First, the “Twitter Files” lifted the lid on Big Tech bias that had been shielding President Biden and his son Hunter from deserved scrutiny. Congressional hearings provided added details of how Washington officialdom egged on the social media firm, famous for its little blue bird of free expression, to fly cover for the Biden brand. Americans deserve a full accounting.
Public testimony began Wednesday with the House Oversight and Accountability Committee’s hearing titled “Protecting Speech From Government Interference and Social Media Bias, Part 1: Twitter’s Role in Suppressing the Biden Laptop Story.” Former Twitter executives Vijaya Gadde, James Baker and Yoel Roth all testified. All were central figures in the company’s internal deliberations as Washington’s political class bombarded them with entreaties to quash awareness of Hunter’s embarrassing laptop revelations prior to the 2020 presidential election.
For Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer, Kentucky Republican, scheduled hearings illuminating the Twitter saga serve to bolster his recently filed Protecting Speech From Government Interference Act, whose purpose he described in a January statement: “To protect freedom of speech, our bill stops the federal government from pressuring social media companies to silence Americans expressing views online.”
The consequence of the censorship scheme was a near-blackout of public knowledge about the Hunter Biden laptop story, first published by the New York Post, exposing allegations of Biden family corruption. Most disturbing, Biden voters in seven swing states — sufficient in number to flip the election outcome — said in post-election polls that they would have switched their choice had they read the salacious story before casting their ballot.
Americans have Elon Musk to thank for deploying his financial power to acquire Twitter — but just as important — for revering democracy enough to unsheathe the Twitter Files and lay bare partisan infiltration of the company, led primarily by the FBI.
Successful bullying of content-moderation managers into shaping the Twitterverse to favor the Bidens has rapidly become the stuff of political legend. Seldom has free expression been trampled so thoroughly as in the devious all-hands-on-deck defense of the Biden label and its full-frontal assault on Donald Trump and Co. On Capitol Hill, the erstwhile Twitter honchos are nonetheless due an opportunity to explain their actions.
To be fair, Twitter has not been alone in folding, spindling and mutilating the First Amendment. As Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has said, the FBI whispered to the company before the 2020 election that “Russian disinformation” meant to influence voters was imminent. When the laptop story broke, Facebook instinctively censored the laptop story, thus succumbing to agency disinformation instead.
In the aftermath of monumental mischief, Americans’ attitudes toward the FBI reflect party affiliation. A recent McCourtney Institute for Democracy Poll found that while 70% of Democrats said they trust the agency “just about always” or “most of the time,” only 32% of Republicans expressed similar trust.
Big Tech-Big Government schemes to fly cover for political favorites are a disgrace to American democracy. The perverse enterprise arguably altered the course of U.S. history, and it must not be repeated.