On Saturday night, journalist Michael Shellenberger dropped the fourth batch of what’s become known as the Twitter Files and detailed the depths in which Twitter executives in January 2021 sought to concoct a rationale to ban former President Trump from the platform following the January 6 attack on the Capitol.
But like we saw with the previous three tranches from Matt Taibbi and Bari Weiss (and an addendum from Taibbi), the major broadcast networks of ABC and NBC continued to ignore the bombshell files showing a pattern of deception, lies, and excuses from Twitter employees to censor conservatives and opposing views to the far-left Twitter workforce. CBS remained out to lunch with their total stuck at 26 seconds they gave to the first release.
The Fox News Channel remained hot on the case with at least seven shows mentioning Shellenberger’s thread on Saturday and Sunday and all five shows on Monday prior to the fifth round from Weiss.
One of those shows was Fox & Friends Sunday with co-host Pete Hegseth stating that Shellenberger’s reporting showed “how top Twitter execs relied on their own personal political bias to make major decisions about controlling content.”
Correspondent Alexandria Hoff followed with a full report that she noted was an example of “the trickle up effect when 99 percent of staff at a company leans passionately in the same political direction” could then act with little pushback to make such massive decisions like banning Trump.
Hoff read some of the key findings, such as former safety chief Yoel Roth’s penchant for convincing then-CEO Jack Dorsey to allow him to take Trump down (click “expand”):
Shellenberger writes this: “On January 7, @Jack” — meaning Dorsey — “emails employees saying he needs to remain consistent in its policies, including the right of users to return to Twitter after temporary suspension. After Roth reassures an employee that ‘people who care about this...aren’t happy with where we are.” Now, the name Ross refers to Yoel Roth, the company's former safety chief who played a critical role in suppressing the New York post reporting on Hunter Biden's laptop. Shellenberger continues: “‘Progress!’ explains a member of Roth’s Trust and Safety Team. The exchange between Roth and his colleagues makes clear that they pushed [Jack Dorsey] for greater restrictions that Twitter allows around elections.” Then, “Around 11:30 a.m.. [Pacific Time], Roth DM’s colleagues with news that he is excited to share. ‘GUESS WHAT,’ he writes. ‘Jack approved repeat offender for civic integrity.’ The new approach would create a system where five violations (‘strikes’) would result in permanent suspension.”
This new approach prompted colleagues to reach out. They were confused. Shellenberger shared: “Around noon, a confused senior executive in advertising sales sends a DM to Roth.” The “sales exec” says, “‘jack says: ‘we will permanently suspend [Trump] if our policies are violated after a 12 hour account lock’...what policies is jack talking about?’ Roth: ‘*ANY*’ policy violation.’” So, there were a lot of whims there and we are expecting a new batch to be released today. That's going to detail the interworkings, the inner dialogues that happened the following day on January 8 of 2020[sic], guys.
Hegseth said afterward that this was “an insight under the hood” of Roth wielding what “seems like a really arbitrary application of power here.”
Fill-in co-host Lisa Boothe agreed, saying Twitter’s lust for banning Trump and his supporters was reminiscent of China’s zero COVID policy: “It's controlling its citizens, about using a passport system...to dictate their movements, right? So, that's what this was about for Twitter. It wasn't to protect us. It was to censor.”
Hegseth and co-host Will Cain read a few more quotes from Shellenberger’s findings with Cain falling the policies they ditched to ban Trump merely “a costume” to allow them to stray and “do what we want when we want when we feel like we need to” (click “expand”):
CAIN: Michael Shellenberger was the journalist revealing Twitter Files for last night, here's what he tweeted, “What happens next is essential to understanding how Twitter justified banning Donald Trump.” A sales executive wrote, “are we dropping the public interest [policy] now?” To that, Yoel Roth — mentioned earlier, said “six hours later: ‘In this specific case, we’re changing our public interest approach for his account.” The long and short of it is there was never a pol — there may have been in existence of a policy but it was at best — I don't even think a guideline — it was, at best, a costume.
CAIN: A costume that actually covered up, hey, we’ll do what we want when we want when we feel like we need to.
HEGETH: Absolutely right and tweets resurfaced from 2018 where Twitter was — was defensive of the fact that you never ban a political leader of this status because —
HEGSETH: — it’s — it's public information worth hearing. That all shifted and changed. I mentioned the junior level employee who spoke up, here is Shellenberger in two tweets talking about the one dissenting voice, said this might be — this is what the one junior employee said: “This might be an unpopular opinion but one off ad hoc decisions like this that don’t appear rooted in policy are imho a slippery slope... This now appears to be a fiat by an online platform CEO with a global presence that can gatekeep speech for the entire world...” “Earlier that day, the employee wrote, ‘My concern is specifically surrounding the unarticulated logic of the decision by FB. That space fills with the idea (conspiracy theory?) that all... internet moguls... sit around like kings casually deciding what people can and cannot see.’” Shellenberger also went on to reiterate which others have as well that 99 percent of Twitter employees donated to Democrats. 99 percent, so this really was the — a — part of a very small to fit into dissenting voice.
“[I]t is about freedom. It is about freedom of speech. There's a reason why freedom of speech is a First Amendment, that guns are the Second Amendment. These are the things that keep us to be a constitutional Republic and it's all under attack,” Boothe added.
Later, Hegseth concluded the A-block with this summation of what we’ve learned from the Twitter Files: “The goal was — was silencing a political persuasion and a political opponent and then they tried to reverse engineer a rationale and a policy to do that.”
Instead of acknowledging this fourth installment, the networks had other priorities on Monday such as ABC’s Good Morning America kicking off a series called the “12 Days of Cookies,” CBS Mornings celebrated France giving out free condoms to anyone under 26, and NBC’s Today gushed over the most recent episode of Saturday Night Live.
This bias by omission of the Twitter Files dump was made possible thanks to Cadillac (on NBC’s Today), FedEx (on Monday’s GMA), and Volkswagen (on Monday’s CBS Mornings). Follow the links to see their contact information at the MRC’s Conservatives Fight Back page.