The Mediaverse by Dennis Kneale, TruthDAO opinion columnist
The mainstream media’s concerted campaign to ignore the Twitter Files exposé has lasted for a full month now, and they continue to look the other way amid a torrent of disclosures that usually would occupy the front page for days.
Thanks to the tenth and latest chapter of #TheTwitterFiles, released on Tuesday (Dec. 27), we now know the Trump administration, the Biden administration, and the FBI and other federal agencies descended on Twitter to censor Americans’ dissenting views on the response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
They got Twitter to silence and shut down contrarian views that questioned the wisdom of Covid lockdowns; and block Dr. Jay Bhattacharya from reaching his more than 300,000 followers to tell them about a legitimate medical journal article; and ban accounts from printing publicly available data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
None of this forbidden information was aimed at helping the feds prevent or investigate a crime; none of it was “dangerous” in terms of inciting a riot or violence of any kind; and much of it was valid, accurate, scientific information, yet it was banned anyway.
These latest outrages follow previous Twitter Files releases that revealed a stunning array of efforts by our government to impose an illegal, unconstitutional prior restraint on the expression of U.S. citizens, in blatant and rampant violation of their First Amendment right to free speech. Twitter executives, to their discredit, happily complied, cheered on by a staff that was over 90% liberal Democrats.
Thanks to the Twitter Files, we now know the machinations behind Twitter’s unwise decision to block the New York Post’s Twitter account for 16 days, rather than let it publish its scoop on the Hunter Biden laptop on the platform; and the details of its unacceptable and biased decision to permanently ban President Trump’s account.
We also know—not from the media at all, but from the tweets put out by three independent journalists working with new Twitter owner Elon Musk—that the FBI had 80 agents prevailing on Twitter frequently to censor even small accounts with little engagement. The Democratic National Committee also tapped Twitter to censor opposition voices.
The CIA also was involved, and the Department of Homeland Security, the Director of National Intelligence, the State Department, the Department of Defense, a foreign intelligence committee, state police departments, and state elections officials—all of them pressing Twitter to censor, mute, and muzzle accounts and remove even joke tweets as “misinformation.”
In addition to silencing the Twitter accounts of Americans, the FBI and other agencies further instructed Twitter to play up the messaging of accounts whose views they supported. They were manipulating public opinion, secretly and without any legal authority to do so. Further, the DoD and State Dept. set up fake accounts to shill U.S. propaganda overseas.
Key point: If these powerful government entities did this to Twitter, with some 40 million Americans on that platform, it seems a good bet they were doing it to Facebook, too, with well over 200 million Americans onboard, two-thirds of them every day. And most other platforms.
Yet the media are letting all of this pass without a peep of protest. They are lying about the real import of the Twitter Files; and couching their scant coverage in similar language and sentiment to play down any outrage; and reprinting fact errors on hundreds of websites.
For proof of this, see my three-part series on #TheTwitterFiles, here:
Part One: The Twitter Files: More Media Ignorance
Part Three: How One Media Lie Spread to Hundreds of Websites
The glaring question I have for the media is: why are you burying this story? Here are a few possibilities:
· Fear of Trump. The media detest him and want to avoid doing anything that might help his run for president in 2024. The Twitter Files could make Donald Trump a more sympathetic figure.
· Political bias. If Republicans were revealed to have done to liberals what the Biden administration pressured Twitter to do to conservatives, the media uproar would last for months.
· Professional jealousy. The New York Times and Washington Post, which set the agenda for most media coverage, usually would be spoon-fed this scoop. But Elon Musk, wisely, declined to go that route, instead relying on independent journalists Matt Taibbi, Bari Weiss, and Michael Shellenberger.
· Professional embarrassment. They have gotten beaten badly on this exposé, and they failed to follow up after the first few “chapters,” hoping the story would fade. Now they are too embarrassed to start covering this bona fide national scandal.
Another possible explanation looms, this one more disturbing: maybe the media themselves have something to hide. What communications did the media have with Twitter and government agencies regarding their coverage of election “misinformation,” voting glitches, Covid policies, the Jan. 6 “insurrection,” Black Lives Matter protests, trans women in sports, LGBTQ issues, and more?
My hope is that ensuing chapters of the Twitter Files will tell us what the media won’t.
Dennis Kneale, @denniskneale on Twitter, is a media strategist and writer in New York. He spent more than 30 years at The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, CNBC, and Fox Business. His podcast is called "What's Bugging Me."