by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter last October and the subsequent reporting on the Twitter Files by journalists Matt Taibbi, Bari Weiss, and a handful of others beginning in early December is one of the most important news stories of our time. The Twitter Files story encompasses, and to a large extent connects, every major political scandal of the Trump-Biden era. Put simply, the Twitter Files reveal an unholy alliance between Big Tech and the deep state designed to throttle free speech and maintain an official narrative through censorship and propaganda. This should not just disturb us, it should also prod us to action in defense of the First Amendment, free and fair elections, and indeed our country.
After Musk completed his acquisition of Twitter, he fired a slew of useless or insubordinate employees, instituted new content moderation policies, and tried to reform a woke corporate culture that bordered (and still borders) on parody. In the process, Musk coordinated with Taibbi and Weiss on the publication of a series of stories based on internal Twitter documents related to an array of major political events going back years: the Hunter Biden laptop scandal, Twitter’s secret policy of shadow banning, President Trump’s suspension from Twitter after the January 6 U.S. Capitol riot, the co-opting of Twitter by the FBI to suppress “election disinformation” ahead of the 2020 election, Twitter’s involvement in a Pentagon overseas psy-op campaign, its silencing of dissent from the official Covid narrative, its complicity in the Russiagate hoax, and its gradual capitulation to the direct involvement of the U.S. intelligence community—with the FBI as a go-between—in content moderation.
As Taibbi has written, the Twitter Files “show the FBI acting as doorman to a vast program of social media surveillance and censorship, encompassing agencies across the federal government—from the State Department to the Pentagon to the CIA.”