In a speech on Thursday, former President Barack Obama claimed, without evidence, that “people are dying because of misinformation” as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and skepticism of the vaccines.
The Daily Caller reports that, in a speech at Stanford University, Obama said that “around one in five Americans [are] still willing to put themselves at risk and put their families at risk rather than get vaccinated.” The former president attributed this trend to “misinformation.”
Although he claimed to be a “First Amendment absolutist,” Obama used the speech to call on social media companies to implement even stricter censorship measures on controversial issues, including COVID-19, voter fraud in the 2020 election, and the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Most Big Tech platforms, from Facebook and Instagram to Twitter and YouTube, have already implemented strict measures banning anyone who questions the mainstream media’s narrative about these issues.
“People like Putin, and Steve Bannon for that matter, understand it’s not necessary for people to believe this information in order to weaken democratic institutions,” Obama continued. “You just have to flood a country’s public square with enough raw sewage. You just have to raise enough questions, spread enough dirt, plant enough conspiracy theorizing, that citizens no longer know what to believe.”
He presented censorship as a matter of saving democracy, asking the audience: “Do we allow our democracy to wither? Or do we make it better?”