The MRC Flips Over Elon Musk, Part 8: The Stenography Continues
The Media Research Center remained highly devoted to serving as Musk's handmaiden in promoting every "Twitter files" release -- even as they dropped around holiday time when people were busy with other things.
By Terry Krepel
Taxpayer-subsidized NPR had been aggressively ignoring the "Twitter Files" revelations, but when they finally acknowledged them on Tuesday's Morning Edition, the new information was described as an "attention-grabbing stunt," "not a bombshell," and an "ugly" spectacle causing threats of violence to Dr. Anthony Fauci and former Twitter "trust and safety" czar Yoel Roth.
Graham is never going to criticize the biased narrative Musk is feeding because it furthers the MRC's own narratives. And he offers no evidence that only conservatives were "censored" by Twitter -- and he will never admit that Twitter's algorithm has always favored conservatives. Instead, he invited readers to harass NPR for pointing out inconvenient facts that he can't be bothered to disprove: "This report really reveals the NPR hostility to conservatives and how Twitter's 'a much less friendly place' for NPR types. Feel free to contact NPR's Public Editor and ask when they'll address their 2020 Hunter Biden mistakes."
Staying on message, a Dec. 17 post by Joseph Vazquez hyped the latest "Twitter files" release purporting to show "the leftist Big Tech platform’s extensive collaboration with Big Government on its bloated censorship operations," followed by a post from Alex Christy with the usual lament that "ABC, NBC, and CBS all ignored round six of the Twitter Files on their Saturday morning shows" because it instead reported on Musk's censorship of journalists, which he framed as "suspending several accounts for sharing information about his private jet and physical location," purportedly driven by an "alleged stalker video." As we've noted, Musk had previously vowed never to suspend the tracker account, and the alleged stalker never used the account (and was more interested in Musk's ex-gal pal and baby mama, Grimes, than Musk himself).
Meanwhile, the MRC was silent on the fact that even Musk supporters had criticized his suspensions of journalists, or that Musk briefly killed Twitter Spaces, its group-chat platform, after being unable to deal with questions from actual journalists about his censorship.
Vazquez served up more Musk stenography in a Dec. 20 post:
It turns out that not only did the Ministry of Truth brigade at the FBI push Twitter to censor the Hunter Biden laptop scandal, but it also reportedly paid the Big Tech platform millions of dollars.
The stenography, and complaints that those outside the right-wing media bubble weren't engaging in the same stenography, continued:
Gabriela Pariseau positively framed how "over 57 percent of respondents answered yes" to Musk's poll question about whether he should remain as Twitter CEO, declining to point out that it's a very public rejection of how Musk has run the company and instead uncritically repeating his statement that “I will resign as CEO as soon as I find someone foolish enough to take the job!"
When the FBI accurately pointed out that "conspiracy theorists" are spreading the false narrative that the agency paid Twitter to "censor" people, the MRC got mad about that too. Kevin Tober whined about the FBI being "defiant" while praising Fox News for pushing the narrative:
On Wednesday afternoon, the FBI released a defiant statement which denied any wrongdoing that was detailed in the latest Twitter Files which were made public this week by journalist Michael Shellenberger, who revealed that the FBI and Twitter colluded to suppress the Hunter Biden laptop story. In the obnoxious statement, the FBI proved the contempt they have for average Americans concerned with tyrannical Big Tech censorship by calling them “conspiracy theorists.”
Tober called this "bias by omission," though he didn't explain how not reporting a false story could possibly be "bias."
Catherine Salgado similarly huffed in a Dec. 22 post:
The FBI finally issued an official statement on revelations of its work with Big Tech to censor Americans in the Twitter Files. The explanation? The people reporting on the files are“conspiracy theorists.”
Von Spakovsky is not an "expert" -- he is a partisan activist who gets paid to peddle this bogus narrative -- meaning that he and Salgado, not the FBI, are the ones "gaslighting" people. And Salgado couldn't finish without pushing the bogus narrative again:
The FBI apparently sees no issue with its censorship efforts that were happening behind the scenes. “The men and women of the FBI work every day to protect the American public,” the FBI’s statement continued. It’s unclear how the FBI could try to gaslight the American people with a straight face given that the Twitter Files revealed that the Bureau paid the platform over $3.4 million through a “reimbursement” program for helping its censorship efforts. One of the Twitter accounts that the FBI flagged for the platform was the American-based, right-leaning Right Side Broadcasting Network.
Actually, Right Side Broadcasting is a highly biased, rabidly pro-Trump channel, and it's weird that Salgado made a big deal out of the channel being "American-based" -- as if the non-right-wing networks the MRC loves to bash are not. And Salgado censored the fact that there's no evidence that FBI ordered Twitter to "censor" anything.
And MRC boss Brent Bozell ran to Fox Business, where he knows his talking points will never be challenged, to add his two cents:
Locked and loaded Thursday morning on the Fox Business Network’s Varney & Co., Media Research Center Founder and President Brent Bozell told fill-in host David Asman that the FBI “disinformation” in a statement smearing the Twitter Files with it having been “none of [their] damn” business to suppress the New York Post’s Hunter Biden reporting.
Bozell then noted the importance of the FBI’s role in suppressing the spread of the original Post story in having allowed the media to steal the 2020 election:
That's yet another reference to the MRC's election fraud conspiracy theory fueled by polls it bought from Trump's 2020 election pollster and the polling firm founded by Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway. Of course, given the highly selective nature of the documents Musk has released, one can easily argue that he and Bozell are the ones spreading disinformation.
