My appearance on Sinclair’s The National File: “When you stifle one part of the debate, you don’t really have a debate and that’s not what we’re supposed to be about as a society. The media is supposed to be a check on the government. It’s supposed to expose the government, not be a tool of the government.”
“Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean people aren’t out to get you.”
That phrase, or variations on it, came to mind when I was interviewed by Sinclair Broadcasting, which owns or operates over one hundred local TV stations, for which it provides content. So a segment may run on dozens of local stations, with the presentation on air by local anchors the same. Sinclair’s The National Desk reached out to me for comment on the the #Twitterfiles, particularly the latest release related to Covid.
Here is an excerpt from the story as run on CBS Austin, but clearly attributted to reporter Kayla Gaskins at The National Desk, New Twitter Files show White House pushed for censorship of dissenting voices on COVID:
The White House and COVID-19 management are at the center of another batch of Twitter’s internal company documents. Journalist David Zweig released the documents Monday in the same style as the previous document dumps: through a Twitter thread.
The tweets show pressure from the White House on Twitter to control dissenting viewpoints on the pandemic.
Google, Facebook and Microsoft were also reportedly targeted by top government officials to censor dissent.
“This sheds a dramatic light on things that perhaps we suspected were going on but now we know were going on,” said William Jacobson, a professor at Cornell Law School.
According to Zweig, attempts to control pandemic-related online content began with the Trump White House’s attempts to mitigate panic buying. The pressure continued when President Joe Biden took office with the focus shifting to suppressing “anti-vaxxers.”
“These were political issues that they were intervening on and they were preventing the debate from taking place on the single most influential platform for political discussion, which is Twitter,” Jacobson said….
In the thread, Zweig tweeted that “the United States government pressured Twitter and other social media platforms to elevate certain content and suppress other content about COVID-19.” …
“When you stifle one part of the debate, you don’t really have a debate and that’s not what we’re supposed to be about as a society,” Jacobson pointed out. “The media is supposed to be a check on the government. It’s supposed to expose the government, not be a tool of the government.”
There’s a meme running in various forms on Twitter, it goes something like this:
“What’s the difference between a conspiracy theory and proven fact? About 6 months.”
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