January 29, 2023

FIZZLED EXPOSE: “Twitter files” from Matt Taibbi and Elon Musk fail to live up to hype

FIZZLED EXPOSE: "Twitter files" from Matt Taibbi and Elon Musk fail to live up to hype

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“This will be awesome,” Chairman Musk tweeted at 3:48 PM ET with a popcorn emoji.

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The world’s richest human was referring to a dump of info he had arranged through one-time journalist Matt Taibbi, which purported to show how unfair Twitter had been to Donald Trump, aka The Former Guy, by “suppressing” a story the New York Post had published about Hunter Biden’s laptop.

Yet this dump – which they evidently thought was a bombshell – has shown nothing but that Twitter, under Jack Dorsey at the time, acted with…Wait for it…Waaaaiiiit for iiiiittt…

Caution.

Can you believe it?

Yes, Twitter executives were a bit suspicious of a story from the Rupert Murdoch-controlled paper that had been furnished for them by Steve Bannon and Rudy Giuliani – which had first come through a paranoid computer repairman named John Paul Mac Isaac who likes to wear a kilt and expressed concern that assassins from the government might be out to get him.

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Really.

And despite what shill Taibbi and Mr. Musk would have you believe, the laptop story has produced zero evidence thus far of any wrongdoing on the part of Joe Biden. As yet, all we have seen is a father who cared deeply about his son and was perhaps a bit hesitant to condemn some of his questionable actions.

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Perhaps listening to this phone message from Joe Biden to his son in 2018, which professional scumbag Sean Hannity thought it would be a brilliant idea to play for his audience, might give you a sense of why the president may have been willing to tolerate some things from his wayward son Hunter.

Also, keep in mind that Joe Biden has lost a wife and daughter in a car accident (which two-year-old Hunter survived) and his son Beau to cancer.

The crux of the supposed case against the president is that Hunter started working for the Ukrainian energy company Burisma at a reported salary of up to $50,000 a year, and that in 2017 a Chinese businessman with connections to the CCP by the name of Ye Jianming sent an email promising Hunter 20% of a potential deal, with 10% more for the “big guy.”

Some points on why the Chinese businessman angle is a big yawn:

  • Out of hundreds of thousands of emails searched by Giuliani, his attorney Robert Costello, Steve Bannon, and Biden-voyeur Maxey, who has pedaled the laptop like Republican cocaine, this is the only thing they could find with anything that might at all point to Joe Biden receiving any compensation.
  • Second point – though perhaps the most important one: Joe Biden was a PRIVATE CITIZEN at the time, and free to make whatever business deals he wanted. Has Trump stopped making business deals?
  • We also have no evidence that any such deal went through.
  • And there’s no response that’s been found from Hunter Biden to that email, which means it was just some businessman’s effort to try to enlist the Bidens in his plan.

As for Burisma, the big accusation is that Biden was pushing for the removal of Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin in 2015, who was said to be planning an investigation of the company.

Yet there was reason to believe that Shokin was corrupt, and the EU was also pushing for his removal.

The big claim by Musk and Taibbi is that the Twitter content overseers at the time hesitated to let the story spread because there were accusations that it could be Russian disinformation, which it now seems was not the case.

But this is misguided (to put it kindly) for several reasons too.

Despite how these two collaborators – the world’s biggest troll and his apparently unwitting accomplice – are treating this, there was a legitimate reason to believe that the information could have come from a Russian hack and included Russian disinformation at the time.

In fact, many of our best experts in intel warned of that possibility.

Secondly, the data from the original laptop – which they could not be certain originated from Hunter Biden – had been copied and tampered with many times – which is one of the reasons that major news outlets refused to run the story – it just couldn’t be verified.

Nor could the emails be verified. Only now have some of them been verified.

Also, just because it didn’t include Russian disinformation, doesn’t mean it didn’t include disinformation at all – or information that could be misconstrued if used out of context.

And, in case you missed it, the media made an absolutely huge story out of Hillary Clinton’s emails in 2016 and gave Donald Trump a pass on about a million and a half transgressions.

In short, there was good reason to be suspicious about a Bannon-Giuliani story from the New York Post.

In one of the more ludicrous posts in his rambling, inconsequential thread, Taibbi posits that the Democrats were being shown special deference.

His evidence of this is that individuals working at Twitter gave a lot more to Democratic candidates than Republican ones. He links to an Open Secrets page to show this, revealing that Democrats received nearly $1 million in donations from Twitter employees.

I’m not sure that Matt understands how bribery works. For the Dems to have exerted influence over Twitter in some untoward way, it would require the DNC to use its money to influence Twitter, not the other way around, you dope you.

Also, according to the same site, Joe Biden received a grand total of $196,222 from Twitter employees in 2020, which works out to – oh – about 0.02% of the approximately $1 billion he got in donations (or about 0.002% of the $8.4 billion Democrats aggregated for all candidates).

Of course, perhaps the most obvious glare in Musk and Taibbi’s “logic” is that they seem to be claiming that Joe Biden was more helped in his political career by Twitter than Donald Trump, which is of course laughable on the surface.

Trump used Twitter as his grand stage of disinformation for years, starting with his racist allegations about Barack Obama not being born in this country.

Twitter gave Donald Trump an invaluable platform to spread his lies – lies which eventually led to the deaths of January 6. And that’s the very reason for caution.

It’s clear that neither Elon nor his friend Matt truly understand the First Amendment. As I’ve noted before, it does not prevent private individuals and businesses from restricting speech.

You cannot, for instance, say whatever you please in your workplace without consequence – only certain speech is protected under those circumstances.

The First Amendment protects us from GOVERNMENT interference in our speech.

Twitter was, is, and always has been free to choose what content it promotes and what content it slows or prohibits. It’s why Elon’s stupidity is able to spread so fast now while more liberal voices are being squelched.

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https://twitter.com/SecularGent/status/1599279839369867264?s=20&t=TYrljMdkZ_WtgxfeRUsnfw

We’ll have plenty of time to review all that’s come out of Hunter Biden’s laptop now that the Republicans will spend the next two years in the House obsessed over it. Matt Taibbi and Elon Musk can watch the whole thing and munch their popcorn.

The rest of us have more important things to worry about, like whether or not Donald Trump will continue to promote violence and try to install himself as president because – in case you missed it, Mr. Musk – he called for doing that just yesterday.

Background for this story was largely taken from Andrew Rice and Olivia Nuzzi’s great piece for New York Magazine.

Ross wants to keep kicking Elon Musk in the ass. Help him by following him on Twitter (sadly enough): @RossRosenfeld

Ross Rosenfeld

is a news analysis and opinion writer whose work has also appeared in the New York Daily News and Newsweek. He lives in New York.

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