“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. (OT)

    Rupert Murdoch has been subpoenaed and will be deposed in Dominion’s $1.6 billion lawsuit against Fox News. Don’t expect JT to comment on it.

        1. You don’t know what a woman is, and now you show that you don’t know the difference between a polar bear and a human being. You think yourself smart, but anyone can tell your evolution was cut short making your cerebrum the size of a peanut.

  2. Fool me once, fool me twice – h*ll how many fools voted for obama and then his vp? Of course you can fool a brainwashed fool as many times as you choose. Demographics are against honesty and freedom at this point.

  3. “ 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.”

    It was never a scandal to begin with. Turley is trying really hard to make it a scandal and that is his problem. He’s trying too hard and that is why the majority of people don’t really pay attention to it or don’t care. He’s been beating that dead horse for so long it’s become a farce in itself.

    “ 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.”

    Why would twitter have evidence? They were warned by the FBI of the possibility that the information was hacked and leaked. That is all they had. They had to make a decision with the limited information they were provided and they chose not to disseminate or allow the dissemination of that story because of the concerns they FBI relayed to twitter and facebook. They had a difficult decision to make and they chose to err on the side of caution. Turley keeps ignoring the fact that they had every right to that choice. They are not constitutionally required to adhere to the 1st amendment’s prohibition on censoring speech. Turley seems upset about the fact that they exercised their right to do what they thought was best.

    1. svelaz, you have been “beating a dead horse” trying to prove yourself a worthy commenter on this site for so long now, but “the majority of people don’t really pay attention to [you] or don’t care” about what you say, hard to take your own medicine isn’t it.

    2. “It was never a scandal to begin with. “

      How Stupid can you be? If it wasn’t a scandal the FBI wouldn’t have sat on it for a year and the MSM and SM wouldn’t have tried to hide it. A moron could figure this out.

      1. Just be because the FBI “sat on it” or the media chose not to follow that story does not mean it was a scandal. Otherwise a real scandal would have gotten the attention of everyone. It was a boring story that was/is past its expiration date. The only reason why the right and Turley are desperately trying to push this as a “scandal” is so they have something to hang around the Biden administration’s neck. Unfortunately the right has bungled this “scandal” into a story nobody cares about. They can’t even articulate exactly what the crime is. It’s a crime in search of evidence for the right wing nutties.

      2. By the way, nobody has been trying to hide it. The story was still being told by other news organizations. It is not like there was a complete black out on the story. Turley is just upset that it didn’t get the amount of coverage HE thinks it should have. Bummer.

        1. “By the way, nobody has been trying to hide it. The story was still being told by other news organizations.”

          What a dummy. The NYPost wasn’t permitted to post on Twitter. Facebook and others along with the MSM kept it out of the news or pretended it meant nothing. What that means is that the laptop could topple a presidency and it should.

  4. “[T]his was not an effort to censor the story but merely to block the vulgar images . . .”

    Since when is the Left concerned about public displays of vulgarity?

    1. Twitter has deleted pornographic images since its founding. According to you, are they part of “the left”?

      1. Nope. Your ilk loves naked pics of children which is why, prior to Musk, Twitter did nothing about it for over a decade, cuz groomers gonna groom

        After acquisition, Elon Musk taking down child sexual exploitation content from Twitter
        For over a decade, there has been inactivity by Twitter on the subject under the previous management who did not comprehensively addressed the matter of publishing content that demonstrates child sexual exploitation (CSE)

        https://www.firstpost.com/world/after-acquisition-elon-musk-taking-down-child-sexual-exploitation-content-from-twitter-11665171.html

  5. “ Indeed, the Wall Street Journal has noted that it turns out 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.‘

    Of course Turley leaves out the pertinent details about why they were trying to kill the story. Because at the time they believed it was another attempt at interfering with our election like they did in 2016. They hacked into DNC emails and leaked them. They have every reason to believe the Russians were doing it again and sought to warn others of the possibility.

    1. Nothing that the former intelligence officials actually said has been shown to be false. They were not “purveyors of disinformation.”

      1. Another moron trying to mind meld his brain with Svelaz’s. If the dendrites meet one another there will be two less morons in the world.

          1. What am I supposed to do, write the proven truth? You disregard it as others have noted. I won’t waste my time proving anything to you, and neither will a lot of people. They will simply call you Stupid.

    2. Technically it was a spear-phishing attack that duped Podesta into giving his private gmail account to the attackers.
      However, what the emails showed was the level of collusion between the Clinton campaign and the DNC, namely to deny Bernie Sanders the DNC nomination. Debbie Wasserman Schultz resigned from her position as the DNC chairman to be replaced by Donna Brazile. Donna Brazile later did her own internal investigation coming to the same conclusion. She wrote a book about it, and details the phone call she made to Bernie Sanders.
      Ironically enough, polls in 2016 show that Sanders would of beaten Trump had Sanders won the DNC nomination.

