During this election cycle perhaps the most vital and heavily viewed platform for political news and debate has been Twitter. Then, up next is Facebook. Founded in 2006, Twitter has 330 million monthly active users and 145 million daily active users. The billionaires in northern California who control Twitter are extremely powerful and over the past couple of months we are beginning to see them flex their muscles in a significant way as they have started choosing what the public posts and sees and what the public should not see on Twitter.
A free press is the basis of American Democracy and that is beginning to disappear. One minute we were America and the next we were China in regard to our media being controlled. With Twitter and Facebook in the lead position and their significant reach, the other national media are following along and collectively they are slanting the news in any direction they choose which for the moment is to the left. The described guardians of the First Amendment are now contributing to the destruction of the First Amendment …. free speech.
Case in point: Twitter recently suspended (shut down) the accounts of President Trump, his press secretary and his official campaign, among others, under pressure from the left. Twitter suspended these accounts due to postings concerning Joe Biden’s son and the questionable emails that were found on Hunter Biden's laptop that he left at a repair store. It is interesting to note how the current spin has been, “That was not Hunter Biden’s computer, someone from Russia planted it at the repair store under Hunter’s name.”
It’s always Russian isn’t it? But, it is interesting how the Biden family lawyer sent a letter to the repair store asking the owner to return the laptop. Perhaps the Biden family attorney was a Russian operative???
Another interesting tidbit about how Twitter and Facebook operate - they never suspended the accounts of those who constantly posted false information about Trump during the past four years. I’m not taking a political side, far from it. I’m merely pointing out the danger of today’s media and how they are controlling information which is very dangerous and should be a concern to all of us. At the moment it is the left doing this. The next time around it could be the right. Regardless, no-one should control and manipulate the press. Period.
The background on this - The New York Post published a story, "Smoking-Gun email reveals how Hunter Biden introduced Ukrainian businessman to VP dad." In the previously unreleased email, which was allegedly sent on April 17, 2015, an executive with Burisma, the Ukrainian natural gas company in which Hunter was paid, thanked him for "giving an opportunity" to meet Joe Biden, according to the Post. And, yet many in the media are choosing to not just ignore the story, but to actively encourage others to suppress any discussion of it--or ban it outright.
According to the Post, the FBI took possession of the laptop in December 2019, but not before the store owner copied the hard drive and sent it to former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, an attorney for President Donald Trump and a central figure in the Trump-Ukraine-Biden ongoing situation/conflict.
The work of investigative journalism is to ask the hard questions, delve, discover and disseminate the truth. Apparently, many in the mainstream media believe the public cannot be trusted with such a challenging article or are able to decide on their own. These "judges" have not merely shamed people for sharing it online, but also want to make it difficult for people to read the report.
“Twitter’s response to the actual article itself makes clear that these purported allegations are false and are not true,” said one Biden campaign spokesperson. Can you doublespeak?!
To that point, National Review magazine noted: "Even that fact check — which relies on Twitter’s 'partners' at the Washington Post — is simply a lie. Twitter maintains, for instance that, 'then-Vice President Biden played no role in pressuring Ukraine officials into firing the prosecutor, who also was not investigating the energy firm.' Biden is on video bragging about pressuring Ukrainian government to fire Viktor Shokin. Whether the prosecutor was investigating Burisma is still opaque — which is why it’s a good idea to let outlets hash it out. Of course, it is because the story has news value that it’s being censored. The mounting evidence that Hunter leveraged his name, and perhaps more, to make millions is pretty clear."
And, Twitter claimed it didn't want to promote hacking by allowing its platform to be used as distribution for possibly “illegally obtained materials.” Consider this: when a Daily Caller reporter offered evidence that Hunter Biden’s laptop was obtained by a repair shop legally, Twitter suspended his account, too.
Powerful gatekeepers of, and commentators on, political speech are now easily shutting down inconvenient stories while other journalists cheer it on. It’s an authoritarian and very dangerous position, no matter who does it.
According to the libertarian Reason Magazine, "Facebook Communications Director Andy Stone, a former Democratic staffer, announced that the social media platform would limit the article's distribution pending a fact-checker's review. He directed users to Facebook policy, which states that 'in many countries, including in the US, if we have signals that a piece of content is false, we temporarily reduce its distribution pending review by a third-party fact-checker.'"
This doesn't cut it for me. And, it shouldn't for you, either. In my mind, it's one thing for social media platforms like Twitter or Facebook to ban viral content that is obviously false or hateful. It's another thing altogether for these outlets to essentially make themselves the standard and guardians of what they subjectively consider real journalism, i.e., not left-leaning enough for them. It's a double standard. Pure and simple.
Twitter, Facebook, Google, et al have become too powerful. They can’t be sued because supposedly these social media forums are open to anyone who wants to make a post. But, Twitter, Facebook, Google, et al are now acting as editors and publishers. This falls under other laws that need to be used against these behemoths.
This is a serious threat to everyone in the United States, regardless of your political persuasion or choice. This ongoing censorship is affecting Trump and the right this time. The next time, it could be to the left or to any organization or business deemed "inappropriate" by the social media giants.
And, it could happen to you as well.
In fact, this has already happened to many especially those who lean conservative as their Facebook accounts have been taken down and Twitter accounts deleted for no reason given to these conservative users. The overlords just simply made the decision the content posted was "inappropriate."
Freedom of the press in the United States is slowly fading away, some would argue it has already disappeared. Objectivity in the press? That is disappearing even faster. The Silicon Valley giants must be reigned in immediately before they destroy our political system and this country in general.
Scott Coopwood is publisher of the Bolivar Bullet.