The Fear Factor: Former FBI General Counsel Flagged “Optimistic” Trump Tweet for Possible Censorship

Journalist David Zweig has reported that former FBI General Counsel and former Deputy Counsel at Twitter, Jim Baker, flagged an optimistic tweet of former President Donald Trump on Covid as possible “misinformation” to be censored. I have previously written about Baker becoming the Kevin Bacon of Washington scandals. He is now prominently featured in the censorship scandal and new disclosures show that he eagerly used his position at Twitter to seek to silence Trump and those with opposing views.  The most recent exchange offers an insight into Baker’s hair-triggered tendencies on censorship. It appears that calling for optimism was intolerable for the former FBI general counsel.

Baker flagged a tweet from then-President Trump on October 5, 2020, that “I will be leaving the great Walter Reed Medical Center today at 6:30 P.M. Feeling really good! Don’t be afraid of Covid. Don’t let it dominate your life. We have developed, under the Trump Administration, some really great drugs & knowledge. I feel better than I did 20 years ago!”

Baker immediately pulled the trigger on the tweet and called on former head of Twitter Trust and Safety Yoel Roth and Twitter legal executive Stacia Cardille to look at the possible “violation.” Baker wrote “Yoel and Stacia,” Why isn’t this POTUS tweet a violation of our COVID-19 policy (especially the ‘Don’t be afraid of Covid’ statement)?”

Roth replied with the obvious:

“Adding you to the main thread on this subject. In short, this tweet is a broad, optimistic statement. It doesn’t incite people to do something harmful, nor does it recommend against taking precautions or following mask directives (or other guidelines). It doesn’t fall within the published scope of our policies. Curious whether you have a different read on it, though.”

It was a telling insight into the fluidity of these standards and the exchange of censors determining who can say what on Twitter, even the President of the United States.

Baker’s relatively low threshold for censorship is obvious but it is equally obvious that the outcome might have changed if different language were used on same point.

So if Trump was more specific (rather than “broad”) or more pointed (rather than “optimistic”) would the result be different? It is hard to tell because even the chief censors seem to just do gut checks on who should be silenced or suspended on any given tweet.

It is also notable that the mask mandate was viewed as inviolate. Those who questioned the efficacy of masks were suspended or banned but now have been seemingly vindicated. Among the suspended were the doctors who co-authored of the Great Barrington Declaration, which advocated for a more focused Covid response that targeted the most vulnerable population rather than widespread lockdowns and mandates. Many are now questioning the efficacy and cost of the massive lockdown as well as the real value of masks or the rejection of natural immunities as an alternative to vaccination.  Yet, these experts and others were attacked for such views just a year ago. Some found themselves censored on social media for challenging claims of Dr. Fauci and others.

As for Baker, the greatest concern seemed to be the optimism. He seemed to think that Twitter had to keep the fear of Covid unquestioned and uncontradicted on social media. The very notion of not being afraid set him off. Because he disagreed with the optimism, he felt it might be fair game to censor such sentiments.

209 thoughts on “The Fear Factor: Former FBI General Counsel Flagged “Optimistic” Trump Tweet for Possible Censorship”

  1. The FBI could help it’s reputation by finishing the job.

    Over 200 FBI agents protested the Bush torture program – that was courageous and loyal to their Oath of Office.

    What they did next was arguably the most evil act of any oath-sworn official, the very same FBI officials then abandoned the torture victims – figuratively threw them to the wolves.

    FBI Director Mueller was asked directly to officially and individually to apologize to each torture victim. Mueller simply ignored it.

    FBI Director Wray could finish the job and man-up and apologize today. This is a vital requirement since American torturers defamed their innocent victims, destroying their job histories.

  2. You win an award for packing the most lies into a single paragraph. And say, Gigi, have you gotten your 5th booster yet? There’s a special list for “friends of the regime” that will let you get yours before the general public, so I’m sure you’ll want to sign up!

      1. FDR made the great depression last much long due to his horrendous policies. Baker and FDR would have been in lockstep as baker is a cog for the system and FDR almost had the perfect one way one party system.

  3. Simply requiring an “overt appeals process” would solve most of these issues and even act as a “deterrent-effect” against arbitrary censorship.

    For example: Twitter or Facebook would have to notify you that your post was censored and explain why. It couldn’t be done covertly with no detailed explanation from the censor.

    Simply allowing “covert” censorship with no explanation and no overt appeals process is an incentive for more abuses by censors.

    Under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act – it might make more sense for a “self-labeling” system similar to Hollywood’s ratings system (ie: PG, R, Violent Content, Nudity, Political Speech, Opinion, etc) and a “footnoting system” like Wikipedia.

