Journalist Matt Taibbi published a 10-tweet thread Tuesday afternoon as a supplement to last Friday’s first batch of the Twitter Files, explaining its rollout was hamstrung by meddling from Twitter Deputy General Counsel, former CNN analyst, and Swamp creature Jim Baker. In conjunction with the thread, Musk said Baker was fired upon being alerted to the fact that Baker had (somehow) stuck around.
Of course, the “big three” networks of ABC, CBS, and NBC remained fully engaged in censorship denialism with zero mention on their flagship morning and evening shows of this new revelation about Twitter’s 2020 censorship of the New York Post’s reporting on Hunter Biden. On Taibbi's initial thread from December 2, the networks have similarly been out to lunch with only 26 seconds on the December 5 CBS Mornings.
In contrast, actual newscasts such as the Fox News Channel’s Special Report and NewsNation’s Early Morning and Morning in America had full stories Wednesday on this new twist.
Special Report anchor Bret Baier had it as the second story of the night: “Another story we’re following, Twitter CEO Elon Musk has fired one of his company’s top attorneys, a name that is very familiar to a lot of people when it comes to recent investigations. This comes days after the release of Twitter records concerning the Hunter Biden laptop scandal.”
Correspondent Gillian Turner had the details on the new “fallout”:
Elon Musk says Twitter’s Deputy General Counsel Jim Baker is out. “In light of concerns about Baker’s possible role in suppression of information important to the public dialogue, he was exited from Twitter today.” Baker previously served in government as the FBI’s top lawyer.
In new revelations posted last night, journalist Matt Taibbi claims Musk fire Baker because he got involved in vetting the first batch of Twitter files without knowledge of new management.
Turner added that not only had been “involved in the investigation into Trump’s alleged ties to Russia,” but “[h]e was friends with and the main contact for Michael Sussmann, a Clinton campaign attorney who pushed allegations of Trump ties to a Russian bank.”
As Turner noted, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre declined to comment (under questioning from Fox’s Jacqui Heinrich) other than to insist “it’s up to these companies to make...decisions about the content” they allow “and to ensure content follows their own standards and policies.”
Later in the show during the “All-Star Panel” block, former Special Report anchor Brit Hume called it “something to watch” and the bias by omission from the press has been proof “they never seem to learn” and “do the right thing.”
Over on NewsNation, Early Morning host Mitch Carr said “the Twitter Files saga is not over” with “new allegations of a cover-up...coming out” and correspondent Joe Khalil summarized Taibii’s thread: “He accused Baker of delaying handing over information to Taibbi for his own reporting and for seeking to leave out Twitter upper management when staff was vetting which files to make public”.
Morning in America host Adrienne Bankert had Khalil back for each of her show’s three hours to cover the Twitter Files. In the first hour, Bankert said in the lead-in that “[t]here’s new fallout at Twitter over documents reportedly showing company officials making biased decisions benefitting Democrats. Elon Musk has fired one of the company’s top lawyers because of this scandal.”
Khalil continued (click “expand”):
Now, for everybody’s background here, the Twitter Files are a series of internal e-mails and documents showing how the social media company came to the decision to suppress a New York Post story about Hunter Biden's laptop in 2020, which detailed how Hunter used his family name to make money in Ukraine and China while his father was vice president. It also contains a pretty graphic details about hunters drug use and his private life, including some nude photos even.
So, this attorney here, Baker, himself once worked as general counsel for the FBI and was part of the team that investigated the Trump campaign for its potential ties to Russia. So, for that reason, you've got a lot of conservative media figures and a handful of Republicans in Congress drawing the conclusion that the FBI had a more direct hand in Twitter's decision to suppress the Hunter Biden laptop story in 2020. So far, we should mention, there is no concrete evidence for that.
Instead of covering this, the networks spent 28 minutes and six seconds (excluding teases) between Wednesday morning and Thursday morning obsessing over the former U.K. royals and narcissists Harry and Meghan’s new Netflix documentary.
To see the relevant Fox transcript from December 7, click “expand.”
FNC’s Special Report with Bret Baier
December 7, 2022
6:03 p.m. Eastern
[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Twitter Document Drama]
[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Twitter Files; Musk Fires Top Lawyer for “Suppression of Information”]
BRET BAIER: Another story we’re following, Twitter CEO Elon Musk has fired one of his company’s top attorneys, a name that is very familiar to a lot of people when it comes to recent investigations. This comes days after the release of Twitter records concerning the Hunter Biden laptop scandal. Correspondent Gillian Turner has details tonight. Good evening, Gillian.
GILLIAN TURNER,: Good evening to you, Bret. There’s more fallout tonight in the so called Twittergate scandal. New revelations from a reporter given access to internal company e-mails have resulted in one of Twitter’s top execs being fired. Lawmakers now have fresh accusations of censorship and collusion. Elon Musk says Twitter’s Deputy General Counsel Jim Baker is out. “In light of concerns about Baker’s possible role in suppression of information important to the public dialogue, he was exited from Twitter today.” Baker previously served in government as the FBI’s top lawyer.
CONGRESSMAN JIM JORDAN (R-OH) [on FNC’s Fox & Friends, 12/07/22]: Of course he goes to Twitter, and he’s the counsel who’s making the decision. Oh, it’s reasonable to assume that the Hunter Biden story that that’s a hack and leak operation from the Russians.
TURNER: At the FBI, Baker was involved in the investigation into Trump’s alleged ties to Russia. He was friends with and the main contact for Michael Sussmann. A Clinton campaign attorney who pushed allegations of Trump ties to a Russian bank. Sussmann was brought to trial by Special Counsel John Durham for lying to the FBI and ultimately acquitted. Once at Twitter, Republicans allege Baker helped block reports about Hunter Biden’s laptop just weeks before the 2020 election.
