“Fool Me Once . . . ” Why the Public is Not Buying the Latest Media Campaign Against Twitter

Twitter LogoBelow is my column on the media response to the “Twitter Files,” including misleading narratives being repeated across various media platforms. The effort is to assure the public that there is “nothing to see here” but it may backfire. After Twitter employed one of the most extensive censorship systems in history to prevent people from reading opposing views on subjects from Covid to climate change, media figures are now insisting that the public should really not be interested.

The public, however, is not buying it. They are buying Twitter. With users signing up to Twitter in record numbers, a majority supports Musk’s efforts to restore free speech protections and to force greater transparency despite an unrelenting counter campaign in the media. Some of the media claims would meet the very definition of disinformation used by Twitter and its allies previously to censor information and discussions.  Indeed, the Wall Street Journal has noted that the greatest purveyors of disinformation turned out to be former intelligence officials who worked to kill the story before the election as “Russian disinformation.” The public seems to be following the old adage “Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.”

Here is the column:

In the aftermath of the release of the “Twitter Files,” the media and political establishment appear to be taking a lesson from Karl Marx who said, “history repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce.”

The censoring of the Hunter Biden scandal before the 2020 election by Twitter and others was a tragedy for our democratic system. That tragedy was not in its potential impact on a close election, but the massive (and largely successful) effort to bury a story to protect the Biden campaign. It has now ended in farce as the same censorship apologists struggle to excuse the implications of this major story.

The Twitter Files confirmed that Twitter never had any evidence of a Russian disinformation campaign or hacking as the basis for its decision to censor the New York Post story. Indeed, some at Twitter expressed concern over preventing the sharing of the story. Former Twitter Vice President for Global Communications Brandon Borrman asked if the company could “truthfully claim that this is part of the policy” for barring posts and suspending users.

Those voices were few and quickly shouted down as the company barred the sharing of the story, including evidence of a multimillion-dollar influence peddling scheme by the Biden family. The back channel communications between Biden campaign and Democratic operatives show a willing use of the company to suppress political discussion of the scandal before the election. It was an all-hands-on-deck moment for the media and Twitter was eager to lend a hand.

Over a year ago, I discussed how the brilliance of the Biden campaign was to get the media to become invested in the suppression of the story. After two years, major media finally but reluctantly admitted that the laptop was authentic as well as the emails detailing massive transfers of money from foreign interests (including some with foreign intelligence links).

Many have responded by shrugging that influence peddling is not necessarily a crime, ignoring that it is still a massive corruption scandal with serious national security concerns. After all, as Heather Digby Parton argued in Salon on December 5, “There is nothing there other than a man making money by trading on his family name.”

After the release of the “Twitter Files,” many of these same figures have shifted to excuse the censorship done at the request of Biden campaign or Democratic operatives.

For some of us who come from long-standing liberal Democratic families, it has been chilling to see the Democratic Party embrace censorship and denounce free speech, including organizing foreign and corporate interests to prevent Musk from restoring free speech protections.

Beyond personally attacking Elon Musk and Matt Taibbi, many have resorted to two claims that are being widely repeated in the media to avoid discussing the coordinated censorship efforts between this company and Democratic operatives.

What Censorship?

One of the old saws of censorship apologists is that without a government directing the suppression of free speech, it is not censorship.

That is clearly untrue.  Many groups like the ACLU stress that “censorship can be carried out by the government as well as private pressure groups.”

The same figures insist that if, there is not a violation of the First Amendment (which only applies to the government), there is no free speech violation. The First Amendment was never the exclusive definition of free speech. Free speech is viewed by many of us as a human right; the First Amendment only deals with one source for limiting it. Free speech can be undermined by private corporations as well as government agencies.

Corporations clearly have free speech rights. Ironically, Democrats have long opposed such rights for companies, but they embrace such rights when it comes to censorship. It is 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 a surrogate. Moreover, some of the pressure was coming from Democratic senators and House members to silence critics and bury the Hunter Biden influence peddling scandal.

