Twitter CEO Admits Censoring The Hunter Biden Story Was “Wrong” . . . Democrats Call For More Censorship

Twitter LogoWe previously discussed the unrelenting drumbeat of censorship on the Internet from Democratic leaders, including President-elect Joe Biden. This growing campaign against free speech is continuing to grow despite the hearing yesterday when Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey that the company wrongly blocked the New York Post story on Hunter Biden’s influence peddling before the election. There was no acknowledgement from the many academics or politicians who supported the action by Twitter. Instead, Democratic senators called for more such censorship.

Dorsey’s statement was apologetic but still incomplete and evasive. He stated “We made a quick interpretation using no other evidence that the materials in the article were obtained through hacking, and according to our policy, we blocked them from being spread. Upon further consideration, we admitted this action was wrong and corrected it within 24 hours.”

There was no suggestion of hacking since the source of the information was identified as coming from an abandoned computer of Hunter Biden. Neither Biden nor his father’s campaign has ever denied that the laptop and the emails were his.  Moreover, Twitter blocked the New York Post for two weeks, not 24 hours. The New York Post refused to take down the story and it took two weeks for Twitter to lift the block. As a result, it blocked the newspaper during the critical run up to the election.

However, it was not Dorsey’s statement but the response of Democratic senators that was so unnerving. Various senators demanded more such censorship.  As I have stated before as someone from a staunchly Democratic family in Chicago, I never imagined that the party would embrace censorship as a rallying cry.  Yet, attacking free speech has become a common theme on the left.

This is precisely how the crackdown on free speech in Europe began.  Once politicians convinced the public to surrender this right to fight hateful views, countries like France, Germany and England plunged into greater and greater criminalization and regulation of speech.  In a particularly worrisome move, Biden selected one of the most anti-free speech figures in the United States to head his transition team on media agency offices.

The fear of our going down the same road as Europe was magnified in yesterday’s hearing as senators pressed the companies for many censorship.  One of the most chilling moments came from Delaware Senator Chris Coons who demonstrated the very essence of the “slippery slope” danger.

Dorsey: Well, misleading information, as you are aware, is a large problem. It’s hard to define it completely and cohesively. We wanted to scope our approach to start to focus on the highest severity of harm. We focused on three areas, manipulated media, which you mentioned, civic integrity around the election, specifically in public health, specifically around COVID. We wanted to make sure that our resources that we  have the greatest impact on where we believe the greatest severity of harm is going to be. Our policies are living documents. They will evolve. We will add to them, but we thought it important that we focus our energies and prioritize the work as much as we could.

Coons: Well, Mr. Dorsey, I’ll close with this. I cannot think of a greater harm than climate change, which is transforming literally our planet and causing harm to our entire world. I think we’re experiencing significant harm as we speak. I recognize the pandemic and misinformation about COVID-19, manipulated media also cause harm, but I’d urge you to reconsider that because helping to disseminate climate denialism, in my view, further facilitates and accelerates one of the greatest existential threats to our world. So thank you to both of our witnesses.

Notably, Dorsey starts with the same argument made by free speech advocates: “Well, misleading information, as you are aware, is a large problem. It’s hard to define it completely and cohesively.” However, instead of then raising concerns over censoring views and comments on the basis for such an amorphous category, Coons pressed to expanding the categories of censored material to prevent people from sharing any views that he considers “climate denialism”

There is, of course, a wide array of views that different people or different groups would declare “harmful.” Indeed, Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal seemed to take the opposite meaning from Twitter admitting that it was wrong to censor the Biden story. Blumenthal said that he was “concerned that both of your companies are, in fact, backsliding or retrenching, that you are failing to take action against dangerous disinformation.” Accordingly, he demand an answer to this question:

“Will you commit to the same kind of robust content modification playbook in this coming election, including fact checking, labeling, reducing the spread of misinformation, and other steps, even for politicians in the runoff elections ahead?”

“Robust content modification” has a certain Orwellian feel to it. It is not content modification. It is censorship. If the Democratic party is going crackdown on free speech, it should admit to being the party of censorship and join those who have insisted “China is right.”  At least there would be an element of honesty in this growing campaign against free speech in the United States.

