGNING and SHARING this petition today!

**Photo Credit: Shealah Craighead / White House / Flickr

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