Emails that claim to show Hunter Biden introduced his father to a Burisma Holdings executive have been consigned to the digital memory hole. The electronic documents undercut Joe Biden’s statements that he had nothing to do with his son’s business dealings. From social media companies refusing to accept links to the story and throttling traffic, to the regular press engaging in an all-out effort to provide spin and cover, it would be fair to say that there is a media pushback against the new information.
In what could be one of the most explosive events of the campaign season, internet users are having to dig deep to find out the details on the New York Post scoop. It appears the days of impartiality are officially over.
The president sought his own method of fighting back at the quasi-censorship, tweeting:
“So terrible that Facebook and Twitter took down the story of “Smoking Gun” emails related to Sleepy Joe Biden and his son, Hunter, in the @NYPost. It is only the beginning for them. There is nothing worse than a corrupt politician. REPEAL SECTION 230!!!”
Social Media Biteback
Facebook spokesman Andy Stone verified that this was not merely a suspicion by admitting that, “While I will intentionally not link to the New York Post, I want be clear that this story is eligible to be fact checked by Facebook’s third-party fact checking partners … in the meantime, we are reducing its distribution on our platform.”
Twitter’s reasons for throttling the content refer back to its 2018 rule change on “hacked material,” which states that the company doesn’t “permit the use of our services to directly distribute content obtained through hacking that contains private information, may put people in physical harm or danger, or contains trade secrets.” Yet the laptop from which the information was garnered was not hacked. Rather, it was abandoned at a computer store with the bill not paid. This makes a compelling case for the transfer of ownership.
Later in the day, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey sought to change tack by explaining that the decision to ban the information without explanation was “unacceptable,” but clarifying that they had done so because the data contained personal information. This personal information could have been either email addresses or pictures which apparently show Hunter Biden in various embarrassing situations including passed out with a crack pipe.
With all the leaked “bombshells” that have bubbled their way to the surface over the last four years, the social media giants did not treat them as “hacked material” or of dubious origin; Silicon Valley let them fly and allowed the public to make its own determination. Not so with anything that could be damaging to the Biden campaign, however.
These emails are being treated as Kryptonite to their chosen candidate.
Where was the swift shutdown reaction to the Steele Dossier that has been proven by the intelligence agencies to be little more than a fabrication funded by the Clinton campaign? Numerous leaks and partial documents have been circulated throughout social media that purport to be genuine yet are not throttled. Perhaps this is because of the target in question.
Any credibility that the behemoths of the digital age may have had has been squandered with this protectionist play. When the president calls to repeal Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, it is this kind of behavior he appears to have in mind. Twitter, Facebook, and any other private company has the absolute right to run their businesses as they see fit, but the protections afforded to them come with responsibilities. If they wish to avail themselves of these protections, then they have to play by the rules.
A Time for Transparency
Could these emails and photos be fraudulent? Absolutely. Is it the role of social media companies who enjoy the protections of Section 230, and are therefore not legally considered publishers, to be the arbiters of whether the data trove is genuine? Absolutely not.
The Biden campaign – after swiftly calling yet another lid day – did its best to extricate the former VP from the situation. Spokesman Andrew Bates responded to the story:
“Investigations by the press, during impeachment, and even by two Republican-led Senate committees whose work was decried as ‘not legitimate’ and political by a GOP colleague have all reached the same conclusion: that Joe Biden carried out official U.S. policy toward Ukraine and engaged in no wrongdoing. Trump Administration officials have attested to these facts under oath.
The New York Post never asked the Biden campaign about the critical elements of this story … They certainly never raised that Rudy Giuliani — whose discredited conspiracy theories and alliance with figures connected to Russian intelligence have been widely reported — claimed to have such materials.
Moreover, we have reviewed Joe Biden’s official schedules from the time and no meeting, as alleged by the New York Post, ever took place.”
Interestingly, neither Joe Biden nor his campaign have yet to claim that the emails and images are fakes.
Numerous media outlets have followed suit, writing that the information released is unverified and therefore suspicious. It is notable that at the time of publishing, no major news organization appears to have contacted Hunter Biden directly to ask him. The Fourth Estate fellows do, however, list surprisingly similar reasons why the emails may be fraudulent:
- The man who presented the information is a Trump supporter.
- A copy of the information was handed to a defense lawyer connected to Rudy Giuliani before being given to the FBI.
Some would argue that these reasons are not overly convincing.
It appears that the regular media and social media are operating in concert to limit the American public’s access to the information. Whether by running stories that focus on debunking the claims (CNBC, Business Insider), or just plain ignoring the story entirely (CNN), the Fourth estate in all its forms is doing the American people a disservice by not allowing them to make up their own minds about the honesty and integrity of the potential next president.
You can read the emails in full right here on Liberty Nation.
Read more from Mark Angelides.