Yesterday, former Vice President Joe Biden was again insisting that the scandal involving Hunter Biden’s laptop was Russian disinformation despite the direct refutation of that claim by the FBI. No mainstream reporter bothered to ask the simple question of whether this was his son’s laptop and emails, including emails clearly engaging in an influence peddling scheme and referring to Joe Biden’s knowledge. Instead, media has maintained a consistent and narrow focus. Indeed, in her interview, Leslie Stahl immediately dismissed any “scandal” involving Hunter in an interview with the President on 60 Minutes. It was an open example of what I previously noted in a column: “After all, an allegation is a scandal only if it is damaging. No coverage, no damage, no scandal.”
Below is my column on Fox regarding the recent remarks of NBC analyst Jon Meacham explaining how Trump supporters suffer from “lizard brains.” The statement is indicative of a long-standing trend in the media of insulting and biased comments about Trump supporters. Analysts seem to have dispensed with any notion of restraint or reason in such attacks. What is most troubling is that there are students who support Trump at Vanderbilt and there have been complaints for years about an increasingly hostile environment for conservative students. Taking a professor who has publicly dismissed your political views as the result of a lizard brain is hardly welcoming.
Here is the column:
Last night, Fox News reported that the laptop allegedly belonging to Hunter Biden was subpoenaed last year by the FBI in a money laundering investigation. While the status and the targets of the investigations are unknown, the subpoena would appear to support the fact that these emails are authentic and that the laptop was Biden’s. While House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff and roughly 50 “intelligence experts” have assured the public that this is just Russian disinformation, both the FBI and the Director of National Intelligence have now confirmed that they do not believe the laptop and its contents are Russian disinformation. Now it appears that the laptop was viewed as sufficiently connected to possible federal crimes to be subpoenaed as evidence by the FBI a year ago. Continue reading “Biden Laptop Was Subpoenaed By The FBI in 2019 As Part Of A Money Laundering Investigation”
Just a day after more than 50 former senior intelligence officials signed on to a letter declaring that the recent disclosure of emails from the Hunter Biden laptop is likely Russian disinformation, the FBI reportedly confirmed that the material does not appear to be Russian disinformation. While former officials like John Brennan insisted that the story “has all the classic earmarks of a Russian information operation,” the FBI appears to have found no such evidence thus far. This followed a similar conclusion from the Director of National Intelligence in response to House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff saying that the story was pure Russian disinformation. The question is whether Twitter and Facebook will now bar access to Schiff’s statements pending further review since the actual intelligence agencies are suggesting that this could be democratic disinformation. After all, a former Twitter executive is calling for President Trump to be barred from all social media until after the election to prevent “misinformation.” The burden of being a free speech advocate is the the answer is clearly no. Those, like Schiff, who have called for censoring material on the Internet still should benefit from the protections of free speech. Continue reading “Will Adam Schiff’s Claims Now Be Blocked On Twitter?”
Peter Greenberger, a former Twitter and Google executive, is calling for the social media accounts of President Donald Trump to be shutdown for the remainder of the election. For those of us who have criticized calls for censorship from Democratic leaders for years, the demand is yet another example of the slippery slope of censorship that awaits this country with increasing regulation of speech on social media. Continue reading ““Time To Mute The President”: Former Twitter and Google Executive Calls For Trump To Be Banned From Social Media Until After The Election”
Below is my column in the Wall Street Journal on nomination of Amy Coney Barrett. While the confirmation hearing often seemed weirdly disconnected to the nominee, there were important moments where the jurisprudential views of Judge Barrett were expressed with striking — and rare — clarity.
Chuck Todd interviewed Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer this morning and turned to the recent decision of the Michigan Supreme Court that ruled that she had violated the Michigan Constitution in her extended pandemic orders. Todd did not challenge Whitmer stating falsely that the opinion was a “partisan” decision. It was not. The “Democrat justices” agreed that Whitmer violated the Constitution. They only disagreed on the remedy. However, that untruth was quickly lost in what was a flagrantly untrue statement by Todd himself. He told NBC viewers that the justices did not cite any law to support their decision against Whitmer. Todd stated as fact that the Court did not “cite any Michigan law, they didn’t cite any law in deciding that you didn’t have this power.” The roughly 50 page opinion contains over 60 cases discussed in support of the decision. It does not seem to matter anymore at Meet The Press or NBC. NBC is not alone. I previously noted how the Washington Post also has failed to correct openly false accounts of cases. Not only is there no apparent inclination to be accurate but even less expectation to do so.
Below is my earlier column on the Biden controversy and the notable omission of three responses that one would have expected in the days following the disclosure in the New York Post. As I have said repeatedly, the timing and manner in which this information came to the public is highly suspicious and could well be the work of foreign intelligence. Even Rudy Giuliani now puts the chances that he worked with a Russian agent at “50-50.” However, that would still leave the question of whether the underlying emails are authentic. The Clinton emails were hacked by the Russians but they were also true. These emails show clear influence peddling, if they are authentic. Instead of addressing the specific emails or even denying their authenticity, figures like Rep. Adam Schiff simply dismissed the story as a Russian hit job. For his part, Joe Biden dismissed reporters asking him about the emails as participating in a smear campaign. There are legitimate questions about how this information was produced (questions that the FBI is reportedly investigating). However, there are also legitimate questions about the content of some of these emails and what they say about an alleged influence peddling scheme related to a presidential candidate.