    3. “Because at the time they believed it was another attempt at interfering with our election like they did in 2016. “

      Dumb and blind.

  6. Free speech is the basic prerequisite for every other freedom. If we cannot discuss issues openly, if we cannot disagree among ourselves and challenge those in power (government, CEO, teacher . . .), if censors at a social media company which claims to be a platform for free discussion secretly censor what our posts and remove us from their services for violating rules that are not disclosed, and if politicians can influence what we see and hear by putting pressuring on those who control the media, then we are not free.ti
    Hierarchical organizations curb speech to maintain order, but ‘open,’ ‘democratic’ societies in which citizens are expected to be informed so that they can cast an informed vote, critique their government responsibly, and suggest ways to improve their society generally, in such societies, free speech is essential. Without it, democracy becomes a meaningless term and republican government a sham. Free speech is basic, and to define it narrowly, to confine it to a legal fiction, is to maim it and undermine every other freedom. That is why FDR (a Democrat) began his four freedoms with freedom of speech and expression; without it, there is no freedom of religion, no freedom from fear, no freedom from want. A link for anyone who wants to review his entire speech of January 6, 1941.
    https://voicesofdemocracy.umd.edu/fdr-the-four-freedoms-speech-text/
    Of course, we accept limits on our speech regularly — as a condition of employment, in the classroom, while at religious services, in the military — but these are all special cases, and in each we value something (employment, instruction, worship, service to country) above free speech. But if we cannot speak freely on a platform (not a publisher) whose sole purpose for existing is to foster the free exchange of ideas among its subscribers, then where can we speak freely? Did I miss the clauses in the terms of service I am required to accept by Twitter, Google, Facebook, and other social media which oblige me to accept their covert censorship of my speech and their covert control over what I can read and what I can think?
    As I have observed before, either free speech is a cultural value, or there is no free speech. Today, I truly fear that we are reaching a point at which too many of us do not consider free speech important because we do not understand that it is basic to every other thing we hold dear, including our right to call one another names. Not to be able to express yourself freely is to be crippled as a citizen and made a subject of those who control the ‘narrative’ (which has no value other than as a story, since narrative are neither explanatory nor analytic), the ‘gatekeepers’ and ‘censors.’
    The suppression of the reporting regarding the laptop by the New York Post by Twitter, Facebook, and the mainstream media (televised, broadcast, and print) was a big deal because it exposed those who control social media as dishonest and arrogant, and because it influenced the outcome of the election. What Musk and Taibbi have partly exposed is the integral role which censorship plays in social media; the suppression of the Post’s reporting and the banishment of anyone who dared refer to it were not a mistake by those who controlled social media and much of the mainstream media; they were conscious decisions to suppression credible information in order to assure Trump’s defeat and Biden’s election. That they arrogated to themselves the role of censor should disturb everyone who cares about basic freedoms and a representative system of government. Reporters have always struggled to come up with a code of ethics (and never quite succeeded), but those who control social media appear not to have struggled with anything other than finding credible pretexts for censoring credible reporting.
    The men who drafted the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution understood that human nature was flawed, which is why they included so many safeguards intended to make it more difficult for fashion, passions, partisanship, and demagoguery to erode and replace the basic freedoms that they had concluded were essential for a republican form of government over time — a conclusion they derived from their study of history, philosophy, and political theory, from Solon to Montesquieu. Alas, we not only don’t teach ‘civics’ any longer; we no longer teach history, philosophy, or political theory; we teach whatever will increase enrollment and avoid confrontation with vocal and disruptive students and faculty.

    1. Twitter’s Terms of Service — the rules you refer to — are public.

      Twitter censoring content does not prevent you from saying that content in the actual public square.

      The answer to “if we cannot speak freely on a platform (not a publisher) whose sole purpose for existing is to foster the free exchange of ideas among its subscribers, then where can we speak freely?” is: in the actual public square, not on a privately-held platform.

      1. “Twitter’s Terms of Service — the rules you refer to — are public.”

        What wasn’t in that ToS, but should have been, is:
        “We are *not* a social media company. We are the propaganda arm of the DNC. Any opinion you express that disturbs our masters may be deleted and you may be banned. Ditto for any opinion that disturbs our health care masters, or that our masters at the FBI, CISA, and DHS deem to be ‘disinformation.’”

          1. “You want them to have lied.”

            Just when I think there’s a floor to the Left’s evasion and psychopathology, one of its fellow-travelers proves me wrong.

              1. “you want them to have lied.”

                Leave it to the pathologically dishonest and deceitful to assert that truth in advertising is a “lie.”

