For an organization that purportedly hates censorship, the Media Research Center sure loves it when journalists who don't share its right-wingn ideology get censored -- and even more when it's Elon Musk doing the censoring. Kevin Tober justified the censorship in a Dec. 16 post:
Late Thursday night, Elon Musk banned the Twitter accounts of a group of leftist reporters from various left-wing outlets like CNN, The Washington Post, and The New York Times for violating the site's terms of service agreement against doxxing. They weren't just doxxing anyone, they were dumb enough to reveal the location of Musk's private jet which puts his personal safety in jeopardy. Needless to say, the lefty meltdowns both on Twitter and cable news were explosive and fun to watch.
The leftist media tears were especially delicious on MSNBC & CNN where the respective networks gathered their panelists to wail about the attack on freedom of the press. On MSNBC's The 11th Hour, host Stephanie Ruhle was apparently terrified about Musk banning leftist reporters. "This seems really scary. Okay?" Ruhle cried.
"These are reporters who covered Elon Musk, who have covered the changes on Twitter since he took over. Now he's claiming these suspensions are taking place because these reporters put him at risk," Ruhle added. She then attempted to deny that the reporters have put Musk's safety at risk: "there's not even evidence any of them did that."
Ruhle's guest Alex Stamos from the Krebs Stamos Group claimed Musk was just trying to intimidate reporters from reporting critically on him:
Tober offered no evidence that the suspended reporters were "leftist," nor did he offer the evidence Ruhle said was lacking to justify the suspensions.He also failed to mention that the Twitter account that tracked Musk's jet -- which the journalists got suspended for linking to -- used publicly available data, or that Musk himself had previously said he would not ban the tracking account because of his claimed support for free speech.
Alex Christy demanded "nuance" on this discussion, something the MRC is not known for:
Friday’s CNN This Morning reacted to Thursday night’s suspensions with none of the nuance that a discussion about doxing and flight tracking information should have. Instead, it was claimed that non-democratic governments around the world will use the incident to clamp down on free speech in their own countries.
While some of the panel was hesitant to give Elon Musk more attention, senior media reporter Oliver Darcy claimed, “You don't want to give someone attention if they're looking for attention. But I think it's important to talk about what's happening on this platform because it is such a crucial information platform. This is how a lot of the world communicates. I mean, world leaders are on this platform.”
Christy didn't mention Musk's previous vow not to suspend the tracker program; instead, took offense when the CNN discussion turned to theidea of foreign dictators taking cues from Musk's banning of journalists:
Not only did CNN not have this story under the old Twitter leadership when they were banning New York Post< links, but the idea that dictators needed Thursday night to clamp down on free speech and press freedom is so obviously wrong, CNN should be embarrassed. Many of these countries had already banned Twitter.
The fact that dictators had already banned Twitter strongly suggests that pre-Musk Twitter wasn't as censorious as right-wing narratives depicted it, but Christy didn't comment on that.
Chrsity then tried to argue the tracker account was illicit because it "evaded the FAA’s privacy program," linking to a tweet claiming the account's owner made a workaround to get informaion on Musk's plane.
Curtis Houck served up more glee at the suspensions:
On Friday, ABC’s Good Morning America and NBC’s were in a state of anger, shock and sadness over a number of their fellow leftists propagandists being suspended from Twitter late Thursday over what new boss Elon Musk insisted was a violation of the company’s doxxing policies and sharing information about his movements.
Agree or disagree with the decision, but one has to acknowledge the irony of ABC and NBC setting aside time to lament the plight of their comrades in keyboarding whereas conservatives faced years of censorship, election interference, and anti-American browbeating from Big Tech and their media allies.
Houck agrees, obvioiusly -- while failing to prove thaty any of the suspended journlaists were "leftists" -- while adding: "The suspensions came after Musk said a stalker had tracked down his son Tuesday and attacked the car he was traveling in by even jumping on the hood." But that story turned out not to be true: There was no link between the tracking account and the alleged incident, which happened at a gas station and not an airport, and the stalker was actually more interested in Musk's ex-girlfriend and baby mama, the singer Grimes, than in Musk himself.
The MRC then dragged Rich Noyes out of retirement to complain about the coverage the suspensions were getting:
CNN and MSNBC are pouncing on Twitter’s suspension of several liberal journalists, but those same cable news giants had about 15 times less interest in evidence of the same platform’s suspensions, blacklists and shadow banning aimed at conservatives when the so-called Twitter Files were released two weeks ago.
Last night, CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360 was first to report the suspension of the reporters, breaking the news at around 8:54pm ET. “Musk seems to be just stamping out accounts that he doesn’t like,” CNN reporter Donie O’Sullivan, one of those whose account was affected, told Cooper.
Between then and noon on Friday, CNN pumped out 38 minutes, 25 seconds of coverage to the suspension of these journalists. MSNBC didn’t pick up the story until shortly before 10pm on Thursday, but they have also been busily griping at the move, churning out 31 minutes, 51 seconds of coverage.
