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Sunday, November 12, 2023
MRC Condones Misinfo About Israel-Hamas War On Twitter (Well, X), Shows Double Standard On 'Censorship'
Topic: Media Research Center

Twitter (well, X) hasn't exactly covered itself in glory during the Israel-Hamas war. Given how Elon Musk gutted Twitter's anti-disinformation teams in the months before the war started, the inevitable happened: Twitter was awash with disinformation about the war in the days after it started, with old and fake photos and even footage from video games being presented as dispatches from the front lines. And even after the disinformation has been identified, Twitter has allowed the accounts spreading it to remain active, while there have been massive delays in putting "Community Notes" fact-checks on the false posts. Musk actually made things worse by promoting accounts filled with falsehoods and disinformation (not to mention anti-Semitism), including a fake video falsely attacking CNN. (He was ultimately shamed into deleting his post promoting the anti-Semitic account as a "good" source.)

The Media Research Center is cool with all of this -- it wants misinformation to spread unchecked, and it attacks any effort to try and stem it as "censorship." When Business Insider pointed out all this information, Catherine Salgado spent an Oct. 11 post playing whataboutism:

As the devastating Hamas-Israel War rages on, Business Insider launched an attack of a different kind against Elon Musk and X—while failing its own anti-“misinformation” standards.

Palestinian Hamas terrorists invaded Israel over the weekend, committing appalling atrocities and killing at least 1,200 Israelis, acts which the Palestinian Authority (PA) refused to condemn. X (formerly Twitter) has been a hotspot for citizens, officials and war victims to share video and images, but Business Insider asserted that “misinformation” is “rife” on the platform.

Yet, even while screeching that “Social media has never felt more dangerous,” Insider’s Hasan Chowdhury called terrorists “Hamas fighters” and never mentioned any of the Hamas atrocities. In fact, the word “terrorist” doesn’t appear once in his entire article.

Chowdhury described the horrific Hamas attack without even mentioning that Hamas had killed anyone. “Hamas fighters crossed the border into Israel on Saturday, prompting Israeli forces to respond with air strikes on Gaza,” wrote this supposed champion of truth. These are the “fighters” who beheaded babies and soldiers and gunned down entire families. But, according to Chowdhury, who scraped up a mere three examples of the alleged misinformation epidemic for his piece, it’s Elon Musk spreading fake news.

“Some of the worst offenders are those who pay for visibility and verification through Twitter Blue, now known as X Premium,” Chowdhury announced. He particularly slammed Musk, “The billionaire directed his 159 million X followers to two social-media accounts that previously posted fake news.” Why is Chowdhury the arbiter on online truth, especially when he described terrorists as “fighters”?

At no point did Salgado offer any comment about the spread of disinformation about the war on Musk's Twitter. Instead, the MRC was busy doing PR for Musk. Joseph Vazquez gushed in an Oct. 9 post under the lionizing headline "ENTER ELON":

X owner Elon Musk called out the Supreme Leader of Iran for his disgusting celebration of the terrorist group Hamas and its barbaric attack on Israel. 

Musk — instead of going along with absurd liberal media narrative attempting to draw a false equivalency between Israel and Palestine — went straight for the jugular: “Khamenei’s official position is clear that the eradication of Israel is the actual goal, not just supporting Palestinians.” In Musk’s view, “That will not happen. All that actually happens, decade after decade, is a never-ending cycle of violence and vengeance.” MRC President Brent Bozell praised Musk for standing against the Iranian tyrant. “Elon Musk isn't afraid to speak the truth," Bozell said. "He doesn't hide behind his companies or use his platform to promote a woke agenda like many CEOs. He actually uses his voice to hold tyrannical anti-Semites accountable."

