Secretary of State Michael Pompeo on Monday criticized censorship by media and Big Tech, calling for “wokeism” to be put to sleep, during a speech he gave at a Voice of America-hosted event.
In his opening remarks, Pompeo noted that some employees of VOA, a U.S. government-funded international news service, did not want him to speak at the event and called that “censorial instinct” dangerous.
“I read that some VOA employees didn’t want me to speak here today. I’m sure it was only a handful. They didn’t want the voice of American diplomacy to be broadcast on the Voice of America. Think about that for just a moment,” he said.
“This kind of censorial instinct is dangerous. It’s morally wrong. Indeed, it’s against your statutory mandate here at VOA. Censorship, wokeness, political correctness. It all points in one direction — authoritarianism cloaked as moral righteousness,” he said.
He then compared it to censorship by Big Tech.
“Similar to what we’re seeing at Twitter and Facebook and Apple and on too many university campuses today. It’s not who we are. It’s not who we are as Americans. And it’s not what the Voice of America should be. It’s time that we simply put woke-ism to sleep,” he said.
Although Pompeo did not explicitly mention it, on Friday Twitter and Facebook moved to permanently ban President Donald Trump from using their platforms. Then, on Saturday, Apple dropped Parler from its store and Amazon dropped Parler from using its hosting service.
Pompeo has defended the president and the administration, while some Trump administration officials have resigned or criticized the president after some of his supporters broke into the Capitol building and engaged in violence.
Democrats and some Republicans are accusing the president of inciting violence at the Capitol and are calling for his resignation, his impeachment, or for his cabinet to invoke the 25th Amendment.