To his credit, Democratic Rep. Ro Khanna of California reached out to Twitter’s leading censor, Vijaya Gadde, and tried to get the company to reconsider this action even though he identified himself as a “total Biden partisan.” He noted that “[t]his seems a violation of the First Amendment principles.”

Rep. Ro Khanna, D-Calif., expressed concerns over Twitter’s decision to censor the Hunter Biden laptop story.  (Reuters)

It is a violation of free speech principles and Khanna was one of the few on the left unwilling to discard those principles for politics in this controversy.

“It is all about the Dirty Pictures”

Another claim is that this was not an effort to censor the story but merely to block the vulgar images that Hunter took of himself having sex with prostitutes or exposing himself.

This claim adds the specter of propaganda to that of censorship. As the Twitter files reveal, Twitter officials discussed whether the whole story might be Russian disinformation or hacking. For former Deputy FBI General Counsel Jim Baker (who was hired by Twitter after the Russian collusion scandal) it is all about supporting others from sharing the story because “caution is warranted.”

Even at the time of the suppression, it was clear to many on the left that the move was being justified by the false claim of a hack.

Rep. Khanna noted in his letter to Gadde that “a journalist should not be held accountable for the illegal actions of the source unless they actively aided the hack. So, to restrict the distribution of that material, especially regarding a presidential candidate, seems not in the keeping of [the Supreme Court case] New York Times vs. Sullivan.”

More importantly, it was not lost on Twitter employees including one who said that “They just freelanced [the censorship]. . .  hacking was the excuse, but within a few hours, pretty much everyone realized that wasn’t going to hold. But no one had the guts to reverse it.”

Moreover, Twitter later admitted that it was a mistake to suppress the story and allowed such sharing, including articles with the pictures. While the “Biden team” did want the company to censor any tweets containing references like “Hunter Biden porn,” it was not the explicit pictures that caused the company to suppress the story before the election.

However, there is a brilliant, if counterintuitive, spin of this argument. As stated in Salon, “mostly what the Hunter Biden laptop ‘scandal’ is about is the dirty pictures.” If the scandal is all about dirty pictures, it is not about dirty politics or influence peddling. It is also not about censorship. End of discussion.

The effort to dismiss these disclosures will not work — any more than earlier efforts to suppress the story itself.

We are still expecting more files to be released. Moreover, the House is expected to investigate the use of these companies to carry out censorship for Democratic allies.

That investigation is important because there is always the risk that Twitter officials (who were long aware of the threat of such inquiries) may have avoided or even destroyed written communications.

Indeed, the increasingly shrill chorus that “there is nothing to see here” may only prompt a closer look from many skeptical citizens.

After all, nothing draws a crowd as much as a farce.

313 thoughts on ““Fool Me Once . . . ” Why the Public is Not Buying the Latest Media Campaign Against Twitter”

  1. Dear Mr. Turley, Is the following of interest ? Jim Carter
    Duplication is authorized.

    Dear Congress Critter,
    Is it correct that the Rothschild clan, since 2014, exercises governmental control over Ukraine via a George Soros [read Wall Street] imposed puppet ruler ?

    Is it correct that the corruption that has been evidenced in the Ukraine has been beneficial to numerous Rothschild globalist projects, including the funding of political elections, in the United States ?

    Is it correct that the clan has, or is seeking, sovereignty control over the ports of the United States and the world as a self-declared emergency pandemic necessity ?

    Is it correct that the clan has, or is seeking, sovereignty control via the WHO to impose quarantine lockdown over the world, including the United States ?

    Is it correct that the clan has, or is seeking, authority to assess a mandatory financial obligation, fee, burden, tax, or something similar upon the government of the United States, as a membership obligation for their G-20 project ?