94 thoughts on “Twitter CEO Admits Censoring The Hunter Biden Story Was “Wrong” . . . Democrats Call For More Censorship”

  1. In all of the pontifications of the leftist in this comment section, not one is standing up for free speech. They can’t all be from China , can they? So often they expose themselves for who they are. Freedom for us to post but not for you to post is what they are telling you. Soon they will be damanding that Turley police his comment section for hate speech and disinformation. Most likely under penalty of law. The ends justifies the means. You will not criticize the State nor our State Religeon. Beware.

    1. Thinkitthrough —

      I suspect that China has also been subtly altering some posts on Wikipedia to nudge the history of Chinese contributions in some fields.

      I could be wrong; it is barely an observation on my part; but see if you notice it.

    2. Thinking:

      “In all of the pontifications of the leftist in this comment section, not one is standing up for free speech. They can’t all be from China , can they?”
      ********************************
      Naw just evil, stupid or a wonderful amalgamation of the two. Can’t you tell?

  2. Would love to hear Professor Turley’s view on the cause & effect of censorship. There may be a way for corporations and the rich to benefit from opposing censorship. If we instituted a national “referendum-election” about 6 months before the final candidate-election, it would be more accurate than any poll, since many either mislead or refuse to cooperate with private pollsters.

    In other words corporations could have “predictable” market demand based on documented polling results of American voters. Since the beginning of the republic, maybe the greatest conflict with the First Amendment was when it conflicted with the goals of corporate lobbyists. Using a weather forecast metaphor, instead of trying to change the weather (voter sentiment), it’s better to predict the weather and follow suit.

    Smart companies like Apple, DuckDuckGo.com (search engine), Proton Mail (email provider) and others have realized most Americans value privacy instead of changing privacy standards, they followed American consumers. When corporate lobbyists conflict with legal First Amendment speech, censorship soon follows. Referendum-elections could help minimize these conflicts and corporations could still prosper without destroying free speech.

  3. Skynet really doesn’t want us talking about certain matters, particularly subjects touching on potential voter fraud.

    Conservativetreehouse, an intelligent and smart conservative website has just been de-platformed by a prominent web hosting company.

    The reason given was violation of terms of use but no explanation of the terms violated has been given.

    This shocking example of corporate censorship has been noticed on other sites, and law professor, Glenn Reynolds, an influential blogger, has recommended that if a blogger wants to avoid de-platforming it would be better to use Hosting Matters. https://hostmatters.com/

    I know nothing of that company and do not use it, but I respect Reynolds’ opinions.

    It is difficult to identify an actual ‘violation of terms of use’ on conservativetreehouse. I often read it and I read the comments without posting there myself. Profanity is not tolerated, threats are not allowed, promoting violence is not allowed. On the whole, it is more civilized and decent than many posts on Twitter.

    The manager on the site, who posts as ‘Sundance’, is sober, careful and remarkably skilled with his analysis. He came to my attention when I was following the Zimmerman/Trayvon Martin trial. His research and analysis of that trial as it proceeded were superb. It seemed likely to me that defense counsel were taking advantage of what Sundance was discovering and that thought occurred to the prosecution as well. They complained in open court about ‘a website’ that seemed to be feeding information to the defense. I would have used everything I could get from the site. Sundance was not in league with the defense and he frequently criticized [sometimes wrongly, I thought] the tactics of the defense. He was his own man.

    I think Sundance’s chief offense to his hosting service is that he is too good. Skynet will not allow that apparently.

    I have pondered, but not researched, possible legal remedies that might be available to someone who is arbitrarily de-platformed. Contract comes to mind immediately. The host makes an Offer on its site. There is an Acceptance. There is payment so then a Consideration. It is a valid contract. Having induced someone to invest time and money with the Host, it might be worth exploring what might constitute a breach of contract by the host and what may be the damages incurred.

    In addition to an action for breach of contract, one has to wonder if there is a tort involved, perhaps one that could incur punitive damages. There is something inherently malicious about breaching a contract in this way, something that reaches beyond contract and into the realm of harms like battery or depraved indifference to known harms that one’s actions one might cause.

    Just passing thoughts on my part, but they may be worth exploring. It appears there are many more instances of corporate tyranny looming in our future, sometimes with government urging.

    It is not too soon to think of how we might defend an open and civil society.

  4. The government’s role in combatting ugly but legal First Amendment activity is primarily “educating the next generation” – better civics education, more debate clubs that teach kids how to disagree, racial education (video series: “Brown Eyes Blue Eyes” by Jane Elliott), etc. Politicians intentionally divided Americans and are now seeing the results. Censorship is not the answer.

