Taibbi’s Warning to NBC: Here’s Evidence Uncovering the Censorship Industrial Complex

April 3rd, 2024 6:20 PM

Independent journalist Matt Taibbi has taken on deniers of government-private partnerships against free speech in a recent Twitter Files report.

Taibbi issued the new report in response to NBC News smears accusing Taibbi, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) and X (formerly Twitter) owner Elon Musk of shutting down vital government “disinformation” efforts with a “conspiracy theory.” Despite NBC News’s claims, Taibbi provided alleged documentation which showed clear and defined partnerships between federal agencies and private entities to coordinate censorship with social media platforms. The FBI and the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Agency (CISA) were among those federal agencies.

On March 27, Taibbi wrote in his Racket News piece, “Three separate investigations took over a year to nail down the case that government agencies were improperly censoring by proxy. Forced by courts to stop, they're desperately trying for a reboot.” His expose comes soon after a CBS News’s 60 Minutes segment tried to argue that private entities did not collude with the government to censor speech. The segment included comments from government censorship proxy Kate Starbird.

Taibbi posted screenshots on X to support his case. These included evidence of the Election Integrity Partnership (EIP), with which Starbird was involved, flagging content seemingly on behalf of the government for social media to censor. A message to DHS/CISA employee Brian Scully (the sender was unspecified) expressed regret “you won’t be joining us at Twitter.” This makes sense in light of earlier 2020 emails, one of which, from Twitter’s legal executive Stacia Cardille, declared “DHS want [sic] to establish a centralized portal for reporting disinformation.” Scully, who was cited as having ties to multiple federal agencies, was apparently a key player on the subject, which specifically aimed to undermine election-related information.

The FBI was also implicated in many ways, per Taibbi, including through an email from agent Elvis Chan telling then-trust and safety head at Twitter Yoel Roth to set a date to share certain information. Roth promised, “We’ll discuss and get back to you.” In another message Taibbi shared, Roth voiced reservations about sharing information that he deemed more appropriate for a congressional investigation than an FBI request. Roth also protested the proposed DHS portal as “high-risk.” A congressional finding, Taibbi did not say from where, showed that DHS was involved with the portal behind the scenes.

There was also an FBI letter to Twitter demanding information on metrics and how the platform “limit[ed] the scope of your analysis of the domestic, scam, foreign state, official propaganda, and white supremacist actors.”

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