The main thing that we learned last Friday night with the release of those previously undisclosed documents from Twitter, is not that social media companies censor conservatives. Obviously, we knew that. No one's surprised to have it confirmed. No one denied it in the first place. No.
What we learned on Friday is that Big Tech works aggressively and in secret with government agencies to subvert the outcome of what the rest of us assumed were free and fair elections. During the 2020 election, Twitter did this with the help of the FBI, committing censorship on behalf of one candidate while working to hurt the other candidate. It is hard to imagine a more brazen attack on our democracy than this. This is not how our system is supposed to work. In fact, it's illegal.
What Twitter did is a violation of the First Amendment as well as of established campaign finance law. They never declared those contributions to the Biden campaign. That's a crime.
Thanks to the reporting of Matt Taibbi, who received access to these documents from Twitter's new owner, Elon Musk, we know that this happened. It's not a conspiracy theory. It's a fact. But you wouldn't know what happened if you got your news from legacy media outlets in the US. In the days since Taibbi's jaw-dropping scoops, none of them have followed up on the story. Instead, he dismissed the story is entirely normal.
Of course, the FBI was working secretly with Twitter and the Biden campaign to control your brain by limiting your access to factual information. That's how elections work. Or they're attacking Matt Taibbi personally for daring to write the story.
So the same people who spent weeks defending billionaire con artist Sam Bankman-Fried, who has as of tonight, you'll be happy to know was still in the Bahamas, unindicted. Those same people are telling you that the real criminal here is the guy who's uncovering illegal censorship in a presidential campaign. It's hard to believe they're saying that. Oh, but they are. Here's a selection:
SYMONE SANDERS: Elon Musk retweeted the "Twitter Files," a collection of documents that detail how the social media platform supposedly buried a story about a Ukrainian energy company paying money to the President's son, Hunter Biden. First of all, I just have to say that this whole thing is just ridiculous and it's not true.
MATTHEW DOWD: It was amazing to me that all of these sort of Fox News, or whoever else, jumped on this without ever fully understanding that it was basically meaningless what happened. And that actually it turned out to be a good thing.
AL SHARPTON: Musk seems fixated on a two-year old story about Hunter Biden's laptop.
ALI VELSHI: This is what we in the cable business like to call a hot take. And it reveals Elon Musk's profound ignorance of the First Amendment.
BRANDY ZADROZNY: We now know it was a really helpful thing, actually, the Twitter Files today, because we got to see how content moderation works. We got to see how when a group of people with differing political ideas and ideologies and views gets together, in the spirit of making a platform safe and healthy.
There's just so much there. Al Sharpton teaming up with the former George W. Bush aide to tell you censorship is good. The first lady saying this Ukrainian company allegedly paid Hunter Biden when there's no allegedly about it. Everyone involved has already admitted it. And then, best of all, Ali Velshi. "We in the cable business." Ali Velshi has never been in the news business. People in the news business cover the news. Propagandists censor and distort the news. And that's what you're watching there.
Thankfully, as always, their propaganda is crude and not very effective, mostly because it's so unbelievably not believable. Censorship, explains Brandy Zadrozny, like a slightly annoyed kindergarten teacher, censorship is called "content moderation." When we hide facts from you that you need in order to cast an informed vote in a presidential election that's, quote, "safe and healthy." Hiding facts from you is safe and healthy. Is there anyone who actually believes that?
Well, judging by NBC's tanking ratings, not many people actually do believe that. But they're saying it anyway. Here's Michael Steele of MSNBC, the former RNC chairman, by the way, letting you know that actually revealing the mechanics of censorship is itself an attack on free speech.
MICHAEL STEELE: Putting those things back on the platform, juxtapositioned with the argument that he's all about free speech, really undermines some of the central tenets of free speech. It is about, yes, the freedom of you to say things, but not at the harm or expense of someone else. And so when you're perpetuating lies and so forth, you're really kind of laughing in the face of this idea of what the platform he claims is supposed to be.
So any day you get to see Michael Steele misuse the words juxtaposition, obviously, it's a good day. But the payoff really was his little lecture on constitutional law, the essential tenant of free speech, Michael Steele just told you. The essential tenet is that you, as an American citizen, are never allowed to say things that other people object to. Okay, Michael Steele. If you get a chance, let us know what constitution you've been reading. The one that we have here in the US is pretty clear.