  5. The reason Dorsey thinks censoring the NY Post was wrong is because it kindled interest in a new kid on the block — Parler.
    He thought Twitter’s monopoly was unbreakable a month ago. Now, he realizes the audience rules, and his kingdom can be brought down through competition, not to mention the fatigue factor with Twitter and Tweets.

  6. Turley writes and tweets: “The fear of our going down the same road as Europe was magnified as senators pressed the companies for more censorship. One of the most chilling moments came from Delaware Senator Chris Coons who demonstrated the very essence of the “slippery slope” danger.”

    Last night, speaking on this same point, Tucker Carlson called Senator Coons (D-DE) a “tiny-brained Napoleon.” Talk about vicious and unsportsmanlike.

    I see Senator Coons as a “large-brained multi-lateralist” with a growing ecological catastrophe on his Senate hands. A responsible “chilling” of global warming denial is exactly what our simmering planet needs.

    That said, what should Twitter do about a tweet like this one from Senator James Inhofe (R-OK)?

    “Climate change is real, and it is not a hoax. How arrogant is it for people to say that man can do something about changing the climate?”

    https://twitter.com/jiminhofe/status/558033392944840704?lang=en

    It’s a brilliant tweet from the other side of the debate.

    1. Maxson Since you claim to know so much about climate science.

      What did the Ice Age, the Medieval Warm Period, and the Little Ice Age, have to do with human activity and CO2?

      Look forward to your answer.

      1. How much do I need to know about climate science to hold an informed precautionary opinion, Rhodes?

        I’m a little rusty since I first wrapped my head around the impact of methane oxidation on CO2 levels in the Vostok ice core record at the centennial scale, but if it will truly be of help to you…do you want me to start with eccentricities in the orbits of Jupiter and Saturn, and the obliquity of the Earth’s axis of rotation, and the impact of these on changes in insolation, and the impact of changes in insolation on atmospheric CH4 at the margins, and the impact of changes in atmospheric CH4 at the margins on atmospheric CO2 over the longer term?

        Anthropogenic climate change has been taking place for at least 10K years, first through traditional hunting and agriculture, in my opinion, and then increasingly through modern industry, population growth, and livestock intensive agriculture, with remarkable impacts on atmospheric CH4, CO2 and other greenhouse gases.

        Now what did you want to debate, more specifically?

        1. “Anthropogenic climate change has been taking place for at least 10K years”

          The Ice Age ended 12,500 years ago. But it began long before man existed on the planet.

          If you’ll recall, the original theory was AGW (Anthropogenic Global Warming). Climate Change wasn’t conjured up until it became obvious that Gore’s various claims about imminent global warming failed to materialize.

          As to your “opinion” that “traditional hunting and agriculture” caused climate change 10,000 years ago. Best of luck finding anything to back that up.

          I was an Earth Science major. You watched a lot of Captain Planet cartoons.

          1. You don’t particularly sound like either an Earth Science major or a Civility major, Rhodes.

            Glacials and inter-glacials have co-existed with human evolution for millions of years. The last glacial began well after Homo sapiens’ existence on the planet.

            Anthropogenic Global Warming is still the core theory. Climate change is a consequence. AGW may shut down AMOC, for example, which in turn might cause regional cooling, while the net change global warming. That is one of the reasons for the distinction.

            Surely you are familiar with the early anthropocene hypothesis?

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Early_anthropocene

            And surely you are familiar with the Black Death theory of the Little Ice Age?

            http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/4755328.stm

            “Europe’s “Little Ice Age” may have been triggered by the 14th Century Black Death plague, according to a new study.”

            “Pollen and leaf data support the idea that millions of trees sprang up on abandoned farmland, soaking up carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.”

            “This would have had the effect of cooling the climate, a team from Utrecht University, Netherlands, says.”

  7. CENSORED:

    The Hammer and Scorecard programs switch votes imperceptibly in microseconds.

    Data has been obtained from the whistle blower who built the capability, Dennis Montgomery.

    “There is forensic evidence showing what data was changed, where it came from and where it was going to. And a record was kept.”

    “That means there is direct, solid evidence of voter fraud perpetrated by the people who are operating this Hammer, Scorecard combination to change the votes of the citizens of this country.”

    https://larouchepac.com/file/how-theyre-stealing-election-hammer-and-scorecard

  8. If the left was saying things that were lies and disinformation at the rate the right does and they get fact checked over and over, would Turley claim the left is being censored? Just like the election, Trump supporters want something that isn’t there. And if it was, wouldn’t Trump supporters think that AG. Barr would be all over it? If it is there, then they must prove it. But facts and proof are not something that Trump supporters look for, Turley and the far-right just want their base to jump from one empty hole to another. Throw it against the wall and see what sticks, so far nothing……..