    Is it correct that the clan has, or is seeking in the Hamilton Project, sovereignty control to eliminate currency and impose Federal Reserve control over ALL banking accounts, and they plan to substitute a digital token, with inherent authority to remove value from an individual’s account at their, or the government’s, discretion ?

    Is it correct that the clan was instrumental in the design and creation of the Federal Reserve system and that system has exclusive control over the auctions of U.S. [government owned] Treasury securities which currently exceed $14 trillion annually and the relevant accounts have never been audited by the government ? Historic TreasuryDirect Institutional values that questioned the destination of huge sums have been removed. Ref. https://genzconservative.com/the-federal-reserve-for-dummies/#_ftn3 FEDERAL RESERVE FOR DUMMIES

    Does the United States have a tax system that, if legal, can confiscate 100% of its citizen’s earnings ?
    If so, that would appear to be a coup. No court has jurisdiction to impose a coup.

    Your enlightenment will be greatly appreciated.

    Your Constituent,

    I. R. Citizen
    123 Any Street
    Hometown, USA

  2. Jonathan: I have it from my sources inside Mar-a-Lago there is a lot of catsup on the walls of Trump’s dining room this morning. Yesterday was a terrible day for the Trumpster. A NY jury found the Trump Organization guilty on all 17 criminal counts of tax fraud. Then Hershel Walker, Trump’s handpicked Senate candidate went down in defeat to Rafael Warnock. To cap off the day the Jan. 6 House Committee said it is going to make a number of criminal referrals to the DOJ.

    The NY jury’s verdict did not find Trump personally liable and he is only facing a million dollar fine. But the fallout is going to be substantial–from being barred from doing business in NY, losing federal contracts and the real possibility his banks will call in his loans–among other fallout. That could cripple the Trump Organization. Trump says he is “disappointed” by the verdict, he will appeal and blames everything on his CFO Allen Weisselberg. Looks like Allen will not be getting his Christmas bonus this year. The Q is why didn’t Trump just settle the case–like he did with the Trump Foundation and Trump University? When your CFO pleads guilty it’s time to cut your losses. Trump did not settle because his company was intertwined with his narcissistic ego. To settle would destroy his image as the brash young guy who took NY by storm. So Trump was willing to bet his reputation on a roll of the dice and he lost.

    And Trump’s legal troubles are just beginning. He still faces charges by NY’s Letitia James over his years of trying to avoid NY taxes by over/under valuing his properties. Then their is the ongoing voter fraud investigation by Fulton County DA Fani Willis. A conviction there could actually put Trump in prison. Finally, there is the DOJ criminal investigation of Trump’s illegal hoarding of top secret docs at Mar-a-Lago. Not a lot to brag about for MAGA supporters–especially those on this blog.

    This whole dreary saga reminds me of the final scene in “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” where Robert Redford and Paul Newman are finally cornered by the entire Bolivian army. No place to hide and no place to run. That is what Trump is facing. There must be a Netflix original movie somewhere in the making. I can picture the last scene. A Heinz delivery truck races to Mar-a-Lago, off-loads boxes of catsup and Trump hides in the back of the truck and escapes. Any better ideas out there for the ending of the movie?

  3. Oh, but Professor, they *are*. The same ones that voted for Biden or Walker or Fetterman thinking they were still voting for JFK or Clinton, and haven’t paid attention to a damn thing for 30 years their party has actually done because Obama was black and had a smooth voice and had Paul McCartney play at the White House and sing a song for Michelle, which was perfectly in line with their memories of the glory days but was actually a smoke screen to basically enable oligarchs to control the United States’ government – and still think the Dems are fighting for injustice, even though most of those issues are resolved in most places in America in the 21st century – sure. The legal minds here are too focused on the minutia of law. Insanity on a broad scale trumps law, and that has got to register at some point. Until even the brightest of us dislodge themselves from generational liberalism, which has been polluted beyond actual redemption in our lifetimes, I don’t know what the point of this conversation even is anymore. Open your dang eyes. The up and comers could give a toss about (even though I am very grateful you all keep sharing it, please continue, it is important) said minutia. They do not know, they do not care, and they do not care to learn. And that is our future. Period, at this point. The endless pontification is a totally meaningless exercise when boots on the ground tell their story. The people of the future do not care, and they have corrupt, perverted law very much on their side at present.

