The New York Times is doing its best to minimize the controversy over Twitter’s squelching of conservative opinion during the Trump-COVID era, as shown by its weird coverage of a House Committee hearing on the social media platform’s biased behavior and pressure from government agencies to push the company to censor conservative speech.
In Thursday’s paper, Luke Broadwater and Kate Conger found “Five Takeaways From the House G.O.P. Hearing With Former Twitter Executives.” But they conveniently skipped over the juicy scene of Republican Rep. Nancy Mace questioning the medical expertise of Twitter executives for limiting the influence of Stanford medical professor Jay Bhattacharya for the sin of questioning COVID lockdowns, instead shaping an anecdote to portray Rep. Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez as a heroine.
From the start, it was clear the reporters were only going to talk about the bits that would interest their liberal audience: Less FBI interference, more Chrissy Teigen.
House Republicans on Wednesday summoned former Twitter executives to answer to accusations that the social media platform has tried to silence voices on the right, but the hourslong hearing yielded new revelations about how the company failed to limit hateful speech or material that could incite violence, sometimes altering its own rules to avoid doing so.
How the tables turn!
The Oversight and Accountability Committee called the hearing to investigate a decision that the company has for years admitted was a mistake: blocking an unsubstantiated New York Post article about the activities of Hunter Biden, President Biden’s son, in Ukraine before the 2020 election, in which his father was running against President Donald J. Trump.
“Unsubstantiated,” still? Didn’t the Times finally admit Hunter Biden’s infamous laptop was indeed authentic? The paper even ran a long expose in January on the Biden son’s shady foreign business dealings, including Hunter throwing his then-VP father Joe’s weight around in Ukraine.
Their first “takeaway” from the hearing was a silly Twitter spat between President Trump and model Chrissy Teigen, headlined: “Mr. Trump tried to get the model Chrissy Teigen censored for insulting him.” Yet Twitter didn’t delete Teigen’s vulgar tweet, which makes the whole anecdote a bit pointless.
Under the heading “Twitter changed internal rules to avoid limiting Mr. Trump’s tweets,” the Times relayed a nothingburger story about Twitter changing its rules to allow a mean tweet from Trump aimed at the left-wing “Squad” in Congress, giving Rep. Ocasio-Cortez room to perform a gotcha and discredit the idea of anti-conservative bias at Twitter:
“So Twitter changed their own policy after the president violated it in order to potentially accommodate his tweet?” asked Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Democrat of New York and the highest-profile member of the Squad.
“Yes,” Ms. Navaroli replied.
Ms. Ocasio-Cortez responded, “So much for bias against right wing on Twitter.”
The piece ended with sympathy for former Twitter executive Yoel Roth, who said he had to sell his home while suffering online threats.
Twitter Files journalist Matt Taibbi filled in some of the blanks on Twitter: “…we showed agencies like the FBI sent spreadsheets with thousands of names at a time. And Adam Schiff’s office asked that ALL SEARCHES of his office be blocked. But sure, Chrissy Teigen."
Writing at the UK Spectator, Ben Domenech wondered what had happened to Democratic embrace of free speech:
It fell to Republicans like Oversight Chair James Comer to make the case that the federal government and the intel community pushing Twitter behind the scenes to censor speech is kind of a big deal.