  9. Now Turley’s back to the Hunter Biden laptop story, using the old trial lawyer’s trick of claiming that since Biden never denied that the laptop was Hunter’s, everything on it must be true. No, Turley, there’s also the position that one does not dignify a lie by pretending it has enough merit to bother responding.

    Meanwhile, back here in America, located on Planet Earth, Trump continues to lose lawsuit after lawsuit due to lack of merit. He’s hemorrhaging law firms, too, (maybe they just now found out that Trump stiffs everyone, especially lawyers) so he trots out Giuliani, who is demanding $20K per day for his valuable legal services and advice Think about that, you Trumpsters; that’s where your contributions are going. Then, there’s that chick over at the GSA who refuses to release funds for the Biden transition team. And, we have Trump, not only drawing down troops in the Middle East, but announcing it publicly, much to the joy of the Taliban, who publicly celebrated Trump’s stupidity. There are NO military leaders who agree that withdrawal is a good idea, especially announcing it in advance, but he doesn’t care. There is even footage of Trump criticizing the announcing of troop withdrawals in advance. He no longer cares because when he’s not sulking, brooding and tweeting on how he got screwed, he’s on a mission to sabotage the Biden Presidency. Can there be any doubt that he’d sell the nuclear codes or any other top secret information, not just for money he desperately needs, but for revenge? He no longer makes any pretense of caring about the out of control pandemic, either. Why not write about these things, Turley?

      1. That thought has occurred to me, too. My only question is whether Republicans would pull the trigger for the sake of the country this time. The overarching fact is that he is not a patriot–he is a narcissist and he’s vengeful. He can’t handle failure. He can’t bully his way out of this one (although he is trying), and once he runs out of options and people to fire who won’t go along with him, there is reason to fear, because patriotism won’t stop him.

    1. ‘Why not write about these things, Turley?’

      The Fake News has all that covered 24/7.

      Turley shines a light on truth. That’s why it hurts for you to hear it.

  10. I do support free speech but I would make the following suggestion for consideration that the various platforms be required to verify the identity of the account owner and that the identity be made available all others on the platform. I know that we have had in this country a rich tradition of the use of pennames and other devices to mask identities for commentaries including the debates concerning the constitution. Up until the 21st century, there was little of no risk in an extensive foreign misinformation campaign. However, now with the globalization of the internet and social media platforms comes the necessity to identify those accounts that are representing foreign voices. This is not to still those voices but to give all the wherewithal to judge their stance.

  11. “The election is a farce. The censorship is all they have left.”

    “Censoring the elected president of the United States…because they know the most important element to a color revolution, of their effort to overthrow a legitimately elected government, is control of the narriative.”

    “If they lose control of the ‘narrative’ they lose control of the public and their operation fails…”

    “They needed Fox News to play along…”

    “This is a military-style psychological operation being waged against the American people….”

    “The voter fraud was just too brazen…”

    “This is not going to work out well for them…”

    “We are being demoralized, lied to, manipulated…”

  12. I really do not find the admissions of Dem Senators as surprising. It stands in the face of recent defeats in the House to be remarkably ignorant of the will of more than half of voters who reject left wing ideology. Half of the country are proud Americans who find censorship, even of their opposition, appalling. What is achieved from silencing half of the country? Complete control over American’s representation in government is their goal. If they achieve that we’re on a path to concentration camps which is what it would take to truly control the right. But in order to initiate that, a second Civil War would have to be fought. Is this really where the left wants to go, or are they depending on the Communist Chinese to invade and do their dirty work for them. You may think this is not plausible but you would be wrong with the cost being extremely high.

  13. Social media companies could structure it like newspaper, users label posts either “Opinion” or “Footnoted With Facts”. There could also be a self-rating system where users label their own posts (PG, R, Adult Material, Nudity, Violence, etc). Parents and adults could filter using the ratings system. This removes legal liability from the social media company altogether and places liability on the user. It also greatly reduces the company’s resources required to censor in a nation founded upon Freedom of Speech.

