Twitter sleuth and independent journalist Matt Taibbi blasted Big Media for ignoring the social media platform’s collaboration with government officials to silence Americans, but noted it finally made headlines when a clash between former President Trump and a left-wing celebrity surfaced.
Taibbi, the former Rolling Stone writer and one of a handful of journalists new Twitter owner Elon Musk has enlisted to air the platform’s secret censorship, said his findings “produced exactly zilch in mainstream news coverage in the last two months.” But hearings before the Republican-controlled House Oversight Committee earlier this month revealed that Trump had sought to have a tweet posted by Chrissy Teigen removed, which finally generated coverage.
“Purely to show the bankruptcy of media in this area, let’s introduce a pair of loud new data points, and see if any press figures at all cover either of them,” Taibbi wrote in his latest Twitter Files thread. “If a president freaking out about one tweeter is news, surely a U.S. Senator finking on three hundred-plus of his constituents also must be?”
TWITTER FILES #16
Comic Interlude: A Media Experiment pic.twitter.com/Knp0UjfaMp
— Matt Taibbi (@mtaibbi) February 19, 2023
Taibbi proceeded to reveal that Maine Sen. Angus King, an Independent who votes with the Democrats, sought to silence accounts critical of him by warning Twitter moderators they were “suspicious.” But Taibbi noted that King’s evidence the accounts should be taken down involved such mundane reasons as “Rand Paul visit excitement,” “Bot (averages 20 tweets a day),” being followed by King’s rival Eric Brakey, and one that merely “mentions immigration.”
“If Dick Nixon sniffed glue, this is what his enemies list might have looked like,” quipped Taibbi.
The 2019 request from the Trump White House came after Trump tweeted about “boring” musician John Legend and his “filthy-mouthed” wife, Teigen. Teigen responded with a crude reply referencing Trump’s infamous “Access Hollywood” tape.
Although the White House asked Twitter to take down Teigen’s tweet, the platform did not.
Taibbi also cited State Department official Mark Lenzi, who wrote Twitter on official letterhead to demand that 14 accounts that were skeptical of the Trump-Russia collusion claims that Special Counsel Robert Mueller later determined were groundless.
“The below are some Russian controlled accounts that I think you will want to look into and delete,” Lenzi wrote.
Taibbi, whose prior Twitter Files reports have shown Rep. Adam Schiff, (D-CA), frequently sought to have tweets he disagreed with taken down, said the press is interested in angles with a celebrity component but misses the larger point of systematic violation of American citizens’ First Amendment rights.
“The fact that mainstream outlets ignored the Schiff story but howled about Teigen shows what they’re about,” Taibbi wrote. “Responses like this are designed to keep blue-leaning audiences especially focused on moronic partisan spats, obscuring bigger picture narratives.”