      2. Correct, anonymous. Turley’s comparison of Twitter to a common carrier fails to recognize that market share is not a determinant of whether a company is considered part of the common carrier analysis. It is irrelevant. If Turley wants to advocate Twitter should be subject to anti-trust law, then so be it. But that’s not what he’s doing with this barrage of posts.

      3. Having your phone lines cut doesn’t mean you can’t speak freely in public. Your arguments are superficial and lack quality thought.

      4. And where, precisely, is the “actual public square”? Twitter was (and is by many) considered the “virtual” public square, and it is used as precisely that by those who comment on it. The problem is that while Twitter pretended only to ‘moderate’ specific types of tweets, they were working hand-in-glove with the DNC, the Biden campaign, and the FBI to delete anything that might damage Biden’s campaign, embarrass the Democrats, or otherwise displease their political and governmental allies. So your remark, and I am being kind, is completely disingenuous and beside the point.
        It is difficult to make one’s voice heard — and the attraction of platforms (note the word, not publishers) to so many was that it was an open mike, a chance to express your opinion and have others pay attention to it. That it became a one-dimensional platform ideologically and its ‘moderators’ regularly censored tweets that did not fit with their agenda and that of their political allies was akin to a bait-and-switch, and at the very least dishonest — what they did covertly was not in their public ToC.
        It is really tiring to try to explain this . . . please read the Federalist Papers, some of Jefferson’s writings, Montesquieu, and a few other serious political thinkers. Then get back to us.

        1. An Old Guy,
          Well said.
          One could argue that the professor’s blog is a kind of “town square.”
          Some read my comments. Some dont. Just as one would in a actual physical town square, they could choose to stop and listen, or walk away.
          Pre-Musk Twitter, it was like a group of armed thugs, going around the town square (keeping with the physical town square analogy), and silencing any speaker they disagreed with.

          1. Yes, a good analogy. Trolls are essentially bullies, not profound thinkers.
            The problem with many people is that they think in a form of gotcha journalism — they latch unto a phrase or a sentence or isolate an idea or an stray fact and then weave fantasies of their own making around them. There is no context, no complete or complex thought process, no argument based on evidence, no effort to analyze and engage, just a never-ending polemic based on a handful of simple-minded assumptions and a dogged determination to win an argument, destroy a reputation, or score a point.
            It’s tiring.
            I’d rather read Kant or work my way through the Encyclopedia Britannica, because at least by doing so I might learn something about categorical imperatives and the wider world.
            Reading trolls is simply a waste of time.
            I read Turley because his columns are interesting and, it seems to me, sincere, even if I do not always agree with him. I am not a lawyer, so I learn something by reading what he has to say and what many of those who comment here write. I try not to comment regularly because this is not my blog and my opinions are just that, opinions, which are of limited, if any, interest to Turley and those who comment on his blog.

  7. “[M]edia figures are now insisting that the public should really not be interested.” (JT)

    Don’t mind those guillotines.Your precious neck is safe. For now.

  8. Russiagate was a nothing burger, yet the mainstream media ran with it for 4 years, until investigations debunked it. Bidengate is about corruption and fraud by a president and his family. Hardly a nothing burger, but potentially damaging, so the Democratic propaganda machine will ignore it.

  9. Justice Holmes, Svelaz, and Anonymous the Stupid are obviously trolls. They seem to carry on ridiculous conversations with each other in their own little echo chamber. With the 3 disembodied voices talking over each other, that particular echo chamber must sound like a riotous crowd, sort of like the CGI crowds placed in various parts of present day cinema.
    Actually corporations are legally and, in effect, individuals. They can be sued as a single entity and charged with criminal offenses like a single entity. You may not agree with Citizens United but the court was much less conservative when that decision was made then it is now.
    Not a surprise that people are flocking to Twitter. It may actually morph into a social network with a dedicated news channel that is non partisan. I would welcome that. Some of the MSM that we see such as CBS, NBC, and ABC is like tasteless pablum and with investigative reporting that is almost non-existent on investigation and heavy on simplistic interpretation. One person in my household insists on watching CBS news and since I am already aware of all the news of the day by 6:30 pm, it is terribly nauseating to watch the brevity with which real news is discussed or even presented, with no background whatsoever and minimal understanding.

  10. I support Musk’s move to restore free speech to the Twitter platform so I opened a Twitter account.

    I haven’t been a fan of Twitter in the past and I’ve resisted opening an account, but now that free speech is actually considered a priority on Twitter I thought I’d at least sign up to show my support for the move towards more free speech. We’ll see how it goes.

  11. Elo Musk is WINNING the BATTLE, SIGN UPS Skyrocketing APPLE is bacl Advertising, more Woke/Coward corporations to come back. They can’t aford not to advertise on Twitter with Sign Ups Skyrocketing. Legacy/Left Wing/DEM and Elite Media having less influence and dropping, people are tired of the Left Wing Social Justice Media.

