There was a time when the disclosure of a back channel for politically motivated censorship would have generated widespread acclaim and called for awards. This is not that time. Just ask Matt Taibbi.
No one is suggesting that the New York Post should receive a Pulitzer Prize for its long fight to prove the truth about the Hunter Biden laptop. Despite an alliance of most of the media and political establishment arrayed against it, the New York Post fought censorship and unrelenting attacks to bring this massive influence peddling operation to light. (Of course, the New York Times and Washington Post can keep Pulitzer Prizes for reporting on debunked Russian collusion claims created and pushed by the Clinton campaign).
In the case of journalist Matt Taibbi, his analysis of thousands of documents has met with the standard scorched earth campaign from liberal reporters and pundits.
As discussed in today’s Hill column, the document dump confirmed what had long been suspected: Biden and Democratic party officials succeeded in getting Twitter to block the New York Post story and suspend those who even tried to retweet or link to the story before the election.
I will not repeat the content of those emails on how Twitter “handled” demands from the Biden campaign and the DNC for censorship. Musk gave the material to Taibbi to synthesize the voluminous record. That is when the familiar media flash mob formed.
NBC Reporter Ben Collins attacked Taibbi on Twitter and said “Imagine throwing it all away to do PR work for the richest person in the world. Humiliating s***.”
New York Times contributor Wajahat Ali also attacked Taibbi:
“Matt Taibbi…what sad, disgraceful downfall. I swear, kids, he did good work back in the day. Should be a cautionary tale for everyone. Selling your soul for the richest white nationalist on Earth. Well, he’ll eat well for the rest of his life I guess. But is it worth it?”
So Taibbi’s reported downfall as a writer is due to his role in disclosing a massive censorship system operated at the direction or behest of one political party and one political family. He is “disgraceful” because he is suggesting that the media and social media companies should not have censored a story on a multimillion dollar influence peddling scheme run by the Biden family.
Taibbi is not alone in such disgrace, according to Ali. He has also attacked former New York Times writer Bari Weiss, including for her statement that she was tired of the pandemic as being somehow racist. (“It reflects America’s cruelty, right?…we have also had cruelty, White supremacy, misogyny. America says go ahead and die, but just don’t die on my lawn.”)
Of course, Ali may be right on what it takes today to be accepted as a journalist. Taibbi is now persona non grata as opposed to Ali, who is routinely invited to write for publications like the New York Times and the Daily Beast despite a litany of controversies.
In one column, Ali suggested white Republican voters would prefer to burn down their own homes then rent to a minority member and compared them to the Al Qaeda terrorists on Flight 93 . He then wrote off most of them as “lost. It’s going to be a long, ugly, violent death rattle of a death cult.”
In today’s world, the New York Times bans Sen. Tom Cotton for his view on the use of the military to quell violent protests, but publishes Ali who told people not to “waste your time reaching out to Trump voters as I did.”
“Reaching out” apparently means calling them virulent racists storming an airplane cockpit. That is the model of real journalism and commentary, not some journalist detailing a politically driven censorship system on social media.
Most critics like MSNBC host Mehdi Hasan attacked Musk or Taibbi while omitting any discussion of the details in these documents. Hasan simply declared that the full transparency ordered by Musk is just one of those “nakedly and cynically right-wing narratives . . . But sure, the laptop! The laptop! The laptop!”