Mainstream Media Discover Twitter Censorship

The MSM were angry about Twitter suspending corporate journalists but don’t care when independent journalists critical of officialdom — including from CN — are banned.

(Cathy Vogan)

By Joe Lauria
Special to Consortium News
he New York Times
reported Friday that European regulators are considering sanctions against Twitter because it suspended the accounts of three establishment journalists. 

[Early Saturday morning Musk tweeted that he was lifting the ban after the results of a poll he ran.]

The subtitle in the Times story said: “Elon Musk’s moves this week set off a heated debate about complex issues of free speech and online censorship.”

Set off? Independent media, like Consortium News, has been debating these issues for a few years now, but the Times just seems to have noticed. Why? Because corporate journalists are now the victims.

The story begins:

“Elon Musk’s decision to abruptly suspend several journalists from Twitter sparked an outcry on Friday from First Amendment advocates, threats of sanctions from European regulators, and questions about the social media platform’s future as a gathering place for news and ideas.

But as people debated complex, novel issues of free speech and online censorship, the move also underscored the role of a simpler, more enduring element of American life: the press baron.”

These are not “novel” issues. They have been ongoing. Where have the outcries from First Amendment advocates been?

Comparing Musk to William Randolph Hearst and Rupert Murdoch, the Times said,

“Twitter, albeit a different beast from newspapers and TV networks, enticed journalists by promoting itself as a virtual town square. Now Mr. Musk, despite his stated wish ‘that even my worst critics remain on Twitter,’ is flexing his ownership muscle in seemingly arbitrary ways, appearing to stamp out accounts that personally displease him.”

A vice president of the European Commission tweeted that Musk’s move violated the E.U.’s Digital Services and Media Freedom Acts, which the Times said “serves as a kind of rule book for moderating online content.” The official tweeted: “There are red lines. And sanctions, soon.” 

One wonders why suspending independent journalists doesn’t cross the same red lines. 

The journalists from the Times, The Washington Post, CNN and other outlets were banned when Twitter owner Elon Musk said they had endangered his and his family’s safety by reporting on Twitter’s suspension of a site (and apparently linking to that site) that published the geolocation of his private plane. 

Musk mocked the reaction of the mainstream media, for suddenly discovering free speech on Twitter, especially after it did not protest Twitter suspending The New York Post‘s account after the Hunter Biden laptop story days before the 2020 election. 

Welcome mainstream media to the club. For journalists independent of the corporate media, being banned by Twitter or other platforms is nothing new.

Two of CN‘s regular contributors — Scott Ritter and Patrick Lawrence — have been permanently banned and remain banned even after Musk’s takeover. CN board member, Garland Nixon, was permanently suspended under Musk’s Twitter, but then restored. He has also been temporarily suspended by Facebook.

(For the record, no journalist, either establishment or independent, should be suspended as a rule from social media unless they do recklessly endanger lives.) 

Consortium News’ PayPal account was permanently suspended and NewsGuard has given CN its scarlet mark. So we know what we are up against, which establishment media just got a small taste of.

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Joe Lauria is editor-in-chief of Consortium News and a former U.N. correspondent for The Wall Street Journal, Boston Globe, and numerous other newspapers, including The Montreal Gazette and The Star of Johannesburg. He was an investigative reporter for the Sunday Times of London, a financial reporter for Bloomberg News and began his professional work as a 19-year old stringer for The New York Times.  He can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @unjoe  

17 comments for “Mainstream Media Discover Twitter Censorship

  1. December 19, 2022 at 16:16

    Probably not, but it could be a way to put the MSM in the same boat with independent media and forcing a stop to censoring all the way around for any real news source.

  2. December 19, 2022 at 15:09

    Musk should have bought a couple of mainstream media and played their game.

  3. CNfan
    December 18, 2022 at 20:31

    The Mafia Media’s coverage of the Twitter developments show that they are controlled in the same way Twitter was controlled before Must bought it. We need Musk to buy the rest of the corporate media and free it too. It’s a tragic farce.

  4. michael888
    December 18, 2022 at 18:19

    The old mainstream media were converted into State Media with the “modernization” (abolition) of domestic anti-propaganda law (Smith Mundt). The federal government’s Official Narratives on all topics (such as Covid, politicians’ corruptions, Ukraine and other military money laundering operations) are sacrosanct and all dissent MUST be stomped out, censored, demonetized, deplatformed or worse. The Constitution, and expressed Bill of Rights, is an anachronism of slave-holders and must be abolished in the eyes of the majority of our Congress and DC bureaucrats.