Vazquez also stated that "Khamenei's post clearly violates X rules against the 'Glorification of Violence,' as the platform clearly outlined in a label placed over Khamenei’s post." But earlier this year, Salgado specifically criticizied this policy, insisting that "This issue with this Twitter policy is that it can very easily be misapplied" and declaring, "Elon Musk’s Twitter should be wary of being too vague or subjective in its policies, as missteps could seriously damage Twitter’s recent pro-free speech trend." Vazquez tried to get around this by quoting a co-worker:

Finally, Twitter has an owner who understands the difference between true incitements to violence and constitutionally protected speech,' praised MRC Business Vice President Dan Schneider in a statement. Schneider also blasted Musk’s dystopian predecessors at Old Regime Twitter for their sordid double standard of consistently allowing the Ayatollah to spread incitements to violence on the platform while repeatedly targeting Americans’ speech on the platform for the non-crime of expressing differing opinions on a myriad of issues (e.g. elections, COVID-19, culture) that slap against approved, left-wing axiomatic views:

The Big Tech oligarchs have long protected the Ayatollah Khamenei’s incitement to violence rhetoric; language that is clearly not constitutionally-protected speech. Yet at the same time, these Big Tech oligarchs have taken down political speech that they happen to disagree with.

But under the same logic, the ayatollah is also expressing "differing opinions," and the MRC's free-speech absolutism should allow his views to stand.

An Oct. 13 post by Luis Cornelio touted more actions by Musk that, under different circumstances, he would call "censorship":

Elon Musk’s X (formerly known as Twitter) took forceful actions against Hamas-tied accounts ahead of the disturbing “Day of Jihad.”

While leftist platforms like YouTube allow Hamas terrorists to call for a day of against Israel with impunity, X began purging accounts tied to Hamas. The rabid terrorist group unleashed a string of attacks against Israel that left over 1,300 Israeli citizens dead, in addition to numerous Americans. X CEO Linda Yaccarino announced the move in a three-page letter posted on the platform.

“We are deeply troubled by the large-scale and unprecedented terrorist attack on Israel and by the loss of innocent lives,” Yaccacino said on Oct. 11 in response to a letter from E.U. Commissioner Thierry Breton. Breton pressed companies earlier this week about their efforts to curtail Hamas’ reach. “There is no such place on X for terrorist organizations or violent extremist groups and we continue to remove such accounts in real time, including proactive efforts,” she added.

By contrast, the MRC complained that Twitter deleted all posts referring to a "transgender day of vengeance" earlier this year, raging that "The 'Trans Day of Vengeance' censorship event alone accounted for no less than 14 million times that users were harmed from Big Tech censorship." What the MRC wouldn't disclose is that Twitter blocked all posts referencing the alleged event, including ones from right-wing transphobes. Again, the MRC is exhibiting a double standard.

Salgado returned for another Oct. 13 post attacking Breton -- whom Cornelio had just praised -- for advocatinbg "censorship,"appearing to argue that Hamas shouldn't be "censored" after all:

A European Union (EU) Commission official has taken a page from the U.S. government’s anti-free speech playbook and demanded that multiple social media companies step up their censorship. 

In an Oct. 11 letter posted to X (formerly Twitter), Belgian EU Commissioner Thierry Breton insisted that Facebook and Instagram’s parent company Meta take “diligent and objective action following notices of illegal content in the EU.” Breton pointed to content regarding the “terrorist attacks carried out by Hamas against Israel” but did not clarify what he meant by “illegal content.” He also insisted Meta should be “tackling disinformation in the context of elections,” in accord with the EU Digital Services Act (DSA), a direct censorship request. The commissioner was yet more condescending in a letter to X/Twitter, accusing the platform of “disseminat[ing] illegal content and disinformation.” TikTok received a similar lecture. Breton even threatened all the tech companies by stating that “penalties can be imposed” for non-compliance. Did Breton take note of how effectively censorship was used in America to shield government officials and candidates?

“European liberal elites learned from the United States’ deep state how to suppress a story on how to save their skins in the next election based on how effective it was to suppress the Hunter Biden laptop story,” said MRC Free Speech America VP Dan Schneider in reaction to the letters. “They’re trying to hide their own complicity and anti-Semitism as European voters wake up to the horrors of the Hamas regime.”

Salgado's so-called proof was the MRC's conspiracy theory that alleged suppression of the laptop story caused Trump to lose, based on dubious polls it bought from Trump's election pollster and a polling firm founded by Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway.

Posted by Terry K. at 7:40 PM EST

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