Media watchdog exec defends Twitter ban on Hunter laptop story

Posted 49 days ago


Twitter was right to suppress the New York Post's reporting of the contents of Hunter Biden's laptop, according to the head of a prominent media watchdog which is pressuring advertisers to rethink their adverts on Twitter when Elon Musk takes over.

Angelo Carusone, president and CEO of Media Matters for America, appeared on CSPAN's Washington Journal on Thursday to discuss the state of the country's media.

Carusone's organization is one of 26 which signed a letter to advertisers published earlier this week, warning them about the dangers of being associated with a 'cesspool of misinformation' when Musk lifts Twitter's policies on censorship.

A caller to the CSPAN show asked Carusone why there was not more investigative reporting on the content of Hunter Biden's laptop.

Carusone said that the New York Post article blocked by Twitter was journalistically unsound - despite multiple media outlets including the Washington Post now confirming its authenticity, and despite Twitter's co-founder Jack Dorsey apologizing for blocking the story.

'A lot of - even people who are deep advocates for the narrative around Hunter Biden really seem to miss the genesis,' Carusone said.

'And, for people who are not super enmeshed in the right-wing media, when people talk about that, what they are referring to is that in October of 2020 a New York Post article was published that Twitter decided you could not distribute the links to, on Twitter.

'It was consistent with their policies of leaked information that was not verified.

'The right wing went nuts about it, as evidence of a conspiracy.

'Let's just go back in time here: the genesis and the reason why is that the New York Post article did not meet any minimum editorial standards.

'They did not provide any evidence: they did not verify anything that they were reporting.'

Carusone was also asked, by the same caller, why there was not more reporting on Hunter Biden's art sales.

The 52-year-old son of the president made his gallery debut this fall, with shows in Los Angeles and New York. Some of the works were priced at $500,000.

Buyers would be kept anonymous, the White House said, to stop them seeking political influence with the Bidens.

But Walter Shaub, a former White House ethics chief, said the arrangement was "very disappointing".

Carusone agreed that there should be more reporting, but denied that there was any reason for suspicion.

'That's what journalism does,' he said.

'Boy, I hope there's not wrongdoing. It doesn't seem like there is.

'But yeah, that's what journalism should do.

'You should ask those questions - those are reasonable things to ask.

'There's no reasonable suspicion behind it, or any evidence to back that up, but that's what journalists do.

'And I think that would be a story worth investigating.'

When a Twitter user questioned Carusone's verdict, he replied that it was 'extremely good, fair and totally rational'.

He called the Twitter user an 'ideology obsessed dips***.'

Carusone's organization was founded in 2004 by David Brock - a former conservative journalist who turned liberal activist, who in 2017 was described by Politico as the 'Democrats' attack dog'.

'The Clinton enforcer, who raised tens of millions of dollars and created a far-reaching web of outside groups to push her presidential candidacy, is now training his sights on Trump,' they wrote at the time.

'Brock is rallying Democratic megadonors behind his cause and while he can be controversial at times, few bet against his efforts. His tentacles are far-reaching, including his media monitoring nonprofit Media Matters and the opposition research super PAC American Bridge.'

Media Matters for America says it is 'dedicated to comprehensively monitoring, analyzing, and correcting conservative misinformation in the U. S. media.'

They were among the signatories of the letter to major advertisers on Twitter, warning about the platform under Musk.

'Elon Musk's takeover of Twitter will further toxify our information ecosystem and be a direct threat to public safety, especially among those already most vulnerable and marginalized,' they wrote.

They warned that advertising on Twitter would see their company 'risks association with a platform amplifying hate, extremism, health misinformation, and conspiracy theorists.'

The authors continued: 'Under Musk's management, Twitter risks becoming a cesspool of misinformation, with your brand attached, polluting our information ecosystem in a time where trust in institutions and news media is already at an all-time low.

'Your ad dollars can either fund Musk's vanity project or hold him to account. We call on you to demand Musk uphold these basic standa... (Read more)