  12. “ 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.”

    Turley has admitted that indeed it is not a crime in past columns. What is evident is that Turley sure is trying hard to make it relevant because his long running false narrative is heavily dependent on people focusing on it. The truth is nobody really cares. He claims “people are not buying the media’s analysis of the twitter files without a shred of proof.

    What he is trying to do is avoid the waning interest in the “scandal” that isn’t because the great revelation that the twitter files was supposed to show landed with a big dull thud. A man making money by trading on his family name is not illegal or criminal. Heck even trump’s kids did it when Trump was president. Where was Turley’s criticism and outrage on that “scandal”?

    Clearly Turley’s desperation is showing in this column and the only reason he wrote it is because the “explosive” revelations that the twitter files were supposed to expose to the public were nothing more than what everyone else already knew.

    1. “A man mistaking money by trading on his family name is not illegal or criminal. “

      The hypocrite speaks. We cannot forget your comments about Trump making money in the private sector where people invested with him because his reputation made money. Trump did not sell the Presidency, but Biden did and now the hypocrite is exuding Biden.

      Such nonsense. One would think a four-year old wrote it.

      1. Trump was selling his presidency thru his hotel in D.C. It wasn’t illegal. So why would it be if Biden actually did the same?

        1. Trump was in the hotel business before he got into politics. He was renting rooms at the price stated to all. Even you could rent a room there for the same price, but that would downgrade the hotel.

  13. “Corporations clearly have free speech rights.”

    Professor Turley, I must disagree with this. Free speech rights pertain to individuals. The Citizens United Supreme Court decision inappropriately asserted that corporations are people and have the same rights. Freedom of speech applies to the CEO and the individual members of corporations’ respective Boards but it should not apply to a non-human, non-living business concept.

    “In response to Dred Scott, ex-slave Frederick Douglass gave a speech before the American Anti-Slavery Society. He said of the U.S. Constitution’s preamble, the text says,

    “We, the people”—not we, the white people—not we, the citizens, or the legal voters—not we, the privileged class, and excluding all other classes but we, the people; not we, the horses and cattle, but we the people—the men and women, the human inhabitants of the United States. . . . ”

    https://www.americanbar.org/groups/crsj/publications/human_rights_magazine_home/we-the-people/we-the-people-corporations/

    I agree with Frederick Douglass–the preamble of our Constitution says “We, the people”–not we, the corporations, the privileged class.

      1. That’s just a business decision. The rights belong to people. Each person who was part of the incorporation retains their rights as individuals.

        Why should a corporation be treated like a human being? They seem to get treated as “more equal” than all of us other farm animals. They can “outlive” the people who incorporated them. They can buy an awful lot of influence in government. Corporations aren’t people. People, real people, are getting cut out of the political process, being cut out of our own self-governance by the excesses of pretending corporations are somehow people. It’s like calling the hive a bee.

        1. If corporations weren’t legal persons, the government could violate their rights. If corporations weren’t legal persons, they couldn’t sign contracts or hold property, they couldn’t be sued, etc. You think about the side-effects you dislike while ignoring the side-effects that are beneficial to society.

          1. What are your thoughts on these articles? Some excerpts:

            “Justice Louis Brandeis, in his famous dissent in Liggett, 288 U.S. at 554–56, Louis K. Liggett Co. v. Lee (1933), explained the historical path of the expansion of corporations from single-purpose entities with limited terms of existence into the multipurpose, immortal behemoths we have today. As Justice Brandeis wrote:

            Limitations upon the scope of a business corporation’s powers and activity were also long universal. At first, corporations could be formed under the general laws only for a limited number of purposes—usually those which required a relatively large fixed capital, like transportation, banking, and insurance, and mechanical, mining, and manufacturing enterprises. Permission to incorporate for “any lawful purpose” was not common until 1875; . . . All, or a majority, of the incorporators or directors, or both, were required to be residents of the incorporating state. The powers which the corporation might exercise in carrying out its purposes were sparingly conferred and strictly construed.”