    1. “The people of the future do not care, and they have corrupt, perverted law very much on their side at present.”

      You’re right, James. Additionally, those same people don’t yet and very well likely not realize anytime soon, the same perverted laws and corruption will be used against them. There’s no interest in political history except for how it relates to wokeness today. Nor are they interested in how wrong-er tomorrow will be by continuing today with full-speed-ahead indifference.

    2. Thank you ,

      Mr. Turley ,
      James had written a sentiment I ‘carry’/feel [unfortunately] within these: unavoidables , these lacks of wiggle room within Our lives .
      The ‘future’ persons do Not have seeming knowledge , nor care to change , nor want to do- any- save wait , & see . A Collective ‘Salvador Dali’ melted time silence .

  4. CRIME of CONSPIRACY (Legal Definition / BTW… when politicians / media whine about “Conspiracy Theories” that don’t conform to their desired Did-Mis-Mal Information narrative / messaging / propaganda….assume what they are attacking / opposed to are Conspiracy Facts… Read my earlier post) – “An agreement and or overt act between two or more people to commit a criminal / illegal act, along with an intent to achieve the agreements goal.” – Like the bi-partisan congress approved USG IC – DOJ/FBI meeting with “BIG TECH” / I call the “MILITARY INDUSTRIAL SURVEILLANCE COMPLEX” to promote propaganda (RESTORE SMITH-MUNDT NOW!!!) and CENSOR, SUPPRESS and ATTACK the TRUTH / actual NAT-SEC Whistleblowers… EQUAL JUSTICE / EQUAL APPLICATION OF THE LAWS / DUE PROCESS…. since when? Know Justice… Know Peace. Mark J. Novitsky Ephesians 6:12 / OG “whistleblower” http://www.plainsite.org/dockets/117qas9x/colorado-district-court/teletech-hold-inc-et-al-v-novitsky-et-al/ Over 2,900 recorded views

  5. From Matt Taibbi,

    ” We can now tell you part of the reason why. On Tuesday, Twitter Deputy General Counsel (and former FBI General Counsel) Jim Baker was fired. Among the reasons? Vetting the first batch of “Twitter Files” – without knowledge of new management.

    The process for producing the “Twitter Files” involved delivery to two journalists (Bari Weiss and me) via a lawyer close to new management. However, after the initial batch, things became complicated.

    Over the weekend, while we both dealt with obstacles to new searches, it was @BariWeiss who discovered that the person in charge of releasing the files was someone named Jim. When she called to ask “Jim’s” last name, the answer came back: “Jim Baker.”

    “My jaw hit the floor,” says Weiss.

    The first batch of files both reporters received was marked, “Spectra Baker Emails.” pic.twitter.com/24a9NhjosB
    — Matt Taibbi (@mtaibbi) December 6, 2022

    The news that Baker was reviewing the “Twitter files” surprised everyone involved, to say the least. New Twitter chief Elon Musk acted quickly to “exit” Baker Tuesday.”
    Reporters resumed searches through Twitter Files material – a lot of it – today. The next installment of “The Twitter Files” will appear @bariweiss. Stay tuned.

    When asked if Baker was asked to explain himself, Musk replied: “Yes. His explanation was …unconvincing.”

    Yes. His explanation was …unconvincing.
    — Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 6, 2022

    His explanation was “ I still work for the FBI”
    — Rosie Memos (@almostjingo) December 6, 2022

    Only discovered this on Sunday
    — Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 6, 2022

    Musk has known for a while that Baker was a bad actor, as we presume was looking for the right moment to cut him loose.