In the United States, you get to say, as an American citizen, what you believe. Period. And under no circumstances ever may the government infringe on that right. Period. Again, that's the First Amendment. And thanks to "The Twitter Files," revealed on Friday night, we know the First Amendment has been violated more profoundly than at any time in our lives. Miranda Devine of The New York Post has just reported the FBI met "weekly" with Twitter executives in the months before the 2020 election. And in those meetings, the FBI specifically warned about hack and leak operations by state actors that would involve Hunter Biden and would, "likely come out in October."
Oh. We know that because it appeared in a sworn deposition from Twitter's former chief censor, Yoel Roth, signed in 2020. It wasn't just Twitter, by the way. It was also Facebook. The FBI was holding similar meetings with Facebook, which also, not surprisingly, in fact as a direct result of those meetings, censored the Hunter Biden story. Watch.
JOE ROGAN: There was a lot of attention on Twitter during the election because of the Hunter Biden laptop story. Yeah, so you guys censored that as well?
MARK ZUCKERBERG: So we took a different path than Twitter. I mean, basically the background here is the FBI, I think basically came to us, some folks on our team. It was like, "Hey, just so you know, like you should be on high alert. There was, we thought that there was a lot of Russian propaganda in the 2016 election. We have it on notice that basically there's about to be some kind of dump that's similar to that. So just be vigilant."
So this is a stop the presses story. The FBI is the largest and most powerful domestic law enforcement agency in the world. It can't become a secret police force. If it does, this is no longer a free country and it's no better than, say, Russia under Putin. Or any authoritarian state. It is an authoritarian state, by definition, if the largest domestic law enforcement agency starts to play in domestic politics. But they are, and we know that, and no one's saying anything about it. And that's very strange.
We do know that the Twitter executive who went to those meetings, the meetings with the FBI, was a man called Yoel Roth. Now, if you think about it, it was never clear what Yoel Roth was doing at Twitter in the first place. Yoel Roth had no technical expertize of any kind, didn't know anything about hacking, foreign affairs, didn't know anything about Russia.
What does he know about? Well, Yoel Roth received a Ph.D. in the study of Grindr, the gay sex hookup app from a place called UPenn, the University of Pennsylvania, purportedly an Ivy League school you should be impressed by.
We're not making this up by the way. Grindr appears more than 800 times in his research. And UPenn, gave him a Ph.D. for that. So whatever you think of that, how did that get Yoel Roth into the position that he occupied at Twitter where he was in charge of what you were allowed to say and think. Well, the one qualification we know Yoel Roth did have is he does not believe in free speech, period. And he made that very clear in an interview last week.
KARA SWISHER: Babylon Bee, which is what got him to buy the thing I think. That's the one which was not particularly funny. The Babylon Bee's Man of the Year is Rachel Levine. Not funny.
YOEL ROTH: The targeting and the victimization of the trans community on Twitter is very real, very life-threatening and extraordinarily serious. We have seen from a number of Twitter accounts, including Libs of Tik Tok, notably, that there are orchestrated campaigns that particularly are singling out a group that is already particularly vulnerable within society. Twitter's written policies prohibit misgendering. Full stop.
It's so great. It's "life-threatening" to tell jokes. It's life-threatening. What's interesting about speech codes always and everywhere, and specifically the speech codes that Yoel Roth has devoted his life, over the past several years, to uphold is that they change constantly, and you never know when they change or on what grounds they change. They just change. And you're usually caught in the crossfire. And you're busted for saying something you didn't even know you weren't allowed to say.
Probably the greatest example of this is that Yoel Roth, himself, once attacked trans people on Twitter. He called them "trannies." Whoa. Thereby threatening their lives. Quote,"It wouldn't be a trip to New York without at least one big scary tranny." That's an actual tweet from Yoel Roth, the kind of tweet that if you wrote it, he'd call the FBI.
So now Yoel Roth has to pretend to be offended by all of this. Why? Because his purported offense, the terror he feels, gives him a pretext to censure you on behalf of the most powerful people in the world. That's how that works.
So people with the most power claim they're defending the people with the least power in order to crush you. That's exactly the way it always works. By the way, Yoel Roth has deleted his old tranny tweets. And now he's just shocked. He's just shocked by the Babylon Bee.
But it's not just Yoel Roth. Vijaya Gadde was his boss. Gadde, according to Matt Taibbi's reporting, oversaw the censorship of the New York Post's reporting on the Hunter Biden laptop. And Gadde was later rewarded for that by the Biden administration. For real.
The Biden administration appointed the person who effectively allowed Joe Biden to get elected President by censoring criticism of his business deals,in which he took money from China. She was rewarded by getting an advisory role on CISA. That would be the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency. Ever heard of it? Oh well, it has a big effect on your life. It's a division of DHS, by the way. It's the censorship arm of the federal government.
