Alex Constantine - February 9, 2023
By Alex Constantine
Republican lawmakers have made good on their promises to expose the subversion of speech rights by the executive branch, and "getting to the bottom" of Laptopgate.
Clown show enthusiasts had high expectations, and they weren't disappointed.
Wednesday's installment of the "Twitter Files" set out to examine how the company conspired with Democrats to delay circulation of the New York Post's investigation of Hunter Biden's laptop in the final days of campaigning for the 2020 presidential election. But witnesses testified that there was no conspiracy. However, they did reveal that Twitter took extraordinary measures to accommodate right-wing disinformation and suppress liberal tweets at the behest of elected public officials, including Donald Trump.
Critics of the committee hearings expressed doubt that any significant revelations would come from the probe, but the committee proved them wrong.
The New Republic reports that Democrat Jeremy Raskin, a ranking member of the panel, "introduced a line of questioning to former Twitter employee Anika Collier Navaroli, who explained that the company actually allowed 'a loud roar' of violence-inciting hate speech from thousands of posts. Navaroli said management did not allow employees to remove the posts that were violating incitement to violence policies."
The discussion was framed in the past-tense, but it emerged that anti-democratic foreign actors were, and still are, permitted to operate under current management:
RASKIN: Did I hear you say there were hundreds of thousands of counterfeit Twitter accounts set up by Russian propaganda and disinformation?
ROTH: That's right. Those accounts are still active on social media today.
Raskin suggested that separate hearings be scheduled to pursue this line of inquiry. Republicans, however, had little interest in covert Russian online perception management strategies, and continued to probe for meddling by leftists.
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene asked Former Twitter executive Yoel Roth about child pornography. Greene said that she was "amazed" that Roth, whose responsibilities included public safety concerns, was unwilling to remove child porn accounts. She added that she was "disgusted" by Roth's irresponsibility ... though she did acknowledge with a shrug that he had banned 44,000 peddlers of child porn from Twitter.
Time to drop the subject. She pressed on to voice her primary concern:
"You permanently banned my Twitter," she said.
Roth countered that the company had established rules against the spread of Covid-19 disinformation, and that she ignored the injunction. He explained that Rep. Greene had been warned in writing "multiple times" about tweeting pandemic lies, but she attempted to send them anyways.
"Ultimately, consistent with the written and published policy, those repeated violations resulted in permanent suspension of her account."
Democratic Rep. Daniel Goldman entered the discussion, turning the committee's attention to the New York Post's Hunter Biden laptop story.
"Um, let's talk about these so-called Twitter Files, which my Republican colleagues seem to think are God's gift to journalism." Goldman recalled that the author "says that every single fact in the New York Post was accurate."
Goldman pointed at a blow-up of the Post's front page.
"The very first paragraph says Hunter Biden introduced his father to a top executive at a Ukrainian energy firm. Less than a year before, the elder Biden pressured Ukrainian officials into firing a prosecutor who was investigating the company. That is false -- 100% false, gentlemen. Sure about that, yes, I am sure about that. And as the lead counsel on the first impeachment investigation, we proved that he was actually fired because he was not prosecuting corruption. Not that he was fired because he was prosecuting corruption. "
Jimmy Gomez, Republican chairman of the committee, interrupted to stop Goldman from addressing the Post's reporting further, but Goldman still had time due him. He was allowed to continue, and he pointed out that the prosecutor's firing was consistent with the laws of every European country.
"The prosecutor general in Ukraine was fired because he did not prosecute corruption at companies like Burisma," Goldman repeated, adding that this "has been proven over and over and over. And if you want to know who actually prosecuted Birisma's chairman, you should talk to the British authorities, because they were the ones who were prosecuting Burisma, and they couldn't get any cooperation from the prosecutor general.
"That's why he was fired. So right off at the top, the very first paragraph of this so-called 'bombshell story' is completely false."
Republicans clamored for the Twitter investigation, and they are performing an admirable service by exposing their own lies and corruption. And it is still early in the committee's investigation of Twitter "censorship" and Hunter Biden's laptop. Presumably, more revelations will come tumbling out with effortless prodding by Democrats, but it it is too early to tell if any GOP leaders will be indicted, or if the New York Post will retract its libels of Joe and Hunter Biden.