    Sounds pretty bad …
    — Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 27, 2022

    1. We can count on Carl Bernstein & Bob Woodward ignoring this deep state corruption. John Dean definitely won’t be ghost writing a best-selling book “Blind Ambition”

      I’m looking forward to Bari Weiss writing about it. should be amazing

    2. The unsatisfactory answer baker gave to Musk was ” I work for the FBI”
      tells you everything you need to know..

  6. Turns out that James Baker was “vetting” the Twitter files prior to them being turned over to Matt Taibbi and Bari Weiss. Weiss is the one who discovered what James Baker was doing.
    Baker was fired yesterday.
    Supposedly his explanation was, “ I still work for the FBI”

    So, what files did he delete, or is/was hiding?

    1. The vetting by James Baker may explain why the initial Twitter Files included nothing about the weekly briefings by the FBI, including their warning about an October “hack and leak operation” by the Russians involving Hunter Biden. I recommend Andy McCarthy’s most recent article in NR discussing the role of the FBI in all this.

  7. I suspect the Democrats need to keep the “plausible deniabilty” in play and avoid exposing the cabal who designed the fraud.

  8. Although you can never make the damaged parties whole after something like this, a few years in prison for a few dozen employees of Big Government and Big Tech would help.

    1. When you consider the Criminal agendas of government officials in the FBI and the DOJ, it taxes the imagination that even after a partial revelation of Twitter’s (willing role) to be the government’s facilitator of censorship as documented, would serve as an inspiration for the powers that be to seek justice against themselves. In light of the most recent election results, and despite the bold boasts to the contrary: The foxes have the keys to the hen house and will not be leaving soon if ever.

  9. No, you are wrong, the tragic is the censoring kept the Election close enough where they could steal it, Biden got at least 20 million bogus votes. We are no longer a Republic, well, we are a Banana Republic, and that is because men like you failed to speak up and call out what these Deep State THUGS did to an honest president for 4 years ALL BECAUSE the FBI tried to elect Hillary, got caught, and had to cover up their crimes, I know it, YOU KNOW IT, and they know it, yet you never called them out. Now our nation is lost because of men like you Jonathan who were cowards when it mattered most. We will never get it back, it is in Satan’s grips now. I hope you are satisfied, Judgement is coming soon. We must fall, so the Anti-Christ in Europe can arise.

  10. The Democrats, the deep state, and their media allies will do anything to bury the Biden family’s corrupt influence peddling operations. Consider these threads:

    1. Remember the Democrats’ failed attempt to impeach Trump over Ukraine? It turns out that Trump was on to the Biden family’s influence peddling in the Ukraine. The Democrats were desperate to nip any investigation in the bud.

    2. Who had Hunter Biden’s laptop during that very same impeachment? You know, the laptop that likely has evidence that is highly relevant to the Biden family’s Ukrainian influence peddling? The FBI. What did the FBI do with it? They concealed it. Some might call that obstruction of justice.

    3. How exactly is it that Joe Biden is leading the war hysteria to support the Ukranians? What do the Ukranians have on Biden and his son? And how does that affect Biden administration policy? Let’s pretend we’re cool kids like Christopher Steele and call it kompromat. Except this time it could actually be real.

    4. And what about James Baker. Central to the Steele Dossier and Alpha Bank debacles. On speed dial with Democrat operatives like Michael Sussman working to plant political disinformation. Then, a Democrat deep state operative installed at Twitter playing a key role in its censorship of the Biden corruption scandal. And up until today, obstructing the public release of documents highlighting that censorship.

    The Democrats, the deep state, and their media allies will do anything to bury the Biden family’s corrupt influence peddling operations. Literally anything.

    1. “The Democrats . . .”

      Excellent synopsis of the tentacles of corruption. Thank you.

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Res ipsa loquitur – The thing itself speaks