Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center anticipated the release by Elon Musk of internal Twitter documents about regulating users and content, so when he allowed the first set to come out via habnd-picked writer Matt Taibbi, the MRC was poised to exploit them for full partisan effect. Joiseph Vazquez dutifully wrote in a Dec. 2 post:
Twitter owner Elon Musk released damning documents exposing the extent of the platform’s efforts to squash the Hunter Biden laptop scandal first reported by the New York Post.
Journalist Matt Taibbi, who first reported on the documents Dec. 2, stated that they revealed how Twitter staff and executives over time found “more and more uses” for censorship tools. Specifically, per Taibbi, “Outsiders began petitioning the company to manipulate speech as well: first a little, then more often, then constantly.” In one snapshot dated Oct. 24, 2020, Taibbi stated that “[b]y 2020, requests from connected actors to delete tweets were routine. One executive would write to another: ‘More to review from the Biden team.’ The reply would come back: ‘Handled.’”
Musk’s release of the documents put an even greater spotlight on the nefarious scheme by Twitter to interfere in the electoral process to help throw the election to then-candidate Joe Biden. MRC President Brent Bozell praised Musk for making Twitter’s internal operations transparent to the American people at last: “Twitter sabotaged the 2020 elections. A big thank you to Elon Musk for releasing more information about this. The American people deserve to know the truth."
Vazquez went on to rehash some of his employer's dubious, biased "media research" on how the laptop story was "censored" by "big tech."
Manwhile, any discussion of the release that didn't conform to Musk's and the MRC's biased, partisan interpretation had to be shouted down. When MSNBC guest Brandy Zadrozny pointed out that the release "actually makes Twitter look good" because they show "People were trying to do the right thing and inside Twitter" regarding a story of uncertain provenance, Alex Christy complained:
In the actual thread, Taibbi does concede that content removal requests were available to both sides, but in practice, Democrats had a better chance of success because Twitter is a ultra-liberal company. The idea that there were conservatives inside Twitter who agreed to suppress the Post article is not anywhere in Taibbi’s thread.
What is in the thread is people struggling to accept the hack explanation, but not be willing to do anything about it. Taibbi also reports the extraordinary measure of resorting to suppression, noting that such methods were usually reserved for things such as child pornography.
Yet, Zadrozny still claimed, “it looked like, this weird story of a laptop left in some, like, repair shop, it looked like a hack and leak. That's what people inside Twitter thought it was. And so, they acted a little fast.”
The MRC then moved to whining that outlets outside their right-wing media bubble aren't parroting the Musk narrative. Christy whined that "None of the three broadcast networks covered the Friday revelations of how Twitter censored the New York Post ’s Hunter Biden laptop story on their Saturday morning shows. However, NBC’s Today did manage to blame Elon Musk for a raise in hate speech on the platform." He then served up even more Musk PR by insisting that the number of " tweets targeting black Americans" only increased "from 1,282 to 3,876 ... that is out of 867 million total tweets per day. The idea that Twitter is a racist hellscape is sensationalism." Christy didn't explain why that even that amount of hate speech is acceptable. (The MRC likes to play dumb about the increase in hate speech on Twitter after Musk's takeover.)
Tim Graham grumbled that the Washington Post wasn't parroting the right-wing narrative:
It took The Washington Post about 24 hours to acknowledge Elon Musk releasing the "Twitter files" on how the social-media company suppressed the story of Hunter Biden's laptop in the last weeks of the 2020 campaign.
Their headline on a story by Cat Zakrzewski and Faiz Siddiqui was "Elon Musk’s ‘Twitter Files’ ignite divisions, but haven’t changed minds."
They put "free speech suppression" in scare quotes. Clearly, if Twitter had shut down The Washington Post Twitter account in the last days of a campaign instead of the New York Post, these guys wouldn't use quotation marks.