            “The first big leap in corporate personhood from holding mere property and contract rights to possessing more expansive rights was a claim that the Equal Protection Clause applied to corporations. One of the strangest twists in American constitutional law was the moment that corporations gained personhood under the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. It occurred in a case called Santa Clara County, and what was odd was that the Supreme Court did not really even decide the matter in the actual opinion. It only appeared in a footnote to the case. ”

            https://www.americanbar.org/groups/crsj/publications/human_rights_magazine_home/we-the-people/we-the-people-corporations/

            “The day back in 1882 when the Supreme Court first heard Roscoe Conkling’s argument, the New-York Daily Tribune featured a story on the case with a headline that would turn out to be prophetic: “Civil Rights of Corporations.” Indeed, in a feat of deceitful legal alchemy, Southern Pacific and its wily legal team had, with the help of an audacious Supreme Court justice, set up the Fourteenth Amendment to be more of a bulwark for the rights of businesses than the rights of minorities.”

            https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2018/03/corporations-people-adam-winkler/554852/

            1. Miss Rose, not sure how 19th century decisions should have the same weight as recent Court decisions. We, as a nation, have changed/grown/evolved/seen-the-errors-of-our-ways and continue to make adjustments to statutes and Court decisions as we move along. Besides, we already have George, bless his heart, filibustering away posting 19th century decisions to the point he’s said nothing new for several months. As I said to him at the time, I tend to agree but I’m not sure he’s getting through to the folks who disagree, with his copy and paste techniques. I suggested he try brevity going forward but never heard back why that’s not a good alternative. But I digress…

              Here’s what I’m still having difficulty comprehending when it comes to who has (and should have) a voice when it comes to spending money on politics, perhaps you can help?

              For decades and longer, labor unions – both private and public – have spent their members dues on donations to political causes and messaging – mostly to one political Party. As I understand it, Citizens United attempted to pay cable tv to air a film that was unflattering to Hillary and that same political Party. She and Team Blue cried foul and sued Citizens United under the laws that said corporations don’t have free speech rights when it comes to political messaging, but labor unions (while not specifically mentioned) do. Eventually, the Court decided corporations should not be limited in their political speech, including political messaging, anymore than any other group or association of citizens which to me, still includes labor unions. The ‘line’ that was not to have been crossed before 2010 has been erased and again, as I understand it, literally every person, business, and association now has free speech rights when they spend their political money.

              So where as before 2010, Lady Liberty could peek under her blindfold and give a wink and nod to labor union’s efforts to get ‘their’ candidate elected, at the very same time she was finger-wagging corporations for doing the exact same thing. The Court’s decision in 2010 only leveled the playing field so everyone now has a political voice, with labor unions and corporations on equal footing to do so. If that’s not the case, I’d like to know why any person or entity should have more free political speech than any other person or entity.

              Thanks for reading…I believe we’re like-minded most of the time anyway. And while I didn’t practice ‘brevity’ here it was only necessary for clarification purposes. Cheers!

    1. Logic quiz…Are corporations (or other types of businesses) different than labor unions? If so, how does the former not have the right to political speech while the latter does?

  14. 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.

    That’s the closest I’ve seen JT come to responding to one of his blog’s trolls. That would be the farce, Svelaz.

    Don’t bother Svelaz. You’re as relevant as Nutgigi, Fishhead and Paint Chips.

  15. The Twitter Files are inadequate because they include nothing about the FBI’s weekly briefings of Twitter. According to Miranda Devine’s recent article in the NYP, Yoel Roth’s sworn testimony from December 2020 states that the FBI warned Twitter of an October “hack and leak” operation involving Hunter Biden. When the laptop story appeared, Twitter immediately suppressed it on this basis. James Baker, Twitter Deputy General Counsel since June 2020 and former FBI General Counsel under Comey and Wray until 2018 and then a Lawfare contributor at Brookings, advised that this was a reasonable assumption and that caution was warranted.

    The FBI could have learned of the upcoming publication of the story through their ongoing surveillance of Giuliani. He had communications with Isaacs, who had handed over the laptop to the FBI in late 2019, and Devine, who was working on the NYP story. The FBI had the laptop for many months and thus knew it was not hacked. Their warning was a lie, intended to cause Twitter to suppress the story. They did the same with Facebook.

    It is unclear why Musk has not revealed any of the FBI communications or internal discussions of them.

    1. “It is unclear why Musk has not revealed any of the FBI communications or internal discussions of them.”

      Timing?

        1. No idea. Maybe, if he has something. Maybe like sitting on some juicy details for an October surprise of sorts. I am speculating. Maybe he just doesn’t have anything to reveal.

          1. Hence why “critics” are calling this a PR stunt. If you can’t release the “fire” at this point, why release the “smoke” now?

            1. Maybe the smoke is being used to force the rats out of the holes. You should know this. You are one of this as you are part of the Mischief.

      1. Prairie, I believe it might be to keep his powder dry. He is fighting a difficult battle with the largest corporations of the world. I believe Musk is acting like the businessman he is. Those communications are coming out without his release, so why rouse the lion while trying to grow?

        Holding back information can be a powerful weapon.

        1. I should add that some information may have been destroyed but still lives on other computers. Keep the enemy in the dark so he doesn’t know what you have and what you don’t. Let people who are trying to protect themselves provide the missing information.

        2. S. Meyer,
          Also, how much data does he/Taibbi/Weiss have to go through? Do they have staff? Or is it just Taibbi and Weiss?
          Then do the link analysis.
          And, if it were me, I would hold back any of the correspondence with government entities, get the lawyers involved and see what they say.