  14. Sprec Frei. Or forever hold your piece. But you can’t hold your piece in public. It’s gross.

    Freedoms just another word. But nothing much to lose. Nothing if you ain’t free.

  15. No chance the big coverup won’t go into full gear and the Communist Party of America will be listed differently than in real life.

  16. If Biden had just learned to keep his mouth shut we would never have had evidence to use in a court of law but no he’s got to telegraph his true intent and beliefs Shut up Natasha your on the same list to get a set of handcuffs.

  17. That is funny. First of all the censorship would wipe out the left wing foreigners and second did you notice everything Biden has proposed is anti constitutiona and pro commuinist? or socialist, national or international whatever aka progressive liberal? He has made those statements before and after the election showing intent to violate the oath before, during and after he takes it. So Supreme Court what are you going to do now?is it really time to have our President call out the militrary to uphold their oath of office BEFORE Jan 20th? It appears that way and if the military is loyal to it’s oath they won’t need the President they can just take over get ride of fascist socialist far left and drag the country back under the Constituton whether they like it or not …… or take a hike elsewhere.

    1. “First of all the censorship would wipe out the left wing foreigners and second did you notice everything Biden has proposed is anti constitutiona and pro commuinist? ”

      Actually, no. I hadn’t noticed that.

  18. Turley, your employers at Fox have done their utmost to create a world of alternative fact, it’s no surprise there has been a counterbalancing move to deal with the rhetoric behind it. Am I for free speech? Absolutely. Am I for the cesspool of misinformation that thrives in certain media markets? Hell no. Signed, a regularly banned (for I’m not sure what) participant on your blog.

    1. Am I for free speech? Absolutely. Am I for the cesspool of misinformation that thrives in certain media markets? Hell no.

      Absolutely…but only if it fits within your alternate reality. It’s quite understandable why you need censorship protection from those “alternative facts;” you’ve proven that you have no way to process any information that challenges your reality. Ironically, it’s you that has been censored (according to you) and you have no idea why, further proving my point.

        1. Instagram joined Facebook in purging a Colorado-based charity organization’s social media accounts last week, and has not responded to numerous messages from the apolitical volunteer group.

          More than two months ago, Facebook removed the Oathkeepers Causeplay, a nonprofit group that volunteers with other charities at events by dressing up as characters. Facebook locked the personal pages of all of the administrators associated with the account, many of which contained valuable photos and messages from loved ones.

          While the accounts were locked on the same day in August that the big tech company announced it would be purging groups, pages, and accounts from its site that they believe to be “anarchist groups that support violent acts amidst protests,” including a different group named the “Oath Keepers,” Facebook never responded to the organization’s appeals or requests to restore their accounts. Facebook also did not respond to The Federalist’s request for comment.

          One look at the Oathkeepers Causeplay website or any of their other social media pages shows that their mission is simply to volunteer their time and resources to people in need of a smile and that it is not associated with any political groups. That made no difference. Thanks to Facebook’s ideological censorship, Oathkeepers Causeplay immediately became a nonentity to volunteers, donors, and the hospitalized children they make happy.
          https://thefederalist.com/2020/11/18/instagram-joins-facebook-in-censoring-cosplay-charity-because-its-name-sounds-conservative/

    2. Anonymous, your first “tell” was calling Turley an employee of Fox
      a) being on Fox has no relation to censorship;
      b) labeling or pigeon holing Turley as “Fox” is moronic and tells us all we need to know about you.

      Of course you then blithely go on to then state that your are for free speech…as long as it is not what you call “misinformation”.

      Please go to some other site, you are not qualified to be on this one.

      NB. I am NOT DEMANDING THIS PERSON BE SILENCED, I am only suggestion that if he or she would go to another site not everyone there would no of his/her lack of intelligence.

      1. hull, Turley is a regular Fox contributor who regularly denounces it’s competitors for supposed excesses while never finding fault with Fox, not exactly a citadel of non-partisan restraint..

        Do the math.

  19. Dorsey only admitted it was “wrong” because it was suggested that by blocking the Post, he brought more attention to the story, which is provably false as fewer than half of the nation was aware of the influence peddling revealed.
    I am tired of Twitter censoring, bullying, and intimidating its users to further its agenda and then claiming it was a mistake, or wrong. Why do their mistakes almost invariably affect conservatives?

    The tech overlords may win the early battle but I predict that it will end badly in coming years as the mobs they helped to empower, will pull them from their fortresses and decorate columns and light posts with their remains.

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