Elon Musk’s actions speak louder than his tweets and the latest “Twitter Files” farce with Matt Taibbi going after Hunter Biden, the Democratic Party, and Twitter moderators are an excellent case in point
SILVER SPRING—Sometimes, a picture is worth a thousand words, and I could write thousands of words on Elon’s rank hypocrisy, gaslighting, lying, extreme partisanship, and other mendacities—both before and after Twitter—but here I will let a picture do most of the talking:
The context? “China and Ukraine” was trending on Twitter yesterday. I, thinking maybe Chinese President Jinping and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky had had some sort of chat, was curious, so I clicked on the trend.
And this is what I saw:
Not about Ukraine and China, the first result (and it was not a sponsored advertisement) was a post about Twitter and the decisions it took just before the 2020 U.S. presidential election regarding suppressing content that engaged in rampant speculation about Hunter Biden and what would supposedly be revealed about him and Joe Biden and their assumed “corruption” from a then-unverified trove of content (gigabytes’ worth of) from a “laptop” (or more likely a massive data posting or postings), the parties of which had access to it were keeping access closed and were only releasing unverified bits and pieces for the clear purpose of trying to generate damage against Joe Biden’s presidential campaign and to aid Donald Trump’s reelection. There was smoke, but the idea that this was a serious fire was not accepted by multiple major media outlets (including the Fox News mogul Rupert Murdoch-owned Wall Street Journal). If you think this resembles Russian cyberwarfare and media inanity against Hillary Clinton (her e-mails!) in 2016, you would be onto something…
A lot more can be said on all this and certainly should be. But for now, it should be noted that the newly Manchild-in-Chief of Twitter, Elon Musk, was only too happy to work with writer (I would say former reporter turned polemicist) Matt Taibbi to release what the duo are calling “The Twitter Files.” Musk did not choose a mainstream journalist with respect and credibility that runs deep across the political divide; he chose Taibbi, who has a record of extreme bias, slander, and smear when it comes to both the mainstream-Democratic Party-left in the U.S. and on the very obvious reality that there is a major relationship between Team Trump and Team Russia and has been for years (however you want to describe it in any legal sense), one that had a decisive effect on the 2016 election. He and Musk amusingly claim their Twitter stunt is a real bombshell even though they are trying to rehash the same Hunter Biden stuff at issue late in the 2020 election cycle some two years later, still confusing and conflating the issues of highly speculative and likely specious reporting on Hunter’s personal information on one hand and whether or not those personal files (“the laptop”) embarrassing for Hunter Biden actually existed on the other (again, more on all this in the future).
But the bottom line here: I chose to look into a “China and Ukraine” Twitter trend, and, up at the top of the trend results, not a sponsored tweet, but at the very top of a trend on China and Ukraine was THAT story from my screenshot, a story by the Murdoch-owned New York Post (which exhibited less independence than The Wall Street Journal back in 2020 and led the Hunter Biden “laptop” story charge) about the Twitter decisions from 2020 related to the suppression of the anti-Hunter Biden campaign (even key figures at The New York Post thought that the story back in 2020 was weak and not publishable under actual, you know, journalistic standards). Nothing about Ukraine or China appear in the Tweet text or the article preview. But Elon wants you to see it, wanted me to see it, so damn what you or I actually clicked to see; Elon gets what he wants with his new toy.
On Elon Musk’s Twitter, when Elon wants to partner with a problematic “journalist” like Matt Taibbi—full of vitriol and hatred for mainstream Democrats—to do a selective hit-job on Hunter Biden and combine that with efforts to distort and reduce Twitter’s moderation efforts (from and still at a time when disinformation, violence, insurrection, and terrorism from the right dwarfs similar efforts on the left) to suit Musk’s own a partisan politics, you can be sure that Musk will twist the platform to push his own pet project into your feed even if you search for different subjects.
This is not “free speech,” nor is it “freedom;” it is the effort of a billionaire malignant narcissist (who seems want to minify and excuse the transgressions of that other less-wealthy malignant narcissist) to hijack Twitter under the banner of those slogans but for his own unstated and nefarious aims, posing as a liberator but aiming for destruction, like Bane in The Dark Knight Rises. Under such gaslighting, Musk is happy to manipulate Twitter to amplify his favorites and punish those whom he dislikes, all happening silently behind the scenes, not in any kind of transparent way regardless of the meaningless, unsupported claims of Musk’s words of Tweets. This is the truth of how Twitter is now, how it is after Musk took over with all the changes happening under his iron, merciless, take-no-prisoners rule as Twitter’s warlord.
In the past, you might see a search result that returned results that were not what you wanted (maybe searching for TED gave you both Ted Lasso and Ted Cruz and you wanted a TED Talk…). And, to be fair, Twitter has been somewhat broken since Elon sabotaged its workforce, with other nonsensical results happening when I use Twitter, but I have a very hard time believing that Musk’s preferred nonsense being force-fed to me on Twitter is accidental and not deliberate.
Having seen enough of Musk and his modus operandi, to me, this is clearly deliberate, agenda-driven manipulation stemming from the man who has made himself the absolute monarch of Twitter, without him telling us he was doing that, how, or why, while gaslighting us about transparency all the while (so who knows what tinkering might have happened between October 28—when Elon formally took over Twitter—and Election Day on November 8 to affect several close House races that came down to just a few thousand or even just hundreds of votes, that’s a whole other question that may never be answered, something that can and should be discussed later).
“Free speech” and “freedom” for Elon, but forced attendance in the court of the king for the rest of us.
Down with the monarchy. Down with the king.
See Brian’s related article from December 18, 2019, The Untold Story of the Bidens and Burisma and from December 26, 2020, The Nexus of American Right-Wing and Kremlin Disinformation Exposes Trump-Russia’s Mechanics, both of which are excerpted from Brian’s eBook described below.
© 2022 Brian E. Frydenborg all rights reserved, permission required for republication, attributed quotations welcome
Also see Brian’s eBook, A Song of Gas and Politics: How Ukraine Is at the Center of Trump-Russia, or, Ukrainegate: A “New” Phase in the Trump-Russia Saga Made from Recycled Materials, available for Amazon Kindle and Barnes & Noble Nook (preview here).
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