  5. Drew Hunkins
    December 18, 2022 at 16:11

    If you weren’t banned from Twitter, you’re doing something wrong.

    I joined Twitter in February of this year, immediately when the Kremlin’s SMO began in order to battle back against the tide of Russophobia and disinformation. Yes, I know, like swinging a sword at a gargantuan tidal wave.

    Anyways, after amassing over 100 followers in six months, Twitter booted me off permanently after I tweeted that President Klain, Nuland, Blinken, Sullivan, and Sherman should all face capital punishment for their proxy war in Ukraine that’s killing thousands of desperate young men.

    It was a nice comfortable Twitter hill for me to die on.

  6. robert e williamson jr
    December 18, 2022 at 03:28

    I have been pretty honked off at how the MSM has handled the most recent release of JKF assassination docs.

    Couple of observations that I think will fit into the discussion by comments made here. When I started this comment there were eleven already posted, Lois Gagnon, being at the top of the page here, Dec 17, 2022 @ 16:27.

    I have to address them by complimenting the collection, to this point. Great stuff.

    The MSM ignores public perceptions because the only perceptions they are interested in are ratings the obtain for owner ship. You know that all important gross pay amount on their checks.

    But I sense they are learning they are at risk, not so much because of what Elon has pulled but the general mood of people interested in good information. I’m glad he did it, now we can see how he worms his way around said MSM. Who know what lurks in the recesses of Elon’s grey matter.

    I watched parts of several news programs addressing the recent JFK doc releases, one on the tube and others on the net. C*N, C*S and N*C and was not surprised at the programing other than to my surprised I favored the N*C effort over others. But not by much.

    I’m thinking we might see some very surprised faces if we could the POTUS to get some moxie and order CIA release all the documents as the law now dictates. I mean after all “Nobody fu$%& with a Biden.

    For the MSM to act as though they assume that the ongoing outrage by the public at the “orange turd” is more important than laying to rest the 50 year old JFK murder case that involved the death of sitting president defies my thinking.

    To begin with that judgement in not theirs or their bosses to make. These records are records the public is entitled to see by the order of the law. and the law language on this topic is crystal clear. Those documents are to be released, not maybe or eventually but now, by law. Time for POTUS to help out his public favorable opinion wouldn’t you think. What an opportunity.

    Apparently from what I see many of the public are beginning to have even more doubt than they might have had before about CIA’s adamant refusal to release the remaining documents. As time has progressed more and more dots are being connected. And now we know that CIA’s JJ Angleton opened a file on Oswald in 1959. A fact that CIA denied earlier and still do. Even after the documented proof that are lying

    The truth here is that with each release more comes to light, one dot at a time.

    I might regret this but here goes. The first step to this country getting itself righted is to get this story out. Who is to say the U.S. Government doing the right things, releasing the documents and burying the orange turd under Leavenworth Fed. Pen. might give the DOJ some much needed credibility.

    In light of the horrific mess 45 has left for DC to deal with we have learned that many things there in DC are not as the seem or as they should be. Something a great many of us knew already, the system there needs to be sent a wake up call. I think that forcing the system to adhere to the law would be a great start.

    We are either a county of law or we will become a country of rules and regulations (methods and sources) founded to circumvent the law. Trump & Co. went after the Constitution he needs to be dealt with accordingly.

    Lets talk F-35, program cost ~ $412 billion as of the end of Sept 2022, a whopping high percent of the total Pentagon budget. The price per copy ~ 100 million. One recently crashed the video shows the vehicle land hard vertically after hovering, and bounce around destroying itself as the pilot ejects, and he cost millions to train BTW.

    Now lets talk funding of the meat grinder in Ukraine – billions upon billions with no end in sight cost going straight through to roof.

    Release Assange, turn over the JFK file and free the Press Mr. President. You will be glad you did.

    We can then discuss our Israeli problem. See, I just can’t seem to stop!!

    Thanks CN and crew.

  7. Lois Gagnon
    December 17, 2022 at 16:27

    As always, what goes around comes around. Those who dish it out have trouble taking the same. While I’m overjoyed to see the establishment exposed for its censorship, I’m no fan of the politics of Elon either. Tit for tat will only get us so far. These online social media platforms have become too important to public discourse to remain in the hands of individual billionaires. They should be turned into public utilities where the playing field is applied equally to all. That notion of course, scares the bejeezus out of the entire ruling class. The best reason there is to make it happen.