CONGRESSMAN GREG STEUBE (R-FL) [on FNC’s Fox & Friends First, 12/07/22]: The Biden campaign before the election was colluding and conspiring the social media companies to censor the Hunter Biden story. And people like James Baker who are working there were actually doing their bidding at these companies.
TURNER: In new revelations posted last night, journalist Matt Taibbi claims Musk fire Baker because he got involved in vetting the first batch of Twitter files without knowledge of new management. House Republicans say they’re concerned about the larger implications at stake.
CONGRESSMAN MIKE WALTZ (R-FL): My big concern is this is continuing to devastate the credibility of our national security institutions of the FBI, of the intelligence community.
TURNER Well, the White House today declined to comment on Biden campaign communications with Twitter. But Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre says it is up to the platforms themselves to determine their own policies about regulating content. We’ve also reached out to Jim Baker for comment, have not heard back as of yet, Bret.
BAIER: Gillian, thank you, more on this with the panel.
6:53 p.m. Eastern
[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Twitter Tales; White House Responds to Musk Story]
KARINE JEAN-PIERRE: I can’t speak to decisions made by the campaign. It’s up to these companies to make their own decisions about the content on their platforms and to ensure content follows their own standards and policies.
JORDAN: This just shows big tech, big media, big government working together to keep information from we, the people. That’s the problem.
WALTZ: This is continuing to devastate the credibility of our national security institutions, of the FBI, of the intelligence community.
BAIER: This Twitter story continues to get more strange. Now the chief counsel, the lawyer for Twitter, has been fired. Elon Musk tweeting out, “In light of concerns about Baker’s,” James Baker’s, “possible role in suppression of information important to the public dialogue, he was exited from Twitter today.” Who is James Baker? Well, a New York Post column by Jonathan Turley, “It now appears that most of the figures and institutions involved in Russian collusion claims are within six degrees of James Baker. Not only did Baker work closely with fired FBI Director James Comey and other key figures at the Justice Department, but he was an acquaintance of key Clinton figures like Sussmann, who pushed the false collusion allegations. He was also hired by Brookings Institution, which also had a curious Bacon-like role in the origins and development of the false Russian collusion allegations.” Back with the panel. Brit, we’ll talk about the substance here in a second. But the coverage of this is really bizarre. The media covered the former president’s statements about the Twitter file release and the controversial statement of suspension of the Constitution because he feels like the election was a fraud, and all the reaction to that. But they didn’t cover the substance of what’s coming out throughout all of these releases. It’s really quite something to watch.
[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Twitter Troubles; Musk Fires Company Lawyer for “Information Suppression”]
BRIT HUME: Yes, I agree with that, Bret. It is something to watch. And it’s typically of our modern mainstream media today that this is how they behave. When the Hunter Biden laptop story broke in the New York Post there was really no reason to believe it was anything other than on the up- and-up, as it turned out, indeed, it was. Mainstream media outlets by the bushel refused to touch it. Twitter shut it down on their site in what they would later acknowledge was a mistake. But then comes the revelations about what went into the decision to shut it down. They are not covering that either. So, you would think that they would think that people would notice. And I guess some people do. But in this atmosphere, they never seem to learn, they never seem to do the right thing because they do the wrong thing over and over.
BAIER: Byron, we can all argue about what it would have meant to the 2020 election had the Hunter Biden story been allowed to flourish and been covered by mainstream media and go back and relive that moment. And we can all say that the controversial comments by the former president obviously ignited all kinds of even Republican and Trump supporter reaction to them. But the fact that James Baker is a central figure here in all of these things, as Jonathan Turley pointed out, is, number one, fascinating and, number two, troubling on some level, right?
BYRON YORK: It is. And what’s amazing about this is the quickness with which this Hunter Biden story, the Hunter Biden Twitter story, is becoming an FBI story. And it’s not just in the disclosures that are coming from Elon Musk. In a completely separate case, a man named Yoel Roth who was Twitter’s chief censor, actually made a legal declaration saying that he had met with FBI officials and other national security officials weekly in the run-up to the 2020 election, and that they warned him about the possible dump of foreign disinformation that might target Hunter Biden. So, New York Post publishes an entirely legitimate story about Hunter Biden, and Twitter goes, wow, that must be what they talked about, and censors the story. Now, we have learned already that a lot of the officials at Twitter back then were very eager to censor viewpoints that they did not agree with. On the other hand, they didn’t come up with this warning saying about you might get disinformation and it might target Hunter Biden. That came from the FBI. And we need to learn a lot more about this connection. James Baker is kind of a physical manifestation of a connection between Twitter and the FBI.
BAIER: There’s a lot to talk about here, and we will talk more about it. James Baker is the deputy general counsel for Twitter and is alleged to have gone through some of the release just the other night, Leslie. But, there are many good men and women at the FBI, but the leadership there and the tie to all of this is very bizarre.
LESLIE MARSHALL: It is bizarre. And the media should have covered it then and the media should cover it now. But here is something I want covered. Former Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey said what I was thinking. Release it all. You want full transparency, Elon Musk. Let all of us see and decide for ourselves, because if you are only releasing snippets and edited versions, then we don’t know the whole story, and everyone deserves to know the whole story and the truth.
[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Musk Takeover; Former CEO: Make Everything Public Now]
BAIER: Yeah. Jack Dorsey could have done that, too, when he was CEO.
MARSHALL: Yeah, true.
BAIER: But you’re right.