For the past two years, the corporate media have earnestly assured us that, for the first time in history, we were blessed with an immaculate election in 2020. It was, we are told, unsullied by unsavory practices once thought endemic to politics. Unaccountably, however, many voters remain uncomfortable with certain curious aspects of that election. The most recent indication of this can be found in a new Harvard CAPS/Harris poll that plumbed public opinion on the so-called Twitter Files.
According to the survey, which was conducted Dec. 14–15, “Nearly two-thirds of [registered] voters [64 percent] think that Twitter employees engaged in political censorship during the 2020 election and the shadow banning of users.” Nor was there any doubt about which candidate benefitted: “Most voters [76 percent] think James Baker’s banning of Hunter Biden’s laptop tweets was politically motivated, and a plurality [48 percent] think Twitter executives were actively helping the Biden campaign during the last election.”
James Baker is the former FBI lawyer who served as Twitter’s deputy general counsel until CEO Elon Musk fired him pursuant to his role “in suppression of information important to the public dialogue.” According to the Harvard/Harris poll, voters want Congress to take action on such suppression: “There is overwhelming support [70 percent] for new national laws protecting internet and social media users from corporate censorship.” Yet, as Madeline Osburn notes at the Federalist, the corporate media has ignored all of this:
Corporate media outlets have all but refused to cover the unfolding “Twitter Files” published by independent journalists, including Bari Weiss and Matt Taibbi, throughout the last week. According to Grabien, a news clipping and transcribing service, a search of its database finds that among the three major networks — ABC News, CBS News, and NBC News — the words “Twitter Files” have been discussed on air a collective total of one time since Dec. 2, the day Elon Musk announced the release of the first batch.
The Fourth Estate finally awakened from its stony sleep last Wednesday. Musk suspended an account called @ElonJet for posting location information about his private jet in real time. He then tweeted: “Any account doxxing real-time location info of anyone will be suspended, as it is a physical safety violation. This includes posting links to sites with real-time location info.” Several “journalists” responded by doing exactly that, whereupon Musk suspended their accounts. The resultant ululations from the corporate media were deafening.
Suddenly — after years of looking on silently while Jack Dorsey and his thought police suspended prominent researchers, physicians, scientists, a sitting president, and countless ordinary voters — the major birdcage liners, broadcast networks, and cable news outlets screamed, “Censorship!” Twitter and its new CEO were even condemned by the United Nations while the European Union threatened sanctions — I’m not kidding. For his part, Musk mocked them: “So inspiring to see the newfound love of freedom of speech by the press.”
The real problem here, of course, has nothing to do with Twitter’s suspensions (since lifted) of a few journalists to whom virtually no one pays any attention. And it certainly has nothing to do with an aversion to censorship. What has actually incurred the wrath of the media and its Beltway masters is that Musk threatens its monopoly on the “news.” It may not be able to control the public reaction if the full extent of its corruption comes out. This is why, as Jonathan Turley put it recently, Washington has declared war on Twitter:
Washington this week is in full wartime footing. No, it’s not over the Russian invasion of Ukraine or North Korean missiles or even Chinese expansionism. It is about Twitter and the threat of Elon Musk to restore free speech protections to social media.… The problem is that citizens are flocking to Twitter and signing up in record numbers. They want more, not less, free speech. The over two million new sign-ups per day represent a 66% increase over the same period last year, according to figures released by Musk.
Which brings us back to the Harvard/Harris poll. Negative media coverage notwithstanding, most voters believe that Musk is right to reinstate controversial users and that he is improving the platform: “A majority of voters [55 percent] think Trump should be allowed back on Twitter, and [61 percent] that Elon Musk’s actions are directed to clean up Twitter.” They are less sanguine about previous management: “Voters [67 percent] say the so-called Twitter Files released by Elon Musk deserve congressional and FBI investigation.”
This will be tricky because one of Twitter’s major problems is an infestation of “former” FBI agents. The New York Post reports, “More than a dozen former feds flocked to the company in the months and years prior to Elon Musk’s purchase of the social network in October.” While an investigation by the House of Representatives — probably headed by Rep. Mike Turner (R-Ohio) — is certainly called for, any useful inquiry will involve digging into the amount of influence the FBI had on the platform’s actions prior to Musk’s takeover. (READ MORE: Why Has the FBI Become So Political?)
It’s probable that the findings of an honest investigation into pre-Musk Twitter will reveal that the influence of the FBI was considerable in 2020 and, as the poll’s respondents believe, that it was meant to assist the Biden campaign. Unfortunately for the republic, it worked. At length, there will almost certainly be further revelations that rogue federal agencies and social media platforms colluded to assure Biden’s election. At the very least, it will ultimately become blindingly obvious that 2020 was by no means an immaculate election.