The whining continnued from Christy in a Dec. 17 post:
CNN’s Donie O’Sullivan was one of the journalists suspended by Twitter on Thursday for spreading information that Twitter considers to be reach the threshold of doxing. On Friday, he traveled over to Amanpour and Company which airs domestically on PBS and internationally on CNN International to warn of the “chilling effect” this may have on other journalists who cover Elon Musk.
With no sense of irony, guest host Paula Newton wondered if Musk is so sensitive, would he ban President Biden or French President Emmanuel Macron next, “Yeah. I mean, the point is -- Donie, it's you today. Is it the president tomorrow? Is Biden going to say something? Is Macron going to say something to criticize him? I mean, there is a lot at stake here.”
Christy didn't mention his own lack of irony in cheering these suspensions as his employer raged about "censorship."
Musk PR agent Autumn Johnson ranted:
Leftist MSNBC host Chris Hayes had an absolute conniption over Twitter owner Elon Musk not tolerating journalists sharing his real-time flight location on the platform.
Hayes went on a rant against Musk’s changes to Twitter on the December 16 edition of All in with Chris Hayes. He spewed that Musk was a “power mad billionaire attempt[ing] to coerce and capture the American discourse.” He argued that Musk’s suspension of journalists that shared information “doxxing” him and his children was somehow authoritarian.
“You cannot trust anyone with absolute power, in any domain,” Hayes flailed. “No matter if it is the U.S. presidency, a social media enterprise, a cable news show, a condo board association, even a pillow company. Left unchecked, they will drive it into the ground."
It’s worth asking what Hayes thinks about censorship-obsessed CEOs like leftist Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew and Google CEO Sundar Pichai. Perhaps Hayes doesn’t have as much of a problem with them since all three have the correct left-wing politics.
Johnson censored the fact that Musk reneged on his earlier promise not to suspend the tracker account. There was also no mention that the jet doesn't even belong to Musk -- it's owned by one of the companies Musk leads, SpaceX, which means that, since it's a corporate jet and not a personal one, there's no guarantee Musk would even be on the tracked plane.
Christy continued to whine:
CNN Newsroom host Jim Acosta returned to his old form on Saturday of hyperbolically warning about threats to press freedom as he compared the Twitter suspension of several journalists to the Trump White House revoking his press credentials. He also managed to compare tracking Elon Musk’s jet to reporting when senators arrive on the Senate floor or athletes who arrive at a stadium.
Acosta was not pleased with Musk’s trolling of hypocritical journalists, “Mike, Elon Musk initially mocked his critics over this ban, tweeting ‘so inspiring to see this newfound love of freedom of speech by the press.’”
Christy further whined that a CNN guest "accused Musk of making up the policy as he goes along and that he appears to be driven by emotion," which Christy didn't dispute.
Jeffrey Lord served up his own brand of whining in his Dec. 17 column:
Back in the early days of 2021, former First Lady Michelle Obama led the charge that Twitter and other social-media giants needed to permanently ban then-President Donald Trump. Twitter’s leftists scrambled to do as she asked.
Not to mention that one conservative after another was either suspended, banned or shadow-banned over the years. All of this has come tumbling out into very public view in recent days thanks to Twitter’s new owner, the redoubtable Elon Musk.
And there was not a peep of outrage from this interesting collection of left-wing journalists who suddenly are outspokenly outraged that - gasp! - they themselves have suffered a version of the fate Mrs. Obama was recommending for then-President Trump in 2021 and that had been regularly dished to a collection of conservatives.
Lord somehow forgot to mention that Trump was suspended for inciting an insurrection -- an arguably more serious offense than following the location of Musk's plane.
Tober ran to Musk's defense again in a Dec. 18 post:
During Sunday's edition of ABC's This Week, there was a lot of crying over Elon Musk suspending the Twitter accounts of lefty journalists who purposefully broke Twitter's rules against doxxing other people on the platform. New York Times national political reporter Astead Herndon either couldn't understand this concept or didn't care, and instead proceeded to ironically accuse Musk of violating the tenants of free speech and being a hypocrite.
In reality, Musk isn't being hypocritical since he bought Twitter to restore free speech to Twitter users who were suspended or shadow banned for saying objectively true things like "trans women" are men or tweeting out the New York Post's story about the massive scandal surrounding Hunter Biden's laptop.
Conservatives have been consistent that free speech doesn't protect you from threatening people by posting their real time locations, which is what the slew of leftist journalists did to get banned on Twitter.
Clay Waters mocked the New York Times' concern about the jornalists being suspended and cheered the revenge aspect: "Yes, after years of bans on conservative accounts and deletion of conservative content by social media behemoths Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter, suddenly it’s a 'free speech and online censorship' problem when it happens to left-wing journalists." Waters offered no evidence the suspended reporters were "left-wing."