    In this “self-rating” system, the only censor is the parent or adult. Each user self-labels their own posts and parents can set “viewing-filters” for their kids. There is no government officials “deputizing” or coercing private companies to censor on behalf of a government agency – which is unconstitutional.

    It might be good for Twitter employees. It might require hiring more employees to police the “self-labeling” system.

    1. AZ – You write: “Simply requiring an ‘overt appeals process’ would solve most of these issues and even act as a “deterrent-effect” against arbitrary censorship.” This is just a recipe for more censorship of disfavored individuals, e.g. Donald Trump. No one is qualified to determine the “truth” of the leading issues of the day. Ironically, the people who would act as censors are the least qualified to judge “truth”. Censors tend to be people of limited intellect and imagination; just ask Galileo. The only “censorship” that should be permitted is the kind that protects the safety and privacy of private individuals. I hear leftists say that they don’t want to be on a platform that permits “hate” speech, “triggering” speech or repugnant views generally Easy solution: ignore the platform. That is your comprehensive and fail-safe way to protect your peace of mind.

      1. Responding to EdwardMahl:

        The better solution (also included the above post) was empowering citizens (parents/adults) to be “censors” – not a government censor and not a corporate censor. Let citizens choose what they want to read, not an unelected bureaucratic.

        The first part was essentially pointing out it’s nearly impossible to write censorship into any rulebook.

    2. Ashcroft’s Zersetzung wrote “Simply requiring an “overt appeals process” would solve most of these issues and even act as a “deterrent-effect” against arbitrary censorship.”

      Twitter should have never been censoring doctors who were trying to communicate their experiences with treating covid.
      The arrogance of tech nerds suppressing information supplied by doctors who were actively engaged in treating covid patients is beyond all comprehension.

  4. Turley spin of Trump’s telling people not to be afraid of COVID, and “We have developed, under the Trump Administration, some really great drugs & knowledge.” as “optimistic” is disingenous. First of all, who is the “we” to which the pig refers? He never “developed” anything, and did everything possible to undermine real science, especially in pushing for Hydroxychloroquine as a cure, based on no science whatsover. Hydroxychloroquine not only is ineffective, people who take it fare worse than if they took nothing at all. That tweet was not expressing optimism–it was lying–part of the downplaying of the seriousness of COVID he admitted to when interviewed by Bob Woodward. COVID made him look bad–so he tried to lie it away. Didn’t work–over a million Americans died, and estimates are that 130,000 or so of them died just due to Trump lying about the seriousness of COVID. Not only that, the lying caused people not to take seriously the public health recommendations to help prevent the spread, which prolonged the shut-downs of schools, businesses and restaurants. Plus, the run on Hydroxychloroquine that Trump brought about based on this lie resulted in shortages of the drug that people with lupus and rheumatoid arthritis desperately needed. Trump fans continue to believe Hydroxychloroquine is a cure for COVID–but it’s not and never was. People should be afraid enough of COVID to do what the public health officials recommend, which includes getting vaccinated. The effect of Trump’s lies and questioning of science continues–now, in addition to refusing vaccination for flu and COVID, people are refusing to get their children vaccinated against chickenpox, measles, mumps, rubella, meningitis and other vaccinations, the safety and efficacy of which have been established for decades.The result will be children who will die of compllications from these illnesses. Pregnant women who are not vaccinated and who come in contact with the rubella virus in early pregnancy can suffer miscarriages and/or give birth to a brain damaged infant.

    1. This famous response to treachery against this nation seems a likely response to your sorted, rabid frothing.

      “I must say that in all my conversations with you during the last nine months I never uttered one word of untruth. This is borne out absolutely by the record. In all my 50 years of public service I have never seen a document that was more crowded with infamous falsehoods and distortions – on a scale so huge that I never imagined until today that any government on this planet was capable of uttering them.”

      Nothing in your screeching is worthy of further discussion.

    2. Hydroxychloroquine not only is ineffective, people who take it fare worse than if they took nothing at all.

      She claims without evidence. But facts can’t get in the way of ad hominem attacks.

      1. From “Drugs, com”:

        Multiple studies provide data that hydroxychloroquine (brand name: Plaquenil) does not provide a medical benefit for hospitalized patients with COVID-19. Hydroxychloroquine, an FDA-approved prescription drug used for malaria, rheumatoid arthritis and lupus erythematosus, has been suggested as a possible treatment or preventive for COVID-19 based on demonstrated antiviral or immune system activity.

        In June 2020, the FDA revoked the emergency use authorization (EUA) of oral hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine phosphate for the treatment of COVID-19. An EUA can allow quicker access to critical medical products when there are no approved alternative options.

