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After the publication of the “Twitter Files”, the media and political establishment seem to be learning the lesson of Karl Marx that “history repeats itself, first as a tragedy and second as a farce”.
The censorship of the Hunter Biden scandal by Twitter and others before the 2020 election was a tragedy for our democratic system. The tragedy was a public (and largely successful) attempt to bury the story to protect the Biden campaign rather than its potential impact on the upcoming election. As the same censorship apologists struggle to justify the consequences of this major event, it ends up being a farce.
The Twitter Files confirmed that Twitter never had any evidence of a Russian disinformation campaign or hacking, deciding to censor the New York Post story. In fact, some on Twitter are concerned about preventing the story from being shared. Brandon Borrman, Twitter’s former vice president of global communications, said the company could “truly claim that it’s part of a policy” to ban posts and block users. he asked.
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Those votes were few and far between, and the company was quick to cry foul over its ban on sharing the story, including evidence of a multimillion-dollar influence scheme by the Biden family. Back-channel communications between the Biden campaign and Democrats show the company is being used to stifle political discussion of the scandal ahead of the election. It was a hands-off time for the media, and Twitter was ready to help.
More than a year ago, I argued that the brilliance of the Biden campaign was investing the media in suppressing the story. Two years later, major media outlets finally, but reluctantly, acknowledged the authenticity of the laptop, along with an email detailing large transfers from foreign interests (including some with links to foreign intelligence). messages.
Many have shrugged off the fact that influence-peddling is not necessarily a crime, ignoring the fact that it is a major corruption scandal with serious national security concerns. After all, as Heather Digby Parton argued in Salon on December 5, “There’s nothing out there but a man making money trading on his last name.”
After the release of the “Twitter Files,” many of those same numbers were changed to justify censorship at the behest of the Biden campaign or Democrats.
For some of us from longtime liberal Democratic families, it was chilling to see the Democratic Party embrace censorship and condemn free speech, including foreign and corporate interests to prevent Musk from restoring free speech protections. .
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In addition to attacking Elon Musk and Matt Taibbi personally, many have resorted to two claims that have been widely repeated in the media to avoid discussing the coordinated censorship efforts between the company and Democrats.
What kind of censorship?
One of the old adages of censorship apologists is that unless the government directs the suppression of free speech, it is not censorship.
This is clearly not true. Many groups, such as the ACLU, argue that “censorship can be carried out by both government and private pressure groups.”
The same figures argue that there is no violation of free speech if the First Amendment (which applies only to the government) is violated.
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The First Amendment has never been an exclusive definition of free speech. Freedom of speech is considered a human right by most of us; The first amendment deals with only one source to limit it. Freedom of speech can be undermined by both private corporations and government agencies.
Corporations have the right to free speech. Ironically, Democrats have long opposed such rights for companies, but they accept such rights when it comes to censorship. It’s also worth noting that this censorship (and these back channels) continued after the Biden campaign became the Biden administration — a classic example of censorship by surrogate. It has also been part of a push by Democratic senators and House members to silence critics and bury the Hunter Biden influence scandal.
Democratic Rep. Ro Hanna of California reached out to Twitter’s top censor, Vijaya Gadde, to try to get the company to reconsider the move, even though she called herself a “total Biden party.” He pointed out “[t]appears to violate its First Amendment principles.”
This is a violation free speech principles, and Hanna was one of the few on the left unwilling to abandon those principles for politics in this debate.
“It’s All About Dirty Pictures”
Another alleges that this was not an attempt to censor the story, but rather to block explicit images of Hunter having sex with prostitutes or exposing himself.
This claim adds the illusion of propaganda to censorship. Twitter officials have discussed whether the whole incident was Russian disinformation or hacking, according to Twitter files. For former FBI deputy general counsel Jim Baker (hired by Twitter after the Russia collusion scandal), it’s all about encouraging others to share the story because “caution is necessary.”
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Even at the time of the crackdown, it was clear to many on the left that the move was justified by the false claim of hacking.
As MP Hannah Gadde stated in her letter, “A journalist should not be held accountable for the wrongdoing of a source unless they actively aided the wrongdoing. in storage [the Supreme Court case] New York Times v. Sullivan.”
Crucially, this was not lost on Twitter staff, including, “They just worked independently [the censorship]. . . hacking was the excuse, but within a few hours, almost everyone realized it wasn’t going to work. But no one had the courage to change it.”
In addition, Twitter later admitted that it was a mistake to suppress the story and allowed such sharing, including articles with photos. While “Team Biden” wanted the company to censor any tweets that contained links such as “Hunter Biden porn,” it wasn’t the specific images that caused the company to suppress the story before the election.
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However, there is an interesting, if counterintuitive, twist to this argument. As Salon noted, “Hunter Biden’s laptop ‘scandal’ is mostly dirty pictures.” If the scandal is about dirty pictures, it’s not about dirty politics or influence peddling. It’s not even about censorship. End of discussion.
Attempts to deny this information will do nothing — any more than previous attempts to suppress the story itself.
We are still waiting for more files to be released. In addition, the House of Representatives is expected to investigate the use of these companies to conduct censorship for Democratic allies.
This investigation is important because there is always the risk that Twitter officials (who have long been aware of the threat of such requests) will avoid or even delete written messages.
Indeed, the ever-increasing chorus of “there’s nothing to see here” may prompt many skeptical citizens to take a closer look.
After all, nothing draws a crowd like a farce.
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