          1. If I were Taibbi or Weiss, I would want to make a air tight case for my reporting.
            But reading about the one Twitter employee saying the freelanced it, sounds like no one want to take responsibility and counterman the suppression decision.

            1. “no one want to take responsibility and counterman the suppression decision.”

              That is telling us that powerful people are pushing them. What is more powerful than the presidency?

          2. It is an amazing task. Both reporters are leftists but seem to be honest. As they open the files to the world, some will link up to people who may have something to say. Substack is suddenly entering the big league, and one can compare them to the junk from the MSM.

            1. They, like Glenn Greenwald, are real journalists. The keep to what once was the standards in journalism: Objectivity. Integrity. Facts. These are the kind of journalists the MSM hates for they traded in those traits as journalists for an agenda and ideology.
              This being a high visibility story, they have a high bar to meet.

              1. As long as Greenwald keeps his leftism out of his journalism, he is an astute reporter. He is even more astute when dealing with civil liberties. He was a leftist who protected civil liberties. Most leftists were using civil liberties to push socialist ideas. We see how fast civil liberties were forgotten when they gained power.

                They are socialists and will pervert anything to obtain their ends. The traffic in emotions something the young are very susceptible to.

                There are many on the right worth reading. Victor David Hanson is one of them as is Thomas Sowell, David Horowitz, and others. I include David Horowitz because he was a significant part of the intellectual new left and promoted it from Ramparts Magazine to the Black Panthers in Oakland. When he learned how bad the left was he became the fly on the wall.

        3. “Holding back information can be a powerful weapon.”

          I agree, which is why I speculated about timing as a possibility. There are others, of course.

        4. Whatever happened to complete transparency? If he’s waiting to release these “juicy”details for later why wait? He likely has nothing and these “twitter files” was all there is. Many that is why Twitter before Musk didn’t release the files in the first place. Because they really didn’t reveal anything new.

          1. Suddenly you are concerned for complete transparency? He has proven those things that you lied about and said didn’t exist. More to come. Everything that is coming out proves you a liar or Stupid. Choose whichever suits you best. Better yet, choose both.

    2. The FBI could have learned of the upcoming publication of the story through their ongoing surveillance of Giuliani
      Yes, Spying on the Presidents personal lawyer. So much for constitutional protections. Lots of FBI people need to be charged with crimes.

    3. As I pointed out to you earlier, you do not have to rely on Miranda Devine. Roth’s declaration has been public for a couple of years. He said “I was told in these meetings that the intelligence community expected that individuals associated with political campaigns would be subject to hacking attacks and that material obtained through those hacking attacks would likely be disseminated over social media platforms, including Twitter. These expectations of hack-and-leak operations were discussed throughout 2020. I also learned in these meetings that there were rumors that a hack-and-leak operation would involve Hunter Biden.”

      He does not say or imply “Their warning was a lie.” You provide no evidence that what he was told is a lie.

      As I also pointed out to you, the hard drive copy that Giuliani gave to the NY Post was corrupted with material that was added after the original was given to the FBI, and it has a large amount of material that cannot be authenticated:
      https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2022/03/30/hunter-biden-laptop-data-examined/

      You seem to want to believe that everything that’s been made public can be confirmed as originally Biden’s, when that’s far from true.

        1. Plenty on the laptop has been shown to be altered after the fact. I call that fake. According to you, how else would one show that it’s fake than by showing that it was modified?

          1. “Plenty on the laptop has been shown to be altered after the fact. “

            Then you will have no problem citing those things that were altered on the computer. I am sure things were altered in print if that is what you were referring to but that is a bad habit of the left something you diligently pursue.

            Stop with your nonsense and provide data.

              1. Their claim is some data is missing. Some data is missing from my computer as well.

                Now prove what you wrote: “Plenty on the laptop has been shown to be altered after the fact.”

    4. “It is unclear why Musk has not revealed . . .”

      With the firing of Baker, now it’s clear. He was running interference for his buddies at the FBI.

  16. With the Friday night revelations that are patently true…why has AG Garland not authorized a Special Counsel to investigate the Federal Government’s Censorship of Free Speech using Big Tech and the traditional Media?

    The Collateral issues of it being a criminal matter there is also the National Security side to it.

    This involves Ukraine, China, Russia, and. other foreign nations and persons that have achieved illegal influence over US Domestic and Foreign Affairs.

    At some point does it require the People to sort out this lack of integrity and adherence to the Rule of Law that would result in a very unpleasant process?

    If Elections and the established political and criminal justice system is incapable of cleaning their own house….who shall do it for them and how?