        Based on an evaluation of the scientific data to date, the FDA concluded that chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine are not likely to be effective in the treatment of COVID-19 for the authorized uses in the EUA.
        In addition, the risk for serious side effects with hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine phosphate are a concern. This includes the possibility of adverse cardiovascular (heart) events such as an abnormal heart rhythm which could be fatal.
        Additional worldwide studies are still ongoing to assess the use of these agents for the treatment or prevention or COVID-19, including early-stage outpatient and use with supplements such as zinc or vitamin D or with azithromycin. However, the FDA states hydroxychloroquine should not be used outside of clinical trials in the U.S.
        The World Health Organization (WHO) and the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) have also stopped studies evaluating hydroxychloroquine for the treatment of COVID-19 due to a lack of benefit. Current NIH and US treatment guidelines do not recommend use of hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine phosphate for COVID-19 treatment outside of clinical studies.

        Although earlier studies suggested that hydroxychloroquine could inhibit the SARs-CoV-2 virus and was more potent than chloroquine, recent studies do not support the use of hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine phosphate. The FDA stated on June 15, 2020 that the suggested dosing regimens for chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine are unlikely to kill or inhibit the virus that causes COVID-19.

        Do studies show hydroxychloroquine is not effective for COVID-19?
        Multiple studies have provided data demonstrating that hydroxychloroquine is ineffective in the treatment of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19 disease.

        The RECOVERY Trial from the University of Oxford is a large, randomized, controlled, open-label study evaluating a number of potential treatments for patients hospitalized with COVID-19. The study is being conducted by researchers at the University of Oxford in the UK (the hydroxychloroquine arm is now halted).

        In the RECOVERY Trial, investigators reported that there was no beneficial effect or reduction of death in hospitalized patients with COVID-19 receiving hydroxychloroquine.
        In this study, 1561 patients received hydroxychloroquine and were compared to 3155 patients receiving standard care only. No difference was found in the primary endpoint, which was the incidence of death at 28 days (26.8% hydroxychloroquine vs. 25% usual care, 95% CI 0.96-1.23; p=0.18).
        In addition, hydroxychloroquine treatment was associated with an increased length of stay in the hospital and increased need for invasive mechanical ventilation.
        Based on this data, investigators stopped enrollment in the RECOVERY hydroxychloroquine arm on June 5th, 2020.
        In a multicenter, randomized, open-label, controlled trial published in July 2020 by Cavalcanti and colleagues in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM), hydroxychloroquine use was studied in patients who were hospitalized with mild-to-moderate COVID-19.

        Patients received hydroxychloroquine (400 mg twice daily for 7 days), hydroxychloroquine with azithromycin (hydroxychloroquine 400 mg twice daily + azithromycin 500 mg once daily for 7 days), or standard care only.
        The clinical status of these patients at day 15 was not improved as compared with the patients receiving only standard care.
        In addition, researchers noted that prolonged QT intervals (which may lead to abnormal heart rates and death) and elevated liver enzymes were higher in patients receiving hydroxychloroquine, either with or without azithromycin.
        A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial from Skipper and colleagues was conducted in 423 outpatients (not in the hospital) with early COVID-19. It was published in the Annals of Internal Medicine in July 2020.

        Patients received oral hydroxychloroquine (800 mg once, followed by 600 mg in 6 to 8 hours, then 600 mg daily for 4 more days) or a placebo (inactive treatment).
        Researchers found that over a 14 day period a change in symptom severity and the percent of patients with ongoing symptoms did not differ significantly between groups, signaling no effect from the hydroxychloroquine treatment.
        However, side effects were significantly greater in the group receiving hydroxychloroquine compared to placebo (43% hydroxychloroquine versus 22% placebo (P < 0.001). Rates of hospitalizations and deaths did not differ significantly.
        A retrospective, observational study conducted from March to early May of 2020 did report a positive effect with hydroxychloroquine on hospitalized patient mortality, used alone and with azithromycin when compared to no treatment. The study from Arshad and colleagues was published in the International Journal of Infectious Diseases in August 2020. Authors note a limitation to their analysis was the retrospective, non-randomized, non-blinded study design.

        Researchers looked at 2,541 patients, with a median total hospitalization time of 6 days.
        Mortality, by treatment, was 20.1% for hydroxychloroquine + azithromycin, 13.5% for hydroxychloroquine alone, 22.4% for azithromycin alone, and 26.4% for neither drug (p < 0.001). The primary cause of death was respiratory failure in 88% of patients.
        Adjunct therapy with corticosteroids (methylprednisolone and/or prednisone) and anti-IL-6 tocilizumab was provided in 68% and 4.5% of patients, respectively.
        Factors such as greater glucocorticoid use in the hydroxychloroquine groups and the nonrandomized study design suggested this data may be flawed and that prospective, randomized controlled studies were needed to validate these results.
        Use of hydroxychloroquine is controversial, and has been politicized in the U.S. by various groups. Mixed studies have reported both a positive and negative effect, and data may not be robust or reliable: it can include data from study reviews, nonrandomized groups, retrospective research, observational data or from a statistically small sample size of patients.

