A guest post by writer and author Patrice Johnson
Election manipulation. Silencing free speech. Inventing lies from thin air—Each new release of the Twitter Files stacks up another block of evidence of government-corporate collaboration at the expense of our free society. Meanwhile, mainstream media is eager to report anything other than the biggest story of the decade and, quite possibly, the most pivotal information affecting this nation’s future. So, why the cone of silence?
“For years, media figures have denied Twitter was engaging in censorship, blacklisting, shadow-banning and other techniques targeting conservatives. The release of the files has shattered those denials.” —Jonathan Turley, Dec. 21, 2022
The Twitter Files, voluntarily released at the discretion of the company’s new owner Elon Musk, are exposing unholy alliances between the U.S. government and media giants. In addition to revealing an utter, elitist disregard for the rule of law, Twitter’s back-channel documents unveil a coordinated and far-reaching government operation designed to use tech giants as government surrogates to quash U.S. citizens’ constitutional right to free speech.
Since the government is legally prohibited from controlling the flow of public information, it pressured tech and media giants to do its dirty work. Twitter and apparently other social media companies, including Facebook, became willing partners in the executive branch’s massive propaganda machine.
If true—and no one is questioning the Twitter Files’ authenticity—the FBI, Department of Homeland Security, and other federal agencies pressured social media giants to engage in mind-control operations on the scale of George Orwell’s 1984.
In addition to suppressing the Hunter Biden story and sheltering father Joe Biden’s 2020 bid for the presidency, this government-corporate alliance focused on feeding the unwitting public only government-approved information in the following targeted areas: “The origins of the COVID-19 pandemic and the efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines, racial justice, U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, and the nature of U.S. support to Ukraine.”
At stake: The heart of this nation and its people
Participant individuals could be sued. As an example, James Baker, Twitter’s general counsel and a former DOJ official in the Bush administration screened the first release of the Twitter Files without consulting Musk. Musk fired him.
More sweeping changes could occur if the Twitter Files were to spark a congressional investigation. In 1953, the FBI’s abuse of power spawned a Hoover Commission whose ongoing investigation spanned the Truman and Eisenhower administrations. In 1976 the Church Committee further attempted (apparently unsuccessfully) to restructure the federal government and its intelligence agencies in order to stop their metastasizing into King-Kong-like power mongers.
Attorneys General Erick Schmitt of Missouri and Jeff Landry of Louisiana filed a federal lawsuit on May 5, 2022, against Joe Biden, Anthony Fauci, and others. The suit describes the issues as posing an existential peril to the republic:
In 1783, George Washington warned that “if the Freedom of Speech may be taken away,” then, “dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep, to Slaughter.” George Washington Address to the Officers of the Army (March 15, 1783). The freedom of speech in the United States now faces is one of the greatest assaults by federal government officials in the Nation’s history.
1. A private entity violates the First Amendment “if the government coerces or induces it to take action the government itself would not be permitted to do, such as censure expression of a lawful viewpoint.” Biden v Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia Univ., 141 S. Ct. 1220, 1226 (2021) (Thomas, J., concurring.) “The government cannot accomplish through threats of adverse government action what the Constitution prohibits it from doing directly.” Id.
2. That is exactly what has occurred over the past several years, beginning with the express and implied threats from government officials and culminating in the Biden Administration’s open and explicit censorship programs. Having threatened and cajoled social media platforms for years to censor viewpoints in speakers disfavored by the Left, senior officials in the Executive Branch have moved into a phase of open collusion with social media companies to suppress disfavored speakers, viewpoints, and content on social media platforms under the Orwellian guise of halting so-called “disinformation,” “misinformation,” and “malinformation.”
The case is progressing through the court system with almost no media coverage.
Tactics: Omit, ignore, discredit
A Dec. 21 search of CNN produced one article, Elon Musk says he will step down as Twitter CEO — once he finds a replacement. Other than the obvious handclap at Musk’s intention to step down, the Leftist news outlet wasted no ink on Twitter’s breakthrough exposure of heretofore secret government-corporate collusion.
On the same day, the New York Times’ top headline read, House Committee Approves Release of Trump’s Taxes. Conspicuous in its absence was any news about Twitter’s buckling under pressure from federal agencies running an illegal (or in legal parlance, legally unauthorized ) influence campaign on U.S. citizens who dared challenge the deep state’s chosen leaders or their actions.
The Times NYT.com published one article on Dec. 4 regarding the content of the “so-called Twitter Files.” The writer minimized the value of the information by tarnishing the independent reporter who covered the story. Matt Taibbi, the article said, was a “polarizing figure in journalism circles.”
When it came to the deep state’s silencing of scientists who questioned COVID-19 protocols and lockdowns, Facebook affixed a “Missing Context” label to Johns Hopkins surgeon Marty Makary’s Wall Street Journal op-ed. Facebook, Twitter, and other social-media companies promptly removed other posts after the White House called them out.
The Biden administration never denied the authenticity of the contents of Hunter Biden’s laptop. Social-media companies reported to the FBI that they had found no evidence of Russian hacking or planting information. Nevertheless, FBI agents and their willing accomplices fabricated a story of suspected Russian interference in order to stymie the circulation of the New York Post’s investigation into the laptop. Voter surveys suggest the tamping down of the laptop story swung the 2020 presidential election to Joe Biden.
The government’s influence on social media reached so deep that Twitter and Facebook set up portals to allow federal agents ready access to flag posts and identify troublesome posters.
Emails show numerous instances of Facebook officials refusing to go forward on censoring a COVID-19 claim until they gained input from the administration’s “debunking team.”
If the FBI felt Twitter or others was slow to comply with their requests to remove, the social-media censors received “reminders” from the glowering 500-pound Fed-gorilla in the room.
Resistance was futile
At one point, Facebook must have resisted. On July 16, 2021, President Joe Biden publicly accused the company of “killing people” because the company had not taken down misinformation about COVID-19 vaccines.
Facebook’s parent company, Meta, interceded:
“Reaching out after what has transpired … and culminating today in the President’s remarks about us,” wrote the Meta executive. “I know our teams met today to better understand the scope of what the White House expects from us on misinformation going forward.”
The same Meta executive texted later that day. “It’s not great to be accused of killing people.” He added he was “keen to find a way to de-escalate and work together collaboratively.”
“Deescalate” and “collaborate” became the modus operandi. Later in the week, the Meta executive wrote to a Department of Health and Human Services official and discussed changing company policies and removing several objectionable pages, groups, and accounts spreading what the administration had identified as misinformation.
Extortion by any other name
“Platforms have got to get comfortable with gov’t. It’s really interesting how hesitant they remain,” Microsoft executive Matt Masterson, a former DHS official, texted Jen Easterly, a DHS director, in February.
Perhaps Mr. Masterson should look up the word extortion. According to Merriam-Webster, to extort is “to obtain from a person by force, intimidation, or undue or illegal power.”
Masterson would do well to consider that the platforms have every right to resist. Extortion is illegal. The U.S. Constitution was designed to protect We the People from having an elitist totalitarian boot pressed to their necks.
The good news
Musk’s release of the Twitter Files is bound to unleash a cascade of repercussions. It’s reasonable to expect lawsuits and possibly Congressional hearings. Good chance there will be committees. With luck, these files will stimulate the resurrection of a Hoover-like Commission.
When Musk said he was buying Twitter for “the future of Civilization,” he was hardly joking. Nor was he exaggerating. The importance of Twitter Files cannot be overstated. Without Musk’s purchase of Twitter and his unwavering resolve to expose the hidden truth, these inherent infringements on We the People’s inalienable rights may never have come to light.