  17. For years the appeal of democrats was their protection of Civil Liberties, they are now outright hostile towards them. I cringed when the badly misnamed Patriot Act was passed during the Bush admin only to see it renewed in it’s entirety when the democrats controlled all 3 branches of government. Now the the 1st and 2nd Amendments are both under attack. Do we celebrate Independence Day, Memorial Day and Veterans Day just to cook some burgers on the grill and spit on those that created and defended those freedoms?

  18. It became apparent in recent years that the legacy and mainline media (TV, internet, search engines, big tech, newspapers, etc.) companies went out of their way to suppress this story and many more. But why?

    It is no longer a conspiracy theory when two or more conspire.

    There was a time, not so long ago, that the press did not trust anyone in the government or who held office. Investigative reporters did a good job holding their feet to the fire. No longer the case unless they stray from the narrative.

    If there ever was a time for one to apply critical thinking it is now. It is a job to sift through the mountains of bovine excrement to find the truth.

    1. “If there ever was a time for one to apply critical thinking it is now. It is a job to sift through the mountains of bovine excrement to find the truth.”

      That bovine excrement is the leavings of propagandists. Ironically, Edward Bernays, the granddaddy of propaganda campaigns started out shoveling literal manure. In some sense, he never actually escaped this job–in fact, he seemed to relish it, nevermind the effects of piles of manure being dumped on American society.

      “And–and he decided the–that after his time in Cornell, spending all this time in the fields with cows and manure, that he never wanted to see another farm in his life. He came out with what he felt was a much more important lesson, which is that people’s behavior could be dramatically influenced and that he was somebody with a certain kind of charisma who wanted to get into the field of dealing with the public and, as I say, never wanted to be on another farm or shovel another pile of manure in his life.”

      https://www.c-span.org/video/?110971-1/the-father-spin-edward-bernays
      14:22 or so.

    2. E.M.
      “If there ever was a time for one to apply critical thinking it is now. It is a job to sift through the mountains of bovine excrement to find the truth.”

      Ah, but they do not want us unwashed masses thinking! That would be detrimental to their agenda! We just might start questioning their narrative. No, they want us to accept their bovine excrement without question, nod, and go along with what it is they say.
      Unfortunately for them, as is seen on this blog, we are not the good little sheep they want us to be.

  19. That Biden’s handlers continually manifest fascist qualities in pursuing their critics confirms everything they are trying to hide.

    Elon Musk’s medical device company is under investigation in the United States for potential animal welfare violations
    https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/elon-musk-neuralink-animal-tests-deaths-welfare-violation-investigation-82w2mz339

    Meanwhile, Fauci gets a pass on his dog experiments, ANTIFA terrorists get a pass on fire bombing Pro-Life centers, and DOJ yawns at SCOTUS members being terrorized and Democrats inciting violence with hateful rhetoric against same, e.g. Charles Schumer, Elizabeth Warren, Joe Biden, Nancy Pelosi, et al

    Witness that hateful comments on this forum by David Brock’s “Correct the Record” paid Leftist trolls

    Scary times

  20. I guess that the new left would argue that the WAPO should not have released the Pentagon Papers??

    There are people on this site, see Svelaz and one particular Anonymous, who STILL claim that there was no crime involved with the Bidens and that there is no story here??

    The fact that the media is not covering this story is one of the most telling media events in quite some time. Well at least since the only covered the laptop by calling it Russian.

    1. Hullboby,

      So what is the crime? It is true that there is no evidence of a crime or that a law was broken.

      What’s the story? Really. That a vice president’s son was making deals with foreign companies and his dad could make some Money too is illegal or criminal, how? Not a single person here or anywhere else including Turley has been able to articulate exactly what the crime or corruption is. What exactly is illegal about it and what laws were broken. The only thing they have going is suspicion and that is not enough.

      Some say there is absolute evidence, but of what exactly?

      While reasonable suspicion is often subjective and considers many factors, reasonable suspicion cannot be based on a gut feeling or mere hunch. It is dependent on the totality of the circumstances. Not just mere suspicion as many have here.

      The media is not covering this story because it’s already been covered extensively. None of the files show any evidence of criminal conduct or illegal activity. Republicans and conservatives have been dwelling so long and so much on this laptop story that people have grown tired of it. Turey wonders why there isn’t more focus on this story while incessantly beating this dead horse of a story. Obviously it hasn’t occurred to Turley that this story has gone way past it’s expiration date.

      Keep in mind that Trump and the GOP has been depending on the Hunter Biden “scandal” to upend Joe Biden’s bid for the presidency since 2016. Trump was literally holding up military aid to Ukraine so he could get “dirt” on Joe Biden by exploiting his son’s business deals there. What happened was this long carefully choreographed attempt at smearing Joe got upended when twitter and facebook refused to play along. In the end this is all about pursuing a “crime” that has no evidence.