By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor.
The below is a reprint of an article I authored four years ago concerning the hazard government agencies face in their reliance on censorship wielding organizations such as Facebook and Twitter to disseminate official information to the public. While it offers a quick, cheap, and easy way to offer news to the public, the price demanded in terms of arbitrary third-party rules, ownership of information, public records keeping liability, and reliance on a platform that could remove individual or all postings without prior notice is a risk the public should not be expected to bear.
There are extant messaging protocols that are not dependent upon third-party proprietary services. These include methods such as RSS Feeds, list based e-Mail servers to push information in addition, and standard web pages. Each more than adequately can fulfill the needs of the informed public. But as long as social media companies act as arbitrary and capricious gatekeepers to official information that information is at risk.
It really is also a matter of controlling the integrity of the information. Governments and agencies are opening themselves up to failure and censorship by taking the easy way out and not deploying these technologies in-house. If either of these supposedly “too big to fail” social media platforms suddenly collapsed (either financially or technologically) it would cause an immediate breakdown of a messaging system spanning governments globally. It can be one of the worst forms of single-point failure imaginable. Yet if each agency or government maintained their own system, if one individual server broke down the damage would be rather benign.
The most immediate problem before us presently is the proclivity to censor by social media outfits which might be at odds with legislation or rulemaking relating to public records and news announcements by government. It is not a duty of the social media companies to edit or formulate this information.
Here is the article:
For years, many of us have criticized President Donald Trump for his attacks on the media when they asked him about controversies involving him or his family. The media however has been largely silent as Democratic leaders have ratcheted up attacks on any journalists who question their positions. That was evident recently when Speaker Nancy Pelosi bizarrely attacked CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer as an apologist for the Trump Administration simply because he pressed her on blocking the stimulus package. Other liberals attacked Blitzer after the interview. Now Joe Biden slammed the first network reporter who asked for a response to the unfolding scandal involving his son Hunter Biden. In emails found on the laptop, Joe Biden is named in communications with foreign figures seeking influence over U.S. policy. Biden refused to comment and then disparaged CBS News reporter Bo Erickson for even asking him the question. Continue reading “Biden Slams CBS Reporter For Asking About The Hunter Biden Scandal”
Minority Leaders Chuck Schumer and various commentators have called for Amy Coney Barrett to recuse herself from any decision on the 2020 general election. There is no reason for such a recusal, which would be unprecedented in these circumstances. Moreover, it would establish a dangerous precedent of nominees securing their positions by promising results or positions if confirmed by the Senate. Continue reading “No, Barrett Should Not Recuse Herself From Any Election Challenge”
Midwestern State University in Texas Professor Nathan Jun has triggered a free speech fight in Texas after a series of unhinged, hateful statements on social media. Wearing an Antifa teeshirt on social media, Jun has lashed out at police, capitalists, and politicians. His views are extreme and offensive. They are also, in my view, entirely protected. Much like the banning of Louis Farrakhan discussed yesterday, Jun is the test of our true commitment to free speech. By supporting this right to speak, we support the right of everyone, including the vast majority who view Jun’s comments as deeply unsettling and obnoxious. Continue reading “Texas Professor Triggers Free Speech Fight After Calling For The Death Of All Police By Strangulation with the “Intestines of the Last Capitalist””
This morning, we passed the 45,000,000 mark in views on the blog. The blog continues to grow with new regular commenters and a growing international readership. The continued growth is due primarily to our loyal readers who return every day to discuss contemporary legal, political, and occasionally bizarre stories. We have used these moments to give thanks for our many regular readers around the world and give you an idea of the current profile of readers on the blog. We continue to rank with the top legal blogs in the world. As always, I want to offer special thanks for Darren Smith who has continued to help manage the blog and help out folks who encounter posting problems.
So here is our current profile:
Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe on Tuesday declassified notes of former CIA Director John Brennan showing that he briefed former President Obama on Hillary Clinton’s alleged “plan” to tie then-candidate Donald Trump to Russia as “a means of distracting the public from her use of a private email server.” My interest in this story is not simply the serious underlying allegation but the lack of coverage by major networks or media outlets. This was clearly released at this time for political purposes, but that does not make it a non-story. We have often discussed concerns over the active effort by many in the media to downplay stories that would either help President Donald Trump or hurt the Democrats in the upcoming elections. This would seem such a case. Whether this is true or a complete fabrication, it should be major news. In the meantime, the responses from Clinton allies have not addressed the substance of the document and have simply dismissed the entire story as groundless.
Today I have the pleasure of speaking at the Media Law Conference, the largest legal organization of media defense practitioners. The panel discussion is entitled “The Roaring 20s: The Decade Ahead in Libel, Privacy, National Security & Newsgathering and Other First Amendment Law.” Continue reading “Turley Speaks At National Media Law Conference”