  8. JonnyJames
    December 17, 2022 at 13:30

    Whether it be Marc Zberg, Elon the Oligarch, or Jack D… the bottom line is that mass media has been allowed to consolidate into an oligopoly run by megalomaniac oligarchs. “Free Speech” (TM) is whatever the oligarchy tells you it is. Like the contrived, stage-managed political discourse between the D and R faction, we are supposed to choose our favorite oligarch to worship.

    Who is your favorite patron saint of monopoly capitalism?

  9. Vera Gottlieb
    December 17, 2022 at 11:58

    It is one giant vicious hypocritical circle.

  10. Hegesias Cyrene
    December 17, 2022 at 11:08

    Classic “shoe on the other foot” scenario. LOL.

  11. Litchfield
    December 17, 2022 at 10:56

    Thy hypocrisy and pearl clutching is hilarious, sniveling, and pathetic.

    If the NYT can compare Musk to Hearst, then why not compare Julian Assange to Hearst.

    If A = B and B = C, then A = C.

    Per the NYT apparently they are all publishers of journalism.

    When will the NYT come to an aggressive free-speech defense of Assange?

  12. Peter Sherman
    December 17, 2022 at 10:07

    Of course, Musk well knows that the MSM has raised its stature to the point where it is, verily, Orwell’s Ministry of Truth. Those who work for it must, like Winston, convince themselves that whatever they pen is ‘truth’, lest they be erased from the historical record. This ministry, along with the Ministry of Peace (the for profit military complex) are owned and operated by elite multi-billionaires and their CIA hitmen. The US has been evolving into an Orwellian state for many decades. Only now has it admitted as such. The hubris of those who work for this state has reached astronomical height.

    • WillD
      December 17, 2022 at 22:10

      Yes, he knows this, and despite the odds and the drastically reduced stock market value of Twitter, he still went ahead – and seems to be enjoying the ride. We have to remember also that for all his faults he is a very smart individual, much smarter than most of his critics, and seems to me to be experimenting to find out what people want and what works.

      I assume that he is formulating a plan that will include new terms of violation and definitions of behaviour and content that will be very hard for the MSM to argue with. I also assume this is why he bought it in the first place.

  13. mgr
    December 17, 2022 at 07:20

    One other small thought. In addition to banning those who incite violence, I would say that journalists have a special responsibility. Theirs are not simply private opinions, they are considered experts at accurately reporting news and events. “Journalists” who knowingly or consistently misrepresent or mislead should be banned as well. In addition, full disclosure and correction when needed are also required if someone wishes assumes the mantle of being a journalist. Otherwise they are fake and should be outed and shunned as such.

  14. December 17, 2022 at 06:48

    Musk is like other oligarchs, hypocritical to the core. Rules and laws are for regular people, not Musk. The main point is that people in power are always going to censor the real left because the left puts their profits and rarified positions at risk. The real left would tax the crap out of people like Musk (just like back in the 1950s under Republican Eisenhower when the top tax rate was 90%). The real left would strengthen unions, something that terrifies Musk. The real left would regulate business for the good of the country. For oligarchs like Musk, the real left is the real enemy.

  15. mgr
    December 17, 2022 at 05:41

    Thank you. Self serving hypocrisy as is being shown here by corporate media, the “regulators of Europe” and members of the EU Commission (owned and operated by who, we wonder?), not to mention the day to day behavior of neoliberal politicians everywhere, is the prime generator of public cynicism and the true undermining force that is attacking democracy. It is also through these repeated blows that Western civilization, or rather, the neo-feudal order, is committing suicide. As we can see, this is only accelerating as the end of the era of cheap resources draws nigh.

    Corporate media and the rest of this sordid cadre, heal thy-self. Try acting on the values you pretend to espouse rather than your own sordid self-interest, and those of your handlers. Perhaps you will regain some self-respect.

    I’m no fan of the super rich but it’s enjoyable to see someone with the means and platform to shout back and shout loud. I wish Mr. Musk success in this endeavor.

  16. Anon
    December 17, 2022 at 01:46

    Only Time will reveal how he handles Twitter.
    Possibly much better than what seems to be fascist free speech suppression which thus far has characterized social media.
    Tnx 2 CN & Joe 4 reporting Truth… Whole & nothing but… we CN readers should expect accuracy on this subject

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