Let’s be clear: The White House has never interfered or colluded with social media companies. It’s up to tech platforms to make their own decisions, free of any interference from the government.
I mean, except for all of the other times the White House has either admitted or been caught interfering or colluding with social media. If you take those out of the equation, the White House has a totally hands-off approach.
Mind you, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre wasn’t emphasizing those other times when asked about the dismissal of Twitter legal counsel Jim Baker.
Baker was “exited” from the company (Elon Musk’s words) after the release of the so-called “Twitter Files,” which revealed the former FBI general counsel had played a significant role in suppressing the Hunter Biden laptop story in the run-up to the 2020 presidential election, according to Fox News.
Musk said he was dismissed due to his “possible role in suppression of information important to the public dialogue.”
On Friday, three days after Baker was “exited” from the social media giant, one White House reporter wondered “if anyone in the Biden administration was in touch with Baker, either regarding moderation decisions that critics call ‘political censorship’ or regarding his transparency efforts recently.”
Oh no, Jean-Pierre insisted: The White House doesn’t do those sorts of things!
Reporter asks if Biden administration worked with social media companies like Twitter to censor conservative accounts
Jean-Pierre: “It’s up to private companies to make these types of decisions. We were not involved.”pic.twitter.com/iQEFR4LOPW
— Daily Wire (@realDailyWire) December 9, 2022
“So, it’s up to private companies to make these types of decisions. We were not involved. I can say that. We were not involved,” Jean-Pierre said.
“And as I’ve said several times this week already, we’ve talked — we’ve had this conversation many times in this briefing room just the past couple of days. You know, of course, it’s up to these companies to make their own decisions about the content on their platform and to ensure content flows their on standards and — on their own standards and policies.”
Right. Don’t tell that to KJP’s predecessor as White House press secretary, Jen Psaki. In July of 2021, she stood at the very same podium Jean-Pierre was at when she denied White House interference with social media moderation decisions and expressly said the White House had very specific expectations regarding social media moderation decisions. Namely, if someone was banned from one social media platform, they ought to be banned from all of them.
PSAKI: If you’re banned on one social media platform, you should be banned on other social media platforms. pic.twitter.com/81eOCiRc68
— Townhall.com (@townhallcom) July 16, 2021
“You shouldn’t be banned from one platform and not others for providing misinformation out there,” Psaki told reporters.
To provide a bit of context, the particular bee in the Biden administration’s bonnet back in July of 2021 was COVID-19 misinformation. According to the Washington Examiner, the White House was convinced that “12 people” on social media accounted for well over 50 percent of the COVID misinformation, and it was high time that Facebook and Twitter did something about it.
Not only that, here’s what The Daily Beast reported at the time: “Psaki had revealed the day before that White House staff were tracking dangerous coronavirus misinformation with help from the surgeon general’s office and flagging problematic posts to Facebook.”
But remember: “it’s up to private companies to make these types of decisions.” The White House isn’t involved.
The same way they weren’t involved in trying to get Substack writer Alex Berenson banned from Twitter.
According to Fox News, internal communications from Twitter’s Slack account indicated that, during an April 2021 meeting between Twitter employees and White House officials, the Biden administration wanted to know why Berenson — who has challenged conventional wisdom on the public health response to COVID-19 and the efficacy of the vaccines — was still on the platform.
“They had one really tough question about why Alex Berenson hasn’t been kicked off the platform,” one employee wrote.
“They really wanted to know about Alex Berenson. [Former White House COVID adviser] Andy Slavitt suggested they had seen data viz that had showed he was the epicenter of disinfo that radiated outwards to the persuadable public,” another said.
But back then, it was just a little helping hand to make sure you didn’t get hoodwinked by disinformation. Don’t worry, ol’ Big Brother Uncle Joe was looking out for you.
Now, the “Twitter Files” have revealed this was hardly a little bit of friendly guidance — and the White House wants no part in the appearance of impropriety. So they’ve never done the exact thing they said they were doing just one year ago.
It’s not that I’m shocked, or even surprised. I’m just disappointed that this is how little they think of the American public’s collective memory.
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