      1. Svelaz, going on AF2 to China and signing deals with basically the CCP is a crime. The VP getting a 10% kickback is a crime, see Agnew, Spiro. Firing the prosecutor in Ukraine for looking into Burisma is a crime. Having the FBI shut down media is a crime against our (not your) Constitution.

        I guess you think it is ok for Twitter to not only block a particular posting but to suspend and remove a person for posting an obvious truth? Kayliegh Mcenanny, the WHITE HOUSE SPOKESPERSON, for tweeting something out that was true is ok with you. What would you say if Elon banned KJP from tweeting due to her many, many lies?

        Man, people like Svelaz are really tough to talk to because how do you debate someone who will not accept demonstrably true facts as a basis for discussion.

        Trust me, when Biden is tossed aside like yesterdays trash Svelaz will come on here and say he always disliked the guy and never was a supporter. Once the recession hits, unemployment rises, Biden sinks even more in the polls and the media abandons the old, corrupt and creepy idiot, guys like Svelaz and Anonymous will then say that Kamala Harris is the real deal. It is all so stupid.

        1. “going on AF2 to China and signing deals with basically the CCP is a crime.”

          Do you also believe that it was a crime for Ivanka Trump to do that with her Chinese trademarks?

          1. Anonymous, so you are saying that what Trump did is even close to what Hunter did? With all of the investigations of Trump why has there been no investigation of Ivanka? Where did Donald get a 10% kickback?

            When a Republican does something out in the open and it isn’t criticized it is obviously legal. When a Democrat does something in the shadows it is obviously illegal. The media covering for Dems will always protect them and yet Hunter and Joe hid in the shadows.

            Svelaz and Anonymous are probably paid for their constant comments. People like Upstate Farmer are regular folks commenting on the insanity/corruption that is the Democrats and the media.

            1. You ignore my question but want me to answer yours. What a surprise.

              You pretend that Ivanka’s actions haven’t been criticized, though that’s false.

              Both of them are legal. Either criticize both as legal but unethical, or don’t criticize either, or show yourself to be a hypocrite. I’m in the first of those categories. You seem to be in the third.

              1. To compare Ivanka and Hunter shows how lame your arguments are getting. Now I will ask you again, did Trump get 10%> Was Trump involved in any of these deals? Did Trump get money from Moscow? Ukraine? Did anyone from the DOj or the FBI call any media or social media company to spike a Trump Story?

                You really are defending the indefensible, like the last Japanese guys in the jungle 20 years after WWII. When Biden is proven to be a crook you will just skate away like you all do when the facts finally emerge. Like CNN and Avanati, that is you.

          2. Biden selling the American public to the Chinese is bad.
            Trump selling her clothing and jewelry to the Chinese is good.

            When will you learn the difference. Probably never.

        2. HullBobby,
          Good on ya for engaging with him.
          I just scroll past his and some others comments.
          Once in awhile I will read them to see what the DNC talking points are for a given topic. JJC pointed this out yesterday.
          For the most part, it is,
          “Corruption is okay when we do it.”
          “When we destroy hardware or use BleachBit it is okay when we do it.”
          “Censorship is okay when we do it or it is to our benefit.”
          “Suppressing news is okay when we do it to win an election.”
          “Supporting riots, arson, or donating funds to bail out people who riot, arson, or loot is okay and not inciting violence.”

        3. “Svelaz, going on AF2 to China and signing deals with basically the CCP is a crime. The VP getting a 10% kickback is a crime, see Agnew, Spiro.”

          You still haven’t articulated exactly what is criminal about it. Is flying on AF2 to china a signing deal breaking what law specifically?

          A 10% kickback? He wasn’t VP at the time. Plus it was a percentage of an investment not a kickback. That’s still not illegal. The firing of the prosecute in Ukraine was not a crime because it was supported by congress and the EU too, it was impossible for it to be a crime.

          The FBI shut down the media? When did that happen? Where is your evidence?

          “I guess you think it is ok for Twitter to not only block a particular posting but to suspend and remove a person for posting an obvious truth?”

          If the posting violated THEIR rules it was perfectly ok for them to do so. After all it is THEIR platform. That is not a crime either. You know those who post on twitter are required to AGREE to THEIR terms and conditions, right?

          “Man, people like Svelaz are really tough to talk to because how do you debate someone who will not accept demonstrably true facts as a basis for discussion.”

          The problem is that nothing you posted are demonstrably true facts. None of what you posted are crimes or illegal. That’s why it’s “tough” to talk to me. Because you didn’t demonstrate what you posted were criminal or illegal.

    2. Hullbobby, Leftists here on the professor’s page (they know who they are) really have only one position: Open-Ended Fallacy. It’s futile to engage them but I have to admit, sometimes its entertaining to watch them flail about.

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