The MRC even attacked Twitter's founder, Jack Dorsey, for not sticking to the narrative. Catherine Salgado complained in a Dec. 15 post:
Twitter founder Jack Dorsey released his opinion of the Twitter Files exposing his platform’s biased censorship, admitting his serious failures around free speech, while still claiming a lack of “hidden agendas.”
Salgado continued her complaint:
Dorsey then specifically referred to Trump’s ban, saying Twitter “did the right thing for the public company business at the time, but the wrong thing for the internet and society.” But the former CEO did not admit the full scale of Twitter’s bias under his watch. He denied any “ill intent or hidden agendas.” MRC’s CensorTrack has years of records of Twitter’s biased censorship.
CensorTrack is not a reliable tool because of its existence as a tool to further right-wing "censorship" narratives ahead of being a serious documentation system -- it's a partisan tool, not a research tool. And claiming the government engaged in "secret coordination with the government to censor Americans" is a conspiracy theory.
Dorsey wrote that he knew people would distrust his recommendations based on his own record, and added that he wished he had made Twitter “uncomfortably transparent in all their actions.”
Of course, the MRC is totally cool with "the anti-free speech trend on social media" when Musk himself is doing the censoring.
The MRC really doesn't like it when non-right-wing media expose the manipulation Elon Musk is trying to do with his selectively released "Twitter files" to handpicked journalists, and Joseph Vazquez whined quite loudly in a Dec. 23 post when CNN's Oliver Darcy did exactly that by pointing out the fact that the FBI paid Twitter to fulfill document requests, not "censor" anyone:
CNN senior media reporter Oliver Darcy acted like a flunky for the FBI, throwing a conniption over Twitter owner Elon Musk’s revelations that the bureau paid the platform millions to “censor” Americans.
Vazquez is acting like a flunky for Musk by perpetuating a lie. Is that appalling or idiotic on his part? Also, there was nothing secret about its "shadowbanning" given that Twitter's terms of service specifically state that it may "limit the distribution or visibility" of any content on its site. Still, Vazquez desperately clung to his lie, only this time with added boldface:
Darcy called the $3.4 million “reimbursement” a typical feature of “mundane procedures” that companies exercise when working with government entities. [Emphasis added.]
Vazquez concluded by spewing more anger at Darcy for letting reality intrude on his right-wing pro-Musk narratives:
But Darcy injected his own definitions of “facts” and “information,” letting readers know he’s supposedly concerned about both of those things. “Facts be damned in the world we now live in. Musk’s claim [about the FBI paying Twitter for censorship] has absolutely saturated right-wing media,” Darcy wrote. “[T]he poisoning of that information well is also confusing others, who hear the nonsense and aren’t sure what to believe.”
Vazquez made no effort to disprove Darcy's assertion that Fox News "works to cater to the fears of White America."
Jeffrey Lord spent his Dec. 24 column parroting the usual MRC complaint that Musk's Twitter files weren't getting much pickup outside the right-wing media bubble, actually likening them to the Pentagon Papers:
The Twitter files story is every bit a major story as the Pentagon Papers were in the day. Yet there are no Grahams and Bradlees here. To the contrary, just as Breitbart has reported and Shellenberger is noting, today’s media - per Breitbart that would be The Washington Post, New York Times, Politico Playbook, Punchbowl News, and the Los Angeles Times - simply ignored Shellenberger’s ace reporting Monday and into Tuesday of this week.
That's because there's a huge difference between the two. The Pentagon Papers were suppressed by the government and the person who leaked them faced criminal charges for doing so. Musk's Twitter files, by contrast, are selectively chosen and given to his handpicked journalists and parroted by the very outlets Lord touted, all for the purpose of advancing political narratives, not learning a higher truth. In other words, NewsBusters is no Daniel Ellsburg.
Tim Graham picked up the whining stick for a Dec. 27 post complaining that a Washington Post article detailed how Musk ruined his genius reputation by his impulsive, partisan management of Twitter:
Once Elon Musk took over Twitter and started mocking the liberal media, the liberal media was bound and determined to portray him as ruining his reputation. On Christmas morning, the headline on the front page of The Washington Post was "Musk's Twitter drama depletes his stature: Erratic leadership spurs a crisis of confidence across tech empire."
In fact, the Post did do that to their owner to a certain extent as layoffs were announced at the paper. Then again, Bezos hasn't mismanaged the Post the way Musk has mismanaged Twitter.
But then, if Musk was running Twitter like a "liberal"company, Graham would be cheering all these "bitter anonymous sources." He thinks that Musk continues to be a genius because of a shared own-the-libs attitude, not any business judgment he has exhibited so far in managing Twitter.
Meanwhile, the MRC didn't forget to uncritically promote the latest "Twitter files" release, even when it happened on Christmas Eve -- which pretty much guaranteed nobody would pay much attention to it. Paiten Iselin wrote in a Dec. 27 post:
While airing out Twitter’s dirty anti-free-speech laundry, new platform CEO Elon Musk exposed Big Tech for its routine collusion with the federal government as it attempts to censor Americans.
Of course, if those files really were newsworthy, Musk wouldn't have released them the day before Christmas, and he wouldn't have used such a sleazy dude as Taibbi to do it.
A Dec. 26 post by Autumn Johnson touted a post-Christmas file drop -- another holiday dump seemingly designed to be ignored and, perhaps, deliberately designed to fulfill expectations that it wouldn't be covered outside the right-wing bubble.