        Research for COVID is often quick to be published in non-peer reviewed, preprint online services due to the urgency of the pandemic. However, in general, preprint data should not be used to guide clinical practice. In addition, some hydroxychloroquine studies have been retracted due to lack of confidence in the data, including a Lancet study and one from the NEJM.

        What is hydroxychloroquine used to treat?
        Chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine are FDA-approved drugs in the U.S. The EUA revocation for COVID-19 does not change their approved uses.

        Hydroxychloroquine sulfate is approved to treat and prevent malaria, as well as for treatment of lupus erythematosus and rheumatoid arthritis. Chloroquine phosphate is approved for the treatment and prevention of malaria only. The FDA has determined that these drugs are safe and effective when used as labeled for these conditions.

        Hydroxychloroquine study for prevention after exposure to COVID-19
        A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study published online in the NEJM in June 2020 (Boulware, et al) looked at prevention of COVID-19 after exposure to the virus (post-exposure prophylaxis, or PEP).

        Researchers evaluated over 800 people in the U.S. and Canada who had been exposed to COVID-19. The primary outcome was the incidence of either laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 or illness compatible with the virus within 14 days.
        Hydroxychloroquine was given as 800 mg once, followed by 600 mg in 6 to 8 hours, then 600 mg daily for 4 additional days. Patients started treatment within 4 days after exposure, defined as being in close contact with a COVID-19 patient for more than 10 minutes without protection.
        Results showed that hydroxychloroquine did not prevent COVID-19 when compared to a placebo (used as post-exposure prophylaxis). The incidence of COVID-19 did not differ significantly between those who took hydroxychloroquine (11.8%) and those who took placebo (14.3%).
        Side effects were more common in the hydroxychloroquine group (40.1% compared to 16.8% with placebo), but were not reported as serious. Common adverse events included nausea, loose stools, and stomach pain.
        Limitations in this study were many, and included inability to confirm self-reported COVID-19 exposure, adherence to study drug, starting drug up to 4 days after reported exposure to the virus, lack of survey completion, and enrollment of a lower-risk population.

        There's more to this article, but you get the point.

        1. “Although earlier studies suggested that hydroxychloroquine could inhibit the SARs-CoV-2 virus and was more potent than chloroquine, recent studies do not support the use of hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine phosphate”

          There’s the quote you missed.

          There were studies that showed a benefit….Doctors were making the reccomendation. Hydroxy is one of the most widely used treatments in the world, and has 5 decades of use, with little or no side affects.
          I will note the same smears attacked Ivermectin, but recent studies showed 100% of patients showed improvements. Some States, like NY, have barred Doctors from prescibing Ivermectin. Using no science at all. Turns out they were just protecting Fauci’s graft from Big Pharma. Being there is no money in a drug off patent.

          Cutting and pasting’ wide swaths of words you don’t comprehend, just exposes your ignorance

    3. Gigi – Who are you and where are you from? The DNC? The Biden family? The nuthouse? It’s almost hilarious reading your posts. Do you even remember the two people who declared they didn’t trust the vax and said they would not take it??? Kamala? Joe? But you are such a funny little bot!!! Not sure you could have voted for them two inepts because I’m not sure you are actually an American.

    4. My friend was in the hospital for 8 days with covid. The Doctors tried everything, with no results, until it was suggested to try Hydroxychloroquine. He left the hospital two days later.
      Please research the factual info on Hydroxychloroquine before you repeat false information.

    5. Covid was feared to kill half of Africa due to their lack of medical facilities However, since Africa is full of Malaria and parasites, HCQ and Ivermectin are commonly used so Covid was never a pandemic there. How do you explain that?

    6. The govt apparatchiks lied to the president on covid and it’s poison vaccines. If you can not even note that your partisan bent runs you completely. The only pig is fauci , his wife and the sycophants that surrounded him to perpetuate the covid lies and hide the orgiins and gain of function they funded with their chicom comrades.

  5. Baker is what I call a disgusting little twit that should ‘ve had his ass kicked long time ago that would have helped keeping America safe from corrupt D.C officals .

    1. Greg, this is my favorite covid memory. The interesting thing, hardly anyone understands that it proved the lies the govt was pushing.

  6. “I think consideration for censoring trump at this point in history was an everyday occurrence since he was in such chronic violation of twitter policy “

    ATS, if that were the case you and your compatriots would have been censored for lying about the Russia Hoax, the Steele Dossier, Ukraine, and so many other things. You lie so much you have taken to censoring yourself on this blog.

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