Discover more from Trends Journal
Twitter Files: Confusion, Political Influence Ran Rampant During Hunter Biden Laptop Saga
Hunter Biden laptop story takes center stage
NOTE TO READERS: Each week, The Trends Journal magazine provides its subscribers with news analysis and trend forecasts without any corporate influence. We answer only to our subscribers. Please consider signing up here.
Matt Taibbi, the journalist, got access to internal memos at Twitter during the height of the Hunter Biden laptop saga.
Background: The New York Post came into possession of the laptop that once belonged to then-candidate Joe Biden’s troubled son Hunter.
The laptop’s content would have been devastating to the Biden campaign because it reportedly showed pornographic images, drug use, and showed Hunter using his father’s name to land sweetheart business deals in Ukraine and China.
The Biden campaign refused to confirm the existence of the laptop and did not explain anything. The campaign didn’t have to because it had its minions in the media covering for them.
The story was published by the New York Post at a crucial time during the campaign —in October 2020—and some Donald Trump supporters believe the report’s banishment at the time was part of a concerted effort to elect Biden.
The New York Post, citing invoices on Hunter’s abandoned laptop, reported that Burisma Energy in Ukraine, paid the Biden boy $1 million a year while his father was vice president.
The highly anticipated thread noted that Twitter went with a “hacked materials” ruling, but Taibbi said the problem with that angle was that it “normally required an official/law enforcement finding of a hack. But such a finding never appears throughout what one executive describes as a ‘whirlwind’ 24-hour, company-wide mess.”
Taibbi noted that The Post released the story on 14 October 2020, which prompted Twitter to take “extraordinary steps to suppress the story, removing links and posting warnings that it may be “unsafe.” They even blocked its transmission via direct message, a tool hitherto reserved for extreme cases, e.g. child pornography,” he posted.
Rep. Ro Khanna, D-Calif., made an effort to contact Vijaya Gadde, the former head of legal, policy, and trust at Twitter.
Taibbi noted that Khanna gently suggested that Gadde “hop on the phone to talk about the ‘backlash re speech.’ Taibbi wrote, “Khanna was the only Democratic official I could find in the files who expressed concern.”
“A journalist should not be held accountable for the illegal actions of the source unless they actively aided the hack,” Khanna wrote. “So to restrict the distribution of that material, especially regarding a presidential candidate, seems not in the keeping of the principles of NYT v Sullivan.”
Taibbi wrote that Twitter’s head of public polucy, Lauren Culbertson, received a “ghastly letter/report from Carl Szabo of the research firm NetChoice, which had already polled 12 members of congress – 9 Rs and 3 Democrats, from “the House Judiciary Committee to Rep. Judy Chu’s office.”
He wrote: NetChoice lets Twitter know a “blood bath” awaits in upcoming Hill hearings, with members saying it's a "tipping point," complaining tech has “grown so big that they can’t even regulate themselves, so government may need to intervene.”
Szabo reports to Twitter that some Hill figures are characterizing the laptop story as “tech’s Access Hollywood moment.”
NetChoice did not immediately respond to an email from The Trends Journal.
Taibbi wrote that decision were made at the highest level of Twitter, but without the knowledge of CEO Jack Dorsey, with former head of legal, policy and trust Vijaya Gadde playing a key role.
“They just freelanced it,” is how one former employee characterized the decision. “Hacking was the excuse, but within a few hours, pretty much everyone realized that wasn’t going to hold. But no one had the guts to reverse it.”
Szabo told Twitter that some Hill figures are characterizing the laptop story as “tech’s Access Hollywood moment,” Taibbi wrote.