My classmate, Chicago Law Professor Charles Lipson, is justifiably indignant at the shameless partisan behavior of the Establishment Media and the Social Media giants.
[T]he Biden familyâ€™s corruption as part of th[e] entrenched system is why the social-media censorship of that story should not be seen as a separate, stand-alone scandal. It is integral to understanding how the Swampâ€™s ecosystem operations, how it defines our politics.
The operation is visible in the New York Post exposÃ© of Biden family corruption. The FBI has had those documents for months, so they should be either verified or discredited by now. Those findings, if they exist, have not leaked. If the emails are legitimate, they are bombshells. If they are false, they are worse than duds. They are a major disinformation campaign â€” an assault on our election â€” and we need to know who is behind it so we can hold them accountable.
Twitter and Facebook have prevented dissemination of the Post story on their platforms. The reason, they say, is that they have not substantiated it themselves. They decided to block all users, including members of Congress and the Presidentâ€™s press secretary, from sharing links to these published stories. Big Tech Knows Best.
Remember, this story was published by a major newspaper, a reputable one with a large circulation, subject to libel and defamation laws. Notice that the Biden presidential campaign has not denied the documents are authentic. They did deny, sort of, one item in one email, namely that VP Biden met with a Burisma executive, despite years of denying any involvement with Hunterâ€™s business dealings. The campaign issued a carefully worded statement, saying only that the vice president had not listed on his official schedule any meeting with a senior Burisma official for the day in question. Later, they acknowledged that there were long gaps in the schedule and that a meeting could have taken place. Maybe it did; maybe it didnâ€™t. We just donâ€™t know as yet. We do know, quite apart from these emails, that VP Biden met with his sonâ€™s Chinese business contacts without listing them on his â€˜official scheduleâ€™.
The New York Post has disclosed a great deal about its sourcing for these Biden stories, far more than other newspapers did when they published anonymously-sourced attacks on Trump. The social media giants didnâ€™t block those. It didnâ€™t even block discredited stories, like one from BuzzFeed that was demolished with an unprecedented public statement from Robert Muellerâ€™s Office of Special Counsel. Today, you can post links to that discredited story on Facebook or Twitter. If you are an Iranian or Chinese propaganda ministry, you can post your stories, too.
To put it bluntly: the â€˜verification standardâ€™ isnâ€™t standard and doesnâ€™t require verification unless the social-media czars say it does. It should be called the Alice in Wonderland Standard. â€˜â€œWhen I use a word,â€ Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, â€œit means just what I choose it to mean â€” neither more nor less.â€ â€œThe question is,â€ said Alice, â€œwhether you can make words mean so many different things.â€â€™ And so it is with Facebook and Twitterâ€™s â€˜verification standardâ€™.
Why did Twitter and Facebook blackout news about Hunter Biden? The obvious answer is that those companies have a dog in the fight, and they are walking behind him with a giant pooper-scooper. Itâ€™s impossible to say if they picked that dog for ideological or financial reasons. Perhaps both. Most employees favor Biden, while higher-level executives want to preserve their networks of political power and influence. Both motives point in the same direction.
Trump has framed this New York Post story and its suppression on social media by saying â€˜Biden is corruptâ€™ and â€˜Big Tech is biasedâ€™. Heâ€™s right, of course, but he should go further. Oddly, he is overlooking the very idea he has campaigned on since 2015. Biden, Burisma, Chinese banks, Twitter and Facebook are all faces of the Washington Swamp. Next week, the faces may be different, but the Swamp itself will be the same. The buyers and sellers who populate this fetid ecosystem have powerful reasons to sustain it. For some, that means taking payments from foreign oligarchs and then opening doors for them. For others, that means suppressing news about who opened the doors and why. That is exactly what Big Tech is doing now. They, like the politicians they are protecting, want to retain their power and line their pockets. In Washington, thatâ€™s the Circle of Life.