White House attempts to dismiss 'Twitter Files' revelations as 'old news'

 December 6, 2022

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre downplayed as "old news" the release of the so-called "Twitter Files" that exposed evidence of Twitter's coordination with political figures on censorship, with particular regard to the suppression of the Hunter Biden abandoned laptop stories in 2020, the Post Millennial reported.

Jean-Pierre also accused new Twitter owner Elon Musk of allegedly allowing for a rise in hate speech on the platform, though Musk had previously put forward evidence of his own that showed otherwise.

Twitter exposed

It was on Friday that independent liberal journalist Matt Taibbi, after being secretly granted access by Musk to Twitter's internal communications, posted a lengthy thread that detailed how Twitter had censored and suppressed the New York Post's bombshell Oct. 2020 reporting on the Hunter Biden laptop.

Taibbi's thread revealed how politicians and political organizations on both sides of the aisle, though primarily from the left and including then-candidate Joe Biden's campaign and the Democratic National Committee, had successfully leaned on the platform to silence and take down accounts and posts that they didn't like.

It was also shown how top Twitter executives knew almost immediately that their claimed violations of the "hacked materials" policy to justify the censorship of the New York Post and others was false and unsupported by the facts, but pressed forward with the partisan suppression regardless.

WH spox dismissive of revelations

Near the end of Monday's press briefing, White House press secretary Jean-Pierre was asked about the released information and whether it viewed the actions of Twitter as being appropriate or not.

"So, look, we see this as a -- an interesting or a coincidence, if I may, that he would so haphazardly -- Twitter would so haphazardly push this distraction that is a -- that is full of old news, if you think about it," Jean-Pierre replied.

"And at the same time, Twitter is facing very real and very serious questions about the rising volume of anger, hate, and antisemitism on their platform, and how they’re letting it happen," she added.

Jean-Pierre went on to say, "Look, what is happening, it’s not -- frankly, it’s not healthy. It won’t do anything to help a single American improve their lives. And so, look, this is a -- we see this as interesting, you know, coincidence. And -- and, you know, it’s a distraction."

Fact-checking the press secretary

Jean-Pierre's reference to recent media reports about an alleged rise in "anger, hate, and antisemitism" since Musk took over is debatable and had already been countered or debunked by the embattled new owner and CEO of Twitter.

The New York Times had cited partisan "researchers" as claiming that there had been a sharp increase in the number of posts on the platform that contained some form of "hate speech" that was causally linked to Musk's vows to protect free speech on Twitter.

Yet, in response to those allegations, Musk posted a chart that showed that "Hate speech impressions (# of times tweet was viewed) continue to decline, despite significant user growth!" and added, "Freedom of speech doesn’t mean freedom of reach. Negativity should & will get less reach than positivity."

In a sense, however, Jean-Pierre was correct that the "Twitter Files" released by Musk through Taibbi were "old news," in that the released information largely confirmed what many Americans had already long suspected about the overt partisan bias of the platform's top executives and staffers.

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