We've documented how CNSNews.com echoed its Media Research Center parent's early enthusiasm for Elon Musk purchasing Twitter and memory-holing its previous criticism of him, which devolved into gushing over every public utterance by Musk as a state statement. As Musk wavered on buying Twitter over the summer, CNS' interest in him dwindled, doing only one story on him, a July 27 piece touting how Musk snarked "bon voyage" to Russia's plans to exit the International Space Station.
In the meantime, however, CNS' (and the MRC's) anti-Twitter narratives were still operative -- as were the corporate narrative that there is no such thing as an objective definition of misinformation -- which explains an Aug. 11 article by Craig Bannister attacking Twitter's plans to fight misinformation:
On Thursday, Twitter announced “Our Approach to the 2022 U.S. Midterms,” detailing its plan to suppress some speech regarding the elections, and to advance other narratives it deems acceptable.
Specifically, Twitter says it is will be using “prebuttals” to “get ahead” of political narratives it subjectively considers “misinformation” - and “proactively” promote other speech it endorses:
Twitter will also actively suppress and denounce comments of some of those who question the legitimacy or results of elections, the announcement says:
“The Civic Integrity Policy covers the most common types of harmful misleading information about elections and civic events, such as: claims about how to participate in a civic process like how to vote, misleading content intended to intimidate or dissuade people from participating in the election, and misleading claims intended to undermine public confidence in an election – including false information about the outcome of the election.”
When Twitter sees a tweet it considers “misleading” or “false,” it will suppress and label the tweet and prevent it from being liked or shared in order to “prevent the spread” of speech it doesn’t like:
Bannister offered no evidence that pre-Musk Twitter's definition of "acceptable" speech it "endorses" involved anything beyond allowing facts and discouraging lies and misinformation. He also did not explain why any attack on "the legitimacy or results of elections" should be allowed to stand if it's based on falsehoods and misinformation.
After Musk finally agreed to buy Twitter at the terms he originally agreed to, Bannister fed a conspiracy theory in an Oct. 5 article:
Following Tuesday’s news that billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk’s original offer to buy Twitter had been accepted by both parties to the deal, prominent conservatives began tweeting complaints that they had suddenly lost thousands of followers on the giant social media platform.
Conservatives have long attributed sudden, massive, loses of followers to a Twitter “purge” of right-of-center voices. But, on Tuesday, many added the theory that Twitter has begun deleting “bots,” automated accounts passed off as accounts managed by humans. The contention that bots have inflated the number of users accounts on Twitter, and thus, Twitter’s value, had been a major sticking point in Musk’s purchase deal.
When Musk ultimateluy closed on his Twitter purchase, intern Laruen Shank spent an Oct. 27 article gushing over it, uncritically quoting Musk self-aggrandizing claim that he didn't buy Twitter “because it would be easy. I didn’t do it to make more money. I did it to try to help humanity, whom I love. And I do so with humility, recognizing that failure in pursuing this goal, despite our best efforts, is a very real possibility."
More hero worship of Musk followed:
- Elon Musk Shares His Motivation in Buying Twitter: 'It Is Important to the Future of Civilization'
- Sen. Cruz: Musk's Twitter Purchase Is 'One of the Most Significant Developments for Free Speech'
- Musk Tweets Twitter Tombstone, Mocking Predictions of Platform’s Demise
There was also an agenda item in the form of a Nov. 7 article from Patrick Goodenough complaining that certain people have yet to be "censored" by Twitter: "Amid concern in mostly liberal quarters that Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter will amplify harmful content, Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Sunday again used the platform – as he has done for years – to spread anti-America sentiment to his well over one million followers."
A Nov. 15 article by Bannister helped CNS complete its Musk flip-flop by attacking President Biden for pointing that Musk's foreign entanglements are worth monitoring (while falsely claiming that Biden was demanding an investigation):
“It has nothing to do with national security,” former Director of National Intelligence (DNI) John Ratcliffe says of President Joe Biden’s call for Elon Musk to be investigated as a national security threat because the billionaire owner of SpaceX acquired Twitter.
“Whether or not he is doing anything inappropriate, I’m not suggesting that. I’m suggesting that it’s worth being looked at,” President last week, when asked by a reporter if Musk should be investigated as a national security threat now that he has purchased Twitter.
“What the hell’s going on here?” Host Dan Bongino asked Ratcliffe in an interview Saturday on “Unfiltered,” noting that, in America, “We don’t investigate people in search of crimes; we investigate crimes in search of people.”
“That’s absolutely right, Dan. And, you’re right: I do have an informed view on this,” the former Director of National Intelligence for the Trump Administration agreed. “This is clearly personal. This is clearly political. It has absolutely nothing to do with national security.”
“And, it does have everything to do with weaponizing the national security apparatus for political reasons,” Ratcliffe said, explaining that the Biden Administration has shared some of the nation’s most sensitive technologies with Musk and given him billions of dollars of contracts over the past year:
Bannister cheered Musk's restoration of the Twitter account of the right-wing "satire" site Babylon Bee in a Nov. 18 article, while intern Peyton Holliday gushed that "entrepreneur and business magnate" Musk advanced the current right-wing obsession with hating investments that focus on environmental, social and governmental issues by declaring that "ESG is the devil." Bannister returned for a Nov. 29 article again pushing the idea that any claim of misinformation is inherently subjective:
Billionaire Elon Musk’s recently-purchased Twitter has ended enforcement of its controversial, subjectively-enforced policy of censoring and suspending accounts posting COVID-19 comments and claims.
“Effective November 23, 2022, Twitter is no longer enforcing the COVID-19 misleading information policy,” Twitter declares on its “Transparency” page.
Prior to Musk’s acquisition of Twitter, and his subsequent promise to open it up to free speech, the behemoth social media platform had come under fire for punishing accounts for posting content that challenged liberal claims, mandates, shutdowns and policies regarding the coronavirus pandemic.
In April, when Musk joined Twitter’s board of directors after purchasing a 9.2% stake in the company, physician and Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.), who has led the charge to refute false COVID narratives promoted by the Biden Administration, expressed optimism that Musk’s commitment to free speech would improve the platform.
Bannister offered no evidence of how pre-Musk misinformation policies were "subjectively-enforced," and he hid the fact that Musk had been suspending accounts that made fun of him, putting significant doubt about his purported "commitment to free speech."