Liberal pundits rushed to discredit a bombshell Twitter thread from Elon Musk and Substack journalist Matt Taibbi revealing the internal communications of Twitter employees and U.S. lawmakers surrounding the censorship of the New York Post’s Hunter Biden laptop story in 2020.
The revelations, dubbed the “Twitter Files,” were posted on the social media platform Friday night by Taibbi at the behest of Musk, who provided emails and other documents showing the inner workings of how Twitter had engaged in censorship prior to the 2020 presidential elections, including quashing the Post’s story.
Among the revelations was that Twitter staff had open channels with powerful third parties, including members of both political parties, so that they could flag tweets they deemed problematic and have them “handled.” Taibbi asserted that because there were more liberals within Twitter, requests to throttle conservative accounts were fielded more.
Most notably were the documents Taibbi unveiled showing communications among high level Twitter employees who eventually agreed to emergency moderation measures to stop the spread of the Hunter Biden story, even though many of them were worried they had little justification to employ such measures.
One revealing email depicted former Twitter head of trust and safety Yoel Roth apparently claiming that though “the facts remain unclear” on whether the New York Post story could be stifled, he encouraged staff to muzzle it in light of the “lessons of 2016.”
Though liberals on the platform did their best to downplay the information revealed in the “Files,” with several of them resorting to attempts at bullying Taibbi and Musk.
“Pod Save America” podcast co-host and former Obama White House staffer Jon Favreau slammed Musk directly: “Elon is spending the evening trying to embarrass someone who’s struggled with addiction so that he can juice engagement on the platform he bought that’s hemorrhaging money. Great guy.”
Liberal pundit Wajahat Ali took shots at Musk’s messenger, accusing him of “selling” his soul to the billionaire. Ali wrote, “Matt Taibbi…what sad, disgraceful downfall. I swear, kids, he did good work back in the day. Should be a cautionary tale for everyone. Selling your soul for the richest white nationalist on Earth. Well, he’ll eat well for the rest of his life I guess. But is it worth it?”
MSNBC host Mehdi Hasan completely sidestepped the content of Taibbi’s revelations, opting for ad hominem attacks. He tweeted, “Imagine volunteering to do online PR work for the world’s richest man on a Friday night, in service of nakedly and cynically right-wing narratives, and then pretending you’re speaking truth to power.”
He added, “Oh, and doing it at the end of the same week that richest man alive unbanned a bunch of neo-Nazis on this website. But sure, the laptop! The laptop! The laptop!”
NBC News reporter Ben Collins blasted the thread, saying that Twitter’s employees were just doing “regular” work involving the laptop story. He tweeted, “These are regular people and private citizens doing regular comms work and asking good questions. Unbelievable hack stuff here.”
Fellow NBC News reporter Brandy Zadrozny slammed one of the thread’s main arguments, tweeting, “To leap to political contributions as the reason the right was more often reported for rule breaking is just bad reasoning and really bad reporting. Good thing this guy doesn’t have an editor.”
Liberal journalist Molly Jong-Fast attempted to attack some of the revelations, specifically Musk’s claim that Twitter censored Hunter Biden’s laptop and prominent conservative accounts “under orders from the government.” Jong-Fast replied, “You know trump was president in 2020 so how is candidate biden the government?”
She also wrote, “2020 ‘government’ was president trump.”
Atlantic writer Tom Nichols claimed to find the same weak point that Jong-Fast did, tweeting, “Hi. As a certified political scientist, I can assure you that Joe Biden was not in charge of the US government in 2020. That was actually Donald Trump. Let me know if I can help with any questions.”
The Lincoln Project’s Rick Wilson produced a flippant response, tweeting, “Well, back to putting lights on Christmas trees and drinking champagne. Enjoy discussing Hunter’s d*** pics.”
Wilson also attacked Musk’s claims that if Twitter censored tweets at the Democratic Party’s request that’s a violation of the “First Amendment.” He wrote, “God, you’re embarrassing yourself on this one at scale.”
Rep. Ted Lieu, D-Calif., went after that same point, tweeting, “Dear @elonmusk: I’m in the government and I order you to stop posting stupid shit. See why your post is wrong? Twitter can do whatever it wants as a private sector company when it comes to speech. And the Biden campaign team wasn’t the government. Trump was President in 2020.
Crooked Media editor-in-chief Brian Beutler accused Musk’s revelations of being a stunt done to “settle a political score.” He tweeted, “Also: Musk has now seemingly leaked private third-party communications he inherited when he took control of Twitter, in order to settle a political score. I believe it’s the first instance of him doing the nightmare-scenario thing his critics warned he might.”
Liberal commentator Brian Tyler Cohen attempted to dismantle the thread’s entire argument, tweeting, “So Twitter was acting under orders of the government except Biden wasn’t POTUS in 2020. And it’s a First Amendment violation except Twitter can’t violate 1A as a private biz. And the takedown requests from team Biden were nudes against Twitter’s TOS. But going great otherwise!”