How can this even exist? Our First Amendment specifically prohibits that. Why is there no court case on this? Why are people standing by and putting up with it? We know that its reach is extensive. New documents revealed in Missouri's ongoing lawsuit against Big Tech revealed just how aggressive the censorship that CISA practices is. So effectively, they're a hotline that allows the government to pressure the Big Tech companies to censor political opposition.
On October 29, 2020, for example, an official with the Washington Secretary of State's office wrote to CISA, quote, "I wanted to flag two tweets with possible misinformation about the election." Misinformation about the election. Now, remember, misinformation is a new word. It's been around the intel world for a long time, but it's never been used in common conversation until recently.
And the distinction between misinformation and lying is that misinformation can be true. It doesn't have to be untrue to be censored. So it used to be truth is a defense. If you're telling the truth, you can say it. Not anymore. With mis and disinformation, if I don't like it, if I'm in power, I can censor you.
So one of the offending tweets that this political official in Washington state was upset about was a reference to an election dispute in Washington State's 2004 gubernatorial election, which played out in the courts. And ultimately Democrats won that court battle.
The tweet read, "Washington State in 2004 judges ignored the real count and rewarded the Democrats. Another tweet from the same account read simply, "Ballots can appear whenever from whomever." Now, you could agree or disagree with those tweets. They seem true. But in any case, they're opinions, they're a political take. And you see tweets like that all the time on Twitter because this is a free country or was.
But what happened next is shocking and it's amazing that anyone would defend it. The federal government shut down those opinions. Within minutes, CISA flagged the tweets to several DHS accounts. These are people with guns. Then CISA sent the report directly to Twitter. "Please see the report below from Washington," CISA wrote. And the tweets, of course, were censored. The government got a random Twitter user with a small following shut down because they didn't like his or her views on the 2004 election in Washington State because they criticized Democrats. The government.
This is not a close call. This is a violation of the First Amendment to the Bill of Rights, to the centerpiece of our Constitution. And it's happening constantly. States reported posts they didn't like and CISA, an arm of DHS, guys with guns, got Twitter to censor it. Kentucky's secretary of state did this all, all the time. The documents show that. So did Colorado's. In fact, Colorado reported several political parody accounts to DHS, which then alerted Twitter, and all of them were pulled off.
They were all parodies, by the way. Even if they weren't parodies, it doesn't matter. But they were, in fact, jokes. You're seeing one of them on your screen right now. "Smoke weed every day," the account's bio reads. "The official (unofficial) Twitter account of the state of Colorado."
But Twitter took the DHS complaint seriously. Why wouldn't they? And censored the accounts. Quote, "We will escalate," Twitter wrote. At the beginning of the election cycle in 2021, staffers for the Secretary of State of Arizona -- ordered by gubernatorial candidate and then-secretary of state Katie Hobbs -- also directed censorship through CISA.
"I am flagging this Twitter account for your review," wrote someone in Hobbs's account to the Center for Internet Security. CISA was later cc'd on the email. Why? Well, according to Hobbs's office, the tweets were "an attempt to further undermine confidence in the election institution in Arizona." Okay. So you're not allowed not to have confidence in elections. Really?
This is the state where the biggest county took more than a week to count the ballots. And the printers didn't work on Election Day, though they worked the day before. But you're supposed to have total confidence. In fact, you're commanded to. And if you don't have confidence, you'll be punished. The email concluded, quote, "Thank you for your consideration in reviewing this matter for action." And of course, Twitter soon censored them. "Thank you. We will escalate," Twitter replied.
For the fifth time, this isn't just offensive. This is illegal. This is a crime. A very serious crime. A crime against our democracy, not trespassing in the Capitol or gazing upon Nancy Pelosi's desk, influencing the outcome of elections. It's beyond belief. It's also very common, much more common than anyone thought.
This weekend, Elon Musk suggested that Twitter interfered abroad, too. They do it here. Why wouldn't they do it in other countries? Musk suggested they interfered in the Brazilian elections. "I'm seeing a lot of concerning tweets about the recent Brazil election," he tweeted the other day. "If those tweets are accurate, it's possible that Twitter personnel gave preference to left wing candidates." Okay.
I mean it's possible? If that happened, can you imagine the people lecturing you everyday about democracy or subverting democracy in foreign countries, in Brazil, probably in Hungary, probably in El Salvador, in any regime that they don't like. Not because those regimes pose a threat to the United States, because they just don't like the cut of their jib. So what we're learning about state interference in democratic elections all over the world has long been suspected. Now it's confirmed. And there's a lot more coming, from Matt Taibbi and others.