Elon Musk’s Twitter Sunshine Plan Has the Left on Edge
The left, after all, did in darkness what they fear to do in the light.
Leftists angry at Elon Musk for vowing greater transparency about Twitter’s past censorship decisions are holding their collective breath as Twitter’s new proprietor teases the release of internal documents, ones anticipated to show how Democratic operatives colluded with the platform to squash news and voices with which they disagreed.
On Monday, Mr. Musk shot off the tweet heard ‘round the world, echoing the statement of Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis that “sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants.” The message read, “The Twitter Files on free speech suppression soon to be published on Twitter itself. The public deserves to know what really happened.”
Those 112 characters sent shivers down what passes for the spine of the establishment. The message reflects what the framers of the Constitution meant for citizens to do with the rights our founding documents recognized as inalienable. As Mr. Musk said in a subsequent tweet, “If free speech is lost even in America, tyranny is all that lies ahead.”
Examples of conservatives finding their accounts locked or their reach throttled through so-called shadow banning abound. The marquee story is Twitter squashing the New York Post’s exposé of Hunter Biden’s abandoned laptop, a move that struck a chord with all Americans concerned about a free press.
The story centered on how, in April 2019, the president’s son dropped his laptop off at John Paul Mac Isaac’s repair shop at Wilmington, Delaware. Under the service agreement that the younger Mr. Biden signed, the device became the shop’s property when it wasn’t collected after 90 days.
This proves a chain of custody. Plus, after the 90-day window closed, a lawyer for the younger Mr. Biden — according to President Trump’s lawyer, Mayor Giuliani — called the shop and asked if he could get his client’s hard drive back, thereby claiming ownership and authenticating it again.
October Surprises happen during campaigns, and whatever one’s political leanings, we watch them play out and do what we can to dismiss or amplify them. What we don’t do is have social media shut down the story to protect their preferred candidate from embarrassment.
That, though, is what Twitter did in response to the Post’s bombshell, citing a rule against publishing “hacked” information that they had never employed, say, on Governor Palin’s emails or those of Secretary Clinton and her chief of staff, John Podesta, not to mention Wikileaks itself.
Furthermore, the materials had not been “hacked,” a catchall term that has come to mean anything and everything to all people, conjuring images of sinister computer nerds huddling over terminals. By failing to collect his laptop, Hunter Biden transferred ownership to Mr. Isaac just as if he’d abandoned a suit at the drycleaners.
The former chief executive of Twitter, Jack Dorsey, would eventually tell Congress that locking the Post’s account over the story had been a “total mistake,” doing so only after the president had been inaugurated. Last week the head of the company’s “Truth and Safety” team, Yoel Roth, agreed it had been wrong.
Last week, a Twitter user, @ALX, tweeted, “Raise your hand if you think @ElonMusk should make public all internal discussions about the decision to censor the @NYPost’s story on Hunter Biden’s laptop before the 2020 Election in the interest of Transparency.” Mr. Musk responded, “This is necessary to restore public trust.”
Releasing information on censoring speech is the first step to that restoration, and if powerful people are uneasy about having what they did in private exposed to the public, that’s as it ought to be in a republic. Next time, we’d like to think that they’ll think twice before doing in the darkness what they fear to do in the light.