Then they added: "But by the time the dust settled Saturday, even some conservatives were grumbling that it was a dud. Musk’s Twitter Files produced no smoking gun showing that the tech giant had bent to the will of Democrats." As if throwing huge red flags to defend Biden isn't bending to the will of Democrats??? The super-aggressive censorship had the effect of a massive misinformation warning.
Of course, if Twitter had "censored" the Washington Post's Twitter account, Graham and the rest of the MRC would be cheering it. Speaking of"censoring," this is the first mention of the fact that other conservatives also called the release underwhelming. Graham censored the fact that this group of grumbling conservatives includes Miranda Devine, the New York Post columnist who helped promote the story at the time, as well as Fox News host Will Cain.
Graham followed up with a post whining that "Joe Biden and Hunter Biden aren't in the headlines" on the New York Times' article on the release, going onto huff: "This isn't about a story's reception. It's about a story's suppression. It's a story of a so-called "news media" telling everyone to be completely incurious about documents showing Joe Biden's involvement in his son's international lobbying operations." When the Times quoted a MSNBC commentator pointed out that Taibbi was hand-picked by Musk and that the document release was being orchestatred, Graham huffed further:
There's nothing funnier than MSNBC (or the Times) saying other media outlets do "PR work" for rich and powerful people in "orchestrated disclosures" in service of cynical partisan narratives and pretending it's "speaking truth to power." This just shows you how little they understand about how other people perceive their "news gathering."
Graham is never going to admit that this is the case here because he and the rest of the right-wing media bubble are huge fans of the orchestra conductor.
Meanwhile, there was a new victim to promote. Autumn Johnson wrote in a Dec. 3 post:
Actor James Woods says he is suing the Democratic National Committee after the group appa by Elon Musk revealed that the Democratic National Committee (DNC) ordered Twitter to remove his tweets for speaking out on the 2020 Hunter Biden laptop scandal.
Johnson's outrage was undercut by the fact that she made a factual error that had to be corrected in a top-of-post update:"This story has been corrected to note James Woods intends to sue the Democratic National Committee, not Twitter.
But Johnson censored the fact that the thing that likely got Woods' account suspended was his posting of a full-frontal nude image of Hunter Biden -- which violates Twitter's policy against posting of non-consensual nude images. When that inconvenient fact was pointed out, Christy whined about that too:
The men of late night "comedy" finally got the opportunity on Monday to address the Twitter Files and the revelations of how Twitter suppressed the New York Post’s story about Hunter Biden’s laptop. However, they missed the point about how the Post was censored and insisted the real story was the censorship of nude Hunter Biden photos.
Trevor Noah kicked off his last week as host of Comedy Central’s The Daily Show by reporting, “Over the weekend, Elon released the so-called Twitter Files, which many conservatives had hoped would prove that Twitter colluded with Democrats to censor news about Hunter Biden's laptop during the 2020 election. Instead, they mostly just showed the Biden campaign asking Twitter to take down nude photos of Hunter Biden.”
In order to make this claim, Noah cherry-picked one tweet of nearly 40 on how Twitter censored the Post’s article, but that was a theme for Noah and others. As Noah shifted to Donald Trump’s reaction, he again missed the point, “The Republican front runner for president of the United States wants to terminate the Constitution because Twitter wouldn't allow him to see Hunter Biden's dick.”
Christy further huffed: "The decision to suppress the Post's story was wrong whether the Biden campaign had anything to do with it or not and that has nothing to do with naked photos of Hunter Biden."He didn't mention that the main folks desperate to post naked photos of Hunter included not only Woods but accounts linked to Steve Bannon and Guo Wengui, a right-wing Chinese mogul who has been bankrolling Bannon for the past couple of years.
Christy refused to opine on whether it was wrong for Woods and other people to post non-consensual photos of Hunter Biden's penis, or why it was a bad thing for the Biden camp to ask Twitter to enforce its terms of service and have them deleted.Nor does he explain why, in contradiction to pretty much everyone else, he seems to think there's a First Amendment right to post porn on social media without the consent of the person in the picture.